In 1865 Moritz Gottschalk - born 1840 - founded a bookbinding shop in the small town Marienberg in the Ore Mountains of Germany. From 1873 on he produced also dollshouses and other toys. When two years later the railway came to Marienberg the factory grew larger and larger. They exported to England, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and America. That is why Gottschalk dollshouses can be found all over the world. In some capitals were showrooms of his products and in the USA was an agency of his firm. His dollshouses were world famous.
The architectural styles of each period were transfered to the miniature houses. The wooden dollhouses were often pasted with lithographic paper, which imitated the facades of the time. Windows at the sides of the building were sometimes only drawn on the paper.
Until about 1919 the roofs were blue after that they were red. Many dollshouses were marked underneath with a number which can be found in the catalogues.
The designers' inventiveness was unlimited:
abundantly decorated, huge and luxurious dolls mansions, but also the small cottage, houses with a dolls' lift, with extricable or hinged gardens, with electric light, with moveable awnings, even round room boxes or dollshouses, caravans, kitchens, foldable room boxes, school rooms, baths, stables, later garages, castles, shops of any kind, from the butcher's to the apothecary's, from the magnificent pastry shop with café to a grand department store, or a market hall, a farm, a house boat, an airport, a theatre or a garden with pavillons.
Christian Hacker and Albin Schönherr were further world-famous dollshouse manufacturers of that period. Schönherr was a former employee of Moritz Gottschalk and many of his dollshouses are barely distinguishable from Gottschalk's houses. What is more, naturally other companies copied the style of the period, too, thus complicating the identification even more.
1905 Moritz Gottschalk died but the company remained family-owned, first by one of his sons, then by his widow, then by her new husband, then his son ... Swantje Köhler followed carefully all those changes in ownership.
During the two world wars the production stopped. After WWI it took some time before a new catalogue was published, and the first catalogues assumed the pre-war style. But after 1923 there were only newly designed models to be found in the catalogues.
After WWII this toy manufacture, too, was in the eastern zone of occupied Germany and the Soviets disassembled large parts of still existing factories to ship them to the Soviet Union as a form of reparations.
Nevertheless from 1947 on the Moritz Gottschalk company built dollshouses again. The end of the long-established firm came 1972 when all remaining private enterprises of the German Democratic Republic were dispossessed and nationalized. Toy companies were incorporated in the nationally-owned enterprise VERO. For some years they continued to build single toy parts in Marienberg, then the historic factory is partly destroyed by a fire. The remaining buildings were demolished in 1999 to make room for a sports hall.
1994 Evelyn Ackermann "The genius of Moritz Gottschalk"
2000 "Moritz Gottschalk 1892 - 1931"
2003 Marianne Cieslik, Swantje Köhler "Lexikon der Puppenstuben und Puppenhäuser"
2004 Femmie Markestein, Karin Wester: "Poppenhuizen 1880-1980"