Dansk International Designs
Dansk Designs (also known as Dansk International Designs starting in 1974) was an American distributor and retailer of cookware, tableware, and other home accessories based in Mount Kisco, New York. As of 2011[update], the brand is called Dansk and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lenox Corporation with headquarters located in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
On a trip to Europe in 1954, Americans Martha and Ted Nierenberg went in search of a product to manufacture and produce for a U.S. audience. During a visit to the Museum of Arts and Crafts--Kunsthandwaerkmuseet (today the Danish Museum of Art & Design -- Kunstindustrimuseet) in Copenhagen, they saw a unique set of cutlery on display that combined teak and stainless steel, created by artist-designer Jens Quistgaard. The Nierenbergs tracked down Quistgaard and spoke with him in an effort to convince him to manufacture the cutlery. At first, Quistgaard insisted that the pieces could only be forged by hand, one piece at a time, but Nierenberg was able to convince him they could be mass-produced, leading to Dansk Designs' first product, Fjord flatware, which has been one of the brand's enduring bestsellers.
The Nierenbergs established Dansk that year in the garage of their Great Neck, New York home, with Quistgaard as its founding designer. By the end of 1954, Ted Nierenberg attracted orders for several hundred units from stores all around the United States, and the business took off from there. By 1958, Nierenberg and Quistgaard had expanded Dansk's wares to include teak magazine racks and stools, stoneware casseroles, salt and pepper grinders, and flatware with split cane handles. The New York Times credited Dansk with "creating a stir" with "some of the most popular accessories found in American homes." As the company name suggested, Dansk came to epitomize Danish modern design in the urban American market. By 1982, Quistgaard had created more than 2,000 different designs for Dansk of dinnerware, glassware and items for the home.
Dansk was acquired in 1991 by the Brown-Forman Corporation and incorporated together under its Lenox subsidiary. On March 16, 2009, a group of investors led by Clarion Capital Partners LLC purchased the assets of Lenox - including Dansk - and renamed the company Lenox Corporation.
- Fox, Margalit. "Jens Quistgaard, 88, a Designer of Popular Tableware, Is Dead", The New York Times, February 2, 2008. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Fox, Margalit. "Theodore Nierenberg, Founder of Dansk, Dies at 86", The New York Times, August 3, 2009. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Reif, Rita. "Accessories Designed by Dane Proving Popular in U.S. Homes; Jens Quistgaard, Son of Noted Sculptor, a Born Craftsman", The New York Times, October 10, 1958. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Koelln, Georgann. "Prolific Tableware Designer Has Introduced 2,000 Styles", The Blade, October 17, 1982. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Staff. "Dansk Acquisition Corp acquires Dansk International Designs", Thomson Financial Mergers & Acquisitions, June 11, 1985. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Strom, Stephanie. "BUSINESS PEOPLE; New Owner Replaces President of Dansk", The New York Times, July 6, 1991. Accessed July 31, 2011. "The purchase of Dansk, based in Mount Kisco, N.Y., was completed earlier this week for about $70 million in cash. Because Dansk china has a more contemporary look than Lenox patterns, the acquisition will broaden the appeal of the tabletop goods marketed by Brown-Forman, which is based in Louisville, Ky."
- Debree, Crissa Shoemaker. "New Lenox' to emerge", Bucks County Courier Times, March 18, 2009. Accessed July 31, 2011. "Clarion Capital Partners, a New York-based private investment firm, has completed its purchase of Lenox Group Inc. Called the 'New Lenox,' the company - encompassing the Lenox, Dansk, Gorham and Department 56 brands - is now operating outside of Chapter 11 bankruptcy."