These amazing companies are still making figurines today, and this is no surprise given the artistry involved.
ANDREA BY SADEK
Andrea by Sadek, or Charles Sadek Import Company, or J. Willfred, is headquartered in New Rochelle, New York.
The company was founded by Charles and Norman Sadek in 1936. It is still owned and operated by the Sadek family: Charles' son, Jim, his wife, Sandra manage the day-to-day operations. Jim's sister, Andrea, is the namesake of the company, and the “Sadek” is from her father Charles Sadek.
Andrea by Sadek works with factories all around the world, creating over 3,000 unique designs for home accessories. Each product is held to a very high quality standard and the company tries to keep the prices for their items low. They are currently a leader in in the gift and tableware industry and they come out with new designs annually.
Sadek is known for their beautiful and hand-crafted bisque porcelain flower and bird figurines, and for their extensive collections of figural salt and pepper shakers, tea sets, lamps, and dinnerware.
Andrea by Sadek has showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and at their corporate headquarters and warehouse in New Rochelle, NY.
They are still in business today and have a very strong collector following. I personally find thier bird figurines to be stunning.
Lomonosov Russian porcelain factory has such an amazing history that goes all the way back to 1744. It was founded by Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great after Russian scientist Dmitry Vinogradov independently discovered the secrets of making porcelain and developed the technology for its manufacture; during that time the secrets of porcelain was known only to Chinese crafters.
They are primarily known for their amazingly beautiful tableware, but I find their figurines to be some of the best ever created. They are not only detailed but they have such character. They are also very heavy and solid figurines.
Over the years Lomonozov has had many different identifying marks. The only two I have encountered on my figurines are ones that say "Made in Russia" and "Made in USSR." The stamp was changed to "Russia" in 1992 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Lastly, I have also seen another mark that looks like a inverted "C" on some my Russian porcelain pieces. After some research I found out that this sign was for Astrashan porcelain which was made from 1950 to 1980. I have included pictures of these pieces in this section.
The Lomonosov company is still very much alive and more information can be found on their website.
Goebel has a very rich history of figurine making. It all started when father Franz Detleff Goebel and son William Goebel founded “F. & W. Goebel” in 1871.
Their first porcelain factory - with the aim to be “dedicated to the senses” – was opened in 1878. It was placed beneath the Coburg Castle in Bavaria outside of the town Oeslau, which was central Germany's porcelain-producing region and close to the legendary Kipfendorf clay deposits. Oeslau is now a part of Rödental - named after the river Röden.
Up until 1879 Goebel mainly produced slates, pencils and children's marbles, but in this same year the Duke and Steward of Coburg Castle granted permission for the Goebel family to build their first kiln.
The factory created small sculptures in the Meissen Rococo style, animal figurines, and delightful figurines of children. Goebel has a reputation of being in tune with the lifestyle of the times so they also produced fine dinnerware. By 1900 Goebel had approximately 400 employees and was one of the largest firms in the region.
Franz handled more of the artistic direction while William looked for ways to further grow the business and expand the product lines. Under William's direction, the company’s name was changed to W.Goebel Porzellanfabrik and the production line was extended to include dolls, lamps, candy dishes, and vases.
In 1909, William sent his then 16-year-old son, Max Louis, to America, as he saw future potential in the American marketplace. Max was educated in New York City and learned how to combine both business and his love for art. After spending time working for Marshall Fields and other big US firms, Max Louis Goebel returned to Germany to help bring the company into the 20th century. Max built his own factory near Kronach, but closed it down later the same year when his father passed away. At that time he assumed control of W.Goebel Porzellanfabrik in 1911.
Max Louis established relationships with a variety of current artists and purchased a their artwork as the basis of decorative figurines- a practice the company maintains to this day. His innovation made way for many new product lines, and also to new technologies. For example, in 1926, Goebel produced fine-grained earthenware, and this material set the stage for their most popular range of figurines: MI. Hummel.
