A Very Concise History of Faience
and a Listing of German Faience Factories*

by John McGregor

When the Moors came to Spain in the 8th century, they brought their art of pottery making with them. By the 13th or 14th century the art had reached its zenith. After the first third of the 14th century the tin oxide glaze that we are familiar with was in common use. Prior to that the pieces were covered with a white clay slip. The Spanish were exporting large amounts of this pottery from the island of Majorca to the rich cities of Italy, where it was known as Miolica. A number of these rich city states decided to take over the trade in this pottery and make themselves richer by doing so.

Figure 1
By the end of the 15th century they had wrested the trade from the Spanish and had established large maiolica factories in the cities of Deruta, Florence, Urbino and Faenza. The city of Faenza, of course, lent its name to the product just as the island of Majorca had earlier. In northern Europe it came to be known as Faience in England and Fayence on the continent.

The first northern faience factories were in the Netherlands. However, from the beginning of the 16th century Spain controlled the Netherlands, and during the 30 Years War, the potters, who were mostly Protestants, were driven out. Consequently, they were received with open arms by the rulers in northwestern Germany who were of the same faith. The first faience factory in Germany was opened in Hanau in 1661 and was soon followed by a factory in Heusenstamm in 1662. For whatever reason, the Heusenstamm factory was closed in 1666 and moved to Frankfurt am. Main, a distance of about 10 kilometers, where it remained in operation until 1772.

Faience (see figure 1) became popular in Europe as an affordable substitute for porcelain, which had been imported from China since the 12th century but could be acquired only by the very rich. Finally, in 1709 (see figure 2) porcelain was produced in Europe for the first time, and although it took years to collapse, faience was already a dead industry. The factories closed one by one until Schrezheim, the last one to produce beer steins, ceased operations in 1852.

Faience is simply a glazed earthenware pottery. Unlike stoneware, which is vitrified and requires no glaze, faience is porous and requires a glaze to keep liquids from seeping through. Clay, sand and lime are mixed in the proper proportions and water is added to produce a slurry which is then sieved to remove impurities.

Figure 2
Like stoneware, faience objects can be produced one of two ways, on a wheel, or in a mold. Objects such as Enghalkrugs (narrow necked jugs) were produced in plaster molds and the slurry could be used as mixed. However, if the object was to be thrown on a wheel, the slurry was poured into backs, or holding tanks until enough water had evaporated to thicken the clay. It was then kneaded until it was the proper consistency for the wheel. Once made, either on the wheel, or in the mold, the objects, in our case steins, were set aside to dry before the handles were attached.

The objects were then given a first firing to drive out all the remaining water. This was done at 600-800 degrees centigrade to make them ready for glazing.

The glaze, a mixture of tin oxide, ground glass, and a flux, was mixed to the correct proportions and mixed with water. The objects were then dipped into the glaze, or in the case of large pieces the glaze was poured over them. At this point the high temperature colors such as cobalt blue, manganese violet, yellow, green, iron red and black could be painted directly onto the unfired glaze.

The pieces now received their second firing at 900-1050 degrees centigrade. At this temperature the glaze smoothed to a porcelain-like appearance and the paints fused with the glaze. An unlimited number of low temperature colors could now be added, and the pieces were then fired for a third time at 650-850 degrees centigrade. This third firing was called a muffle firing, as the pieces were muffled, or protected, from the heat by a wall of fire bricks.

Figure 3
The pieces could also be cold painted with gold and colored varnishes as was done at Ansbach and Schrezheim to save time and labor (see figure 3). This type of decoration was not very durable and quickly showed signs of wear.

The following is a major listing of German faience factories that includes the date of operation, and if known, founders, operators, factory artists, their marks, and additional unattributed (other) marks. This listing doesnt pretend to be exhaustive, especially in the areas of artists and marks, and for that reason is arranged for ease of expansion.

