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:
II. FRAGET & NORBLIN, POLAND/RUSSIA

Visiting Moscow in 2000, I bought a strange silver-plated object at the antique market "Izmailovo". A rather small container in the form of a traditional wooden Russian barrel with two compartments inside; the upper one bearing a glass inset, was placed on the silver-plated dish and covered by the lid. All three parts (the container, the lid and the dish) were marked by the same monogram AH (AN in Russian). Many of my Russian friends and colleagues could not recognise the purpose of this object. It took me a lot of time before I understood what it was for - it was a caviar holder.
 
A caviar holder made by Fraget between 1896-1915 and its parts.
Indeed, the caviar is a rather delicate product, easily deteriorating at room temperature. At that time there were no refrigerators, and to protect the caviar the ice was placed in the lower compartment of the container under the glass inset with the caviar. The maker mark easily readable on the container and on the dish was "FRAGET". Interestingly, a double-headed eagle (the Russian coat of arms) was placed above the mark. After further investigation I recognised that this caviar holder was made in Warsaw (Warszawa), which in the XIX century was the capital of the Polish Kingdom (Królestwo Polskie), an autonomous region inside the Russian Empire. At the end of the XIX century most of the Russian silver plate production was concentrated in Poland, and about ten foundries producing silver plate were operating in Warsaw. Among them the most interesting Art Nouveau objects were produced by "FRAGET" and by another Warsaw foundry, "NORBLIN". Below are the photographs of some Polish/Russian silver-plated items in Art Nouveau style from my collection.
A teapot and a coffee-pot made by Fraget between 1896-1915.
      A milk-pot and a tea-glass holder made by Fraget between 1872-1896.
      A pair of milk-pots and a coffee-set made by Norblin in the beginning of XX century.
Now a few words about the history of such a fruitful Polish/Russian trade. The Fraget factory was founded by two French businessmen - the brothers Alphonse (Alfons) and Joseph (in Polish, Józef) Fraget in 1824. However, after 1841 Joseph Fraget became the sole owner of this company. In the fifties-sixties of the XIX century, the firm turned to the production of electroplated silver items and exported them mainly to the Russian market. The products of the Fraget firm soon turned out to be extremely popular. Since, any silver-plated item in the Russian Empire was called simply  fraget . In 1867 Joseph Fraget died, and his business was inherited by his son Julian. In 1905, Julian was assassinated and from 1906 Fraget was managed by Julian's daughter, Maria Antonina, who died in 1934. In 1939 with the start of World War II, the Fraget company stopped its activity.
The Norblin factory was founded in 1809 by the goldsmith Filip Vorbrodt, who came to Warsaw from the small Anhalt Principality in Germany. His daughter, Henriette Leopoldina Augusta, first married the French silversmith Jean Cerisy and then (after her hudband's death in 1831) another French jeweller Vincent (in Polish, Wincenty) Norblin, the son of Alexander Jean Norblin, owner of a bronze factory in Warsaw. Vincent Norblin (1805-1872) significantly increased the production of silver and bronze items and organised the silver plating. In 1865 he sold the factory to his son Ludwig (in Polish, Ludwik) Norblin (1/2 of the whole capital), daughter Albertina Wilhelmina (1/4 of the whole capital) and her husband A. Teodor Werner (1/4 of the whole capital), who was the owner of another silver foundry in Warsaw. After that, Ludwig Norblin and Teodor Werner united their factories in one large company NORBLIN i Ska (NORBLIN i Spó-ka), which means in English NORBLIN & Co. However, they continued to work separately, Ludwig Norblin was producing electroplated silver items, while Teodor Werner worked with sterling silver items. In 1872 Ludwig Norblin (1836-1914) bought a silver plate company from Buch Brothers. In 1893, he organized a new public company  Norblin, Buch Brothers & T. Werner . Like Fraget, Norblin company also successfully survived World War I, but stopped production in 1939.
Below, I am presenting silver plate marks of Fraget and Norblin factories, issued in the XIX - XX centuries.
 

Fraget marks (according to the classification given by Svetlana Chestnykh with my additions and changes)

PERIOD
FRAGET MARK

 COMMENT

 
 
 
1
 

 
1840-1851
 
Fraget mark: 1847
 
Marked by the inscription "WARSZAWA FRAGET" + the year of production, placed in the oval. 1:QTE (1:QUALITE) means 1st QUALITY (in French).

 
 
2
 
 
 
1851-1859
 
Fraget mark: 1851-1859
 
Marked by the inscription "WARSZAWA FRAGET PLAQUÉ", placed in the oval. The size of the oval is 8.5 x 11.5 mm. The expression "PLAQUÉ" means "PLATED" in French. The "N" in the rhomb means "Silver plating on Alpacca".

 
 
3
 
 
1860-1872
 
Fraget mark: 1860-1872 Fraget mark: 1860-1872
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET W WARSZAWIE" ("FRAGET IN WARSZAW") placed in the oval. The size of the oval is 8x10 mm. The "N" in the rhomb means "Silver plating on Alpacca". In the small oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the colon after the "GALW" lettering.
 
4
 
 
1860-1872
 
Fraget mark: 1860-1872
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET W WARSZAWIE" ("FRAGET IN WARSZAW") placed in the oval. The "N" in the oval means "Silver plating on Alpacca". In the third oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the colon after the "GALW" lettering.
 
