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How to Date Austrian Pottery

Dating Austrian pottery is a lesson in history.
series object on white Austrian beer mug image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Austrian pottery dating incorporates the history of the region, since involvement in wars caused name changes after the formation of new countries like Czechoslovakia. History controls the marks on pottery made for Austrian export, and that includes United States history and import regulations. Combined, these two historical timelines will help you date Austrian pottery.

Look for a mark on the bottom of the pottery to identify Austrian origin. Many of the Austrian logos are wreaths or crowns with “Austria” or “Made in Austria” written in English. These were made for export to English-speaking countries.

Check for factory identification. The Österreichische Porzellan Industrie AG, Austrian Porcelain Industry (OEPIAG) formed in 1918; its name changed in 1920 to Erste Böhmische Porzellan Industrie AG, First Bohemian Porcelain Industry (EPIAG). EPIAG is one of the common Austrian pottery marks, and it dates the piece to after 1920. If the spelling is OEPIAG, it is between 1918 and 1920.

O&EG marks are common, and stand for Oscar and Edgar Gutherz pottery and porcelain, made near Altrohlau. The OEPIAG group purchased this pottery in 1918, so you can conclude that O&EG-marked pottery predates 1918.

Check books on pottery marks for identification and dates. The outstanding resource on this subject is “Marks on German, Bohemian and Austrian Porcelain” by Robert E. Rontgen. This book has marks from 1710 through the twentieth century. “Encyclopedia of Marks: 1780-1980" by Kowalsky is the authority for American and European earthenware, ironstone and stoneware. Refer to the Smithsonian website for a bibliography with additional sources.

Look for special indicators of dates. An example is Amphora. Amphora pottery, an art nouveau style, came from Austria until 1918. Czechoslovakia became a country following World War I, so pottery marked “Amphora” and “Austria” is early Amphora, from the Turn-Teplitz region. Amphora, Czechoslovakia pottery can be dated after 1918.

U.S. Zone is a mark used on Bavarian and German pottery and porcelain during the American occupation of the area from 1945 to 1949. Austria declared itself a German state in 1936 and did not regain independent status again until 1955. Pottery production during this time may be marked Germany, although it actually came from Austria.

Refer to information online and in books to date Austrian pottery. Determine the actual dates the company named on the piece was in business, and further limit the date by the logo use. Logos changed in color, size, and style over the years, and this is best determined from pictures of the logos online and in books.

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