Several names keep appearing over and over on this list as both artists and owners. Three names that stand out are those of Johann Kaspar Rib, Joseph Philipp Dannhoeffer and Adam Fried rich von Loewenfinck. Johann Kaspar Rib was associated with the following factories: Ansbach 1710-1712, Nuremberg 1712-1713, Bayreuth 1714-1717, Braunschweig 1717-1721 and Zerbst in 1723. Joseph Philipp Dannhoefer worked at Bayreuth 1737-1744, Abtsbessingen 1744-1747, Hoecht 1747-1751 and Fulda 1751-1758. Adam Friedrich van Loewenfinck was recorded as an artist at only two factories, Fulda 1741-1744 and Hoecht 1746-1749, but his widow managed the Ludwigsburg factory 1777-1795.

I have also included a number of Hausmalers, or studio painters, where appropriate and have identified them with (HM) after their names. These studio painters painted at home on commission. They purchased the blank plate, or stein, or whatever and decorated it to specifications. Usually, the painting of faience objects was a second or third occupation for these people, it was seldom their sole means of income. Bartolomaeus Seuter was a silk dyer and a copper engraver. Abraham Helmhack was a glass painter and a copper engraver. Johann Ludwig Faber and Johann Schaper were glass painters, and Wolfgang Roessler was a goldsmith and copper engraver.

In listing the marks a number have a slash in them (/). This represents an horizontal line, so that part of the mark that precedes the slash is above it, and the part that follows is below it. While incomplete, I believe this list is more comprehensive than anything of its nature appearing in earlier issues of Prosit.

Abtsbessingen 1739-1800 Founded by Prince August I. von Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen. Artists: 1744-1747 Joseph Philipp Dannhoeffer, 1753-1791 Johann Gottfried Kiel k in purple.

Ansbach 1710-1804 Founded by Margrave Friedrich Willhelm von Ansbach. Artists: 1715-1785 Johann Georg Christoph Popp, also owner from 1769-1788 Popp 1715, 1710-1712 Johann Kaspar Rib, 1716-1729 & 1741-1751 Johann Valentin Bontemps, J.V. Bontemps A 1716, 1724-1739 Johann Wolfgang Meyerhoeffer WM in red, 1746-1792 Johann Julius Popp J.J.P. 1760-1765 Johann Melchior Schoellhammer (HM) Other marks: A, ANSP:, f., AB/1774 in blue.

Augsburg 1746-1749 Artists: 1715-1720 Bartolomaeus Seuter (HM), 1720 Abraham Seuter, brother of Bartolomaeus (HM), 1730 Johann Auffenwerth (HM) 1750, Anna Elisabeth Wald, daughter of Joh. Auffenwerth (HM)

Bayreuth 1714-1835 A large number of Bayreuth pieces are well marked and usually included the factory and owners initials and sometimes the artists initial as well. The B in the mark obviously stands for Bayreuth. The second initial stands for the owner: B.K. = Johann Georg Knoeller 1714-1744, B.F.S. = Adolf Fraenkel and Johann Veit Schreck 1745-1747, B.P.F. = Johann Georg Pfiffer and Fraenkels widow 1747-1760, B.P. = Georg Pfiffer 1761-1767 and Pfiffers heirs 1767-1788. Artists: 1714-1717 Johann Kaspar Rib, 1731-1748 Johann Clarner B.K./C. = Bayreuth. Knoeller./Clarner. 1737-1744 Joseph Philipp Dannhoeffer, 1740 Johann Christoph Jucht, 1767-1788 Johann Martin Anton Oswald O in black, 1731 Georg Friedrich Grebner (HM), 1769 Johann Georg Fliegel (HM). Other marks: W, WT, IVF, OS.

Berlin 1678-1786 Founded and operated by the Grand Elector Friedrich Wilhelm 1678-1688, owned by Gerhard Molin and the Dukes widow 1688-1697, Gerhard Wolbeer 1697-1721, Wolbeers son 1721-1754. A second factory was operated by Cornelius Funke 1699-1733 and by his widow and heirs 1733-1747. Some marks: cursive F, RL/, cursive T.

