Pirkenhammer

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Example of Pirkenhammer porcelain pipe, courtesy Racine & Laramie Tobacconist

In 1803 a porcelain factory was founded by Friedrich Höcke and Johann Gottlob List built in Karlovy Vary (also known as Karlsbad) in Bohemia, now Brezova, Czechoslovakia. It operating under the name "Friedrich Höcke". In 1811 it was bought Johann Martin Fischer and Christopher Reichenbach, and its name was changed to "Fischer & Reichenbach". In 1822 they obtained a license to produce porcelain.

By the 1820's Pirkenhammer was considered the best porcelain in Bohemia. It was recognised by a gold medal at the Vienna World fair in 1839, the awarding committee commented that it had a good taste in shape, clear body, smooth glaze, and high quality of painting, - bronze medal at the World Exhibition in London - 1857 silver medal at the exhibition in Paris - 1878. At the World Exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1900 - participation in the jury.. The company made tablewares usually decorated with views and flowers. In the 1830s the company produced vases, candlesticks, lamps, dishes (almost exclusively with the Ilmenau straw flower pattern). Later they also made sculptures and lithophanes.

Martin Fischer died in 1824. His widow Sophie Friederike started to run the business. In 1931 management of the factory was passed to Martin Fischer son, Christian. The gilding in ceramic manufacture was officially proven to be safe in 1835, and Pirkenhammer acquired a worldwide reputation in the application of this technology. The artist André Carriére began to influence Pirkenhammer's style from 1868 when he became chief designer and the company invested in a studio for him in Paris in 1874. He worked for the company till the early 20th century. Pirkenhammer cemented the high esteem in which it was held by winning during the next fifty years several gold medals for manufacturing excellence. It was the chosen when the president of the Czech Republic wanted to equip the presidential palace.

In 1945 when the communist government nationalised all the Czecholslovakian Porcelain factories. Pirkenhammer as Starorolský Porcelán and next Karlovarský Porcelána became a centre for research and development.

In 2006 Pirkenhammer invited Russian designer Alexey Narovlyansky to manage the company and design a modern, new line of products. Mr. Narovlyansky then proceeded to implement a visionary project which has materialized in an outstanding range of high tech porcelain.

Today it operates as Manufaktura Pirkenhammer I.S. Original Porcelan Fabrik Březová s.r.o. Its mark is crossed hammers.

Courtesy Racine & Laramie Tobacconist