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The year was 1871. The place, Thuringia, a region of Germany long noted for exquisite porcelain. In the ancient town of Oeslau, Franz Detleff Goebel and his son, William, were founding a firm. Franz Detleff Goebel was a porcelain merchant with an ambition to own his own operation. At first, Franz and William Goebel made slate pencils and children's marbles, since they lacked the money and means to produce porcelain. What's more, the Coburg Duke, fearing fires, refused to allow a porcelain operation in town. But Franz Detleff was determined to produce porcelain in Oeslau. He had wisely selected the spot for its plentiful labor, access to rich clay deposits, and the running waters of the River Roeden. (Oeslau was later renamed Rödental after its lifeblood, the river.) After a few years, armed with profits from the slate and marble business, Franz Detleff urgently petitioned the Duke. He was given a tract of land on the outskirts of town and permission to build his porcelain works.

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