I was watching a documentary about the Ulfberht swords from Scandinavia, and one thing caught my attention: it mentioned that these swords were made over a range of time and location that was broad enough that they couldn't have been made by the same craftsman. That "Ulfberht" name, even if it started as a craftsman's mark, became simply a name for a sword of that particular style, design and quality. Effectively, it became a brand.
That made me wonder: when was the first appearance of "brand names" for products? (For the purposes of this discussion, we can define a "brand name" as an abstract label associated with a particular product and/or production facility, but not with any particular person or simple descriptor. So, not a "Da Vinci painting" or "Italian marble," but something equivalent to a "Nike shoe," where designers can come and go but the name retains its continuity.)
Were there product lines, like swords or dresses or furniture, in Ancient Rome that were known by name, independent of their maker? In China, or Medieval Europe? When did a product first become detached from its maker in the minds of the consumers?