Stoneware factory Witteburg

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Witteburg was a 1853 to 1958 existing factory for dishes, home appliance and tiles made of earthenware in Farge in Bremen .


In 1852/53, Johannes Fritze (1830–1897), a Bremen shipowner, James Bethuel Boyes (1804–1879) and Simeon Sowerbutts (1816–1868), two Bremen merchants, founded a factory for tableware made of earthenware in Farge (then Kingdom of Hanover ) . The premises of the new factory , acquired in 1852, were located north of Bremen on the banks of the Lower Weser near a Witteborg fortress of Bremen's Archbishop Gerhard II, which was destroyed in 1227 and whose name was slightly changed to that of the company. In contrast to Bremen, seaworthy ships from England to land coal, firebricks and ceramic raw materials could still land there, despite the increasing siltation of the Weser. There was also a Hanover (and not Bremen) location in Farge on the territory of the Zollverein , which facilitated export to the inland.

Sowerbutts took over the management, he already had proven experience in the china and earthenware trade. His English business relationships made it easier to recruit British skilled workers. Among them was the engraver Richard Taylor (1830–1915), to whom the transfer decorations of the ornamented goods can be ascribed to some extent . Production started in July 1853, the number of employees rose from an initial 150 to 470 in 1900, and the number of articles on offer to 1267 by 1861.

After Sowerbutt's departure (1885), z. Some sanitary ware printed with decor. An expansion of the Vegesack-Farge railway line, funded by the company with 150,000 marks, enabled shipping by rail (1891: 800,000 tons). Around 1900 the following sales areas are named: Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, India, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. From 1904 to 1908 demand and profitability sank rapidly, and in 1914 production was temporarily stopped entirely.

In September 1918, Witteburg became a subsidiary of the North German stoneware factory Grohn , but never came close to its old importance again. In 1953 the company finally closed. The Farge power plant was built on part of the site .


Characteristic for the early tableware production of the Witteburg are (mostly blue) transfer decors that follow English models or were even made from imported transfer papers that were commissioned by English engravers. Flower tendrils and bouquets are the predominant motifs. Of course, “white”, unprinted goods were probably also sold on a large scale. There are also stenciled and, to a lesser extent, spongy and hand-painted dishes. In addition to tableware services, the price lists obtained from different years also list hygiene items such as washing sets (the jugs and basins that were indispensable in 19th century households), soap dishes and chamber pots or kitchen utensils and flower pots. The production of these housewares ceased in 1925.


Around 1885 colored wall panels ( tiles ) enriched the product range. Gnettner quotes an official report from 1889: "At the moment Witteburg is doing its best business with the production of colored tiles for wall coverings, on which it has thrown itself for about four years and in which it supplies pretty products based on Mettlach patterns." The reference refers to the actual style-defining position of the market-dominant stoneware producer Villeroy & Boch in the Saarland city. In 1889, at least 250 samples were on offer at Witteburg. In the years around 1900 with their prospering construction industry, it became fashionable to equip hallways and bathrooms with decoratively ornamented wall panels in strong and contrasting colors. In 1926, under the direction of Norddeutsche Steingut, floor tiles made of hard stoneware were used, which were exclusively produced with interruptions until the kilns were finally extinguished.

Brands and stamps

Stamped embossing marks or marks applied with a printed transfer paper served as proof of origin. They are only of limited use as a dating aid for Witteburg. From the beginning, a stick anchor was used as a blind stamp in conjunction with the WITTEBURG logo . In addition, probably until 1866, there was the English or the very similar Hanover coat of arms as a color stamp. Because of the high reputation of English earthenware, this gave the products from Farge the appearance of a higher quality origin. The anchor brand is also easy to confuse with that of the renowned Staffordshire-based manufacturer Davenport. Various word marks connect the company name with a decorative designation, for example Weser , (the most common pattern), Etruscan Vase , Flora , Marble , Donau , LaubBorde , Möwe , Stella , Brema , Hammonia , Bouquet and others. In 1923/1925, perhaps as early as 1918, a rubber stamp was finally in use that shows a stylized castle in a vertical oval.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Horst Gnettner : Stoneware factory Witteburg in Farge near Bremen . Vegesack 1985.
  2. Witteburg stoneware factory. (No longer available online.) Porcelain Marks & More, archived from the original on August 11, 2010 ; Retrieved October 13, 2010 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Sources and literature

  • In addition to a good collection of objects from production history, the Schönebeck Castle Local History Museum also has useful documentation on the company's history, it has been well prepared by Gnettner (see literature) and also contains informative sources about the technology of stoneware production at the end of the 19th century.
  • Michael Weisser: Art Nouveau tiles . Bremen 1978, pp. 85 f, 168, 179.
  • Heinz-Wilhelm Haase: The stoneware factory Witteburg in Farge . In: Heinz-Peter Mielke (Ed.): Ceramics on the Weser, Werra and Fulda . Minden 1981, pp. 153-158.
  • Horst Gnettner: Witteburg stoneware factory in Farge near Bremen . Vegesack 1985.
  • Horst Gnettner: The Witteburg stoneware factory in Farge , in: Gewerbefleiß , (= contributions to the social history of Bremen, vol. 19), Bremen: Edition Temmen, 1997, pp. 48–76.