Braunschweig 1707-1807 Founded by Duke Anton Ulrich and operated by him 1707-1710, leased by H. Chr. van Horn and W.J.G. von Hantelman 1710-1712, their mark was VH, H.F. van Horn 1712-1731 and by his widow until 1745. Artists: 1717-1721 Johann Kaspar Rib R in blue. Other marks: VH/F, VH.

Crailsheim 1720-1827 (?) Founded by Georg Veit Weiss 1720-1769, operated by his son Johann Georg Weiss 1769-1800 and then by his grandson J.G. Weiss 1800-1827 (?) Some marks: CRAILS/HEIM/W, CREILSH., CRAILSHEIM/K, S.

Dorotheenthal 1707-1806 Founded by the Princess Auguste Dorothee von Schwarzburg. Artists: 1733-1758 Johann Martin Meiselbach MB. Other marks: D, cursive F in blue, AL./ in green, A in blue, TO/ in green.

Dresden 1708-1784 Founded with the help of Johann Friedrich Boettger, 1712-1767 the factory was leased by Peter Eggebrecht and his heirs.

Durlach 1723-1812 The factory was operated from 1723-1726 by Johann Heinrich Wachenfeld, 1726-1734 by Wachenfelds widow, 1749-1812 by Georg Adam Herzog and Johann Adam Benckieser. Artists: 1751-1803 Georg Balthasar Fichtmeier F in black, 1773-1835 Johann Jacob Kaiser K in black.

Erfurt 1716-1792 The first, short-lived attempt at a factory was in 1716. The equipment was then leased from 1724-1792 by Johann Paul Stieglitz and his heirs. Artists: 1730-1751 Johann Jacob Wunderlich W, 1737-1753 Georg Matthaeus Schmidt S in blue, 1751-1761 Johann Martin Franz F in purple or red. Other marks: G in blue, LB, HR in blue, 13 in yellow, H, GW/, E, S./, V, A in purple.

Florsheim 1765-18?? From 1766-1774 the factory was managed by Kaspar Dreste. Between 1774 and 1806 the factory passed back and forth between owner and lessor. After 1787 it became a steingut factory. Some marks: FFF in black, C in purple.

Frankfurt a. Main 1666-1772 The factory was founded in 1666 by Johann Simonet. From 1666-1693 it was owned by the merchant Johann Christoph Fehr and from 1693-1721 by Fehrs widow and his sons. 1721-1722 Anna Salome von Lersner. 1722-1733 District Magistrate Hasslocher and his wife. 1733-1736 Hasslochers heirs and Anna Salome von Lersner. 1736-1740 J.W. Deininger and J.F. Sauersenff. 1740-1772 Johann Georg Heckel and sons. Artists: 1680-1690 Johann Wereshofer (HM) W, 1742 Johann Carl Auer Johann Carl Auer a Franckfurth 1742 in black. Other marks: F in purple, B in blue, 14 in purple, P in blue, FURTH/1718.

Friedberg 1754-1768 Founded on a whim by Joseph Hackhls after the Goeggingen factory moved. Artists: 1754-1768 Joseph Hackhis JH. Other marks: CB.

Fulda 1741-1758 Founded by Adam Friedrich von Loewenfinck and his brother Carl Heinrich, but owned by Prince Bishop Amandus von Buseck. Artists: 1741-1744 Adam Friedrich von Loewenfinck, 1742-1743 Georg Balthasar Birkenkopf FD/BK, 1744 Johann Birkensee and later J.B. Schmidt FD/JB, 1751-1758 J. Philipp Dannhoeffer. Other marks: FULD., FD/BS probably Schmidt, FD/M.

Goeggingen 1748-1752 Founded by Georg Michael Hofmann and Joseph Hackhl. Some marks: Goggingen, HS.

