A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU

an article of Prof. David N. Nikogosyan,
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland,
for
ASCAS - Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
a small collection of antique silver and objects of vertu
A list of articles on European continental silver plate marks collected by Prof. David N. Nikogosyan, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
 
(click on photos to enlarge image)

MARKS OF EUROPEAN SILVER PLATE:
III. BOHRMANN, HARTMANN & HEPP, GERMANY

In the current Member?s Window, I am continuing the discussion of marks issued by the continental producers of silver plate active during the Art Nouveau period. This time I will present three rather unknown German companies (in comparison with the well-documented Wuerttemberg Metalware Factory or WMF and the renowned August Wellner & Sons Factory in Aue, Saxony).
In 2000 at the antique market "Izmailovo", Moscow, Russia, I acquired my first item of Bohrmann silver plate, a large milk can, for 15 US $. It was freezing cold (-25ºC) and was difficult to use a lens, which was immediately covered by frost, originating from my breath, nevertheless, I managed to read the mark and was surprised to find that besides the name of a maker, it contained the place and the year (!) of production. To the best of my knowledge, I do not know any other silver plate company in Europe, which marked regularly the year of production. In USA, the famous International Silver Company did so.  
A large milk can from Hotel Metropole in Frankfurt am Main, made by Bohrmann
 
My first Hepp item was acquired through the German ebay site in 2006 (for the symbolic price of 6 euros). The seller advertised this little coffee-pot with numerous spots of partial damage in the silver coating as "found in the ruins of Dresden city after its bombardment in February 1945". Usually, I do not believe much such stories, but this item was sold inside a set of six pieces and all of them were bearing the logo of Kreuzkamm, the historical café in the centre of old Dresden, Altmarkt, 14. The mark, put on this piece, looked very strange, "GEBRHEPP", and I couldn?t understand the sense until my German wife told me that GEBR is a common shortening for the German word "Gebrueder" (Brothers) and therefore the company name is simply Brothers Hepp.
A small coffee-pot from Dresden, made by Hepp
 
My first Hartmann piece was bought in 2004 in London through the site ebay.co.uk for only 3 £. It was in very bad condition and I spent some time with its cleaning and restoration. The mark on the bottom was nearly erased; however, using a strong lens, I managed to read "E.HARTMANN, MÜNCHEN". Though since that time I have acquired more than a dozen beautiful items produced by this factory, my knowledge of this producer is still very scarce.
A 20 cl coffee-pot from London, made by Hartmann
 
The above-mentioned firms were active at the same time and therefore the pieces made by different factories were stylistically very similar. On the photos below the left column represents the Hepp items, whereas the right column contains the pieces made by Hartmann (upper two rows) or by Bohrmann (bottom row).
The comparison between the similar items:
in the first row two coffee-pots, made by Hepp (left) and Hartmann (right);
in the second row a teapot made by Hepp and a sugar bowl made by Hartmann;
in the third row two coffee-pots, made by Hepp (left) and by Bohrmann (right).
I tried to find some information about these three factories on the Internet. I found that the Bohrmann factory of silver-plated hollowware and cutlery was founded in Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt on Main) in 1871 by B. Bohrmann and his partner, Stern. From 1881, the factory was directed by Bohrmann?s successor, August Gruenebaum, and Leopold Kahn. From 1894, the foundry changed its name to ?Fabrik versilberter Tafelgeräte B. Bohrmann Nachfolger?, which means B. Bohrmann?s Successor Factory of Silver-Plated Table Utensils. This factory existed at least until the end of the twenties.
The Gebrueder Hepp (Hepp Brothers, shortened to GEBR HEPP) Metalware Factory was founded in 1863 in Pforzheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. It produced silver-plated cutlery and table utensils for many renowned German hotels such as Hotel Frankfurter Hof (Frankfurt a/M, 1876), Hotel Ruf (Pforzheim, 1909), Hotel Adlon (Berlin, 1924), Hotel Deutscher Hof (Nuernberg, 1938), for the Bayreuth Festival Theater (1894), for the German Reichstag (Parlament, 1927), etc. In 1916, the company was sold to Albert Lange, and, in 1929, to Erich Frank, however, it continued to operate under the initial name. On February 23rd 1945, the plant and all its installations were destroyed, but six years later the factory was revived. In 1988 the GEBR HEPP factory was taken over by the famous company, Wuerttemberg Metalware Factory (WMF).
Sad to say, very little is known about the E. Hartmann foundry of silver-plated hollowware and cutlery. It was founded by Eduard Hartmann in Munich at the end of the XIX century and operated until World War II. The items produced by this maker are of excellent design and high quality, and probably are the best from the three companies mentioned. Below, I am presenting some Hartmann pieces from my collection.
milk can made by Hartmann coffee-pot made by Hartmann
a 16 cl milk can
a 26 cl coffee-pot
coffee-pot from Bahnhofshotel Coburg made by Hartmann coffee-pot with the inscription O.Kallenbach made by Hartmann
a 12 cl coffee-pot from
Bahnhofshotel Coburg
a 16 cl coffee-pot with the
inscription "O.Kallenbach"
ice-cream cup with the inscription Bad-Kohlgrub made by Hartmann ash-tray with match-holder with the inscription Fritz Dreier made by Hartmann
an ice-cream cup with the inscription
"Bad-Kohlgrub"
an ash-tray with match-holder with
the inscription "Fritz Dreier"
Below, I am presenting silver plate marks of Bohrmann, Hepp and Hartmann, issued at the end of XIX until the beginning of XX centuries. For the measurements of marks, a microscope with 0.05 mm accuracy was used. All the photographs were made by a Fuji FinePix S7000 camera.
Bohrmann marks
 
MARK

 
COMMENT

 
 
 
1
 
Mark with  the inscription B.BOHRMANN NACHFOLGER FRANKFURT A/M

Mark with  the inscription B.BOHRMANN NACHFOLGER FRANKFURT A/M
 
Marked by the inscription "B.BOHRMANN NACHFOLGER FRANKFURT A/M" in the circle of 12 mm in diameter. The length of "FRANKFURT" word is 9.2-9.9 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "F" letter is 5.6-5.9. In the rhombus from the right side of the mark is the year of production (last two digits). The meaning of two digits from the left side of the mark is unknown.

