Definition of the term crockery

In the German language, the term crockery has changed significantly over the past few centuries. Originally, “dishes” stood for a large, not firmly defined number of individual objects, which in their entirety serve a coherent use. Due to language development, the number of product families referred to as “dishes” has been greatly reduced, so that today all relevant encyclopedias only refer to “the dishes” as

  • Cookware – consisting of different pots and pans
  • Eating utensils – all of the vessels and utensils used for eating
  • Harness – used to harness draft animals to a cart

A few older generations still know the phrase “put yourself in the belt” which is a modification of the old German ” put yourself in the harness” . ” Put yourself in the harness” meant powerful draft horses that could pull a heavy cart, as well as the maitre or maid who served a delicious or elaborate dish to the table . 

Porcelain is not tableware

The history of porcelain is shaped by many countries, personalities and epochs. Many of them are verifiable, some are embellished, diminished or flattered. It is undisputed, however, that in Europe the porcelain industry was strongly influenced and financed by the aristocracy and special status symbols were created with the “white gold”. 

Until well into the 19th century, porcelain was unaffordable for the common people. The lower classes ate from wood, tin or earthenware.

This circumstance is the reason why the porcelain maker never calls his goods crockery!    

Porcelain was of aristocratic origin and served to represent and underline pleasures. With the “primitive crockery” one did not want to put oneself on the same level and so one called “the entirety of a porcelain set” a service. 

Certainly we have to endure certain “weathering” of concepts in the modern use of language. But to describe porcelain as “dishes” is a sacrilege! Like calling the diamond a mere stone! “Real stones” as well as “ceramic tableware” do not define any statements or reference points about the quality and value of the product.  

The term “dishes” should therefore only be used by a specialist for ceramic and cooking utensils, i.e. the entirety of qualitatively and quantitatively undefined, undefinable qualities. 

Porcelain, on the other hand, is a quality definition that guarantees very unique features thanks to the raw material kaolin  and the firing temperature above 1,300 °C  ! If we at Holst Porzellan use the word “dishes” on one or the other page of our homepage, then this is only due to the decay of the language and is based exclusively on the ranking of the Google search terms for certain products in our range. 

For the consumer, the distinction between ceramics and porcelain will become considerably more important in the future. Please read more about this in our  article Porcelain vs. Ceramics.

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