Craftmanship and Tradition ... since more then 140 years
Delicate designs from Kaiser-Porzellan are a special experience for the senses. Each hand-made piece has its own unique personality.
It has always been the aim of Kaiser-Porcelain to provide high-end porcelain to consumers and to businesses, to offer products that stand the test of time, and to satisfy the need for attractive and functional porcelain for the home.
Especially made for those who relish the pleasures of both life... and time.
Kaiser 1872 until today
From a small porcelain-finishing business to a global company – the history of Kaiser-Porzellan
August Alboth from Coburg establishes a small porcelain-finishing factory.
May 8, 1873
The first documented mention.
When his father retires, Ernst Alboth decides to move the company from the Duchy of Coburg to the bordering kingdom of Bavaria. He builds the new factory in Kronach.
August Alboth dies.
Ernst's daughter Erna marries the Munich banker Georg Kaiser (born in 1895), who will later lead the company with his father-in-law.
Hubertus Kaiser is born, the son of Georg and Erna Kaiser.
Ernst Alboth's son Willy joins his father and brother-in-law in the management of the company. After the death of Ernst Alboth, a change of the trademark is decided upon. The new name is "Alka-Kunst", a combination of the first two letters of each family name "Alboth" and "Kaiser".
Founding of a factory in Kronach by Willy Alboth and Georg Kaiser. There, following World War I, they produce, with great success, in addition to several gift series, the well-known Rococo lace figurines (usually a domain of Thuringian companies).
The purchase of the multiple-award-winning royal porcelain company Silbermann, which was founded at the beginning of the 19th century, which was called “Werk Hausen” in the town of Hausen on the Main river. This company became the main supplier for the “white goods” in the porcelain-finishing process. Thus, the “white production” was integrated into the process.
Hubertus Kaiser becomes a partner of the company together with his father and uncle. The building of a new factory that combines every production process is decided upon.
The company's name is now ALKA Kunst Alboth & Kaiser KG in Kronach. Managing Directors are Georg Kaiser, Willy Alboth and Hubertus Kaiser.
New land is bought in Staffelstein in order to build a new factory. Staffelstein is chosen because of its close location to Hausen and the many skilled workers in nearby Kronach.
Move to Staffelstein. Elimination of the factory in Hausen. The company's name is now "Alka Porzellanfabriken Alboth & Kaiser KG, Staffelstein".
The managers are now Willy Alboth and Hubertus Kaiser.
Georg Kaiser dies. Willy Alboth becomes the head of the company.
The trademark changes from "Alka" to "Kaiser-Porzellan", because the name "Kaiser" is more melodious (which plays an important role in foreign markets).
The managers are Willy and Ernst Alboth and Hubertus Kaiser.
For the 200th anniversary of the U.S. national emblem and national bird, the bald eagle, a strictly limited edition of 200 pieces is created.
Number 1 of this special series is presented by co-owner Hubertus Kaiser to U.S. President Ronald Reagan on October 5, 1982. Number 47 is given to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on June 13, 1984, also by Hubertus Kaiser.
A new factory building with 7,000 square meters is added.
A fast-firing furnace, built according to the latest technical standards, is installed.
Willy Alboth dies. His grandson, Hubertus Kaiser, by right of succession, now heads the company. The company reaches sales of 51 million Deutschmarks.
125th anniversary of the family-owned company. Sales are now 35 million Deutschmarks.
Hubertus Kaiser dies on December 17, 1998. The managers are now Hubertus and Ernst Alboth. 500 employees work for the company.
In the midst of a downturn, 100 employees are laid off. Sales are 26 million Deutschmarks. The assortment consists of 50% tableware, 40% gifts and 10% high-quality figurines.
The company now employs only 350 people and sales steadily decrease. The general crisis in the ceramic industry further strains the family company.
The company is taken over by two investors from the ceramic industry, the Pacific Crown Group Ltd. and Hans-Peter Langsch. At this time only 130 workers are employed.
On January 1st Hans-Peter Langsch takes over the management. The company's activities are led by the Kaiser-Porzellan Manufaktur Staffelstein GmbH & Co. KG. The production capacity, as well as land of about 65,000 square meters at Auwaldstraße 8, are held by PM Kapital GmbH & Co. KG, together with general partner PM Verwaltungs & Beteiligungs GmbH, which also operates the factory outlet.
By May, 154 workers are employed. By the end of the year, the company’s conventional, continuous firing-technology is replaced by a discontinuous chamber-kiln. The investment costs are an estimated 2 million Deutschmarks.
International political crises and the new European currency lead to structural changes in the entire ceramics industry in terms of consumer demand and to a drastic decline in traditional product categories, which had been the prominent area of business of Kaiser-Porzellan.
After a good start into the New Year and an excellent response to the established changes in the collection, the Iraq crisis and the recession in the European markets lead to a decline of demand in late spring, which makes an additional restructuring of the company necessary. On May 20 a new managing company, the Porzellan Design Bad Staffelstein GmbH & Co. KG, takes over operational control.
