Around 1875 decalcomania pictures came into use for decorating earthenware. These were adhesive prints on which the design was printed with a kind of glaze. A coat of a special, sticky varnish was put on the prints, then they were put over the object and rubbed on. The paper was removed with water. In de oven the image was fixed onto the earthenware object.
The decalcomania pictures - decals for short - were mostly bought from specialised firms. The collection includes decals supplied by German firms such as Zierdruckanstalt Lindenruh in Lindenruh-Glogau, E. Wunderlich in Waldenburg-Altwasser and Buntdruckerei für Keramik Carl Nitzke in Leipzig.
Decalcomania pictures offered the possibility to apply more detailed and multi-coloured designs onto the products. Unlike earlier decoration techniques, which could be applied under as well as over the glaze, decalcomania pictures were applied exclusively over the glaze.