In 1929 the New York Stock Exchange crashed thus beginning the great depression. 1929 was also the year that Max Louis passed away; therefore W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik struggled with the loss of their owner of 18 years and with the souring economic climate, but Max Louis left the company very in a very sound position and with good distribution channels.
After Max’s passing the company was in the hands of his son, Franz Goebel, and his son-in-law, Dr. Eugen Stocke, who were both very knowledgeable and business savvy. What Franz and Eugen both knew was that sustained innovation was the key to surviving in the depression; therefore, the company quickly bounced back from the events of 1929.
It was during the 1930’s when the company struck gold, in the form of a little figurine: MI Hummel.
In the early 1930’s the sketch art of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel began to appear in Germany and Switzerland in the form of little post cards for mailing. The drawings were mostly drawings of children playing and doing other activities but they were extremely popular in Germany.
Eventually these little cards caught the attention of Franz Goebel, and in 1931, after meeting with Sister Maria and viewing her drawings, Franz Goebel signed an exclusive agreement with her, and the Convent of Siessen, which granted Goebel exclusive rights to adapt her drawings into three-dimensional porcelain figurines.
Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel agreed that her images could be used as designs for figurines, but had some conditions: (1) she had final approval of each piece, and (2) each piece bear her signature, and (3) each figurine must be approved by the Convent of Siessen before production; therefore, each piece is marked with "M . I . Hummel" printed on or incised in the underside - provided there is enough space to do so.
In 1935 Goebel produced the first three MI Hummel figurine molds: "Puppy Love," "Little Fiddler," and "Bookworm." They were first introduced into the market place at the 1935 Leipzig Spring Fair – as this was where many of the important European buyers would be. The figurines attracted a lot of attention and interest in the MI Hummel figurine line grew quickly. Thus a star was born as these little whimsical figurines became a “million seller” in both Germany and America. Even until this day, after over 70 years of collectible tradition, many collectors are still adding to their collection of MI Hummel figurines.
When the Second World War broke out in Europe, the ruling German National Socialist party placed restrictions on exports and focused on domestic production geared toward supporting military needs. Only certain exports were allowed, those that would earn foreign currency; therefore, the German government did allow the Goebel factory to produce Hummel figurines only for export. In the meantime the factory was commandeered to make dinnerware for the German military instead of its other decorative items.
In 1946 Sister Maria Innocentia passed away from tuberculosis and in response to her death an artistic board was appointed at the Convent of Siessen as guardians of the legacy of Sister Hummel. Sister Hummel donated a collection of her drawings that Goebel uses today to produce new MI Hummel figurines, and the Convent of Siessen and Goebel work together to ensure that MI Hummel figurines are still produced with the same authenticity and detailed decoration that Sister Hummel would have insisted upon.
Once the war was over, Goebel enjoyed remarkable expansion and fruition. Their figurines were still highly sought after, both by the German families who were trying to rebuild their lives, and by many Americans who had become aware of the brand while stationed in Germany. This increasing demand allowed for the upgrading of the Goebel factory which allowed for the updating of kilns and the improvement of techniques, while still maintaining the important company traditions of handcrafting and hand painting.
Throughout the 20th century, Goebel would experiment with new techniques in glazing porcelain. In the 1950’s, the company began producing a small line of toys, and in 1952, Franz Goebel, looking to capitalize on America's growing fascination with movies and TV, met with Walt Disney, resulting in a successful line of figurines and collectibles based on the Disney animations and characters. Teir toy line was very successful and by 1967, Goebel would open a separate factory for the producing of toys.
Goebel continued its expansion through the 1960’s, setting up a sales organization in the United States in 1968 (Goebel of North America). The next year saw the death of Franz Goebel and the company passed to the family's fifth generation, in the form of Wilhelm Goebel, along with Eugen and Ulrich Stocke.
