Station: [15] Offenbach Faience

F: Offenbach’s economic boom in the 18th century is exemplified by our collection of Offenbach faience – glazed and painted clay pottery. The cups, jugs and plates resemble porcelain, but they’re much less expensive to make and buy. Faience is a type of earthenware.

M: In the 18th century, both middle-class and farming families opted for glazed ceramic tableware rather than china, which was very expensive at the time. 
F: The display case in the middle has a selection of plates decorated with popular proverbs, such as...

M: Alle Tage neue Plage – "Every day brings new toil". 

F: They reflect the busy everyday lives of farmers and artisans. 

M: Others were more humorous:

F: Liebes Mädchen hör mich an, nimm nur keinen alten Mann! "Darling girl, hear my cry, don't accept an ancient guy!”...

M: ... reading matter for the farmer's wife at the lunch table once she’d finished her soup.
F: The tableware in the other two display cases features more upmarket patterns. Plates, cups and jugs, some modelled on the porcelain used at court, adorned the tables of the bourgeoisie. As well as crockery with floral patterns, there were jugs and drinking vessels with Chinese motifs – a reference to the fact that porcelain originally came from China. 

M: The term “faience” is derived from the Italian city of Faenza. Even during the Renaissance, it was famous for its sophisticated glazed earthenware. 

F: Faience production arrived in the local region via the Netherlands. The town of Delft had been producing glazed earthenware modelled on Chinese porcelain since the 17th century. The first manufactories inspired by Delft were set up in the Rhine-Main region from 1661 on, initially in Hanau, then in Frankfurt, Offenbach and many other towns. The output of the Offenbach manufactories can be identified by the letters "O-F-F" painted on the base.

M: Manufactories of this type, which pioneered the mass-production of artisanal goods, heralded the beginnings of industrialisation.

Fotos: © Haus der Stadtgeschichte