White Gold, Abandoned Porcelain Factory - Germany, 2018

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Jul 25, 2017
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41379351304_23fb07c646_b.jpg Hall for Kilns by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

This time it drove us to the heart of Germany. We've heard of a traditional firm that was abandoned after 200 years of production. In the past, porcelain was manufactured in here. According to rumors all these factory halls are supposed to be full of the so-called white gold. And in fact, we couldn’t believe what we found inside! From casting mold to the finished tableware everything was left behind. And much to our surprise we realized that there was only minimal vandalism in here. But although the factory looks like it was abandoned just recently it has been vacant for several years now.

27228872577_f8c2711984_b.jpg White Gold #03 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

As an urban explorer yourself or an avid viewer of such videos you have probably seen many abandoned sites in the past where no or only a small amount of items were left behind. So have we. But the objects that are still in this porcelain factory run up into the thousands, maybe even in the hundreds of thousands!

41379353014_f0f19e7972_b.jpg Forms by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Already 200 years ago, a porcelain factory was built in this location. In the beginning, especially tableware was manufactured here. In order to do that, around 200 people were employed. Which is pretty remarkable because at that time the village where the factory is located had a population of less than 1.000 citizens! After some time the production process was completed by the fabrication of toys and jewelry made of porcelain.

27228865517_102ddd13ef_b.jpg White Gold #34 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

At the Paris world's fair in 1900, the products of this manufacturer were exhibited for the first time and immediately honored with an award. At the universal exhibition in St. Louis, USA, only a few years later, the china received a gold medal due to its high quality. From then on, top-rated artists and professionals were trained here. Until 1938, the porcelain factory remained in the possessions of one single family.

27228868347_22ea8c902e_b.jpg White Gold #29 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

But with the outbreak of the Second World War this company started to be in a moribund state. Under Soviet occupation the manufacture was expropriated and it was turned into a state-owned enterprise. Henceforth Eastern Europe was the only market for the company. But luckily the outstanding porcelain was still rated as a luxury good. After the German reunification and the privatization of the company the real trouble started. The reorientation failed and the trend of the time had been missed. And bankruptcy was following...

The first one, that is. Because shortly after that there was a last attempt to get the place up and running. It was tried to sell all those remaining pieces of porcelain at a factory outlet. But there was no demand. In 2014, the factory became insolvent again and since then the property has been abandoned.

41379341054_0d569f3cba_b.jpg White Gold #36 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Okay, but why are all the furnishings and the materials still here? Well, that's easy to answer. We think that all of this stuff is involved in the insolvency proceedings. That’s why it was not allowed to remove them. Only a few weeks after our exploration there was a foreclosure auction of the business realty. Needless to say that the whole interior of the building complex was sold with it. By the way, the market value of the real estate was estimate at 100.000 Euros. But unfortunately we don't know whether there’s a new owner of the porcelain factory now or not.

40291829650_7b6274c731_b.jpg Shepherd Dog by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

After several hours in these chock-full halls we came to the conclusion that apparently everything that's needed for a resumption of work was still there. The only thing this place needs right now is a new owner with a vision. And obviously a lot of money. It's a shame to see a historic company in such a bad condition. But the whole porcelain tradition of this part of Germany is critically endangered. Because the Western market isn't ready to pay high prices for theses fine pieces of craftsmanship. Instead, porcelain gets imported from the East more and more. So this abandoned manufactory won't stay an isolated case...

41379345954_1164034116_b.jpg White Gold #32 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

42054053762_0fb06ec32b_b.jpg White Gold #17 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Watch our documentary on YouTube for more inside views:



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Feb 20, 2008
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Rawdon Leeds
The only thing of value in a business such as this are the patterns, moulds and pattern register certificates - hence the stuff remaining. Very easy to identify this company and its demise now is due to the rather poor production standards. The quality no way compares with Meissen or Wedgwood, thus no modern day collector will be interested.