Going almost unnoticed by the trade and by consumers, the size and organization of the company are adjusted to the change of demand, and the collection restructured and geared to new target audiences. Innovation in form and decoration, maintaining the high standards of quality and service, as well as the core competence of the brand itself, are all elements of a total focus on the consumer.
September 1, 2010 - Kaiser and Goebel
“What comes together, belongs together.”
Since September 1, 2010 Goebel Porzellan has a new owner, PM Kapital GmbH & Co. KG, Bad Staffelstein. This company has been active in the ceramics industry for many years and is at the same time the shareholder of Kaiser-Porzellan in Bad Staffelstein. Goebel remains an owner-operated business.
Under the roof of PM Kapital, two companies are now united, both of which have a history of nearly the same length in the ceramics industry of Upper Franconia. Goebel was founded in 1871 and Kaiser Porzellan in 1872. Both companies will keep their legal independence in the future.
“What comes together, belongs together,” says Hans-Peter Langsch, the managing partner, who has been with the Goebel company since 1993. He was the one who, at that time, was assigned by Wilhelm Goebel to establish the Gifts and Decorative Accessories division.
Both companies are active in almost identical sales channels, markets and technologies but differ in their collection strategies.
Since the 19th century Kaiser Porzellan has become a reference point for those who love fine and delicate porcelain. In Germany there are few households in which at least one of our products cannot be found, whether it’s a bisque vase, a figurine or a piece of a dining set.
But it’s not only in Germany that Kaiser Porzellan has gained the reputation of being a synonym for fine porcelain: royalty, as well as famous personalities in politics, sport and entertainment have also become dedicated to our porcelain. So, it is with some pride that we say:
Kaiser Porzellan is V.I.P. ... very important porcelain ... for life’s beautiful and special moments.
What actually is porcelain?
Porcelain belongs to the large group of materials called "ceramics", which are products made mainly of clay or clay raw materials with mineral content. Ceramics range in texture from coarse, such as plain clay tile, to progressively finer products such as earthenware, majolica, faience, and stoneware, to porcelain - the finest textured of all ceramics. Porcelain consists of two main parts: 1) the compound, or body, and 2) the glaze. The composition of the body's glaze is equivalent to glass. The compound, or in its fired state called “body” consists of 65-80% glass, in which tiny quartz crystals are embedded. The white, glassy paste used to make the body accounts for porcelain's translucence and differentiates it from stoneware.
Are there different types of porcelain?
There are two types of porcelain: hard porcelain and soft porcelain. Hard porcelain is produced mainly on the European continent. Soft porcelain is produced predominantly in China, Japan, and England.
What is hard porcelain?
In Germany, mostly hard porcelain is made. Its main characteristic is a high percentage of kaolin (50%) and its feldspar icing, which only melts at a temperature of 1,400 – 1,500 degrees C. At the same time the body underneath “centers”, that is, the small particles of porcelain connect with each other. This leads to an extraordinary hardness of the glaze, as well strength of the body.
What is soft porcelain (also called “bone china”)?
Soft porcelain means it contains 50-60% bone ash or phosphates in its body, 15-30% pegmatite, a mineral that consists of quartz and feldspar, and kaolin. The percentage of kaolin is clearly lower than in hard porcelain, therefore the firing temperature is lower. At the first firing (temperatures of 1,240 – 1,280 degrees C), bone china is immediately burned with a smooth surface. Because of this considerably lower firing temperature, soft porcelain does not have the same mechanical strength and resilience as hard porcelain.
What is bisque porcelain, also known as biscuit porcelain?
Bisque, or biscuit, porcelain is the name given to porcelain that is fired without glazing. The finished, fired piece is impermeable to water but has a rough surface finish.
How strong is porcelain?
Porcelain is pressure-resistant to 5000 kg per cm². Expressed in another way, a fully loaded 10,000 kg railroad car can be placed on a 2 cm² piece of porcelain without its breaking.
What does translucence mean?
Translucence is the primary characteristic of real porcelain. Translucency is the transmission of light through the porcelain when it is held up against light. The clearer and brighter the translucency, the better the porcelain.
Does porcelain age?
Despite diligent studies and rigorous tests, and in contrast to other materials, it has not yet been determined whether or not porcelain ages. It does retain its properties of hardness, density, tensile strength, brightness, and translucence - all of which are unaffected by time. Porcelain is likewise resistant to corrosion.
What does porcelain consist of?
Porcelain (hard porcelain) consists of 50 parts kaolin (porcelain earth), 25 parts quartz, and 25 parts feldspar. These components are bonded into a paste by grinding, mixing, and fusing them with each other.
How are the different pieces of porcelain produced?
