To this day, the mini-dolls of Hertwig & Co remain a desirable object for collectors. Why are dolls by Hertwig&Co so popular around of the world? Why are they loved and collected?
Today we are going to Germany. Talking about German doll companies, it is impossible not to write about Hertwig & Co. Dolls of this company most popular all over the world.
Our way lies in Katzhutte. It is a tiny village in the central-eastern part of Germany, Thuringia.
The name of the town Katzenhutte translates as a cat hut, which reflects in the labeling of products. The name explains quite – the town stands on the Katz River.
This area was famous for iron smelting plants and factories until 1800. By the beginning of the 19th century, the premises and buildings were empty. And no one knew then that the small village would become known around the world as a great center for the production of porcelain.
Christoph Hertwig owned a successful porcelain company in a nearby town. 1864 he visited the production facilities. He saw that the empty buildings can be converted into porcelain production facilities. And the old smelting furnaces could replace with porcelain kilns.
In the premises of the former production facilities, there was a lot of space for storing materials. Near there was a village where good workers lived.
Within a year the products of Hertwig & Co were presented at the exhibition in Leipzig in 1865. A catalog of products included doll heads, full porcelain dolls, and decorative porcelain items for the home.
The ceramic business was successful. In there were some management issues in the early years. Christopher’s son, Ernst Hertwig, took control of the new company, while his father ran another firm. The partners did not get along with Ernst, and it was not easy to keep good employees. The partners did not get along with Ernst, and it turned out to be difficult to keep good employees.
Since 1866, Christopher Hertwig has run the company alone. Both of his sons-in-law failed. Karl Berger sold his share, and Benjamin Bayerman lost everything personal as a result of a devastating fire and committed suicide.
Christoph Hertwig agreed with the relatives of the victims that he would run the company alone.
There they produced only “Nanking dolls” in which the body was made of a cotton fabric called “Nanking” (or “Nanking” in English).
The heads and limbs are made of porcelain. Many dolls make by homeworkers, as usual in the region.
Up until the 1870s, the company has a huge boom, mainly due to the prosperity of business with America.
Later, since none of the sons could continue working in this business – Ernst stayed in Egypt due to illness and died there soon after.
Christoph Hertwig died on November 15, 1886. His sons Karl and Friedrich took over the company and gave it a new impetus through the construction of new buildings, as well as new types of dolls.
Before the Second World War, the company produced dolls in clothes. At that time it was very beautiful clothes.
The company survived the Second World War without damage. After the war, it produced main service ceramics and decorative porcelain.
In 1953, Hans Hertwig fled with his wife and three children to Worms (on the Rhine River, in Rhineland-Palatinate). There he founded a company for the production of small dolls under his own name. He followed a modern trend and made dolls out of plastic, not porcelain as in his grandfather’s factory in Thuringia. His earliest advertisements recalled a connection with a former company in the East with the words “Former Hertwig & Co, Katzhutte”.
Hans Hertwig had to abandon the trademark with a small house and a cat (for Katzhutte, = cottage cat). He continued used by the business which left in East Germany. His new emblem, a three-leaf Clover, may be a reminder of the three founders of the company. His grandfather Christopher Hertwig and his two sons-in-law (Christoph). This trademark is on the Hertwig dolls of that time.
Hans Hertwig’s nephew, Ernst Friedrich, produced small “Bisculoid” dolls until he escaped to the west in 1958.
Let’s compare two little dolls from East Germany (left) and West Germany (right). Different materials help us to recognize almost identical products.
When Ernst Friedrich Hertwig left the GDR, the firm transformed. A new company called “VEB Zierkeramik” (VEB decorative ceramics). What happened to Hertwig was the same as with many other doll companies located on the territory of the GDR.
After nationalization, the company produced only decorative ceramics.
A very interesting fact – During nationalization, the historical archive, stored in containers containing demonstration material and logistical information, was completely forgotten.
The archive was rediscovered in the early 1980s. The government company appropriated these archives. It sold many documents to was various unknown private buyers at auctions in Berlin and London.
Now, these documents are now in private collections. After the reunification of Germany and the flight of residents to the western part of the country in the 1990s, the factory was closed. The community of the city could not get this building into ownership, it was destroyed and in the spring of 2011, the ruin was demolished.
In my collection now there are two babies from the Hertwig company. They have no markings. These are Herwig dolls, their faces cannot be confused with the doll faces of other doll companies.
These miniature dolls are the most recognizable and popular for doll collectors. If you liked these dolls and you want to buy them in a collection, you will find them on different trading platforms.