About the German Giveaways

German giveaways were all imported empty and were then filled and given away as gifts by bars, liquor stores, at dances, fairs, and by organizations. Many were used to celebrate the holidays. These have "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" embossed or lettered on them. Many were ordered from the porcelain factories by their customers with the name and address of the bar or liquor store stamped on the bottles. Others used the paper labels bearing the name and address.

These bottles were made in various shapes, styles and sizes. There are the Figurals -such as the Tango, the Baseball Player, Santa Claus. There are the Objects as the Whisk Broom, a Milk Can, the Dice. There are the Flasks -the Hunter with a Gun, the White Elk. There are the Weather Forecasters and the Drinkometers made with glass trimmers. Many of these were made in three sizes and even in three colors.

The German Giveaways were made of fine quality porcelain, a hard porcelain, highly vitrified. Many are glazed, some are left with the bisque of unglazed surface. Some of the bisque are painted, but still not glazed. Many of the bottles are multicolored, others in either blue & white or brown. Many have a wood-grained finish on the backs, and in a few cases all over.

Most of the bottles had "Made in Germany" or just "Germany" stamped on the base. In 1887 England required all manufacturers of foreign countries who whished to trade with them to use the name of origin. So from that date most pieces are identified with the name of the country where they were produced. Such marks indicate the piece was made after 1887 and not before.

Many of the bottles have numbers on the bottom, infrequently on the backs. It is now believed that the numbers are specific for an individual bottle pattern. For example "One of the Boys" has the number 878 and this has been observed on several of these bottles.

The Crown and round Seal found on some of the Giveaways is the factory mark of Volkstedt-Schutz & V., used from 1890. Volkstedt is a porcelain factory near Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, a region of southwestern Germany. It was founded in 1760 by a theologian, George Heinrich Machleleid. The factory mark first used was two pitchforks, which brought complaints from Meissen (whose mark was similar), so for a time a simple pitchfork was used. Changes in marks followed as well as ownership and in 1799 the mark was changed to an "R" for the city of Rudolstadt. In the 1890?s the Crown and Seal was used with an "R" in the center of the Seal. Later in the 1890?s the firm was split into three: Eckert & Cie., Karl Ens and Alteste Volkstedter Porzellan Fabrik.

Schafer and Vater, German nippers, giveaways, flasks, creamers, porcelain