The beginnings of the Goebel Company date back to 1871. In the small town of Oeslau, Germany, Franz Detless Goebel founded the F. and W. Goebel Company. Primarily, the company would produce items such as slates and pencils. Goebel’s factory was situated beneath the Coburg Castle in Bavaria. In 1879, the Duke and Steward of Coburg Castle granted permission for the Goebel family to build their first kiln. Franz Goebel invited his son, William, to be his partner in growing and managing the business. Together, the two committed themselves to being innovative producers of fine porcelain. The company soon expanded to make dinnerware pieces and figurines.
By 1909, Franz and William began seeing an opportunity to export their product. In 1911, F. W. Goebel Co. introduced its first line of figurines and began an international marketing campaign. As the company continued to grow, so did the lines of products made by F. W. Goebel. The international success of Goebel’s figurines caused the Goebel family to introduce the concept that figurines could be associated with emotion and not just be decorative objects. Additionally, the company became the first to market their artists as aggressively as they did their product. This would become especially important in the marketing of M.I. Hummel figurines.
In 1935, the company introduced its most successful line to date. Sister Maria Innocentia produced a series of religious cards for the convent in which she lived. Her work came to the attention of F. and W. Goebel. An agreement was made between Goebel, Sister Hummel, and her convent. Goebel hired artists to “interpret” Hummel drawings by making them into three dimensional figurines. Sister Hummel’s art captured the innocence of childhood and the figurines were to be as delightful as her drawings. The immediate success of the M.I. Hummel line caused the company to continue to expand and grow. Throughout the 20th century, Goebel would experiment with new techniques in glazing porcelain. In the 1950, the company began producing a small line of toys. By 1967, Goebel would open a separate factory for the producing of toys.
Since Goebel’s experiment in making toys, the company has introduced a number of unique lines including lamps, salt-glazed leadless stonewares, and stemware. Today, the company is called Goebel Porzellanfabrik. The Goebel Company remains successful and continues to produce many beautiful lines of figurines and china including “ Red Heads” and “ Co-Boys.” Goebel Porzellanfabrik is still owned by the Goebel family whose leadership of the company is in its fifth generation.