In 1971 Goebel celebrated its 100th anniversary and during the ceremony unveiled of the larger than life sized M.I.Hummel “Merry Wanderer“ figure which stands in front of the company building. During this year the popularity of Goebel products, especially the M.I. Hummel figurines, continued to surge and in 1977, the Goebel Collectors Club was formed, the first organization of its kind in the industry. This was renamed in 1989 to the MI. Hummel Club, reflecting the overwhelming level of attention the M.I.Hummel figurines were attracting. The original intent of the collectors club was an information service, but with over 100,000 members joining in the first year, it soon became an important channel for the company's promotional and marketing efforts.
During the 1980’s Goebel encouraged many contemporary artists to create new works using porcelain and from this came some unique glazed porcelain pieces and in the 1990’s the Gifts and Decorative Accessories business division was established.
By the turn of the millennium, Goebel is one of the most important porcelain brands, with pieces residing in many museums and collections worldwide. The MI. Hummel division was divested in 2008 but the the Hummel figurines are still crafted by hand with loving care by the company Manufaktur Rödental.
It is important to note that Goebel produces figurines that are not affiliated with Hummel. In other words, not all Goebels are Hummel’s, but all Hummel’s are Goebels. Goebel stopped manufacturing Hummel figurines in 2008. In 2009, Manufaktur Rodental GmbH acquired the brand rights and started producing figurines on a smaller scale.
On September 1st, 2010 PM Kapital GmbH & Co. KG, Bad Staffelstein acquired Goebel Porzellan; the acquiring company had already been active in the ceramic industry for many years and is also shareholder of Kaiser-Porzellan in Bad Staffelstein.
The two companies are now united under the roof of PM Kapital, Goebel was founded in 1871 and Kaiser Porzellan in 1872. Both companies will, however, maintain their legal independence in the future. Goebel remains a family run business to this day.
fitz and floyd
Fitz and Floyd was founded by Pat Fitzpatrick and Bob Floyd in Dallas, TX in 1960 and it was originally an import company ; however, FF soon progressed into designing and selling ceramic giftware, tableware, and accessories themselves. By the 1970’s FF had several very popular hand-painted ceramic gift lines in production. Most if not all of the Fitz and Floyd ceramic pieces were made in Japan.
Fitz and Floyd collectibles are known for their complex and creative designs. They vary from being very elegant pieces to rather humorous ones, and the product lines created by Fitz and Floyd are too numerous to list so most collectors focus on specific themes rather than specific lines.
Walter Scott Lenox founded his company in 1889. Today Lenox is among the world's oldest and most respected names in fine tableware and giftware
Walter Scott Lenox was born in 1859 in Trenton, NJ. At this time Trenton became the country's leading ceramics center in the 19th century, with some 200 potteries
Walter had a talent for drawing and worked as a decorator and designer for several Trenton potteries beginning in 1875. After 6 years he advanced to design director for Ott & Brewer, which was then Willets Manufacturing. Theses companies produced a domestic version of Irish Belleek. Unfortunately both firms eventually failed and this set the stage for Lenox to start his own business.
In 1889, Lenox's Ceramic Art Company opened and separated itself from all other pottery companies, as it was organized as an art studio, rather than a factory. It offered specialized pieces in lustrous ivory china, instead of a full line of ceramics.
The items produced - modeled vases, pitchers, and tea sets - were met with a passionate reception and carried in the most fashionable shops.
In the early twentieth century the fashion for art ceramics was overtaken by another trend: fine home dining. Given this, in 1902, Lenox began offering unique and intricately decorated service plates to his discriminating clientele, despite the domination of European china.
The plates they created were so successful that Lenox turned his attention increasingly to complete sets of dinnerware. In 1906 changed the firm’s name changed to Lenox Incorporated to reflect the new direction from the Ceramic Art Company.
The appetite for high-quality china grew in America and the company satisfied this demand by producing dinnerware with standardized patterns. The first two of these patterns — Mandarin and Ming, introduced in 1917 — would prove to be popular for the next 50 years.
