History of the porcelain manufactory in Loučky
The Czech municipality of Loučky (until 1918 — Grünlas, since 1961 part of the town of Nové Sedlo), where the Rudolf Kämpf porcelain manufactory is located, lies in the heart of the Karlovarsky Region. Tradition of porcelain making in this region thrived thanks to deposits of high quality. The Rudolf Kämpf porcelain manufactory and its over a century long history has been an integral part of this tradition.
A porcelain manufactory founded in Loučky
Benjamin Franklin Hunt, representing the company Benjamin F. Hunt and Sons, Boston, USA, established the Egerländer Porzellanfabrik Elbogen, GmbH company and he commenced the construction of a porcelain manufactory in Loučky (called Grünlas at that time) where the Radher´s steam brickworks was originally located.
A favourable location in the vicinity of the railway track Loket–Nové Sedlo enabled easy access to cheap raw material necessary for the production.
The new porcelain manufactory able to compete with leading European producers is born.
Rudolf Kämpf joined the company
JUDr. Julius Heller, proxy holder of the company Egerländer Porzellanfabrik, GmbH, concluded a purchase contract and bought the porcelain manufactory under construction together with Rudolf Dieterle, director of Siemens glassworks in Nové Sedlo and Rudolf Kӓmpf from Grünlas, a factory owner and leaseholder of the porcelain manufactory in Jalový Dvůr.
Branded Rudolf Grünlas Kämpf
Associates Rudolf Kämpf and Rudolf Dieterle were awarded a trade licence to manufacture porcelain and under the brand RGK – Rudolf Grünlas Kämpf (the middle name Grünlas means Loučky in German) and with the logo of the crown they started to produce cups first. After the production processes had been improved, they were also making thick-walled and thin-walled dining and coffee sets.
Global market expansion
At the end of WWI, Rudolf Kämpf, the brand founder, died. His son Hans Kämpf took over the company management.
The RGK porcelain earned worldwide reputation thanks to its excellent quality.. 85 % of the produced goods are exported to markets in Holland, the USA, Italy, Romania, Austria, Poland and other countries
It is sold with great success in countries with rich porcelain tradition (Hungary, England, Germany or France).
Millions of porcelain products annually
The manufactory was flourishing, it was producing over 2 million pieces of porcelain products every year.
New color scales were launched. In addition to the famous rosa porcelain (pink) there were products made in the ivory, blue and green colours.
World War II
After WWII broke out, it meant a significant loss of foreign clientele. The production was limited to the so-called Kriegsauflage – Programm, a war regulation according to which porcelain was to be delivered to Wehrmacht (Nazi military forces) as a matter of priority. The export dropped to 8% of the total production. It was transformed to the war assortment, the design department was abolished. During that period quality did not matter. The only thing important was quantity of produced goods.
On May 13th, 1945 fire started in the manufactory and goods valued at CZK 130,000 (Czechoslovakian crown) were destroyed.
Nationalisation, integrated into the Slavkovský porcelain
During abrupt political and social changes after February 1948, the manufactory was nationalised and it became an integral part of the Slavkovský porcelán concern .
Representation of Czechoslovakian porcelain industry
In 1958 the manufactory in Loučky was integrated into the national enterprise called Karlovarský porcelán.
In the same year, it represented Czech porcelain industry at the Brussels International Exhibition. Porcelain from Czechoslovakia was a sought-after item. This fact resulted into investment into production and latest technologies made by the state. The manufactory became the top business in the region.
At the end of the 1950s the company launched legendary sets which applied shapes, for example Mary Anne (author Jiří Laštovička) and Sabina (author Aleš Trpkoš).
Porcelain manufactory Rudolf Kämpf represented Czechoslovakian porcelain industry at the 1967 Montreal World EXPO 1967. The shape, called Nefertiti and designed by Prof. Jaroslav Ježek, was the only one selected and awarded the title Centre industriel design.
In 1991-1992 production of popular rosa (pink) porcelain was launched at the Rudolf Kämpf manufactory.