Hanau 1661-1806 1661-1679 operated by Daniel Behaghel and Jacobus van der Walle. 1679-1688 Behaghel, Walle and Johann Bally. 1688-1693 the foregoing and Anna Bally. 1694-1726 the heirs of Walle and Behaghel. 1727-1740 Heinrich Simons von Alphen. 1740-1775 Hieronymus von Alphen. Some marks: JS Jacob Schilles or Jacob Schuetz, M, 9, 4, HANAU in gray, HV, HA, HB, HANNAU/VA.

Hannoversch-Mnden 1732-1854 Founded and operated 1732-1775 by Carl Friedrich van Hanstein and after him his son 1775-1797. Some marks: S in purple, ccc/, cccM , ccc/E.

Hoecht 1746-1760 1746-1749 established and operated in the shop of Johann Christoph Goeltz, Johann Felician Clarus and Adam Friedrich van Loewenfinck. 1749-1756 Johann Christoph and his sons. Artists: 1746-1751 Georg Friedrich Hess H/wheel in purple, 1748 Johann Gottlieb Rothe R, 1747-1751 Johann Nicolaus Daurenheim :ID: in gray, 1747-1751 J. Philipp Dannhoeffer wheel and D, 1746-1751 Ignaz Hess HH/wheel in purple, wheel and H in purple, 1748-1749 Lothar Chariot wheel and C, 1748-1753 Johann Zeschinger IZ, 1748-1749 Christoph Walter W in gray, 1749-1758 Adam Ludwig AL/wheel, AL/4 in purple, AL:NI/wheel, 1750-1756 Johann Philipp Zisler Zisler in gray. Other marks: VZ, XZ, JZ/wheel, crowned wheel, wheel/F.

Kassel 1680-1781 Founded by Count Karl van Hessen-Kassel. Leased from 1694-1699 by Esaias de Lattre. There were various owners, mostly Dutchmen until 1724. 1724-1740 Johann Christoph Gilze and his son. 1740-1776 Chamberlain Waitz. Some marks: HL, W.

Kiel 1758-1787 Owned by the government of the Grand Duke until 1766 and was managed by Johann Samuel Tannich from 1763-1769. Some marks: KB/L, KIEL/, T/L.

Kunersberg 1745-1767 Owned by Jacob von Kuener. Artists: 1745-1748 Johann Georg Conradi, 1745-1749 Johann Kaspar Biegel B in purple, 1745-1758 Johann Espenmueller (HM), 1747-1756 Johann Martin Frantz. Some marks: KB/, A in red, G in blue.

Ludwigsburg 1732-1824 Founded by the Duke Karl Eugen von Wurttemberg. In 1763 it merged with the factory of Johann Jacob Mergenthaler and Anton Joachim. From 1777-1795 it was managed by the widow of Adam Friedrick von Loewenfincks. Some marks: C, O/J.

Magdeburg 1754-1785 Owned by Johann Philipp Guichard and a town hall syndicate. Some marks: M in blue-green, green or purple.

Mosbach 1770-1828 1772-1774 under the directorship of Prince Carl Theodor. 1774-1779 owned by Johann Samuel Tannich. He continued as Director until 1782. 1782-1787 Johann Gotfried List & Co. 1787-1828 Johann Martin Roemer & Co. Some marks: crown/MB, CP, TC, CF.

