R.S. Prussia: The Early Birds

by Jim Kempster

Chocolate pot, 9.5" tall, swirl mold A 10, birds flying in snow.

Shaving mug, 3.25" tall, embossed mold not numbered

It is the dream of most R.S. Prussia collectors to find some of the uncommon bird pieces to add to their collection. The birds they look for are the members of the exclusive flock pictured above. But nice as they are, they are not the "Early Birds". Reinhold began decorating porcelain with birds long before these full color transfers were available, and the theme continued until the last years of the company's existence.

The first birds to appear on documented R.S. porcelain are shown in a landscape vignette. This design is shown on a shaving mug in the fall 1890 Butler Brothers wholesale catalog. This décor is a hand colored outline transfer scene (OTS).

The chocolate pot and shaving mug on the left are decorated with completely hand-painted birds on a pink background with raised white dots representing snow flakes. If they do not employ an outline transfer, they may be from an earlier date than the mugs with OTS 1. The birds are outlined in raised slip, often painted gold.

A mustache mug, 3.25" tall, mold A 12. The mug is marked with the R.S. Arrow mark. The scene is similar to OTS 1 shown in the mugs to the right, but differs in the placement of the birds.

The pieces from a child's toy tea set above show two of the birds. The teapot is 5" tall, the creamer is 3" tall, the sugar is 2.75" tall, the cup is 1.5" tall, and the saucer is 3.4" wide. This design with the birds on a pink background with yellow stripes can be found on full sized dishes as well.

This full size chocolate pot is 8" tall, in the Melon mold series. The décor is floral OT 65 plus the flying birds in gold.

During the years from 1894 to about 1900, Reinhold's porcelain was mostly decorated with floral outline transfer decorations, and gold stencil designs. During this period, the birds are present only as a small gold stencil. On smaller pieces such as the toy tea set shown, the bird stencil is the only decoration used. On larger table pieces or decorative items the gold birds were used to highlight the floral design and add more depth and lustre to the finish. These little birds have not been found on porcelain from other manufacturers, so they can help in identifying unfamiliar unmarked pieces of R.S. porcelain.

The birds make one final appearance in the early years of RS Prussia in the form of this rare covered box. It is 5.5" wide and is decorated with OT 11A. After that, the birds are missing until 1903 when the stylized outline transfer swans appear, and they make their big comeback about 1907 when the full color transfer birds are introduced.

Copyright 2009-2012 Jim Kempster