RSS Facebook

Porcelain from Porsgrunn, Norway

posted on 12th June 2006 under Culture, History, Tradition, Travel Norway

My last report from my mother in law’s stay in Norway will be about my home town Porsgrunn. Some of my regular readers might remember my earlier post about the place I grew up, but let me give you a short summery:
Porsgrunn is a part of a cluster of municipalities south in Telemark that constitutes the Grenland area. Its neighbours are Skien, Bamble, Siljan and Larvik. Porsgrunn was named after a small shrub called “Pors” (Myrica gale), which grew on marshy grounds along the banks of the Telemarksvassdraget (Telemark river), where the porcelain factory is today. Porsgrunn has been an important harbour town in the Grenland area since the late 16th century. In 1653, the customs was moved further down the Telemarksvassdraget from Skien to Porsgrunn mainly because industrial waste such as sawdust and mud made the river too shallow to allow boats to go any further up the river. Moving the customs house from Skien to Porsgrunn in 1653 added to the flourishing harbour activity, and it became a thriving market town. It was granted city status in 1807, and in 1842, the city became an independent municipality.

Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrikk (PP):
Of course we had to visit the factory that has made the city famous all over the word, the porcelain factory. When I was a child, I did not know about any other porcelain than from that factory. In every house or public establishments, there was of course PP who ruled. I will give you a look at their trademark and also the city’s shield:

We had a guided tour in the factory’s museum by a charming young lady, Miss Lene. She told about the history and the process of how they made their famous product and with great commitment. She even put one of their porcelain coffee cup on the floor and stood on it, to prove how strong it is, but at the same time so delicate to look at. Being quite a tiny girl, she could see in our eyes we wanted more proof, so she told us: “we’ve even tried making a platform and parking a car on four cups, one in each corner, and they held it without breaking!” Then we were all convinced :-)


Lene to proof the strength
Taken with my Nikon CoolPix camera

She could also told us that they produce a wide assortment of porcelain products ranging from fireproof goods destined for professional kitchens, to exquisite, fine porcelain for the home. PORSGRUND is the main producer of porcelain flatware and products for the Royal family, and has been so for three generations. The factory is currently divided up into “industrial production” and “handcraft production”.

Crazy locals joke:
Let me end with a saying about people from Porsgrunn, which I hope you understand: Never serve them soup for a late supper! Why: because they will always turn the bowl over to see if it is made by PP.

So now my mother in law is back home in the US and life is back to normal. We had a great time together though and welcome her and the rest of the family over to visit anytime! It’s amazing how much you get to see when having a guest in your own country you know :-)

35 Responses to “Porcelain from Porsgrunn, Norway”

  1. GabbyB says:

    Hallo Renny, I have just come across your site and find it very interesting. I live in England but my Great grandfather was Norwegian so I have been researching my ancestry. I think he came from Trondheim and was called Manglie.
    Anyway, I have come across a small oblong dish from Norway, but it says Porsgrunn on the back. Would this be a piece of Porsgrund? It has the anchor and PP. Also the name of Elise Loa (or Loft).
    If you have time I would be grateful of your help.
    Takk

  2. Lover of Porsgrund Dishes says:

    I saw on a website that Porsgrund is in bankruptcy and that’s why some of the patterns are almost impossible to find. Could it be true that my favourite company is is trouble?

    RennyBA.
    No, as far as I know they are okay. You my check their web page (sorry, only in Norwegian): http://www.porsgrund.com/

  3. Janice Ellsworth says:

    The shop where we purchase 2 different patterns of Porsgrund china informed us that Porsgrund may be in bankruptcy so supplies may be very limited. Is this true?

  4. Stuart William Thonnesen (aka Garland) says:

    My ancestor family founded Porsgrund porcelain.
    I have one of the earliest small rose bowls with a design by Kitelsen

  5. Dear sir, I read in todays Kragero Blad that PP might close, is this true? I hope not because I collect your Christmas plates and the old ashtrays that you produced in the 1960s and 70s By the way I lived in Norway for twenty years in Kragero, now I am retired and back home in England.