Nuremberg 1712-1840 Founded by Christoph Marx, Gottfried Hemmon and Conrad Romedi as well as Kaspar Rib. Artists: 1660-1670 Johann Schaper (HM) Joh. Schaper, 1680 Wolfgang Roessler (HM) WR, 1690 Abraham Helmhack (HM) AH, 1690 Johann Heel (HM), 1700 Johann Ludwig Faber (HM), 1712-1713 Kaspar Rib, 1715-1718 Johann Georg Bayer, 1717-1731 Georg Friedrich Grebner G.F. Grebner 1728 d. 10.Jun. 1717-1735 Georg Michael Tauber, 1715 Johann Georg Kunstmann K in blue, 1720-1730 M. Schmid (HM) MS, 1720-1730 Justus Alexander Ernst Glueer (HM), 1722 Paul Stroebel, 1731 P.C. Schwab, 1734 Johann Andreas Marx, 17??-1762 Georg Friedrich Kordenbusch, 1776 Leonard Friedrich Marx LMF, 1782 Hans Sebald Frantz F in rust red. Other marks: I, NB/K.

Offenbach 1739-1807 Operated by Philipp Friedrich Lay 1739-1762 and then by his son until 1765. 1765-1775 Chr. Puchel was the charter holder. 1775-1779 Johann Klepper. Some marks: 3 in green.

Oettingen-Schrattenhofen 1735-1830 Founded in Oettingen in 1737 and later transferred to Schrattenhofen. Owned by Prince Albrecht Ernst von Oettingen and managed by J.G. Conradi. 1757-1830 the factory in Schrattenhofen owned by Albrecht Koehler and his descendants. Some marks: OTTINGEN/R.

Poppelsdorf 1755-19?? Some marks: An anchor.

Potsdam 1739-1796 Some marks: POTS.DAM, P, P/R.

Proskau 1769-1793 Founded by Count Leopold von Proskau. 1769-1783 operated by Prince Carl Maximilian von Dietrichstein. From 1783-1793 it was leased by Johann Gottlieb Leopold. Some marks; D.P., P:, H.V./X.

Reval 1780-1792 Owned by the Apothecary Carl Christian Fick of Stralsund Some marks: R/F.

Rheinsberg 1762-1866 Some marks RL in purple = RHEINSBER LUEDICKE.

Rudolstadt 1720-1809 Some marks R/C, R/F.

Schleswig 1755-1814 Some marks: S/CB, S/H, S/R, S/R/B.

Schrezheim 1752-1852 Owned and operated by Johann Baptist Bux 1752-1800. From 1800-1816 by Alois Bux, Anton Wintergerst and Anton Pfister. 1816-1833 owned by the widow of A. Wintergerst and later by their son. Some marks: JB, K, B, f., C in purple, W in purple, L in black, 2B, 5M.

Stralsund 1755-1790 Owned by Joachim Ulrich Giese 1755-1766. 1766-1770 leased to J. Eberhard Ludwig Ehrenreich. 1772-1780 owned and operated once again by J.U. Giese. Some marks: B in purple.

Sulzbach 1752-1774 From 1757 it was owned by Prince Carl Theodor von der Pfalz Some marks: SULLZBACH, CT.

Wiesbaden 1770-1795 Some marks: WD, JW.

Wrisbergholzen 1735-1834 Some marks: WR, WPIS.

Zerbst 1721-1796 1721 owned by Prince Johann August von Anhalt-Zerbst. Refounded in 1723 by Kaspar Rib and then once again about 1740 by Daniel von Kayck. After 1761 it was operated by Master Peter Fertch. Artists: c.1770 Johann Christoph Andreas Langendorf Z/L. Other marks: Z/M.


Bauer, Margrit, Europaische Fayencen, Museum fr Kunsthandwerk Frankfurt am Main. 1977.

Bosch, Helmut, Deutsche Fayencekruge des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 1983.

Fischer, Jurgen and Kurt Bosch Sammiung, Auction Catalog, Nov. 5, 1988, 232 pps., Heilbronn.

Kirsner, Gary and Jim Gruhl, The Beer Stein Book, Glentiques Ltd., Coral Springs, FL, 1990.

Vogt, Johannes und Peter, Fayence und Steinzeug aus Vier Jahrhunderten, A Sales Offering, Munich, undated.


*Reprinted by permission from Prosit, the Journal of Stein Collectors International, Vol 2, No. 18, June 1996