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Arabia bottoms marks

Numerous publications include catalogs about Arabia's factory stamps. These catalogs are the best way to identify the time era of Arabia items. The stamp pattern usually has a concrete, production related paragon. Triangular stamp with A-letters in the corner (1987-1907) represents triangular fuel support (napi in Finnish). The fuel support leaves three little spots in the bottom of items when the glazing is added. "Rat tail" calligraphy stamp ends with a stylish Art Nouveau style loop, which is placed under the text (1900-1920).

APA stamp from years 1917-1927 is also called as "tower stamp" and it represents a round shaped kiln, which was used to firing process. The letters were changed to AAA (1928-1932) when the factory changed its name to Arabia Porslinsfabrik Ab. The functionalist pipe stamp (1932-1949) by Kurt Ekholm portrays the tunnel kilns, which represent the technical progress of the factory.

The different versions of the "crown stamp" have been used from the year 1949 until today. Both APA and AAA stamps portrayed the edges of the kiln oven pipes "wreath" and these were used as a paragon for the crown stamp. Kaj Franck decided to turn the wreath upside down and that's how the crown stamp was formed. Factory seconds are not usually stamped. Factory second items had a marking 2 or II in between 1930-1950. From the 1950s some products (like Kilta) has a cold stamp on top of the glazing. This is not fired in the product and it wears out when the item is washed.

You might find the production time including year and a month. Until the 1950s the stamp was imprinted in the body. After that until year 1974 the stamps were usually colored. In 1940-1950s both stamping techniques were used. Timing stamping was started in 1900 and it formed from two, three or four number series. The first or the first two numbers signified the production year and the last or the two last numbers signified the production month. Interpretations: 06 = June 1900, 123 = March 1912, 112 = December 1901 or February 1911, you need other sources to identify the correct time, 2411 = November 1924.

The meaning of the numbers changed in the 1940s so that the first numbers signified the production month and the later the production year. 545 = May 1945, 554 = May 1954. Both stamping styles were used at the same time, which can cause confusion, but the stamps were intended for the company's internal use so that the employees can place the items they handled to the correct time period.  

For the company's internal use each item has a model marking. This marking is a letter or a letter pair. This locates in the bottom of the item and it's stamped in the mass. Sometimes it can be seen clearly and sometimes it's almost invisible depending on the intensity of the stamp and the thickness of the glazing. Usually it's combined with the full marking, for example tureen FQ 1 or platter AB15. The model markings used be the same as what Rörstrand was using. When a certain model was discontinued, its model marking was discontinued as well, but sometimes it was given to another model.

That's why Arabia has had two non-simultaneous A-, AR-, E- and X -model sets. Only occasionally the model marking signify the designer's initials (for example BK = Birger Kaipiainen's Paratiisi). Letters and numbers and their combinations can also refer to body or glazing markings.  

Star marked dish sets included X/Z (Fasaani), AR (decorations number 14 and Alku), AQ (decoration Signe) and AS (decoration 22). Star porcelain was sold between 1930-1937 as inexpensive house ware and they were not sorted to prime and secondary quality. This "standard quality" and high volume mass production allowed keeping the prices reasonable.

Star porcelain was especially recommended for young couples as their first dish set. A lion character inside a circle signifies dishware that was produced for the State Agency (now called Hansel). These dish sets were used in different State Agencies including day care centers, schools, bureaus, garrisons and prisons.