Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik

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WMF AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as ISIN: DE0007803009
FWBWMF
Industry Tableware
Predecessors Straub & Schweizer
Founded Geislingen an der Steige, Germany (9 September 1853 (9 September 1853))
Founders Daniel Straub, Schweizer
Headquarters Geislingen an der Steige, Germany
Key people Thorsten Klapproth (CEO)
Stefan Feuerstein (CEO)
Products cutlery, kitchen machines
Revenue €761.5 million (2007)
Employees 5752 (2007)
Website wmf.de
wmf-group.com
Aerial photo of WMF (2007)

WMF AG (Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik) is a tableware manufacturer, founded in 1853 in Geislingen an der Steige, Germany, by the miller Daniel Straub and the brothers Schweizer. In English, the name translates to "Wuerttemberg Metalware Factory" (or "Metalware Factory of Wuerttemberg").

History[edit]

WMF was originally called Metallwarenfabrik Straub & Schweizer and was opened as a metal repairing workshop. Around 1900, they were the world's largest producer and exporter of household metalware, mainly in the Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau style. They are best known for the period of Albert Mayer, sculptor and designer, who was director of the WMF Art Studio from 1884 to 1914.

In 1880, it merged with another German company and became known as the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik. WMF acquired the Polish metalware factory Plewkiewicz in Warsaw in 1886, which then became a subsidiary of WMF around 1900. During this period, the WMF employed over 3500 people. In 1890 they acquired the Kunstanstalt für Galvanoplastik München, which specialized in electrotyping and electroforming of large and small statues for buildings, fountains, tombstones, and gardens; this became the Abteilung für Galvanoplastik (Galvanoplasatic Division) of WMF.[1] During the 1920s, Abteilung für Galvanoplastik was producing reproductions of large-scale Italian Renaissance bronze works for an American clientele. Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co., Inc. of New Orleans pursued the acquisition of a gilt copper reproduction of Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise". In 1910, the Reale Istituto di Belle Arti had granted WMF the exclusive right to take a sharp cast of the original doors, from which WMF created a reproduction that was exhibited at the International Building Trades Exhibition in Leipzig (1913).[2] WMF produced a trilingual catalog about the doors, titled Erztüre des Hauptportals am Baptisterium in Florenz.

In 1900, WMF acquired Albert Köhler's famous Austrian metalwork company AK & CIE, who produced and distributed WMF items under their mark to the Austria-Hungarian market until about 1914. WMF purchased Orivit AG, a company known for its Jugendstil pewter in 1905, followed a year later by the purchase of the Orion Kunstgewerbliche Metallwarenfabrik, another German metalware company. WMF continued to use the goods from the acquired companies on their own markets, and conversely, they produced and distributed their objects under their acquired companies brands.

In 1955, WMF started production of commercial coffee machines. These products were designed for restaurants, military mess halls, cruise ships and other commercial applications.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired the company in 2012.[3]

Brands and companies[edit]

Some WMF stainless products produced in Germany after WWII are called "Fraser's WMF" because they were distributed in the United States by Fraser's Ltd. of New York, a retail outlet founded by Gordon Freeman Fraser in Berkeley, CA, in 1947. Fraser's grew to become a division of WMF of America, Inc., a subsidiary of WMF AG. There is a widespread misconception in the collectors' markets (e.g., eBay) that "WMF" means, "William Fraser", which is incorrect. With the death of Gordon Fraser in 2005, Fraser's ceased to exist, and WMF products are now distributed in the U.S. by WMF Americas Group of North Carolina.

Since 1998 the German cooking pan manufacturer Silit also belongs to the WMF group. Silit is still being marketed as an independent brand.

Gallery[edit]

Wagenfeld cutlery designed by WMF 
WMF egg cups 
Pots from WMF 
Mosaic with the former logo of WMF, Berlin 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meißner, Birgit; Doktor, Anke (2000). "Galvanoplastik – Geschichte einer Technik aus dem 19. Jahrhundert" [Galvanoplastik - History of a Technology from the 19th Century]. In Meißner, Birgit; Doktor, Anke; Mach, Martin. Bronze- und Galvanoplastik: Geschichte – Materialanalyse – Restaurierung (in German). Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Sachsen. p. 129. 
  2. ^ WMF, letter to Mr. Albert Weiblen, Antwerp. "Artistic merits of our reproduction of the famous 'Doors of Paradise'" dated 14 August 1928. Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Works Office Records, The Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
  3. ^ Private equity deals: July 6, 2007

External links[edit]