Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft e.V.

History of the Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft (German Ceramic Society / DKG)

The Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft (German Ceramic Society / DKG) was founded in 1919 and has been existing as an association since 1920. The predecessing organization however is seven years older. On this page, you will get to know more about the one hundred years of history of our association.

On the 29th of September 1919, the chairman of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany (VKG), Mr. Kommerzienrat Dr. Ing. h.c. Philipp Rosenthal, convened an extraordinary members’ meeting. In the commercial part of the meeting, the chairman pointed out that the Association of Ceramic Trades (VKG) was re-organizing itself, and that as a consequence, the TWA had to be reshaped, as well. As a significant reason, Mr. Dr. Rosenthal named that only by a consistent combination of all funding possibilities by the circles interested in the ceramic industry, it would be possible to maintain economic competitiveness. In an initial step, the TWA had to elect a provisory management board and a temporary working committee, which had to deal with the task of working on new statutes and to submit them to the members in another general meeting. In this meeting, Mr. Prof. Dr. Reisenegger, Mr. Heine, Mr. Dr. Singer and Mr. Dr. Rosenthal were elected as provisory directors and unanimously confirmed. Also, Mr. Dr. Rieke was elected a provisory managing member of the board of directors.

 

The origins – The scientific-technical department of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany (1913-1918)

The ceramic Mr. Dr. W.H. Zimmer brought the idea of founding a technical-scientific association with him from the United States of America. There, the „American Ceramic Society“ (ACerS) was founded already in 1899, and in Japan, a corresponding association existed even earlier, in 1891.
Mr. Dr. R Uhlitzsch, who at that time was the commercial director of the Association of Ceramic Trades (VKG) in Germany, showed interest in
Mr. Dr. W.H. Zimmer’s project and convinced the members of the VKG to bring to life the first technical-scientific department.

Dr. Roger von Boch On the 13th June 1913, the constituent meeting of the VKG’s technical-scientific department took place in the lecture hall of the technical-chemical department of the Royal Technical School in Berlin-Charlottenburg. The chairman of the Association of Ceramic Trades, Mr. Dr. Roger von Boch-Gahlau, opened the meeting with the following words:

„As the chairman of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany, it is my most pleasant duty to greet all of you, who have appeared to this opening session of the technical-scientific department, and to welcome you most heartily.“

Already at the founding of the association, 69 companies became members, as well as 14 individual persons and 27 representatives of science and training. The chairmanship of the association was assumed by the director of the Royal Porcelain Manufactury Berlin, Mr. Dr. A. Heinecke. From the beginning, scientific lectures formed an important part of the general meetings. As an organ of publication and to report about the meetings, the journal „Reports of the Technical-Scientific Department“ was launched.

 

First steps towards founding the German Ceramic Society (1919-1920)

Dr. Ing. h. c. Philipp RosenthalOn the 29th of September 1919, the chairman of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany (VKG), Mr. Kommerzienrat Dr. Ing. h.c. Philipp Rosenthal, convened an extraordinary members’ meeting. In the commercial part of the meeting, the chairman pointed out that the Association of Ceramic Trades (VKG) was re-organizing itself, and that as a consequence, the TWA had to be reshaped, as well. As a significant reason, Mr. Dr. Rosenthal named that only by a consistent combination of all funding possibilities by the circles interested in the ceramic industry, it would be possible to maintain economic competitiveness. In an initial step, the TWA had to elect a provisory management board and a temporary working committee, which had to deal with the task of working on new statutes and to submit them to the members in another general meeting. In this meeting, Mr. Prof. Dr. Reisenegger,
Mr. Heine, Mr. Dr. Singer and Mr. Dr. Rosenthal were elected as provisory directors and unanimously confirmed. Also, Mr. Dr. Rieke was elected a provisory managing member of the board of directors.

 

First General Meeting of the German Ceramic Society (1920)

On the 4th of September 1920, the association’s director Mr. Dr. Heine, representing Mr. Prof. Reisenegger, welcomed numerous members and guests in the Hotel Bellevue in Dresden. Among them were delegates from the German patent office and from the coal commission, the power society, the association of German engineers, as well as representatives of many German universities and the press. Mr. Dr. Heine informed the assembly that on the morning of the same day, the dissolution of the technical-scientific department of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany had been decided and that a transformation into an independent German Ceramic Society had taken place. The acquisition of the assets into the new association had been decided unanimous.