  6. Ricahrd A. Reynolds says:

    I read with interest your reply to Maxine Welhouse in August of this year about the Porsgrunn Porselen Julen plate from 1972. I have six Julen plates inherited from my parents. They are from 1969 to 1976. Could you possibly provide the same information that you did to Maxine regarding these 8 plates-history,designer and approximate current sale price(US dollars)? Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. By the way, my sister-in-law is of Norwegian ancestry. She has been exploring her Norwegian heritage in the last few years, contacted some long lost relatives in Norway and has been to Norway to visit them twice in the last five years. She’s even taking Norwegian language classes in Omaha, Nebraska where she lives and is getting to be a pretty good speaker. I’ll probably give these Julen plates to her but wanted to find out more information before I offered them. Thank you. Richard

    RennyBA
    To be sure you get the right information, I suggest you contact Porsgrund Porselænsfabrik yourself. Their email address is post@porsgrund.com. They gave a web page, but I’m afraid its only in Norwegian; http://www.porsgrund.com/ but maybe your SIL can help you read it.
    Thanks for telling about your connection to Norway. A lot of my readers is of Norwegian ancestry and I hope I give some insight in how it is to live here to all of them.

  7. I am trying to find information about small plates that I have. One is a mare with the foal which is nursing. It is the Julen wife plate from from 1972.

    The other plate is from the same company and the inscription reads: Julen 1972, and there are Christmas Trees and females on the front.

    Is it possible that you can tell me something about these plates? What would be the price to sell them at?

    Thank you very much

    RennyBA
    Thanks for your visit and comments – great to see you!

    I’ve asked the staff at Porsgrund Porselen about your question and their answer is:
    The Mothers Day plate from 1970 with Mare and Foal is the first one in a series produced up until 1987. They don’t know the name of the designer.

    The Christmas plate from 1972 with a angles and a tree is named a Norwegian Christmas song: “Vi synger julekvad”. The Designer is Gunnar Bratlie. They are not that high of price: approximately NOK 50 or 10$.

    Hope it helps you a bit.

  8. Shionge says:

    Thank you Renny for leading me to this wonderful post….my hubby would love to visit someday too :D

    Amazing work & durability :)

  9. Anna says:

    This was nice to read. My grandma just gave me a set of PP farmer’s rose dishes she got in the sixties and I had no idea where these dishes came from and whether they are valuable.

  10. RennyBA says:

    @Chas: I’m glad you know now then:-) My camera is a CoolPix S2. Thank you for visiting me in Oslo this weekend!

    @April: You might find it cheaper in the long run you know:-)

    @ExpatTraveler: Happy shield hunt!

    @TinTin: Lena was saying the same and we had a good laugh:-)

    @Ghee: Hope you’ve had a great end to you’re week too!

    @Mom: I’m glad you have something to remember you’re stay. Thanks for commenting Mom!

    @Jairam: yes, we had a jolly good time!

    @Lisa: Glad you liked it and of course I am happy for my mother in-law to have this suvernier.

    @Tine: Thanks. Have a great week ahead!

    @Kisses: Glad you find it interesting here – welcome back any time! Thank you so much for the father’s day greetings!

  11. kisses says:

    hallo renny! ‘really interesting here :)

    drop by to greet u ^^ alles gute zum vatertag ^^ (father’s day)

  12. Tine says:

    great post Renny. Have a wonderful Sunday

  13. Lisa says:

    Fascinating information on Porsgrunds porcelain, Renny! I’m so happy that your mother in-law and the porcelain made it home safely! :-)

    Have a happy weekend!