 
 
2
 
Mark with  the inscription B.BOHRMANN NACHFOLGER FRANKFURT A/M
Marked by the inscription "B.BOHRMANN NACHFOLGER FRANKFURT A/M" in the circle of 12 mm in diameter. The length of "FRANKFURT" word is 9.6 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "F" letter is 5.6. In the rhombus from the right side of the mark is the year of production. The meaning of two digits from the left side of the mark is unknown.
 
3
 
Mark with  the inscription BOHRMANN Mark with  the inscription BOHRMANN
Marked by the inscription "BOHRMANN". The length of "BOHRMANN" word is 6 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of ?B? letter is 7.7-8.5. In the rhombus from the right side of the mark is the year of production (last two digits). Probably the short version of the mark No.1. The meaning of two digits from the left side of the mark is unknown. In some cases, solely the inscription "BOHRMANN" is used.

 
Hepp marks
 
MARK

 
COMMENT

 
 
4
 
Mark with  the inscription GEBR.HEPP Mark with  the inscription GEBR.HEPP
Marked by the inscription "GEBR.HEPP", sometimes the dot after the word "GEBR" is not clear. The length of "HEPP" word is 4.0-4.1 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of ?H? letter is 2.5-3.4.
 
5
 
Mark with  the inscription GEBR.HEPP90
Marked by the inscription "GEBR.HEPP90", where ?90? is probably related to the amount of silver used for plating. The length of "HEPP" word is 4.5-5.4 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 2.8.
 
6
 
Mark with  the inscription Gebr. Hepp Pforzheim
Marked by the inscription"Gebr. Hepp Pforzheim". The length of "HEPP" word is 4.0 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 2.8.
 
7
 
Mark with  the inscription Gebr. Hepp Pforzheim
Marked by the inscription "Gebrueder Hepp Pforzheim". The length of "HEPP" word is 5.8 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 2.2.

 
Hartmann marks
 
MARK

 
COMMENT

 
 
 
8
 
Mark with  the inscription E.HARTMANN Mark with  the inscription E.HARTMANN
 
Marked by the inscription "E.HARTMANN". The length of ?HARTMANN? word is 8.3 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 7.6. Probably the oldest mark known to me. Rare. Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl.

 
 
9
 
Mark with  the inscription E. HARTMANN METALLWAARENFABRIK MUENCHEN
Marked by the inscription "E. HARTMANN METALLWAARENFABRIK MÜNCHEN". The length of "HARTMANN" word is 12.9-13.2 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 6.8-7.3. Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl.
 
10
 
Mark with  the inscription E. HARTMANN METALLWAARENFABRIK MUENCHEN
A variety of the mark No.9 with the "E.HARTMANN" lettering given in italics. The length of "HARTMANN" word is 11.0-11.5 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 8.1-8.3. Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl.
 
11
 
Mark with  the inscription  E.H.  together with the inscription E.HARTMANN MUENCHEN
Marked by initials E.H. (Eduard Hartmann) together with the inscription "E.HARTMANN MÜNCHEN" inside the square of 6 ´ 13 mm. The length of "HARTMANN" word is 10.0 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 10.6. Below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl. Note the shape of the second letter in the word "MÜNCHEN". Very rare.
 
12
 
Mark with  the inscription  E.H.  together with the inscription E.HARTMANN MUENCHEN
Marked by initials E.H. (Eduard Hartmann) together with the inscription "E.HARTMANN MÜNCHEN" inside the square of 5.8 ´ 8.7 mm. The length of "HARTMANN" word is 6.3 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 5.5-6.0. Note the shape of the second letter in the word "MÜNCHEN". Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl.
 
13
 
Mark with  the inscription  E.H.  together with the inscription E.HARTMANN MUENCHEN
Marked by initials E.H. (Eduard Hartmann) together with the inscription "E.HARTMANN MÜNCHEN" inside the square of 5.8 ´ 8.7 mm. The length of "HARTMANN" word is 6.3 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 5.3. Note the shape of the second letter in the word "MÜNCHEN". Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl. Rare.
 
14
 
Mark with  the inscription E.HARTMANN
Marked by the inscription "E.HARTMANN". The length of "HARTMANN" word is 7.6 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 4.3. Probably the short version of mark No.12. Above the mark is the number related to number of portions, below the mark is the corresponding item?s volume in cl.
LITERATURE
1. Volker Roedel: The architecture of factories in Frankfurt/Main in 1774?1924, (1984), http://www.frankfurt-nordend.de/fabrikarchitektur.htm#Katalog (In German).
2. The auction of silver-plated champaigne/wine cooler, designed by Bernhard Wenig and produced by Eduard Hartmann Metalware factory circa 1910, http://www.lot-tissimo.com/de/cmd/d/o/152.23805/auk/41/ (In German).
3. The history of Hepp Brothers company, http://www.hepp.de/content/view/111/306/lang,en/ (In English). 
Prof. David N. Nikogosyan,
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
- 2009 -
English home page
www.silvercollection.it


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