After this was announced, Mr. Dr. T. Uhlitzsch began to speak (excerpts of his speech):

„Ladies and gentlemen! In an extraordinary general assembly of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany on the 29th of September 1919 in Berlin, as a natural result of the changes regarding the association, also a reorganization of the technical-scientific department started to take place. First, a provisory management board and a temporary working committee were elected, and these organs were then instructed to develop draft statutes. We insist that the organization shall continue to operate true to the principles which were established upon its incorporation in 1913.

These are:

The promotion of ceramics in technical, scientific and artistic terms; the combination of theory and practice in all ceramic questions and the suggestion to supplement and enhance all existing ceramic knowledge spoken and in writing. Thus, the circle of ceramic interests shall be expanded. (...) Furthermore, the society is to ensure a solid professional training for the young generation by bundling forces. (...) These goals show that according to the concordant opinion, the work of the new society should not be restricted to the field of fine ceramics but that it should expand to the overall field of ceramics because of the numerous intertwined interests. (...)

During the meeting of the management board of the Association of Ceramic Trades in Germany on the 21st of January 1920 in Berlin, the draft statutes by the TWA were agreed to, and it was also agreed upon the new name of the organization: German Ceramic Society (DKG). According to the statutes, the society is now entirely administered by the management board, the working committee and this general assembly of members.“

On the 5th of September 1920, during the first general meeting of the DKG, the first managing directors of the society were elected unanimous:

  • 1st chairman of the DKG: Mr. Prof. Dr. Reisenegger, Berlin
  • 2nd chairman of the DKG: Mr. Director Dr. M. Heine, Bonn
  • 3rd chairman of the DKG: Mr. Dr.-Ing. F. Singer, Selb
  • Member of the management board and managing director:
    Mr. Dr. R. Uhlitzsch
  • Member of the management board / scientific and literary works:
    Mr. Private lecturer Dr. R. Rieke
  • Member of the management board:
    Mr. Geh. Kommerzienrat Dr.-Ing. e.h. Ph. Rosenthal

 

Historical Facts (brief outline from 1920 until today)

In 1920, the first edition of „Berichte der DKG“ was published, and the first annual meeting of the association took place, which combined scientific lectures and guided company tours. Two years after the DKG’s organizational separation from the Association of Ceramic Trades (VKG), the geographical separation followed. From the premises of the VKG in Bonn, the society moved to Berlin in 1921.

When Mr. Prof. Dr. Reisenegger, head of the technical-chemical institute of the TH Berlin, was the 1st chairman of the DKG, the association’s focus of work was the promotion of the young generation in the ceramic field and the expansion of specialist schools. The DKG brought into being the ceramic academic programme in Germany.

The DKG established the first academic chair for ceramics at the technical university in Berlin-Charlottenburg, cooperating with the relevant ministries. It was a big success that the „technical-chemical laboratory at the State Porcelain Factory in Berlin“ was officially recognized as an university institute. As such, it was authorized to supervise diploma dissertations and doctoral dissertations.

Mr. Prof. Dr. Rieke, who had been appointed head of chair, worked successfully on the teaching of ceramics at an academic level, together with his colleagues Mr. Steger and Mr. Hecht. The graduates of these university institutions created the conditions needed for significant progress in the German ceramic industry - and also for it to become one of the technical and scientific global leaders in the ceramic field.

In 1925, the scientific advisory board of the DKG was founded. Special committees, the predecessors of today’s expert committees, started dealing with individual disciplines, such as raw materials, material technology and machine technology.

The DKG quickly gained popularity in industry, science and training. Already in the mid-1920s, more than 500 members attended the annual meetings of the DKG on a regular basis.

The DKG awarded the Seger and the Boettger Badges for the first time in 1929 to members and ceramists of outstanding merit. When Mr. Fellinger and Mr. Willach were chairmen of the society, the heavy ceramic industry and further ceramic fields were integrated into the DKG, according to the statutes. 

