Johann Gotthelf Greiner was a German glassmaker who was born on February 22, 1732 in Scheibe-Alsbach Thuringia. He came from a family of well-known glassmakers and was the descendant of Hand Greiner of Thuringen, Germany who was the first to build a glass factory in Limbach. Gotthelf started making glass figurines at the age of 12 and when he turned 18, he managed the glass factory.
His career from glassmaking to doll-making took a turn in 1761 when he worked with Gottfried Greiner and Georg Dummler. They began producing hard paste porcelain which had a different chemical composition with the other porcelain mixture known at that time. They then turned the glass factory into a doll making venture. Greiner’s creations were widely accepted by the people and other doll manufacturers during that era. They manufactured doll and doll parts which they supply to other doll manufacturers.
Greiner also managed and leased other porcelain factories in Germany. They had manufactured several dolls and accepted orders from major doll companies of their era. The production of these porcelain dolls dated from 1850 to around the 1930’s.
Some of the factories Greiner was associated with were:
1) Limbach Porcelain Manufacture (1751)
2) Sitzendorf Volkstedt Porzellanfabrik (1760)
3) Wallendorf Porzellanfabrik (1764)
4) Limbach Porzellanfabrik (1772)
5) Gera Porzellanfabrik (1779)
6) Grossbreitenbach Porzellanfabrik (1783 )
7) Rauenstein Porzellanfabrik (1783)
8) IImenau Porzellanfabrik (1786-1796, rented)
9) Tettau Porzellanfabrik (1794)
10) Kloster Veilsdorf Porzellanfabrik (1797)
The company was known for its Child, Dolly Face, and Character dolls. One of their famous creations was the Penny Doll which had a bisque doll head on composition kid body. The company also created several other dolls and figurines with different materials such as the small doll house dolls, mechanical toys with pull string, small doll houses dolls, and bathing dolls. Some of the dolls with the Limbach mold had the mold number 8660 with a clover leaf symbol under it.
Most of the dolls created by Greiner had painted eyes, bisque heads, and marked with the mold number and the three-leaf clover. Some of the mold numbers created by the company are 1772, 8552, 8553, 8660, 8661, 8679, 8682, 8822, 8833, 8857, 8867, and 8887. There were also several doll series introduced by the company and some of the well known doll names were Norma, Rita, and Sally. Due to the contribution of Greiner to the porcelain doll making, he was then later known as the Father of Thurginian Porcelain.
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