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Gerold Porzellan

A website dedicated to the fine porcelain collectibles produced from 1904 - 1997 in

Tettau, Bavaria, West Germany

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A Brief History of the Gerold Porzellan Company

1904 Founding of New Porzellanfabrik Tettau eGmbH

1924 Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau AG.

1937 Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau Gerold & Co.

1960 Porzellanfabrik Gerold & Co.

1993 Neue Porzellangesellschaft mbH

1997 Porzellanfabrik Gerold Kueps owned by the Seltmann Weiden group.

The original company, Neue Porzellanfabrik e.G.m.b.H. founded in 1904 rose to prominence for its exquisite, Dresden-style figurines and its hand-painted birds, vases, ashtrays and an assortment of other household items until it closed in 1997.

In 1904, after an argument broke out at the old Tettauer Porcelain Factory, a new factory was built at the upper end of the village in Tettau.  The  founder along with three traders and former workers of the Tettauer Porcelain Factory, namely: Bernhard Gerold, Master Butcher, Nicol Kraus, butcher, August Gerold, porcelain painter, Wilhelm Döbrich, porcelain painter, Albert Stauch, porcelain painter, Wilhelm Brandenstein, porcelain painter,  Albert Spindler, porcelain painter, Christian Bock, porcelain caster, all from Tettau and Christian Stauch, carton maker from Neuenbau.  Hans Püls managed the company from 1905 - 1913.

Before the war there were about 80 people who worked in the factory. Until 1924 cheap bisque (unglazed) items were produced, but by 1925 they turned toward better quality to compete with the North American marketplace.  The products of the factory improved from year to year and were supplying mainly to North America.  By 1924 the former cooperative was converted into a public limited company and known as the Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau A.G.  Ernst Büttner managed the company from 1913 - 1925.

Karl Ernst Gerold (Fritz)From 1925, the son of co-founder Bernhard Gerold, Fritz Gerold, at the age of 21, took over the management of the factory and in 1937, the registered cooperative was converted into a limited partnership of the Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau, Gerold & Company earning them world-wide recognition.  The operation had not only widened and upgraded, but its brand of mostly luxury china had much artistic quality.  In 1933 the operation had approximately 120 employees.

During the Second World War (1939 - 1945), the number of employees went down in 1948 to 84 people. The military had taken over departments of the factory for the production of ammunition, which was led by a Wiesbaden-based defense contractor.  After the invasion of American troops (04/13/1945) and during the occupation, those machines were removed.

Due to lack of raw materials and transportation problems due to the closure of the railway line Tettau-Pressig/Rothenkirchen in 1925, the operation was stopped  for several months.

But Fritz Gerold made it work by selling their products domestically, The EEC area and in the North American Market.  Thus, the number of employees in 1951 was increased to 206 people and up to 260 people in 1970 after increasing their product numbers.  During this time the factory was continuously expanded.

In 1960 the name was shortened to Porzellanfabrik Gerold & Company until 1993. 

In 1963 the tunnel kiln was converted to liquid glass and added to the necessary gas plant.

In 1966 the second factory expansion was built with a tunnel oven.

Then in 1968 Gerold built a new pattern room and a new payroll office.  It was during this period that Gerold died at the age of 64 and the company began to have severe problems.  He had headed the company for over 40 years.  His son Günter Gerold took over the management until 1989.  See more about Fritz Gerold.

The third expansion for the fine operation with an electric melt was completed in 1969.

The porcelain industry was struggling at this time with imports of cheap products from Asia.  In the eighties, therefore, sales of porcelain figures fell by two-thirds.  East Asian developing countries such as South Korea invaded the German market.  Thus, the number of employees decreased in 1980 to 170 and dwindling to 70 people by 1994.

Günter Gerold resigned from the company for personal reasons and the operations were taken over temporarily by Albert Schütz, who had resigned from that position after just a few months.

On 10/17/1989, the Gerold-Verwaltungs-Gesellschaft mbH in Tettau had appointed Kurt Neubauer as Managing Director, but by 1992 the Gerold company was struggling for survival.  Of the 130 employees, 39 employees had resigned before the years end.

On 04/01/1993, the "Neue Presse" reported, "Gross errors logged in the management bankruptcy procedure for Gerold".  The cause of the pending bankruptcy cited inside issues and lack of innovation and gross errors in the management of the company, as the problem, not the bad economic situation .  The Gerold company had a total of 5.5 million dollars in debt.

