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:
IV. HACKER & HERRMANN, AUSTRIA

First, let me cite von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk's and Kanowski's book, Modern Art of Metallwork: "By 1898, there were 230 factories and workshops for metalwork alone in Vienna, the capital city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire". However, after 1918, only three firms continued the silver plate production: Art.Krupp Berndorf, J.C.Klinkosch (already acquired by Berndorf) and Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops). In the current Member's Window I would like to present two little-known silver plate factories, which were active in Vienna at the end of the XIX - beginning of the XX centuries and disappeared after WWI: Moritz Hacker and J.L.Herrmann. Without doubt, they both truly represent the Secession style, i.e. the Austro- Hungarian branch of Art Nouveau, in silver-plated hollowware.

I first met a Hacker item in 2003 at the "Etcheri" antique market in Budapest, Hungary. Though the price was quite high (70 $), I immediately acquired an elegantly-looking beautiful teapot made in early Art Deco style. Later, I found on ebay.co.uk a match stand with an ashtray made by Hacker for Café de L'Europa (probably a mistake, it should be "Café de L'Europe", from the famous historical café in the centre of Vienna, Stefanplatz 8, known at least since 1902). The match stand with its rich decoration looked like a typical Secession object. Both items were bearing the same very simple mark, consisting of one word, "HACKER". All further attempts to look for this factory in the Internet were unsuccessful, as my PC came up with thousands references about Internet pirates, "hackers". Therefore, for some time I even was not sure about the existence of the firm with such a name. 
A teapot and a match stand with an ashtray, made by Hacker.
My first acquaintance with Herrmann took place in 2004, when I was bidding via ebay.de for an old teapot with some welded holes and a semi-rubbed-off inscription "Bischofshof Regensburg". In that time the bids were very small and after 19 (!) bids I won this item for just 25 euros. The reason why this item was so attractive was the absolutely fabulous inside surface of the teapot's lid, fully covered by the information on J.L.Herrmann headquarters in Vienna (Kärntnerstrasse 15) and its branches in Budapest (Waitznergasse 24) and Prague (Graben 28).
A teapot from "Bischofshof Regensburg" made by Herrmann and its remarkable lid.
The information on both firms is extremely scarce. According to Waltraud Neuwirth's book, the Moritz Hacker foundry was founded in 1882. Concerning the J.L.Herrmann factory, it is known that this firm was absorbed by Arthur Krupp Berndorf foundry shortly before World War I (see the website www.berndorf-usa.com). Besides these two facts, there is nothing else available both in the literature and the Internet. However, the extravagant design and high quality of silver plate make these two Austrian firms very desirable for the collectors. Below, I am presenting some beautiful Hacker and Hermann items from my collection.
Some Hacker (upper row) and Herrmann (middle and lower rows) items:
first row: a 25 cl teapot (left) and a 20 cl teapot (right)
second row: a 25 cl wine jug (left) and a 25 cl teapot from Café de L'Europe (right)
third row: a 15 cl coffee-pot from Hotel Golden Adler in Mürzsteg (left)
and a 10 cl creamer from Café Wieser and 15 cl coffee-pot with the intials "AZ" (right)
Below, I am presenting silver plate marks of Hacker and Herrmann, issued at the end of XIX and in 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.

 
Hacker marks
 
MARK

 
COMMENT

 
 
1
 
Hacker mark
Marked by the inscription "HACKER" in the square box. The length of "HACKER" word is 5.6-5.8 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of 'H' letter is 5.1-5.7
 
2
 
Hacker mark
Marked by the inscription "HACKER ÉS TÁRSA" which means "Hacker and Partner" in Hungarian. The length of "HACKER" word is 5.5 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 5.1. Probably a mark of the Hungarian branch of Hacker.

 
Herrmann marks
 
MARK

 
COMMENT

 
 
 
3
 
Herrmann mark
 
Marked by the inscription "J.L.HERRMANN.". The length of "HERRMANN" word is 9.2 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 7.5. The additional inscription "A.S." means probably Alpacca Silver.

 
 
 
4
 
Herrmann mark Herrmann mark
 
Marked by the one-line inscription "J.L.HERRMANN PATENT". The length of "HERRMANN" word is 9.7 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 7.8.

(The image of this mark is too long and therefore was divided into two parts)

 
 
5
 
Herrmann mark
Marked by the inscription "HERRMANN PATENT". The length of "HERRMANN" word is 9.9-10.3 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of 'H' letter is 8.4-10.
 
6
 
Herrmann mark
Marked by the inscription "HERRMANN". The length of "HERRMANN" word is 7.3 mm, the ratio of the mentioned length to the height of "H" letter is 7.0.
LITERATURE

Berndorf - 160 years "People at work", http://www.berndorf-usa.com/history.htm

Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk and Claudia Kanowski, Modern Art of Metallwork (Berlin: Bröhan Museum, 2001), 1-598.

Waltraud Neuwirth, Blühender Jugendstil Österreich, Band 2: Firmen und Marken [Art Nouveau in Blossom - Austria, Vol. 2: Companies and Marks]. Vienna: Selbstverlag Dr. Waltraud Neuwirth, 1991, 1-288 (in German).
Prof. David N. Nikogosyan,
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
- 2009 -
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