Porcelain and Faience Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Porcelain and Faience Industry


the sector of industry that produces articles of porcelain, faience, and other fine ceramics. It includes the production of household and decorative porcelain, faience, semiporcelain, and majolica. Porcelain and faience wares are used extensively in everyday life.

Table 1. Growth in production output in the Soviet porcelain and faïence industry (millon articles)
1913 ............... 178.7
1940 ............... 221.5
1950 ............... 221.2
1970 ............... 586.1
1975 ............... 992.4

Porcelain production in Russian began in the 18th century. The first porcelain factory was founded in St. Petersburg in 1744; today it is known as the M. V. Lomonosov Porcelain Factory. The Dmitrovskii Porcelain Factory opened in the 1750’s, and the Dulevo China Factory was established in 1832. The first faience factory in Russia was built near Kiev in 1799. By the beginning of the 20th century, the porcelain and faience industry in Russia had grown to be a major sector; almost all the raw material used was imported, primarily from Germany and Great Britain. In 1915 there were 36 factories; in volume of output and quality of products they were on the level of the largest European factories.

During the period of the prewar five-year plans (1929–40), all Soviet porcelain and faience enterprises were modernized, new enterprises to produce tableware were established, and the range of available articles was broadened. The supply of raw materials for the sector was also organized. The ore-enrichment plants situated at the Prosianaia and Glukhov deposits in the Ukrainian SSR became the primary suppliers of kaolin; feldspar materials came from the Karelian ASSR and Murmansk Oblast; and refractory clays were supplied from Donetsk Oblast.

Many of the porcelain and faience enterprises were destroyed during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. The construction of new plants to produce household and decorative porcelain began in the period 1946–50. A significant percentage of the porcelain and faience enterprises built between 1951 and 1955 were located in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country. Nineteen new factories went into operation between 1959 and 1975, and all existing enterprises were renovated and supplied with modern equipment. In 1975 the industry had 47 enterprises—35 porcelain factories, five faience factories, three majolica factories, two pilot plants, one machine-building plant, and one plant to produce ceramic dyes. Production figures for the sector’s largest enterprises were as follows (in millions of articles): 62.0 at the Dulevo China Factory, 113.6 at the factory in Konakovo, 78.2 at the factory in Budy, 22.6 at the factory in Bogdanovich, 26.5 at the factory in Druzhkovka, and 57.3 at the factory in Krasnodar.

Table 2. Production of porcelain and faience in selected socialist countries (thousand tons)
Bulgaria ...............13.6119.04
Czechoslovakia ...............21.5825.32
German Democratic Republic ...............38.5255.7
Hungary ...............7.69.8
Poland ...............30.3 840.4
Rumania ...............14.1725.5

During the ninth five-year plan (1971–75), specialization in the porcelain and faience industry was implemented in two directions: in the technology used at the factories and in the type of output (whether intended for use by science and industry or by the general public). The introduction of new equipment raised the level of mechanization in the sector from 36 percent in 1965 to 68 percent in 1975. There was a significant change in the type of fuel used. In 1960 wood and coal accounted for more than 50 percent of all fuel; in 1975 they constituted only 5.8 percent of the total, and natural gas accounted for 61.5 percent. The composition of production equipment, including kiln facilities, also changed fundamentally, and the number of automatic transfer lines and tunnel (continuous) kilns for firing articles increased significantly. In the period 1961–75 labor productivity in the industry rose 140 percent. The data in Table 1 show the development of the porcelain and faience industry in the USSR.

In the tenth five-year plan (1976–80) substantial attention is being devoted to improving the quality of articles manufactured and to broadening the range of items available. Current plans call for increasing the production of articles bearing the state seal of quality by 50 percent. A comprehensive quality control program has been introduced at all enterprises of the sector.

Among the socialist countries abroad, the porcelain and faience industry is most developed, both in volume of production and in product use per capita, in the German Democratic Republic, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The production of porcelain and faience articles in foregn socialist countries is shown in Table 2.

In the capitalist countries the largest representatives of the porcelain and faience industry are the West German firms Rosenthal-Porzellan A.G. and Lorenz H. Hutschenreuther Porzellanfabrik AG., the French company Bernardaud Porcelains de Limoges, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, Ltd. in Great Britain, and the Noritake firm in Japan.


Tekhnologiia keramiki i ogneuporov, 3rd ed. Edited by P. P. Budnikov. Moscow, 1962.
Tekhnologiia farforovogo i faiansovogo proizvodstva. Edited by I. A. Bulavin. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.