ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL COLLECTORS OF ANTIQUE SILVER
ASCAS
article # 165
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by Dr. David N. Nikogosyan
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Hollow Ware Marks of Warsaw Silver Plate Factories Operated in the Russian Empire: Bros. Henneberg, Bros. Buch, Wola Factory, Plewkiewicz & Schiffers.

Recently, I published two Members' Windows in the ASCAS Newsletter Journal devoted to hollow ware marks used by the Warsaw silver plate companies Józef Fraget [1] and Norblin [2]. These firms were founded in the first quarter of the XIXth century, in 1824 and 1819, respectively, and they both pioneered galvanic silver-plate production in Russia in 1850-1860. Other Warsaw firms also started to apply this cutting-edge technology, first Brothers Henneberg [3] and Brothers Buch [3] (between 1872 and 1882) and later, (in 1885-1888), Wola factory [3], Roman Plewkiewicz [3], and Schiffers [3]. By the end of the XIXth century practically all Russian manufacture of silver-plated tableware and utensils was concentrated in Warsaw.

It should be remembered that, before 1850, in Russia all silver-plated objects were produced by soldering of a thin sheet of silver to a red-heated copper plate with subsequent rolling [3,4]. Such a copper base with a fused silver layer was called "SILVER PLATE" or simply "PLATE" ("PLAQUÉ" in French, "PLATER" in Polish). However, in the second quarter of the XIXth century a revolutionary method of silver deposition on the surface of a base metal using the electrolysis process under high voltage was invented (the first patent was given to the Elkington cousins in England in 1840) and successfully applied by Christofle in France in 1844. The great advantage of this "galvanic" approach was the possibility of a very thin silver layer deposition, which led to the economic consumption of precious metal and a significant decrease in price for the final product. Towards the end of the XIXth century the galvanic method of silver deposition practically replaced the former soldering-based silver plating technique. Nevertheless, until now in Polish and English literature the confusion remains, the Polish term "PLATER" and the English term "PLATE" refer simultaneously to both, old (fusion-based) and new (galvanic) silver deposition techniques.

The literature data on the above-mentioned Warsaw companies and especially on their marks are very scarce. Some information can be found in Polish sources [5,6]. It should be noted that my investigation concerns only silver-plated hollow ware, such as teapots, coffee-pots, creamers, tea glass holders, etc., and does not touch the marks of the cutlery. Even such a simplified task was not easy to accomplish.

Now I am presenting the brief history of Warsaw silver plate producers mentioned above.

Bros. Henneberg.

This company was founded in 1856 by Juliusz Henneberg (1835-1907), former turner from Fraget factory, and bronzesmith Michal Czajkowski, under the name Henneberg & Czajkowski. In 1862, the brother of Juliusz, Wilhelm, joins the company and it changes its name to Brothers Henneberg & Czajkowki (Bracia Henneberg i Czajkowski in Polish). Finally, in 1872 Michal Czajkowski leaves the business, and since then the firm was called Bros. Henneberg (Bracia Henneberg in Polish, or, shortly, Br. Henneberg or even B. Henneberg). The number of workers grew rapidly: from 90 in 1872 to 150 in 1884. In 1887, Wilhelm Henneberg retires, however, soon the sons of Juliusz, Julian and Stanislaw, join the foundry and the company survives under the old name. After the death of Juliusz Henneberg, his son Julian guides the business.

In 1904 the number of employees reached 320. Bros. Henneberg became the third Warsaw silver plate enterprise, after Fraget and Norblin. However, the production decreased significantly after 1914 due to World War I and following global financial crisis (in 1929). In 1939, with the occupation of Poland by the Nazis, the firm Br.Henneberg stopped its production. After World War II, in 1945, the factory was reopened, but then nationalized. Finally, in 1965, the firm Bros. Henneberg was merged with another Warsaw silver plate foundry, Fraget, to form a new state company "HEFRA".

Bros. Buch.

This company first was known under the German name Gebrüder Buch. As early as 1809 this firm opened a factory in St. Petersburg mainly producing the buttons for army uniforms. Around 1860 Gebrüder Buch decided to open a branch in Warsaw and commissioned two jewellers of German origin, Agaton Buch and Ludwik Mauss. I do not know whether Agaton was one of the Brothers Buch or a relative of theirs. In 1865, these people bought a Neusilber factory in Warsaw, opened in 1830 by Gebrüder Henniger & Co., renowned pioneer of Neusilber production, who opened a Neusilber foundry in Berlin as early as 1824. Neusilber is known under different trade names, such as Alpacca, Argentan, Alfenide, Maillechort, etc. The Warsaw branch of Gebrüder Henniger company was operated by Gustaw Henniger. Again, I do not know if Gustaw was one of the Brothers Henniger or not. In 1872 the whole company Gebrüder Buch was honoured by a Gold Medal at the Moscow Exhibition and got the right to print Russian State Coat of Arms on his production. The Warsaw branch of Bros. Buch also started to print a two-headed eagle on his silver plate items, but this didn't save the foundry from the bankruptcy. In 1882 this firm was absorbed by their former trade partner, Norblin & Co. However, Bros. Buch continued to produce the items under their own mark until at least 1893.

