Porcelain has its origins in China, where 3000 years ago figurines and functional items were made and fired out of “porcelain sand”. In the 13th century, merchants took the porcelain with them to Europe. The production process of the precious material, however, remained a long-kept secret.
It was not until the 18th century that the Europeans discovered the key to porcelain production: In October 1708, Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus succeeded in making the first European porcelain in Dresden and Meißen. After Tschirnhaus died, Böttger refined the procedure in Meißen. On 28th March 1709, he announced the invention of European porcelain to the Elector of Saxony, Friedrich August I. In 1710, the first European porcelain production plant was established in Meißen on the Albrecht borough.
In fact, the ´Arkanum´, as the recipe for porcelain production was called, was discovered independently by several people: In 1760, Georg Friedrich Macheleid founded a porcelain manufacture in Sitzendorf in the Thuringian Forest. But the Thuringian porcelain took a different development than that of the Saxon Court. The rapidly increasing number of producers included only a few who followed Meißen’s example to establish a close connection to the royal courts and produced works of art for the royals. The majority opened up another market: With the progressing democracy, porcelain became a showpiece for the bourgeoisie.