This is a page of A
Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu,
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need to know about antique silver, sterling silver,
silverplate, sheffield plate, electroplate silver,
silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements,
marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs,
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HISTORY AND MARKS
Gottfried Koch (Bremen, 1804), after apprenticeship and journeyman activity in Hannover, opened in 1829 his workshop in Knochenhauerstraße 12, Bremen (Germany) moving to Obernstraße in 1836.
Probably his brother on law Ludwig Bergfeld collaborated since the beginning in the activity, but only in 1856 the partnership "Koch & Bergfeld" has been officially formalized.
Georg Daniel (1849-1853) and Gottfried (1853-1857), sons of Ludwig Bergfeld apprenticed to Gottfried Koch and Georg Daniel entered in the firm as partner in 1860.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the production of silverware had changed fundamentally: even larger objects were no longer produced on the basis of individual orders, but a range of goods was kept in stock and offered for sale on the base of sale catalogs.
In 1859 the workshop was transferred to a site called Prägeanstalt, beginning a wide process of mechanization in the production of silverware with
the adoption of new rational production methods (division of labor, use of machines), large use of serial production and abandonment of handicraft process in cutlery manufacture.
In 1865 Gottfried Koch and Ludwig Bergfeld retired from the business leaving the management of the company to their four sons.
To avoid high customs duties and to ease export to other German States, Koch & Bergfeld built in 1874/1875 a new large manufacturing and administrative complex in Neuenlander Feld, just outside the customs borders of Bremen.
In 1877, an electroplating department for alpaca silver production was added to the site in Neuenlander Feld.
The development of the company continued unabated and the work force passed from 400/600 in 1890-1900 to about 800 in the period 1900-1914.
This was the period of maximum splendor in the company's history: silver-plated tableware and cutlery models were designed and manufactured exclusively for the Norddeutsche Lloyd ships and flourishing export channels to Colombia, Venezuela and Tsarist Russia were opened.
In 1891 Gottfried Julius Bergfeld (nephew of the founder) entered in the firm and became partner in 1901.
WWI and the economic crisis of the 1920s marked a change in company policy with the abandonment of mass production and return to artisanal production. The work force was diminished from 450 in 1925 to 175 in 1932/1933. Author of the change was probably the young Ludwig Koch who entered in the business in 1928.
In 1934 the family Bergfeld retired from the business.
After WWII the economic collapse was complete. In 1948 Ludwig Koch died and the firm has been administered among many difficulties by his widow Ingeborg until 1965 when his son Gottfried Koch took over the company's management.
Thanks to the so called "Wirtschaftswunder" (Economic miracle) between 1950/1960 the company has resumed full production attaining a work force of 250 employees.
In 1989 also Koch family retired from the business and the company was sold to Villeroy & Boch.
Villeroy & Boch wasn't satisfied of the investment and in 1994 sold the holloware department to Kiel jeweler Klaus Hansen.
A new change in the ownership occurred in 2005 when Florian Blume, former workshop manager of Klaus Hansen, acquired the workshop and changed the name to Koch & Bergfeld Silbermanufaktur Florian Blume GmbH & Co.
In 1997 Villeroy & Boch sold also the cutlery department to its factory manager Hartmut Soostmeyer in the context of a classic management buy-out. After the death of Soostmeyer (2004) the cutlery department was sold to Klaus Neubauer and Wigmar Bressel which continue production under the name Koch & Bergfeld Besteckmanufaktur GmbH.
This is a page of 'The What is? Silver Dictionary' of A Small Collection of
Antique Silver and Objects of vertu, a 1500 pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about
antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver,
silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles,
books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington),
history, oddities ...|
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