The World of Johann Maresch
The Factory Spans a Century
The World of Johann Maresch
The Factory Spans a Century
Inside the Factory
Lumpepark
New Gnomes
Gnome Price List
Musterbuch Catalogue CD

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Johann Maresch, who was born on July 11, 1821 and came into partnership with Adolf Baehr around 1841.  Baehr had previously owned a factory in Pirna that produced ceramic wares and garden gnomes. 

The partnership became a family affair.  After the death of Adolf from Tuberculosis in 1849, Johann married Adolf’s daughter, Wilhelminy Bahrove Maria Louisa on November 11, 1850, with the blessings of her mother Wilhelmina.  Between the years of 1851 to 1868 they had ten children.

Baehr and Maresch Siderolith Fabrik was located on the corner of Teplitzerstrasse and Johannesstrasse in the town of Aussig an der Elbe. Originally they marked their wares with B a M, around 1863, they switched to the famous JM markings. The factory was considered a siderolith because they used an "ironstone" clay mixture; a type of porcelain that is more durable, having more strength and weight than fine porcelain. Their production was extensive. Their wares were being shipped far and wide.

At the same time, Johann's family life was also growing. On October 5, 1854, Ferdinand Maresch was born. It would be thirty-six years till Ferdinand takes over his fathers business, but till then the firm helped apprentice some of the more famous craftsmen, like Reinhold Hanke. He started his apprenticeship in 1853 and went on to establish a very important ceramic factory also.

During the factory’s history they went by several names including: Johann Maresch Thon- und Stein- gutwaren fabric en Aussig and Johann Maresch Siderolith and Terracotta Fabrik.

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In 1890, Ferdinand takes over the firm. For nine years, he kept the factory name the same. Then he dropped his father's namesake and the firm went on to become Siderolith and Majolika Fabrik of Ferdinand Maresch. He however, did not change the distinctive JM markings that were stamped into the wet clay before firing.

Ferdinand had made the company into a prosperous business sending the wares through the rail and waterways into Europe and America.  He gave much back to the city.  In the early 1900’s around 1908, The Maresch Factory created fairy tale figures and gnomes along with mythological creatures out of clay for the Lumpe Park.  August Otto, one of the more famous artisans of the factory created most of the pieces.  Today still the gnome castle still sits amongst the greenery of the park.

 

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Along with August Otto, there were several other artist who played important roles in the factory’s history.   August was born in 1868 and came to the factory in 1891.  He was with the firm till 1937 and died ten years later in 1947.  There was Karl Lahl, who was a co-worker of August.  Others included Rudolf Popper and Jaroslav Doubravsky.   Interestingly enough after the war when the government tried to re-open the factory it was Doubravsky, who was asked to head up the factory. The factory was run by Ferdinand until his death on August 2, 1940.  The factory kept producing its ceramic wears, but hard times were about to come upon all of Europe and especially the Maresch factory.  The factory halted production in 1944.   In 1945, the factory was damaged by the American air attack that took place in April of that year. But the building still stood and the history of the factory has yet another chapter.

At the end of the war, all Germans were expelled from Sudentenland, which included Aussig an der Elbe.  At this point a national administrator, Mr. Doubravsky, was appointed to run the factory.  His workers were not as qualified as the artisans who had worked under Maresch.  This coupled with the economic hardships that were facing all of Europe left the factory struggling and spiraling into a downward tailspin.  Mr. Doubravsky had kept the factory afloat until 1948.  He wanted to regain the factories former glory and suggested that the company make a molded patriotic bust of the new Communist President, Klement Gottwald.  Since they could not sculpt the bust from Gottwald himself, Doubravasky, it is said, went to the cinema to study the news reels to sculpt his model.  Unfortunately, the factory was accused of ridiculing the head of state and inevitably the factory was closed all together.  The factory building however stood till the 1980's when it was finally demolished.

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