The very first roots of the Granit company can be found in 1920. The Budapest-Szentlorinci Brick Factory in Kispest acquired a department with a kiln (edényégetö) with 30 to 50 employees. They covered the inside of the pots created with a white glaze coat. This experiment caught the attention of financial partners, for example the Hungarian General Credit Bank and the General Mining Company. In 1922, a factory was designed for the porcelain and ceramics. The products of the joint-stock company simply became known as ‘Kispest’ stoneware, after the city the factory was localized in. It’s main aim was to be a financially stable company that mass produced cheap and durable stoneware.

The construction of the plant started on April 1st 1923, on a property near the traintracks in the direction of Lajosmizse, a small village. Pilot production started in October 1923, full production began in April 1924. Starting with 80 male and 17 female employees, the number quickly increases to approximately 200 employees by the end of the year. The company produced dinner, tea and coffee services and decorative ornaments. Ceramic artists used the building to design, usually based on foreign designs and assignments. From a European point of view, the factory was very modern. They had the very first tunnel furnace of Hungary.

In 1938, there were some significant changes in the company. The management wanted a new name to be able to do more marketing for their products. They had developed into one of the biggest factories in Europe, with the most furnaces and the second biggest plant. Therefore, the name of the company was changed to ‘Granit’. The full name in Hungarian at this point was ‘Gránit Porcellán- és Köedényárugyár’ (translated ‘Granit, Porcelain and stoneware products factory’). In 1940, life at the factory is dominated by the second World War. Export opportunities are slim, but domestic sales increase due to a lack of iron pots (all iron was used for the war). The situation worsens in 1942: fuel is barely available anymore. At request of the management of the factory, it was declared a defense plant. The scarcity of goods causes the prices of the products to rise, which was front page news in 1944.

The war did a lot of damage to the grounds of the factory. One of those damages was the burned down plaster workshop. At this point, the company was fully owned by the Hungarian State Mining Company. After the war, the company was slowly taking steps to restart production, while it’s employees slowly healed from the war. The production of regular goods started again on July 20th, 1945. In 1948, the factory was nationalized. The nationalization streamlined production and direct sale was ceased. In the year after the nationalization, production increased rapidly. Sales, however, could not keep up. By the end of 1948, the factory had a significant amount of accumulated product, which could only be sold for a very low price. The factory reorganized and the production of sanitary products was ceased, despite the fact that it was recognized that their quality was better than the quality of the products from the Zsolnay factory, also in Budapest. Unsold products by the end of 1949 were given to Porcelain factory Fayance.

In 1950, the factory was transformed into a factory for fine ceramics. On top of that, the Ministry of Heavy Industry decided to place an emery wheel in the factory. As the products of the company changed, so did the name. The full Hungarian name now was: ‘Gránit Csiszolókorong és Köedénygyár’, which roughly translates to ‘Granit, emery wheel and stoneware factory’. The demand for the earthenware increased inside and outside the country. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, the range of products was expanded with gift items and decorative figures. The best known product of artistic nature were richly decorated vases, ordered by Swiss-American merchants. These were very similar to work of the Fischer company. In 1960, the production of multi-colored glazed plates was reduced in order to establish high quality. From 1960 onwards, artists who were trained in the factory worked on new forms, colors and decorative motifs to use. Some of the artworks made in the factory have been displayed in National Artwork Exhibitions.

In 1972, when the factory celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, a book was published on the history of 50 years of Granit. The book is called ‘A Gránit gyár 50 éve’ and is written (in Hungarian) by Ivan Kapolnai. In 1990, the factory was split up into separate units. Production of the porcelain and earthenware eventually ceased in 2001-2002. The emery stone part of the company still exists to this date. Click here to visit their website.

This information has been translated from Hungarian. Please let us know if you have any corrections or suggestions.