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The Belleek Mark - "Without Which None Is Genuine"
All of our Belleek's Giftware marks, with minor exceptions, include symbols which are unmistakably Irish – The Irish Wolfhound with head turned to face the Round Tower believed to be modelled on Fermanagh's own Devenish Round Tower, the Irish Harp and sprigs of shamrock which border the ends of the banner at base of each design and carries the single word Belleek.
Select your required mark for more detailed information:
The colour of the mark during this period was predominantly black but other colours were used, amongst them red, blue, orange, green, brown, and pink. Some pieces of Belleek also carry the British Patent Office registration mark which gives the date of registration, not the date the piece was manufactured. During this period Belleek also used impressed mark, with the words "Belleek,CO. FERMANAGH" or "Belleek", or a small impressed mark of a harp or harp and crown. The latter are more usually found on Earthenware piece.
Second Black Mark - 1891 - 1926 The Second mark used from 1891- 1926 reflects the addition of a ribbon surrounding the lower half of the design for the first mark on which appears the words "CO FERMANAGH IRELAND" The change in the trademark occurred in 1891 in compliance with the 1891 Mc Kinley Tariff Act and the 1887 British Merchandise Act as amended in 1891,requiring the country of origin to be specified on the article. The mark is black. Wherever impressed marks were used, particularly with figurines the word "IRELAND" is added. Sometimes discolouration or fading is seen in this mark. Although it is not definite why this occurred, it is likely that this product was made during the First World War when materials were difficult to acquire and inferior materials were used.
Third Period Black Mark - 1926 - 1946 Introduced in 1926, possibly to mark the Wembley Exhibition of that year. It also contains the registry mark "REG No 0857". Interestingly this registry mark dates from 1884 but was only used from 1926! This mark is always black and was used up to 1946. Around scroll with Celtic decoration and the words "deanta in eireann" (made in Ireland) added. On Earthenware the stamp Belleek changed to "Melvin Ware" in 1936 probably to distinguish it from the more prestigious Parian China.
The Pottery resumed full production in 1946 In tests carried out on backstamps, green was felt to be less obtrusive than black at showing through the translucent China and thus it was decided to change the colour from black to green. The mark is identical to its predecessor in every way except the colour.
First Period Black Mark - 1863 - 1890 A capital "R" in a circle was added in 1955 to signify that the trademark had been registered in the United States. The additional mark is placed immediately above the right hand tip of the banner with the words "CO FERMANAGH IRELAND" the mark is Green.
The size of the mark was reduced in 1965 probably to accommodate placing stamps on smaller pieces. The "R" in the circle moved to above the harp on the main stamp. The mark is Green.
In April 1980 the seventh mark was introduced to commemorate the centenary of Gold medal won at the Melbourne Exhibition of 1880. The colour was changed to gold and the round disk with "deanta in eireann" was omitted. At sometime around 1984 the gold colour on the mark was substituted with a browner toned gold colour to improve the clarity of the backstamp.
The previous mark was earmarked to be changed in 1990 but due to changes and personnel this date was missed and the mark was not changed until 1993. Blue was chosen as the colour to differentiate it from other marks and it is similar to the second mark in style with the addition of the "R" above the harp.
This change was made due to purely technical reasons. There were a lot of problems with the first blue mark with parts of the mark burning off during firing. This resulted in a lot of pieces having to be re-fired with obvious added costs. New artwork for Belleek packaging had been developed around the same time and it was decided to use the opportunity to match both together.
This mark was introduced to mark the Millennium and is black with the additional legend above the mark "MILLENNIUM 2000" and "IRELAND" below the mark. Limited to pieces made during the year 2000.
The firm of David Mc Birney & Co was formed in 1857 and the lease on the pottery site signed. The lease was for a term of 999 years. Robert Armstrong became the first manager and Art director of the pottery and it is interesting that the symbols chosen for the emblem of the Pottery were the Harp, Round Tower and Wolfhound sitting on an island of shamrocks. These are all- symbolic of Ireland. Perhaps chosen to proclaim the arrival of a new product of Ireland. In turn Belleek itself became symbolic of Ireland and often emigrants would bring a piece of Belleek with them to their new homes across the globe to serve as a reminder of "the old country".