  14. jairam says:

    Informative post :)
    Family visits are pure joy, eh?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Reny
    Two pieces of Norway’s finest Porcelain safely made it back to the US. I kept one piece (which is displayed in a place of honor in my home. The 2nd made it to a relative & the same will be done.
    Mom

  16. ghee says:

    hello again,Renny!

    happy weekend to you and your family :)

  17. charles ravndal says:

    Hi Renny! I’ll be in Oslo by tomorrow until Sunday!

  18. tin-tin says:

    true! you get to learn more about your hometown when you have visitors.

    and you believed lena when she told you about driving over the porcelains and not when she stood over it. i thought seeing is believing. hehe

  19. Chas Ravndal says:

    hello renny! what kind of nikon coolpix are you using since I think I am going to get one. Any advices ?

  20. Expat Traveler says:

    Renny I am back! hehe. I really like the colors of that shield. I’m in need of photographing our local municipal flag. But every time I walk down there with my camera it’s raining, thus no flag showing. I’ve got a few wks still…

    The names are so cool because I feel like many of those city make up sports names.

  21. April says:

    i’m afraid i break too many things to own any quality porcelain. between me and my two year-old, we would make quite a mess.

  22. charles ravndal says:

    Nice post about your town of origin. I saw some of the porcelain especially in the bathrooms here that are made in Porsgrunn. I though it’s a company name but now I know that it’s actually a town.

  23. RennyBA says:

    @Miriam: God kveld til deg også! I’ll do the best I can, but yes: I have a job too:-) Ha det og velkommen igjen!

    @ExpatTraveler: Thanks for you’re short & sweet comment. You are always welcome back you know:-)

    @MotherOfInvention: Yes, my parent gave her a peanut holder as a souvenir. It was great to explore some of my country together with her of course

    @Cheh: Take you’re time and you now you are welcome back any time!

    @Barbara: One of my favourite too and every thing about it reminds me of my home town you know

    @Ghee: You’ve got it and it made our whole weekend

    @Serges: Thanks for the article in you’re blog – I feel flattered and on behalf of the Norwegians, I say thanks for a great promotion. You are welcome to visit yourself as well!

    @Neil.Dc: I’m glad you like it and welcome back any time and maybe one day you will pay Norway a visit too?

  24. NeiLDC says:

    Hi renny,
    Another trip and another place. and i keep enjoying it!
    more power!

  25. Serge Lescouarnec says:

    Renny

    After noticing your Blog on Ryze, I decided to mention it on a piece I wrote today on ‘Serge the Concierge’

    Took the liberty to use of of your pictures (credited it to you)

    Take care

    Serge
    Biz:
    http://www.njconcierges.com
    Blog:
    http://www.sergetheconcierge.com

  26. ghee says:

    oh I knew it!!

    Porsgrunn came from the name porcelain :D beautiful!

    I went to a porcelain factory how many years ago.,and the displays were really awesome.

    I guess porcelains made your day :)

  27. Barbara says:

    I love my Farmer’s Rose china from Porsgrunn. Every time I use it, it reminds me of Norway.

  28. cheH says:

    Hi renny! it’s been awhile I haven’t been able to read your posts but I’m catching up right now:)

  29. Mother of Invention says:

    Do you own any of this porcelain? perhaps your mother-in-law took some home?

    Isn’t that always the way..we never visit our own places of interest that are right nearby but hasten to show someone from another country! When I taught in a school for kids from Hong Kong, we always took them to see Niagara Falls and Marineland. I loved it but I’ve hardly ever been!

  30. Expat Traveler says:

    great post! very cool. i really like all the info! must run sorry for the small reply.

  31. Miriam says:

    God kveld Renny, thanks for visiting my blog. You should post more often about Norwegian culture and traditions, but I guess you have that…erm, what’s it called again… a job? :-) ha det så bra, hilsninger: studenten Miriam

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Warm and charming Norwegians
  2. Rakfisk, a Traditional feast in Norway
  3. Rakfisk; a Traditional feast in Norway

Leave a Reply