This past week I was cruising around one of my local thrift stores and was kind of disappointed. I found one item that I could use but absolutely nothing for my shop. I usually find at least something! But it was not to be. I paid the cashier at the desk and headed outside. As I exited, I happened to look to my left, and boy am I glad I did! There was a little canopy sitting over a table of bins. Well, I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but I love bins. They are like a treasure hunt and I found treasure!
Look at what I found above. These are old hand-painted plates stamped on the back “Old Ivory Silesea.” They have a cool matte finish around the edge but the center is glossy. The painting is beautiful and they are in mint condition. It always surprises me that items over 100 years old, stuck in a bin, clanking around, can come out unscathed when my own dishes at home can’t seem to survive my own 2 teenage daughters! Our plates have enough chips in them, that if you found all the chips you could probably make a whole new set!
But I digress…I did really like these little plates. A quick search on my phone gave me an idea of what they were so I purchased them. Then when I went to list them in the shop, I finished my research. What I found is that these plates were produced by a manufacturer in Germany called Hermann Ohme. There is not a lot known about this company but I found some interesting facts to put together for this post.
There is a website called the “Society for Old Ivory and Ohme Porcelains” that I used for some of this information. Apparently, the Ohme company was in business from 1882 to 1930. Not a long run comparatively in the porcelain/china business when you look at Spode or Watt.
SOIOP’s information says that Ohme was located in “Niedersalzbrunn, Silesia, Germany (now the town of Walbrzych in Western Poland).” But a different source states they were actually located in Nieder-Salzbruss (today Sczawienko) (porcelainmarksandmore.com) and that the Niedersalzbrunn plant was a decorating plant.
They only produced 2 types of porcelain glazes, Old Ivory being one and the other being a clear glaze. The Old Ivory glaze was an extra glaze that gave the piece a distinctive matte look and feel like the dishes I found.
The clear glaze pieces were purchased by other manufacturers all over the world to decorate in their own style. Ohme produced full dinner sets with accessories in both glazes but the clear glazed ones that other companies could buy, were known as blanks. They actually had at least 50 blanks in different shapes and sizes that the company produced.
The Old Ivory pieces were originally marketed to retail outfits and billed as “affordable china and elegant dinnerware” (SOIOP). Eventually they were used as free promotional gifts.
Kovels has much of the same information but they add that the mark you will find on these pieces is “a crown, the cipher OH, and the word Silesia.” Like this image below.
The pattern number is usually on there, too. There were some blanks in the Old Ivory glaze that were unmarked as such and were manufactured for the British Market.
So why the short run for this company? According to the Porcelain Marks and More website, the company was owned in 1913 by 3 people, Hermann Ohme, Hermann Ohme, Jr. and E.M. Bauer. They decided that year to increase production for the export market.
They really pushed those exports missing the beginning signs that pointed to the financial crises that was to come. When the bottom dropped out of the export business shortly after the collapse of the stock market in October of 1929 beginning a world wide economic collapse, they were forced to file for bankruptcy in 1930.
So, while theirs was a short run in the biz, they actually produced some quality stuff that has stood the test of time! I hope you enjoyed this little peek at Ohme Porcelain and seeing some examples of their wonderful pieces. You can click on any of the examples to go to the shop listing to learn more about that specific piece. Also, visit the Porcelain Marks and More website for examples of the marks to look for which can date your pieces.
Have a great week and party with me at the great link ups listed on the right!