Sunday, May 4, 2014

"The world's favorite season is the spring.

All things seem possible in May."  ~ Edwin Way Teale

And with that idea, I am in the process of reworking some parts of the shop.  I bought a new cash register, and, in order to unplug the old one, I had to download a huge stepback cupboard.  In the process of taking everything down and out of the bottom closed shelves, I discovered a set of dishes that had been tucked there for safekeeping.  The problem though was they were so safe that they were forgotten.  So, out they came...
 
The set represents another lifestyle...note the gold...so no microwave...no harsh dishwasher...this set truly is symbolic of another world.  It was produced in the German Fraureuth Porcelain Factory.

The mark dates to 1919-1926.  In a way, it is modern in the colors and design.  The company was in business from 1865-1926. 
They are modern in the trials that they faced as well.  In 1865, Arwed Gustav von Römer and Georg Bruno Foedisch took over an old cotton wool factory in Fraureuth.   By 1867, they had 60 workers and two porcelain stoves.  They took care of their workers by establishing a "sick fund" and a "funeral fund" as well as establishing a factory savings bank for the workers security (modern comparison stops there).  By 1879, their workers number 444, and they received awards for cobalt and gold designs.
As they added more workers, they established an accident insurance for the factory(imagine a company that cared for its workers).

The number of workers rises to 544, and they continue to receive honors for their designs.  In 1892, they begin to produce tableware, and profit increases as they become one of the largest porcelain factories in Germany.  By the turn of the century, they are exporting to France, England, America, Australia, China, South Africa and east India.
They create a foundation for war survivors and those killed (imagine modern companies doing that!).

By 1920, they expand to 1200 workers and 300 officials as growth continues; however, as new production methods are instituted, the quality becomes substandard.  The buyers do not like the lesser quality since they believed cheaper was not better (contrary to modern times), and so, as taxes were left unpaid, bankruptcy was declared, and by 1934, the company was dissolved.

I am always fascinated by the history of the businesses behind the pieces.  Not to mention, looking at these dishes from the perspective of sitting down for a meal with fine china and cloth napkins as opposed to styrofoam and paper.

For as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above the hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

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