The Harvest Mold

by Lee Marple

One of the best patterns to show the transition of porcelain decorating technology from 1899 to 1901 is Reinhold's "Harvest" mold. We have no idea where the name for this pattern came from, but we have used it for many years. Early examples are decorated by the outline transfer process, where the colors are applied by hand within shapes defined by a master line transfer. But as technology for making full color decalcomanias improved, floral patterns with better range of colors and realistic shapes quickly replaced the outline transfers. The first decals used by Reinhold's firm were rather small, and could be applied without shading the edge of the decal. In effect, the end result looked like an excellent hand painted example that was very similar in character to the preceding products in that the background around individual flowers was the same color as the porcelain blank. Later transfers used by the firm, especially the portrait transfers, required extensive shading to eliminate the abrupt change in color(s) at the edge of the decal.

Another characteristic of this mold is that while many elements of the pattern remain the same, different shapes have slightly different flowers embossed into the porcelain. In some cases, the shading at the rim of the object obscures some of the mold detail, so while two examples may at first glance look the same, a prolonged examination will reveal the truth. This characteristic was also used between 1901 and 1903 for the Hidden Image mold pattern, but here a woman's profile varies with the size and shape of the object.

The first two large bread trays (photos 1 and 2) show the transition from outline transfer to color decals. We know that these trays were made at Reinhold's firm, for the one with the gradual change in the cobalt blue coloration is marked with the blue RS Steeple Germany trademark. The two other plates shown below are examples of a different cobalt blue decoration, in that the color is more intense and has not diffused as much. These very strong colors are atypical of ware made before 1900, and are thought to be among the later products that were made in this mold pattern.

Very few marked examples of the Harvest mold are known. The only brand name known to be used with this pattern is "Royal Coburg". This name (in black) appears on the long celery tray with blue band. The heart shape salad bowl is marked "Made in Germany" within two concentric circles. Other marks are likely to have been used, but these are the principal ones that collectors will come across.

Copyright 2010 Lee Marple

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