It all began in the Thuringian Forest nearly 100 years ago where Mr. Richard Mahr created nativity figurines made out of papier-mache at his parents home. The first figurines had a serene look with a Nazarene style. Later, in 1920, a new style arose when the young talented designer, Mr. Julius Weigelt, joined the company. His style¯ can be seen, even today, on all MAROLIN products. Mr. Richard Mahr was always open for new talents and designers. He supported his new young employees in every way he could. His instinctive sense for business advanced the company even during the years before World War II. MAROLIN became known worldwide as a company for handcrafted Christmas items made from papier-mache until the break of World War II. After World War II, MAROLIN started out with lots of positive promises, but the division of Germany stopped most of these developments.
Casualties of War
Their home-business being in the way of the INFAMOUS WALL the family was told by the East German Government at that time, to vacate within 6 days. They were told, that they could only take some personal belongings. The family used their six days to bury all their famous molds underneath their homestead. Than they left, leaving everything behind; business; home; all belongings.
Only after the WALL came down and their papers had cleared and they finally got their property back, were they able to start enew.
So, finally, 45 years after the end of World War II, around 1990, the earlier supporters of MAROLIN products began arousing the efforts of their activities with their strong interest in collecting the handcrafted papier-mache items and one-of-a-kind Christmas figurines. The traditional molds used to create these figurines were the most desired and collected German Christmas items.
The Making of Paper Mache Items
As early as the middle of the 19th century, papier-mache was used to create dolls, animals and figurines. The content of the type of papier-mache used in Thuringian toy and doll areas is still today kept secret. Each cottage industry workshop continues to protect its secret mixtures. The papier-mache contains certain amounts of clay, kaolin, plant-glue and paper pulp. Figurines with a height taller than 4.9 inches are poured into a form to create a hollow body. Since plaster of Paris is the liquid poured into these forms, it sucks up the moisture in liquid and pushes it against the walls of the form. After 6 hours the form is opened and the figurine can be dried. If necessary the figurine can be perfected by modeling dried, pressed material on the imperfect parts of the figurine. Small figurines can also be created this way. The papier-mache material is pressed by hand into the form and then touched up for drying. Large figurines can be additionally fortified by thin wire. The drying process takes place in a stove at 70°C. So it takes two types of artisans to create one MAROLIN figurine: the pourer and the hand-pressed¯ artisan. The two create one figurine, step by step. Lastly, the most important step in the creation of a MAROLIN papier-mache figurine is completed with the delicate skill of the painter. The figure should gain depth, shine and everlasting impression when the coat of a paint called patina¯ is attentively applied. Even today every MAROLIN figure gets the same artisan attention it was given in the past. The cottage industry of the Thuringian area of Germany is proud that the company never lost its original methods established by Richard Mahr and continued to preserve the art of creating papier-mache handicrafts.