- Pécs, Zsolnay – gyár/factory ( founded in 1852)
- Városlőd (1844-1948 / 1968-1975)
- Hódmezővásárhely (1912-1972)
- Zalaegerszeg Zalakerámia – Tófej Kerámia (1951-1991)
- Granit (founded in 1922)
- Bodrogkeresztúr (1959-1991)
- Magyarszombatfa (1951-1998)
Pécs – Zsolnay Gyár/Factory
The peak of local and international success of the famous Zsolnay ceramics were at the turn of the 19-20th century. Until the beginning of WW1, Zsolnay’s Secessionist pirogranit and eosin masterpieces were praised and admired by the whole world. The cataclysmic changes of the first half of the 20th century profoundly changed the factory’s profile and production.
The factory was nationalised in 1948. It became the Pécsi Zsolnay Porcelángyár/Porcelain factory.
The country was rebuilding and until 1953, Zsolnay only produced industrial porcelain (insulation materials and tableware).
In 1953, under the leadership of Sinkó András, the design and production of decorative objects and tableware was restarted. The next year, eosin production was redevelopped and used in modern style objects and figurines.
A young group of ceramists brought a wind of modernity and creativity. They would lead the reconversion of the old factory (Fekete János, Gazder Antal, Török János, Fürtös György and Nádor Judit).
In 1968, the factory was modernised and introduced the production of pieces in pirogranit and chamotte, building and decorative elements, garden decoration or vases.
In the 1970’s, Gádor István collaborated with the Zsolnay factory in the creation of large outdoor decorative elements.
Hungarian collectors have already rediscovered the post war period of the Zsolnay factory but it’s value is still very far from the masterpieces of the early 20th century.
In the neighbourhood of the famous porcelain manufactory of Herend, Városlőd was a center for folk pottery and traditional ceramics. Its red clay was famous all over the country. Since the mid 19th century, high quality earhenware in traditional folk style was produced. After WW2, the factory restarted a small production of earthenware. In 1947, it even exported tea pots to Holland!
Soon after the nationalisation of the factory in 1950, it ceased to operate. In 1969, the Herend Porcelain Factory build a new production plant in Városlőd . Under the name, Városlődi Majolikagyár, it started producing again the famous folk style earthenware and pottery. The young and talented ceramist Szekeres Károly (1940) was in charge of the artistic direction. He introduced modern, colourful and functionnal design in a large selection of products (decorative objects, tableware, mostly in brown, yellow and green glazes). Rapidly, the factory became an important actor on the market.More than 300 workers and 100 painters were active in those years.
Hódmezővásárhely Majolikagyár HMV
Ceramic tile manufacturing in this region goes back to the late 18th century. By 1860, more than 400 craftmen worked
in the tile and earthenware production. In 1912, a new factory was build and the HMV Majolikagyár started to produce tiles, tableware and decorative objects in the traditional Hungarian folk style. From the start, the factory had an artistic department where they experimented with new technologies and new glazes. The company was successfull not only locally but since the early days exported and took part in trade fairs all over Europe. After 1945, the production resumed. In 1949, due to a lack of finances , the company went into liquidation.
In 1950, a new company was founded under the name Hódmezővásárhely Majolikagyár Állami Vállalat /HMV Majolica factory State Company. At the beginning, the production relied heavily on the regional folk art traditions. The cultural policy of the early 1950’s supported and encouraged the rediscovery of the traditions of the Hungarian peasantry in order to incorporate these traditions in the new Socialist art. As soon as 1953, a Folk Art Studio was developed at the factory. In 1955, the graphic artist Kajári Gyula became the artistic director. Under his leadership, the company raised the quality of its designs and products. In 1958, HMV took part in the Brussels World Expo, gaining visibility, it gained new export markets for its popular products. In 1958 and 59, two freshly graduated ceramists, Végvári Gyula and Fekete János became designers at the HMV factory. Beside their decorative creations, they both had an important architectural and monumental production during their career. Both were pupils of Gádor István and Borsos Miklós. Végvári and Fekete were both influenced by the traditional Hungarian folk art and both worked on its modern synthesis. In 1965, Végvári Gyula won a Gold Medal at the Faenza exhibition (participated 1966,67,68,69). In 1972, he was selected for the Vallauris Biennalé.
In the mid-sixties, HMV created one of its most successfull serie, the so-called „Pamacsolt/whitewashed” ceramics (brown base with white brushed glaze). It was widely sold locally and on international market as well.
Tófej Kerámiaüzem – Zalaegerszegi Kerámia és Cserépkályhagyár
In 1951, fifteen brick factories started to work under the name of Téglagyári Egyesülés / Brick Factory Union.
In 1963, the production of ceramic glazes was developed at the Tófej factory.
In 1969, the company produced :
- Ceramic tiles (wall and floor),
- Decorative objects, tableware
The most notable designers were Németh János (1934) and Czugh Dezső (1925-1995).
