FOHR KERAMIK (1859-2008)
Fohr Keramik was founded in 1859 by Peter Fohr in the heart of the Kannenbäckerland in central Germany. The Kannenbäckerland—the "potters' land" or, more literally, the "jug-bakers' land"—is the site of the largest clay deposit in Europe and a centuries-old home to ceramics manufacturers. Fohr Keramik's original production included clay jugs, humidifiers, and flowerpots. Decorative ceramics were incorporated in 1934. Production divisions were split between two grandsons, Alfred and Wilhelm Fohr, and initially included a modest range of ornamental ceramics.
Fohr Keramik's first collaboration with an outside designer began in 1953 when Heinz Siery, who was at the time a student, created new designs for the pottery house. He continued his work with them after his graduation, and was later promoted to head its art direction in 1954. He left the company in 1955. Siery later went on to become one of the post-war era's most important ceramicists. Siery also had significant impact on the product lines of Scheurich, Carstens, and Ruscha among others.
Siery was replaced as chief designer with Walter Grau in 1956. Some of Fohr's most iconic early motifs were created under his tenure. Grau had come to manufactory from the porcelain industry, having completed an apprenticeship at C&E Carstens as well as a stint at Rörstrands in Sweden. His successor at Fohr Keramik was Walter Weiland, who was also a veteran of Ruscha, Keto, and Marei Keramik.
Beginning in the mid 1960s, Fohr Keramik reduced the output of its ornamental production, redirecting focus to the manufacture of cache pots and other floral display pieces. The company's export share increased substantially as a result of these changes. Fohr Keramik remained a family-run business over its long existence and is among a small handful of ceramics factories to have lasted in business so long. Christopher Fohr, who was part of the fifth generation to continue the family tradition, closed the firm's doors in 2008.