Dating sitzendorf marks
These names represent specific towns in the Saxony region of Germany (previously Poland) and this misnomer is partly explained by the very history of the first indigenous appearance of porcelain in Europe, and especially by how its production spread from that region thereafter.
White porcelain as we know it today, was first invented by the Chinese, some say as early as 100 BC.
This was the very first porcelain manufacturer in Europe and was appropriately named “Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen” only a few miles away from Dresden.
And although the name changed somewhat when Germany no longer had a Royal family, to “State’s Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen”, most collectors refer to products by this factory, which is still in full operation, as simply “Meissen” or “Dresden”.
Luckily – literally – a pair of well known Alchemists, Tschirnhaus and Bottger, while experimenting with all sorts of concoctions in their laboratories, received a mixture of local clay from Dresden that seemed to have some similar qualities as porcelain from China.
After analyzing this local “mud”, they finally came up with a mixture of Kaolin and Clay that, after several refinements in terms of the required proportions, yielded the desired properties to be the first “real” porcelain ever made in a Western country. Within a couple of years, in 1710, Augustus II the Strong, the then ruler of Saxony where the towns of Meissen and Dresden are located, financed and established a factory, with Bottger as its first Director (Tschirnhaus died in 1708).
In 1874 Mór Farkasházi Fischer retired, the management of the factory was taken over by his sons.
Most of these changes were very minor, like a line or two across the crossed swords, or by placing numerous dots or numbers next to them, or curving the swords a bit, or even using just a couple of crossed lines (swords without handles).
This practice, which continues to this day, especially on thousands of recent imports from Asia, has been a source of frustration and monetary losses for many collectors or dealers.
The first porcelain marks used by the Meissen factory were not officially registered or “protected”.
This triggered a huge market of wares made by others, some of equivalent quality as the authentic Meissen, but having their marks appear as imitations or at least very similar to the original marks used by Meissen.