The company was privatized in 1991 and retained only its tile production.
In the 1960’s – 70’s Tófej Kerámia specialised in popular and affordable mass produced ceramic products for home decoration. Their typical orange colours with black glaze and modern forms were very much part of the Hungarian homes and public buildings.
New sources are helping us to complete the history of the Tófej Ceramic Factory in the upcoming months.
Gránit Csiszolókorong és Kőedénygyár / Granit Grindstone and Stone-ware Factory
The origins of the company can be traced back to 1920 when a glazed earthenware production started in a workshop belonging to a brick factory in Kispest (one of the industrial suburb of Budapest, now 19th District).
In 1924, 100 workers and a new factory started to produce sanitary ware, hollow ware and decorative ceramics (vase,
In the 1930’s, the factory was modernized and next to Arabia in Finland, Granit became one of the biggest industrial ceramic producer in Europe.
The factory was nationalized in 1948 and restructured in 1950. The factory ceased to produce sanitary ware but added the production of grindstone.
As the demand developped at home and in the other Socialist countries, the Granit factory added new products like tableware and decorative objects.
From the 1960’s, a new generation of designers created new forms and colours. Granit factory regularly took part in arts & crafts exhibitions and fairs, winning design awards and public recognition.
In 1990, the factory was restructured and privatized. It stopped its activities in 2002.
Notable designers :
Master ceramist , Zahajszky László (1913-1996), artistic director, worked at the factory since 1940. He designed ornamental vases, tableware and flower stands. His creation was influenced by Etruscan and Celtic art. His zodiac floor vase serie of 1970 is a good example of high quality industrial production.
Minya Mária, porcelain and ceramic designer (1946), Munkácsy Prize (1980). She worked at the Granit factory from 1970 to 1986 (artistic director 1982-86).From 1974 to 1997, she had 13 architectural commissions in the country. From 1970, she took part in all major local and international exhibitions (Pécs Biennalé,70,72,75 – Faenza,Ankara,Istambul, 1973 – Vilnius, 1975 – Berlin, 1977 – Vienna, 1980). In the 1980’s, she started to teach at the Academy.
Granit Factory – 1.-2. mugs, 1968 – 3. tea set, 1970 – 4. wine set (hand painted), 1964 – 5. mokka set, 1967.
In 1930, Ullrich Károly started the production of glazed earthenware, tableware and decorative objects in his factory of
Bodrogkeresztúr.The Ullrich family emigrated from Germany to Hungary in the late 18th century. They took part in the development of the Herend Porcelain factory in the 1830’s.
In 1952, with less than 10 workers, the company joined a regional cooperative. In 1957, the ceramic factory became an independant cooperative. Already in 1962, more than 100 workers produced industrial ceramic (tile-stove) and decorative objects.
In the early 1970’s, the production was booming with new export markets (Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Italy, France, Austria, Finland, North and South America through Artex Foreign Trade Company).
Locally, Bodrogkeresztúr Kerámia was marketed in the Amfóra shops (Tableware, ceramic,glass, porcelain retail shops).
The company went bankrupt and was liquidated in the end of 1991.
Pesthidegkút Kerámiaüzem /Ceramic factory
Up until now, we have not yet found any relevant information about this small ceramic factory which operated in the Buda hills.
The only reference we have so far is the 1975 book (p.28) „Mai Magyar Iparművészet-Kerámia,Porcelán,Üveg/Today’s Hungarian Arts & Crafts, Ceramic,Porcelain, Glass” by Koczogh Ákos.
Magyarszombatfa Kerámiagyár /Ceramic Factory
This little village was a center for traditional folk pottery. In the post war years, the cultural authorities started to support the development of local pottery cooperatives. Ceramists experts like Eschenbach Jenő took part in this campaign to revitalize traditional folk pottery in local communities. In 1951, twelve potters founded the Magyarszombatfa Háziipari Szövetkezet/ Homecraft Cooperative. The cooperative was nationalized in 1953. Already in 1956, the factory, using the famous red clay from Városlőd, produced tableware, plates and decorative objects in the regional folk style. They exported ceramic vases and coin-boxes (!) to the UK, Holland and Danemark.
The factory was modernized in 1957. In 1964, Magyarszombatfa had a catalogue of more than 150 products. From 1966 to 69, they added wine and coffee sets, jugs and a line of modern decorative objects (vases, plates, lamps).
Notable designer :
Geszler Mária (1941), graduated at the MIF/Arts & Crafts Academy in 1965 as a pupil of Csekovszky Árpád. From 1966 to 1976, she was designer at the Magyarszombatfa factory. Munkácsy Prize in 1979. Silver Medal at the 1982 Vallauris Biennalé. Her hometown of Szombathely has five of her architectural works. Took part in the Kecskemét International Ceramics Studio in 1978,79,80,81,82,83,87,88. Selected for the Faenza Exhibition in 1967, 69,79,83,84,85,86,89. From 1966, she exhibited regularly at home and abroad.