One Hundred and fifty years later we proudly are issuing a new backstamp to celebrate our background and history but equally to proclaim that we are continuing to design and manufacture new products and are dynamically striving to enhance and expand the appeal of Belleek.
Down through the years Belleek have introduced numerous variations on the original trademark introduced by the founders in the 1860s. Initially no great thought was given to changing trademarks and it was first changed in 1891 due to the McKinley Tariff Act that compelled imported product into the United States to state their country of origin. Belleek already had a large export market in the United States among the many Irish emigrants and they immediately saw the benefits of marking Belleek products with "Made in Ireland" This second mark remained in place until 1926 when Belleek introduced its third mark probably to coincide with the Wembley Exhibition of 1926. A circle with Celtic knot work was added with the Gaelic words "deanta in éireann" meaning made in Ireland.
The fourth mark was introduced in 1946 with the only difference between it and the preceding mark was that the colour changed to green. No one is quite sure why the colour changed. Perhaps it was simply to have a different colour of mark. However one explanation given was that a green mark was less noticeable looking at it from the inside of a Belleek piece!
The green fifth mark was introduced in 1955 and a registry "R" replaced the old registered number "0857" It remained until 1965 when the green 6th mark was made smaller and the "R" was positioned above the harp on the stamp.
In 1980 a gold coloured stamp was introduced, shortening the banner inscription to "Ireland" and removing the Celtic disc altogether. Although the original plan was to replace the trademark every ten years after 1980, this did not work out and the next new mark did not come into place until 1993! This blue mark was based on the old second mark but due to its small size and difficulty in firing it successfully, it was decided to replace it in 1997 with a second blue mark larger and with a new representation of the Wolfhound, Round Tower and Harp.
In 2000 Belleek celebrated the Millennium by issuing a black trademark for that year only. It differed from the older black stamps with a banner saying "Millennium 2000" A green mark was introduced in 2001, using a darker colour of green based on Belleek’s corporate green.
In 2007 Belleek celebrated its 150th anniversary and to mark that occasion a special black stamp was issued to commemorate the year. The style of the mark was subtly altered and a banner added above the mark saying "Celebrating 150 years".Bringing us up to date and introducing a new brown 13th trademark that will remain until at least 2017 when Belleek will hopefully celebrate its 160th birthday!
This stamp carries the same ethos and sentiments as the thirteenth mark and the inclusion of Belleek’s website address brings the mark of distinction into the modern age. Belleek understands that the consumer is becoming more and more knowledgeable and is now carrying out a vast amount of buyer research online. Therefore, the company launched its new, innovative website in 2010 and placed the website address on its backstamp as a means of providing further information to its valued customer.
The Belleek Group is one of the largest giftware groups in Ireland, consisting of the world-renowned Belleek Classic brand, Aynsley China, Galway Crystal and Donegal China. In 2003 the group transcended itself into the modern age with its most compelling addition to date; that being the launch of the contemporary and extremely stylish Belleek Living brand. With its inspiring designs, unique style and array of fashionable giftware pieces the Belleek Living brand has strongly positioned itself as a market leader in the home and giftware sector.
The Belleek Group’s worldwide reputation for quality and craftsmanship embodies The Belleek Living concept and the desire to provide designer pieces with practical elements allows many items from the product range to be used every day in homes throughout the world.
Practical tableware, distinctive statement pieces, lighting and now the successful designer jewellery collection have all been passionately designed to fit in with the modern lifestyle. Adding to the success of The Belleek Living brand, Neven Maguire, award-winning Irish TV chef joined forces with the company in 2009, becoming the ambassador for the contemporary range and bringing together two of Ireland’s most recognisable brands.
Belleek Living simply goes from strength to strength and the trademark you see today is a fitting symbol to indicate that your valued item is none other than Belleek Living which is part of the famous Belleek Group.