We are often glad and proud of the fact that our designer furniture is made in a factory with a tradition of metalworking that was established in the 1960s. However, the history of production in the town of Plesná on the Czech-German border actually began in 1878, when the foundations were laid by the Päsold family of weavers. The name of our company is actually a reference to the German name of our town – Fleißen.
Visit an exhibition about the history of our factory
Until 3 September 2023, you can visit an exhibition curated by Jana Pokorná Kalousková and Jiří Gordon which chronicles the ups and downs of production in Plesná and tells the story of the town’s founding family. In addition to a timeline, you can see goods from all periods of the factory’s production history: clothes that dressed the whole of Europe, electrical switchboards that lit up Czechoslovak housing estates, and of course Fleysen furniture, thanks to which the factory has once again become a topic of conversation.
/1878–1948/ From the heyday to Great Britain to nationalisation by the communists
The family business began with the hosiery master Johann Adam Wilhelm Päsold, who owned a small workshop with several weaving machines. His son Christoph Adolf Päsold then built on his father’s work by establishing the brand Adolf Päsold & Sohn and building a one-storey factory in Plesná. Subsequent generations continued the successful expansion of the company, installing a steam engine in the factory. Electrification made it possible to increase production through night shifts, and in 1910 construction began on a modern two-storey addition to the first factory building. At this time the company was renamed Adolf Päsold & Son, Factory for Hosiery and Woven Goods, Plesná.
After the First World War, the company began to focus mainly on the markets in Great Britain, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, and part of the family later settled in Great Britain. In 1931, the company even partially moved production to England, building a factory in Langley, southwest of London. The company’s production focus shifted to children’s clothing, which they sold under the brand names Ladybird and White Bear and supplied to Woolworth, Marks & Spencer, and British Home Stores. At its peak, the company employed over seven thousand people in England.
The successful growth of the Päsold family’s company was disrupted by the Second World War. The factory in Plesná began making shirts for the German army, and 60% of the company’s production had to be released to Siemens & Halske. After the war, the Plesná factory renewed operations, but this lasted only until 1948, when all of the Päsold family’s Czechoslovak property was expropriated by the Communist Party and the part of the family that had remained in Czechoslovakia was deported to Great Britain.
/1948–2018/ Prefab apartment blocks as a gold mine and the difficult years after the revolution
The factory in Plesná became the property of the national enterprise Tosta Aš, which used the premises merely as a warehouse, and so the building began to deteriorate. However, it was thanks to the development of prefabricated housing estates in communist Czechoslovakia that the factory was transformed from a textile mill into an electrical switchboard plant. In the 1960s the national enterprise Stavokonstrukce Praha began producing electrical switchboards in the nearby town of Luby, and when they could not keep up with production demands, the disused factory in Plesná provided a solution. The building in Plesná was repaired in 1963, and production commenced there one year later.
After the revolution in 1989, it was necessary to adapt to the new times. Prefabricated housing estates were no longer being built in great numbers, and so the factories in Plesná and Luby gradually shifted production to metal cabinets and shelves for workshops and warehouses. In 1991 the company ELROZ was founded. In order to reduce costs, all production was moved to Plesná in 1999 and the factory in Luby was sold.
/2018–present/ Sustainable furniture with respect for tradition
The fact that the factory is now in full swing every day is thanks to Filip Dušek. After joining the company in 2018 as an investor, what began as a pragmatic economic endeavour quickly turned into a passion project. Dušek decided to combine traditional metal production with modern design and set about revitalising the factory. He continued the manufacturing of switchboards and other industrial products but added a line of aesthetic metal furniture.
Dušek approached designers Filip Mirbauer and Michal Strach to create the new line of furniture and home accessories, and in 2021 the factory produced the first collection under the brand name Fleysen, a reference to the original name of the town of Plesná. The very first series of Fleysen furniture was nominated for Czech Grand Design and Designblok awards in the furniture category. In a short interview, the designers provided some insight into how they create the furniture and how the whole collaboration works.
In May 2023 we welcomed some rare visitors to Plesná. Karin von Joest and Colin Päsold, children of Rolf Päsold, who was instrumental in the company’s rise to prominence in the UK, came to see how the factory runs today. When Ms. von Joest entered the factory hall and spotted a poster of Tomáš Baťa, she said: “Oh, that’s Baťa. I always used to run into his son when we went skiing.”
The factory thus survived the long and troubled twentieth century, and its story lives on. By purchasing Fleysen products, you too can become a part of it.
At the end of May 2023, we welcomed a rare visit to our factory. At the invitation of the owner, Filip Dušek, the children of Rolf Päsold (on the black and white photo far left), Mrs. Karin von Joest, and Mr. Colin Pasold, came. It was a very pleasant and inspiring meeting. Their family was among the most significant regional industrialists. Their father, as the closest collaborator of his brother Eric, contributed to the establishment of a company, which between the wars, and especially in the 50s and 60s of the 20th century, was one of the largest manufacturers of children's clothing in Europe. When Mrs. Karin entered the hall and saw the poster with Tomáš Baťa, she said, "Oh, Baťa, we used to meet his son while skiing". How little we know about the places where we live and about the history of the people who lived and worked here... To fill at least some of this gap, we are preparing a book together with GAVU, and especially with Jana Kalousková Pokorná.