A few investors together with a bank took over the business renaming it the New Porcelain Company, Ltd..  On 04/01/1993, a partnership agreement was made and formed with partners Hermann Spindler, Alfonso Spindler, Rudi Draus, Gunter Heinz and Dieter Weller.  As CEO Dieter Weller was determined and promised in November of 1993 before the members and invited guests of honor of the co-partners to build more and secure jobs.  He further reported that a new furnace was put in operation and the production was started on 11/1/1993 with 12 employees.

By December 1994, after nearly two years, former employees had received only a portion of their outstanding wages.  After tough negotiations, and great use of the trade union IG Chemie-Papier-Keraki, Managing Director, Richard Rau, would pay out at least 360,000 Marks for the 104 employees at the time. 

Despite their efforts, in 1997 they were forced into selling the company to Lindner Porzellan located in Kueps, Bavaria, who promptly renamed the company to Porzellanfabrik Gerold Kueps.  The facility was remodeled and all the old Gerold molds were destroyed. But alas, the ill-fated company once again failed and was forced to cease operations in 2002.  Many of the unemployed skilled porcelain painters could find work in the local glass, wood and plastic plants.  Some fell by the wayside.

Porcelain painterToday, Gerold Kueps is a subsidiary of the Seltmann Weiden Group, but they no longer produce any products using the Gerold name.  For a short time the facility in Tettau was a museum and open for tours to the guests of a local hotel, but as of now the building is vacant.

Gerold Porzellan had produced over 12,000 products, 80 percent of which was for household use, and employed generations of the best artisans  in Europe, including many from Nymphenburg and Meissen.  The mastery of Gerold's craftsmen in every aspect of porcelain-making is evident in the lovely figurines in both glazed and biscuit porcelain.

Gerold figurines have the soft muted coloring of Lladro and the whimsical look of Hummel's.  At one point, trying to compete with Hummel, Gerold produced a number of figurines that were colorfully hand-painted.  Personally, I prefer to collect the original figurines with the soft muted colors of blue, pink, gray, and green. 

A similar history of the company can be found at www.porcelainmarksandmore.com . If you would like to read a brief history of the beginnings of china manufacturing in Germany visit Antiques.LovetoKnow.com

 

Update 3/28/17: Recently, I was contacted by the grandson, Frieder Dürr, of one of Gerold Pozellan's artists, Ernst Mueller, who was a talented porcelain painter. He worked between 1937 and 1940 for Gerold. Frieder writes:

"Granddad was the chief of the art departement. He lived from 1890 to 1973. We was leader of the art department "under glaze porcellain" at the famous FRAUREUTH factory, later Schaubach-Kunst, Gerold & Co, Karl Ens as well!"

1937 Art Department Photo 1938 company photo Ernst Mueller Testimony or Reference
Ernst Mueller
1937
MusterMaler
(Chief Art Designer)
He is the second man in the front row.
Fritz Gerold, Manager of Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau, Gerold & Company can be seen behind Ernst to the left.
Ernst Mueller
1938
MusterMaler
(Chief Art Designer)
He is the fourth from the left in the front row.
Fritz Gerold, Manager of Neue Porzellanfabrik Tettau, Gerold & Company can be seen in second row toward the middle. This was in Bad Friedrichshall/Bavaria. Company excursion, 1938, Senior staff / art department
Ernst Mueller
MusterMaler
(Chief Art Designer)
Testimony or Reference for Ernst Mueller when he left the company.
"Mr. Ernst Mueller from Rudelstadt, who served us as an exemplary painter from 18 January 1937 to 31, December 1939, has given us extraordinary services in this time. Mister Mueller is an extraordinarily full-fledged and loyal employee, whom we leave very voluntarily from us and can always come back here at any time.  All the best for the future."

 

"Testimony says: Mustermaler, it means, chief-designer art department. So granddad was some kind of supervisor, he have seen most of the porcellain left the factory between 1937 and 1939. Granddad was a very kind and sensitive character. I hope, my english is not SO bad, lol! Sorry about the mistakes. Dad was a personal friend of the Gerold family! Every year they have send him Christmas and birthday cards and gifts. Really nice people, as it seems."

 

Below: Ernst Mueller at work.

Ernst Mueller at work

 

EBAYERS, PLEASE NOTE: The information on this website is copyrighted to me and therefore I request that you ASK MY PERMISSION before quoting any of this information in your item description.  

Photos and some of the information above courtesy of Tettau City Hall Archives:  See more photos

Click to read the Gerold History in German

 

 

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This site created September 12,1999
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Date this page was last edited:Saturday, April 01, 2017 11:29 AM
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