15 June 1907 the administration of Louchki gave written approval to Benjamin Franklin Hunt – representative of «Benjamin F. Hunt and Sons, Boston» – for construction of a porcelain factory at the site of the previous Rudger’s brick plant. Benjamin Franklin Hunt founded the limited liability company «Egerländer Porzellanfabrik Elbogen, G.m.b.H.». At that time it was a most singular occasion for a foreign homage to get such permission. There were rumors that some people of great influence facilitated him, because they were interested in merging of porcelain manufacture in the country, which would be competitive to leading European producers.
Production of porcelain became traditional in the area of Karlovy Vary and Sokolovsky region, because of great resources of kaolin, loam and other raw materials. Moreover, there were enough wood resources for production from Krushiny mountains and Slavkovsky forest. Exceptional location provided not only high quality materials, but also linked the plant with railway line Loket – Nové Sedlo, that gave a possibility to export the products.
Benjamin Hunt and Eleanor Hunt – the owners of art and calcinations shops of the Loket’s porcelain plant – became the directors of the company. By those times “Benjamin F. Hunt and Sons” company had already been cooperated with Loket’s company “Austria”, because just in 1896 B.F. Hunt signed an agreement with the owner of “Austria” company – Karl Shpek concerning exploitation of some parts of the plant. Building and construction works started in 1904-1905. However, before the works were completed the firm went bankrupt in connection with financial crisis in USA. The construction was stopped.
8 December 1909 the procurator of «Egerländer Porzellanfabrik Elbogen, G.m.b.H.» doctor Yuliy Geller signed with Rudolf Diterl, the director of glass factory of Simens in Nove Sedlo, and Rudolf Kämpf from Grunlas – the renter of porcelain plant in Yalov Dvor, the agreement of sale and purchase of incomplete building of porcelain factory with surrounding areas.
21 July 1910 both the partners got a concession for porcelain production from the beginning of 1912, and 25 September 1911 signed a foundation agreement. On the base of this agreement the firm was registered in commercial register under the name of “Porzellan fabrik Rudolf Kämpf GmbH, Grünlas”.
In December the plant was registered again under the name of «Rudolf Kämpf GmbH, Fabrikation und Vertrieb von Porzellanwaren und der dazu gehörigen Nebenprodukte, in Grünlas». As logotype they chose the image of crown with letters RGK below, which meant Rudolf Grunlas Kämpf.
The technology of porcelain production at those times was much different from today technology. Raw materials were brought by drays, or from railway – by trolleys through single-track lines. The plant generally produced cups, but after modification of production process they produced the whole thick-, and thin-walled dinner and coffee sets.
Rudolf Kämpf was a skilled businessman. The company prospered under his guidance. 19 March 1918 he died and his interest (a third part of the whole property) was shared between his widow Y. Kampfova, his daughter Antonia Kummelmanova, the wife of the director of porcelain plant in Selb, and the son Huns Kampf, who headed the company after his father’s death.
Impeccable quality, that differed company products, was highly estimated abroad. Manufactory’s export amounted to 86% from total production scale. Holland, Italy, Austria and a number of other states were constantly completing the list of importers.
But the most amazing fact is that Czech porcelain was exported successfully to the countries, which had their own local high-class porcelain factories: Hungary, England, Germany, France.
In 1936 the factory went through astounding growth: in one year production scale rose to more than 2 million items. One of the main reasons for success was that the company was among the first to start production of colored porcelain: ivory, rose (so-called rose porcelain), blue and green.
After the 2nd World War the factory suffered a significant change. With coming of new authority of the country the company was nationalized and became a part of Slavkovsky porcelan group. And in 1958 – the part of Karlovarsky porcelan concern, which was ruled by the government. At the meantime the government placed great confidence in the company to present Czech porcelain industry at the international exhibition in Montreal. The massive success at this exhibition aroused much interest to the Czech company and as a result raised additional government investments. The factory was tooled up with the newest equipment, so being the most advanced and progressive enterprise in the region it became the national honor of Czech Republic. At this particular time the company started production of legendary sets based on Mary Anne shape (the author – Jiri Lastoviska) and Sabina shape (the author – Ales Trpkos).
In November 1992 the factory changed ownership to Leander 1946 s.r.o. company and from this time it was named LEANDER. In production Leander company used special art technologies such as elegant decorating of precious metals. Actually in this period of time Leander manufactory became one of the most significant producers of art porcelain in global scale.
In 2006 Leander company was sold to the new owner – CS Investment Czech holding, which kept developing age-old traditions of creating high-quality porcelain items. New owners return the name of the founder to the factory and today it names Rudolf Kampf and produces porcelain under 3 trademarks:
- Rudolf Kämpf – exclusive premium-class handmade porcelain
- LEANDER – mass-market porcelain, which is well-known very popular all over the world
- LEANDER HoReCa – professional porcelain for hotels, restaurants and service industry
At the beginning of 2008 the technical re-equipment of the plant took place so that Rudolf Kämpf manufacture became the most equipped one in Czech Republic.
Besides, Rudolf Kämpf closely cooperates with leading international companies in the sphere of performing exclusive hand-painted porcelain items. For example, the most popular are Rudolf Kämpf porcelain sets with corporate logo, emblem or monogram of the client. Many representatives of top business and political circles, celebrities and even monarchial persons are proud owners of Rudolf Kämpf exclusive porcelain.
Today top quality products of Rudolf Kämpf have a strong position in the market of Middle East through the exclusive distributor Dunes of Arabia trading company, in Russia – through the exclusive distributor Art Market Group ltd., in Ukraine – through the representative office Rudolf Kämpf Ukraine, and it also has the branch of mono-brand boutiques.