The Lenox name rapidly became synonymous with elegant tableware and it remains the only American porcelain in continuous use at the White House for more than 80 years.
Walter Scott Lenox died in 1920 and following his death the factory was expanded to double its size and outfitted with an elegant, oak-paneled showroom.
Frank Graham Holmes was the chief designer from 1905 to 1954 and he garnered numerous awards for his work. Holmes possessed a remarkable ability to blend contemporary style with timeless "good taste."
After America entered World War II Lenox joined the effort; for example, the translucent ivory china used in lighting fixtures since 1910 proved to be ideal for ship instrumentation. In response to the military needing as even stronger porcelain the company's master craftsmen developed Lenoxite which was a ceramic resilient enough to be cast into insulators, resistors, and other forms for use in radar and electronics.
After WWII the ever-increasing population clamored for stylish home furnishings and Lenox responded with multiple dinnerware patterns. Lenox was so treasured, that it became America's china of choice in mid-century — a position it still holds.
Boxes, vases, bowls, and other giftware were also highly sought after and produced in both the traditional ivory body and the era's favorite pastels, such as sky blue, primrose yellow, and sea green.
In order to keep up with this demand Lenox built the most advanced ceramics factory of the time in 1954, in Pomona, N.J.
Lenox was committed from its earliest days to listening to consumers and adjusting its product lines to meet the customer’s needs.
In 1989 Lenox celebrated its centennial — a landmark reached by no other American porcelain company.
Still flourishing in its second century, the company still keeps Walter Scott Lenox's original vision in mind: a passion for the craft and a passion for life.
Hagen Renaker is featured on its own page, as it is the primary company that I collect, but it is important to point out that they are still in business, and have been for the past 70 years. Please check out the Hagen Renaker page for an outline of the history of the company!
John Rose founded the The Coalport Porcelain Manufacturer (or Coalport China) 1750.
Rose was trained at making pottery, having studied at the Caughley porcelain manufacturer in Shropshire. He had been making pottery on his own account nearby at Jackfield since about 1780.
In 1799 he bought the Caughley manufacturer, the Nantgarw porcelain manufacturer in 1819, and the Swansea porcelain manufacturer. These purchases included all of their collection of molds.
He hired William Billingsley, formerly at Nantgarw, as the chief painter, and Billingsley's chemist, Walker, who initiated at Coalport a maroon glaze, Together they brought the Nantgarw technical recipes to Rose at Coalport.
Rose received the gold medal of the Society of Arts in 1820 for his feldspar porcelain and an improved, lead-free glaze, with which the enamel colors fused in firing.
In the 1830’s the factory introduced the practice of applying a light transfer printed blue outline as to guide painters; this preserved the freedom of hand painting and enabled Rose to keep up with production.
John Rose died in 1841.
The company was continued by his nephew W.F. Rose and William Pugh using the name "John Rose & Co."
William Pugh continued production from 1862 until his death in 1875, after which it was then reinstated by the Coalport China Company by whom an extensive export trade to the United States and Canada was initiated in the 1890’s.
Production later moved across the canal to the buildings which now house the Coalport China Museum. In 1926 production moved to Staffordshire, the traditional center of the ceramics industry in Britain, and, although the Coalport name was retained as a brand, in 1967 the company became part of the Wedgwood group.
Wedgwood was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1795.
Rosenthal has an AMAZING history that goes back to 1884. Their story can be found at the following link:
Throughout the years Rosenthal has had multiple identifying marks, including marks that include the swastika. These marks are found on the porcelain pieces that were in production during the years 1934 to 1945 when Rosenthal was under Political/Military leadership.
During this time all Rosenthal family interests in the management of the company had been removed and replaced by persons sympathetic to the Political/Military Regime.
More information about the Rosenthal stamps, and this time period of the company, can be found at the following link:
My laughing rabbit is a well known figurine from Rosethal and mine was given to me by my mother. It was a gift to her by her aunt and uncle in the 1970's and the mark dates in back to 1966/1967.