While the DKG had more than 1.150 individual members before the 2nd World War, it suffered greatly from war-related casualties. The institute in Berlin was completely destroyed by bombing. Mr. Prof. Dr. Rieke died in the war and in the end, the DKG was disbanded, like all associations of that time.

The DKG could only be re-established on the 19th of March, 1949, thanks to the untiring personal commitment of Mr. Dr. A. Guilleaume, who acted on a bi-zonal basis.
Mr. Dr. Guilleaume was the managing director of the grinding wheels factory Dr. O. Goertz and W. Guilleaume, Bonn. Due to his merits, he was elected the new president of the association during the first DKG post-war general meeting.

In 1950, during Guilleaume’s term of office, the DKG was given membership in the European Association of Ceramic Societies (CIC). While he was president, the DKG was able to make up for its loss of educational establishments in Berlin, Breslau and Bunzlau: Instead, ceramic research institutes were established or re-established in Aachen, Clausthal and Wuerzburg.

In the early 1950s, the office of the association was moved to Bonn and then to Bad Honnef in 1959. When Mr. Dietzel was chairman of the association, the editorial board and coordination of scientific works were situated in the city of Würzburg.

In 1957, Mr. Dr. Dr. Ing. e.h. G. Cremer took on the chairmanship of the DKG for 12 years. He consequently proceeded with the promotion of young researchers and the promotion of ceramic arts and crafts. He managed to re-integrate German ceramics into the international scene.

While Mr. Dr. Cremer was president of the association, the DKG organized the 6th Congress of the CIC in Wiesbaden. Because of this effort, the international eminence of German ceramics was finally restored after the 2nd World War.

When academic research and training were reactivated after the war, the DKG focused on the establishment of engineering schools and specialized schools, the reason being structural changes in the industry: Had there been a focus on master businesses before the war, it now changed towards engineering companies. Together with its partners, the DKG had to ensure that the technical-scientific development in ceramics (through the establishment of technical ceramics) also found its resonance in professional training. In the late 60s, a new apprenticeship-program was founded: from now on, it was possible to become a „ceramic technician“.

In 1965, the DKG had reached its old number of members from before the war. More than 500 participants regularly took part in the annual meetings, which were now also frequently held in German-speaking neighboring countries, such as Switzerland, Austria or Luxemburg.

In the mid-1970s, the DKG suffered from economic difficulties. By 1981, chairman Mr. Lehmann and managing director Mr. Hartinger were able to consolidate the association’s budget by taking necessary measures, for example by an editorial outsourcing of the association’s journal „Berichte der DKG“.

1984-2011, Mr. Dr. Blumenberg assumed the position of the managing director and moved the office of the DKG from Bad Honnef to Cologne. While he was in charge, the DKG was able to successfully integrate all professional activities from industry, science and teaching from the regions of central Germany, which had been among the most professional ceramic regions before the 2nd World War.

Mr. Prof. Hausner (DKG chairman of the board of management from 1988 to 2003) at the same time contributed to the further internationalization of the association. So, being the largest ceramic association in Europe, the DKG became an important founding member of the European Ceramic Society (ECerS) in 1989. The DKG also became a founding member of the International Ceramic Federation (ICF). Mr. Prof. Hausner as a result became the second president of the ECerS (1989-1991) and the third president of the ICF (1993-1995).

During the following years, the DKG was able to regain its place in the ceramic community. For these achievements we rely on the personal commitment and expertise of the managing directors Mr. Prof. Heinrich (2003-2007), Mr. Prof. Telle (2007-2011), Mr. DI Griebe (2011-2015) and
Mr. Heym (since 2016). Of course, many other honored individuals from the fields of industry, science and training took part in this process, and it is only due to lack of space on this page that not all of them may be named here.

Today, the German Ceramic Society is a renowned contact in the global ceramic sector.

 

Source: H. Reh: Die DKG und die deutsche Keramik-Geschichte. In: cfi/Berichter der DKG 71 (1994) No. 7, 351-359


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