The history of CHKZ

The history of ceramic production in Chlumčany has been unfolding since 1873. At that time, the Saxon entrepreneur Gustav Oberreit excavated several exploratory shafts and discovered a kaolin deposit. In that same year, the Czech entrepreneurs Čermák and Pečka established a washing facility there, which changed ownership many times in the following years and gradually increased and modernised the mining and treatment of kaolin. In 1912, the first joint-stock company “Dobřanské kaolinové a šamotové závody” was formed, which began an intensive development of ceramic production in Chlumčany.


From 1912-1918 the site produced 9 million sand bricks, 4,000 wagons of sand, 12,500 tonnes of kaolin and 7,000 tonnes of fireclay each year. In 1914, a factory for glazed floor and wall tiles called “Flíska” was built. The name “Flíska” comes from the German name for glazed tiles – Fliesen. “Flíska” was the seed for a host of rapidly growing Czech companies after the first world war.


In 1927, it produced 97,000 m2 of ceramic tiles. In 1929, when it became part of “Západočeské továrny kaolinové-šamotové a slovenské závody magnezitové a.s. Praha”, it produced as many as 280,000 m2. It reached the peak of its output in 1941, when it produced 315,000 m2. In 1943, the Chlumčany factory was severely damaged by air raids. It was only the constructive enthusiasm of the first year of peace in 1945 that restored the factory’s pre-war level of production. In the autumn of that same year, “Západočeské továrny” was nationalised by the Beneš Decree of 24 October 1945.


Even though the era from 1949 - 1989 saw production split into different areas and management subjected to new ideological thinking, the factory was still able to remain healthy, increase its technological capabilities and enter the market successfully. In 1950, it produced 385,000 m2 of tiles, 1.2 million m2 n 1965 and output reached 4 million m2 in 1990.


The long-term strategic decision of focusing on the production of sintered tiles, for which markets had opened at home and within Central Europe, was decisive in the following decade from 1990-2000. A rapid increase in sales facilitated a comprehensive modernisation of production capacities and brought about an increase in production by more than 100% which translates into 8 million m2 a year. Another contribution to that success was the deliberate development and enlargement of the tile portfolio which saw its BohemiaGres brand of tiles installed throughout residential, social, commercial and industrial premises and plants.


In 1998, another significant stage in the history of Chlumčanské keramické závody, a. s. took place when the Austrian firm “Lasselsberger Holding International, GmbH” bought a majority of Chlumčany shares, thereby becoming the majority shareholder. Due to this, it also aquired a controlling interest in the Calofrig Borovany joint-stock company and Borgres, s. r. o., Borovany. In 1999, the Keramika Horní Bříza joint-stock company and Kemat Skalná liability limited company became additional members of this newly formed group. Dynamic development of the group continued by the acquisition of Cemix, s. r. o., Čebín and finally completed the group line-up when it acquired the Rako joint-stock company in 2002.


In 2003, as part of the joint-stock company Lasselsberger, a. s., Chlumčanské keramické závody celebrated its 130th anniversary.


In 2006, the catalogue system was unified and Taurus products and tiles manufactured in the Chlumčany Plant began to be sold under the LB OBJECT and RAKO brands. The creative potential of Chlumčany ceramists continues to grow and develop, which is helped by the use of modern technology. It is a fitting symbol of the tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation in the Chlumčany area for the nearly 140 years that Taurus products, and the broad range of tiles manufactured in Chlumčany, have been enjoying increasing popularity in European markets.


The increasing demand for calibrated large-format tiles led LASSELSBERGER, s. r. o. to decide at the beginning of this year to pursue development of a new calibration line and a line of 60 x 60 cm tiles in the Chlumčany Plant. The installation of this new line, with a capacity of 1 million m2/year, meant virtually doubling the production capacity of calibrated products. Calibrated tiles can be laid in an impressive and very efficient manner with a minimum amount of joints in order to achieve a very uniform appearance.


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