5
 
 
1872-1896
 
Fraget mark: 1872-1896 Fraget mark: 1872-1896
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET W WARSZAWIE" ("FRAGET IN WARSZAW") placed in the oval. The size of the oval is 7.5x10 mm. The "N" in the rhomb means "Silver plating on Alpacca". In the small oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the colon after the "GALW" lettering. The coat of arms of the Russian Empire (double-headed eagle) on the mark means a gold medal at the All-Russia Exhibition of Manufactured Goods or the sign of the official purveyor to the Court of His Majesty Russian Tsar.
 
6
 
 
1896-1915
 
Fraget mark: 1896-1915 Fraget mark: 1896-1915
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET N PLAQUE" (which means "FRAGET SILVER PLATE ON ALPACCA"), placed in the oval. The size of the oval is between 7x9 mm and 8x11 mm. In the small oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The coat of arms of the Russian Empire (double-headed eagle) on the mark means a gold medal at the All-Russia Exhibition of Manufactured Goods or the sign of the official purveyor to the Court of His Majesty Russian Tsar.
 
7
 
 
1896-1915
 
Fraget mark: 1896-1915 Fraget mark: 1896-1915
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET MB PLAQUE" which means "FRAGET SILVER PLATE ON METAL BLANC (WHITE METAL)", placed in the oval. The size of the oval is 6.5x8.5 mm. In the small oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The coat of arms of the Russian Empire (double-headed eagle) on the mark means a gold medal at the All-Russia Exhibition of Manufactured Goods or the sign of the official purveyor to the Court of His Majesty Russian Tsar.
 
8
 
 
1896-1915
 
Fraget mark: 1896-1915
Marked by the inscription "FRAGET PLAQUE" (which means "FRAGET SILVER PLATE"), placed in the oval. In the small oval there is the coat of arms of the coppersmiths' corporation (two crossed hammers with a pair of compasses). The coat of arms of the Russian Empire (double-headed eagle) on the mark means a gold medal at the All-Russia Exhibition of Manufactured Goods or the sign of the official purveyor to the Court of His Majesty Russian Tsar.

Norblin marks (my own classification)

PERIOD
NORBLIN MARK

 COMMENT

 
 
9
 
 
around 1850
 
Norblin mark: 1850
Marked by the inscription "WARSZAWA NORBLIN & Co" + the year of production, placed in the oval.
 
10
 
 
after 1850
 
Norblin mark: after 1850
Marked by the inscription "WARSZAWA NORBLIN & Co" + the year of production, placed in the oval. The expression "PLAQUÉ" means "PLATED" in French.
 
11
 
 
Before
1872
(or after
1893)
 
Norblin mark: before 1872 (or after 1893) Norblin mark: before 1872 (or after 1893)
Marked by the inscription "NORBLIN i Ska (which means NORBLIN i SPÓLKA or NORBLIN & Co) + GALW. + WARSZAWA", placed in the oval. The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the dot after the "GALW" lettering. The letter "B" means "Britannia Metal", the material of the base.
 
12
 
 
1872-1893
 
Norblin mark: 1872-1893 Norblin mark: 1872-1893
Marked by the inscription "NORBLIN & Co + GALW. + WARSZAWA", placed in the oval. The size of the inscription is about 9x12 mm. The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the dot after the "GALW" lettering. The "N" in the oval means "Silver plating on the base metal". The letter "B" means "Britannia Metal", the material of the base. The coat of arms of the Russian Empire (double-headed eagle) on the mark means a gold medal at the All-Russia Exhibition of Manufactured Goods or the sign of the official purveyor to the Court of His Majesty Russian Tsar.
 
13
 
 
before 1915
 
Norblin mark: before 1915 Norblin mark: 1before 1915
Marked by the inscription "NORBLIN & Co + GALW: + WARSZAWA.", placed in the oval. The size of the inscription is about 8x11 mm. The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the colon after the "GALW" lettering and the dot after "WARSZAWA". The "N" in the rhomb means "Silver plating on Alpacca".
 
14
 
 
after 1915
 
Norblin mark: after 1915 Norblin mark: after 1915
Marked by the inscription "NORBLIN & Co + GALW: + WARSZAWA", without the oval. The size of the inscription is about 7x9 mm. The lettering "GALW" means "GALWANIZACJA" (in Polish) or "GALVANISATION" (in English). Note the colon after the "GALW" lettering. Also, there is no dot after "WARSZAWA". The "N" in the oval means "Silver plating on Alpacca"
 
LITERATURE
1. Svetlana Chestnykh: Fraget: The history of the firm. Antikvarnoye Obozrenie (Antiques Review), No.2, pp.34-35 (2001) [in Russian].
2. Svetlana Chestnykh: Generally accepted designations in Polish silver plate marks. Antikvarnoye Obozrenie (Antiques Review), No.1, pp.28-29 (2001) [in Russian].
3. Svetlana Kaikova: Silver plate in Russia. Makers and factories. Antikvariat, Predmety Iskusstva i Kollektsionirovaniya (Antiques, Art and Collecting), No.1, pp.65-78 (2002) [in Russian].
4. Wincenty Norblin (Vincent Norblin), http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wincenty_Norblin [in Polish].
5. Ludwik Wincenty Norblin (Ludwig Norblin), http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwik_Wincenty_Norblin [in Polish].
6. Norblin (History of the Factory), http://www.norblin.eu/index.php?go=historia [in English].
 
Prof. David N. Nikogosyan,
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
- 2009 -
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