Plates and cups are turned (plaster molded and cast). Plates and other flat pieces are plaster molded. A template or rolling tool is used to fashion the bottom of these pieces, while plaster molds are used to form the top of plates and other flat pieces. Cups and other hollow pieces use a template or rolling tool to shape the inside, then relies on a plaster mold to form the outside. A hollow casting technique is used to fashion pots, bowls, and jugs. They use surface casting or solid casting to form oval or square platters and salad bowls. The technique of turning is reserved for pieces that are round. Casting is typically used to create porcelain figurines. These techniques may be used alone or in combination, depending on the size, shape, and complexity of the piece being created. For instance, Kaiser's white-headed eagle is composed of 25 separate parts. Plaster molds may be either cast or turned. For instance, patterns for relief or raised designs, such as Kaiser's Dubarry tableware or bisque vases, are inserted into molds. The relief design is automatically embossed onto the plaster by turning, overturning, or casting. The plaster draws out the water from the moist compound in the mold, causing the porcelain body to shrink so that the body may be easily removed from the mold.
When and why is porcelain annealed?
Before the annealing process, Kaiser artisans clean the porcelain pieces by removing any sharp protruding edges, such as casting seams. The artisans anneal the pieces by heating them to 900 – 1,000 degrees C and then gradually cooling them. This process frees the porcelain pieces from internal stress and removes their water content. The pieces remain porous but become strong and leather-hard; they cannot be reshaped. Next, workers use compressed air to remove dust from the porcelain pieces. At this point, craftsmen stamp the pieces with Kaiser's trademark and send the pieces on to the glazing shop for the next step in the manufacturing process.
How is glaze applied to porcelain?
The thin, liquid glaze is carefully mixed in a large trough. This milk-like glaze is continuously agitated to prevent the separation and settlement of its ingredients. Craftsmen dip and wash each porcelain piece in the glaze, which remains on the surface of the piece like a coating of flour. Artisans wipe the pieces with moist foam rubber strips to remove glaze from those contact points which will rest on a porcelain "setter". This setter supports the glazed piece during the firing process and is then discarded.
How is porcelain fired?
Traditionally Porcelain is smooth-fired in tunnel kilns, which are approximately 80 m long. The porcelain pieces ride on special cars through the firing zone and move slowly toward the cooling zone. These furnaces are called continuous furnaces because they are in constant motion.
Why does a piece of porcelain have rough patches?
Rough patches on porcelain pieces are inevitable because of the nature of the firing process. Under the high heat of firing, the porcelain glaze becomes highly viscous and sticks to the surface of the disposable porcelain setter on which the piece is resting. A fired piece cannot be lifted from the setter without leaving rough patches at the points of contact between the piece being fired and the setter on which it rests. To minimize this problem, before firing, craftsmen remove as much wet glaze as possible from these contact points. At high quality porcelain factories, like Kaiser-Porzellan, cups, for example, are fired with the opening facing downward on the setter, which, after the firing process, is discarded. This method produces a cup with a smoothly glazed base and that is perfectly round. But, there remains a slightly rough upper rim where the rim rested on the setter, and which is removed by careful polishing of the cup's upper rim to remove any trace of roughness. The layman would hardly recognize the need for this expensive extra bit of finesse!
What is in-glaze?
Artisans first decorate porcelain pieces by transferring or sliding screen-printed designs onto smooth-fired porcelain bodies. Next they add appropriate metal oxides and liquids to the glaze to achieve the desired color effect. After the glaze is applied to the porcelain bodies, craftsmen fast-fire the pieces at 1,200 – 1,300 degrees C for 60 - 120 minutes. During this firing, the decorative design is sealed under the glaze, or embedded within it; thus the term "in-glaze". In-glazing therefore is a technique for permanently protecting decorated porcelain pieces from normal mechanical and chemical stresses.
What is on-glaze?
On-glazing is a technique in which a smooth-fired porcelain body is coated with a color-enhanced glaze, the decoration is then applied onto the glaze, and lastly the piece is fired. The firing temperature for on-glazed pieces is determined by the melting point of the glaze's colors, which is 750 - 900 degrees C, for quality control of the colors. In this process, the decoration is fused onto the glaze; thus the term "on-glaze".
How long does porcelain decoration last?
In-glazing permanently protects porcelain decoration from all kinds of external mechanical and chemical stresses because the decoration is sealed under or embedded within a hard, durable glaze. On-glazing fuses the decoration onto the glazed piece. Because an on-glazed decoration is more exposed to external stresses, it is more susceptible to damage.
What does "staffage" mean?
"Staffage", from the German word "staffieren", meaning to dress, trim, or adorn, is the art of embellishing porcelain by the skillful addition of hand-painted colors and metallic trim (gold, silver, or platinum). "Staffage" can be used to accent knobs, handles, and rims of tableware and to enhance either smooth or relief-decorated period table services. The careful and tasteful application of "staffage" highlights a piece's shape and a variety of other design elements.
What makes porcelain the ideal tableware?
The ideal tableware is hard and smooth, has an impermeable surface, with a finish that is highly resistant to mechanical and chemical stresses. Porcelain meets all these important requirements. Because porcelain is hard, it resists cracking, cutting, and scratching. It is impervious to the acids and alkalis found in the normal household. It has been proven that porcelain is even bactericidal. Porcelain has no odor or taste of its own and absorbs neither from food or drink. Fine porcelain is therefore extremely practical as well as beautiful.