The manufactory was transferred to the ownership of the company Leander 1946 ltd and it renamed to Leander. Special artistic technologies, such as delicate decoration of precious metals, were introduced into production.
Leander became one of the most significant world manufacturers of decorative porcelain.
President Bill Clinton of the USA
The manufactory Rudolf Kämpf presented American president Bill Clinton with a hand painted vase during his visit to the Czech Republic in 1994.
President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic
In 1996 Czech president Václav Havel was presented with a vase decorated with historic scenes of Karlovy Vary.
King Harald V of Norway
In 1997 King Harald V of Norway and his wife Queen Sonia visited the Rudolf Kämpf manufactory. For the royal couple, a hand painted vase with a royal monogramme on one side and their names on the other was designed and manufactured.
Pope John Paul II
In 1998 in honor of the Czech Republic at the state reception in Vatican, Pope John Paul II was presented with a hand painted vase from the Rudolf Kämpf workshops.
The manufactory won a tender and delivered Secession coffee sets for 150 VIP guests of the Czech pavilion at the EXPO in the Japanese town of Aichi.
Return of the Rudolf Kämpf brand
The company Leander was purchased by the Czech holding CS Investment and it re-established the founder´s name: Rudolf Kämpf. Under the renewed brand, it has continued to develop the successful 100-year-old tradition of quality porcelain products.
Since then, the manufactory has been producing goods under both brands Leander and newly branded Rudolf Kämpf. The second brand offers exclusive collections which are 100% hand painted or which use the latest and most sophisticated decorative techniques. Thanks to the renaissance of this brand, the porcelain manufactory has moved into the elite club of top European manufacturers.
Army Museum, or „Les Invalides“ (Paris)
A hand painted vase depicting the portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte was donated to the National Museum of the French Army in Paris in 2008.
The Rudolf Kämpf manufactory produced an original gift for Pierre Cardin for his 87th birthday as a tribute for his invaluable contribution to the world fashion industry. This gift was a hand painted vase manufactured in one single piece.
April 12, 2012 - Awarding ceremony of the International Competition “Brand of the Year 2011 EFFIE” in Moscow. The Rudolf Kämpf ltd participated in this competition for the first time and it won the category “Luxury goods and services”.
«Ali Anniversary» Collection
The anniversary collection produced on the occasion of Muhammad Ali´s 70th birthday. Limited edition of 70 sets.
What can you feel when you look at these products? Beyond doubt, there is strength to lead, the colour of winners who shape the surrounding world and who have no fear of being themselves. Ali used to say: “I am the Greatest.” This phrase is depicted on the saucers. Inside the cups gilded with 24-carat gold, there is an autogramme of this legendary sportsman.
Limited edition of 430 sets dedicated to Muhammad Ali
In the black and white product range of this collection, there are the champion´s main characteristics - strong longing for freedom, determination, inner intellectual world. Can incompatible features be combined? Physical strength and inner flight of imagination? “To fly like a butterfly and to sting like a bee” - a phrase used by this legend highlights individual products. Muhammad Ali´s gilded autogramme glimmers in the central parts.
Cooperation with Lenka Malíská
In 2017 we started to collaborate with talented local artist and porcelain designer Lenka Sárová Malíská - Studio Malíská. In mutual co-operation we began to realize new decors - Be Free first. Then, we launched the new shape of Vesna porcelain and the Angelic wings decor.
ITU Karlovy Vary World Cup
Since 2018 we have been a partner of the City Triathlon series, whose highlight is the World Cup. We supply original porcelain prizes for individual categories.
2020 Designblok award
Photo: Kristýna Šaarová
The Rudolf Kämpf manufactory launched a new drinking set SOLO, designed by Antonín Tomášek and David Síla, at the 2020 Designblok Czech design exhibition. This set was awarded two nominations and one first prize.
The best installation of the producer - the nominee
The best novelty of the producer - the nominee and winner of the category