Wola factory.

Not too much is known about this foundry. It was founded in 1885 in the Warsaw suburb Wola by Abraham Luria and S. Krongold and had a name "Britania", which was never used. At the end of the XIXth century the Wola area was included to Warsaw. This factory cooperated with Bros. Henneberg company.

Plewkiewicz.

The firm "Factory of silver-plated and gilded items Roman Plewkiewicz & Co." was founded in 1886 as a branch of the famous Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (in English Württemberg Metalware Factory) or WMF. First Plewkiewicz performed only the silvering of the base-metal items brought from Germany. Beginning in 1890, R. Plewkiewicz started the production of fashionable silver-plated table ware with coloured glass inlets, including home-made items, which constituted ~ 15% of total production. The home-made items, as well as pieces imported from Germany and silver-plated in Warsaw, were marked similarly. As a result, the R. Plewkiewicz foundry experienced a quick growth particularly, due to a well-organized net of travelling salesmen. In 1900, after the retirement of Roman Plewkiewicz, the firm was transformed to joint-stock company, which survived until the beginning of World War I.

For the collectors, Plewkiewicz silver-plated items made in Warsaw are as sought after as the original pieces coming from Württemberg. Recently, an Art Nouveau sugar-bowl with a glass inlet made by Plewkiewicz was sold on ebay auction for 250 euros.

Schiffers.

The firm Andrzej Boleslaw Schiffers & Co (or, shortly, A.B. Schiffers & Co.) was founded in 1888 by Andrzej Boleslaw Schiffers and Jan Solinger. In 1907, the foundry "Factory of Silver-Plated and Gilded Metal Ware A.B. Schiffers i S-ka" was transformed into the joint-stock company.
 

Marks of Bros. Henneberg company.

PERIOD & MARK
COMMENT
1
























 
~1872 - ~1887
Henneberg mark ~1872 - ~1887
Henneberg mark ~1872 - ~1887

Early mark of Bros. Henneberg foundry, which refers to fusion-based silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B.HENNEBERG WARSZAWA", which is a shortening of "BRACIA HENNEBERG WARSZAWA" (in English "BROTHERS HENNEBERG WARSAW"), placed inside an oval. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rare.



















 

2

























 
~1872 - ~1887
Henneberg mark ~1872 - ~1887
Henneberg mark ~1872 - ~1887

Early mark of Bros. Henneberg firm, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B.HENNEBERG WARSZAWA", which is a shortening of "BRACIA HENNEBERG WARSZAWA" (in English "BROTHERS HENNEBERG WARSAW"), placed inside an oval with the Star of David in the centre. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rather common.



















 

3

















 
~1882 - ~1887
Henneberg mark ~1882 - ~1887

A variation of the Henneberg mark No.2, which includes the element from the mark of Wola factory, namely, the five-petal crown (see below). The item with such a mark was made under joint project of both firms. Probably, it means that the galvanic silvering was performed in Wola factory. Extremely rare.













 

4






























 
~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894

Next mark of Bros. Henneberg foundry, which refers to fusion-based silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B.HENNEBERG WARSZAWA", which is a shortening of "BRACIA HENNEBERG WARSZAWA" (in English "BROTHERS HENNEBERG WARSAW"), placed inside an oval with the eight-petal rosette. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rare.

























 

5


















 
~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894

A variation of the Henneberg mark No.4, which includes the element from the mark of Wola factory, namely, the five-petal crown (see below). The item with such a mark was made under joint project of both firms. Probably, it means that the galvanic silvering was performed in Wola factory. Extremely rare.














 

6

































 
~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894

Next mark of Bros. Henneberg foundry, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B.HENNEBERG WARSZAWA", which is a shortening of "BRACIA HENNEBERG WARSZAWA" (in English "BROTHERS HENNEBERG WARSAW"), placed inside an oval with the eight-petal rosette. The rhombus with "N" letter means "normal thickness of silver deposited onto the surface of the base metal (usually on brass)". The inscription “GALW” in a cartouche, made by a "sans serif" font, is the shortening of the Polish word "GALWANIZACJA" ("GALVANIZATION"), explaining the method of silver deposition. Note the colon at the end of the inscription "GALW". Rather rare.






















 

7

































 
~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894
Henneberg mark ~1887 - ~1894

A variation of the Henneberg mark No.6, which differs by a dot placed at the end of the inscription “GALW” (instead of a colon). This, probably, refers to some changes in the technology of galvanic silver deposition, i.e., application of different base metal. Rather common.





























 

8






































 
~1894 - ~1907
Henneberg mark ~1894 - ~1907
Henneberg mark ~1894 - ~1907
Henneberg mark ~1894 - ~1907

Another variation of the Henneberg mark No.6 with the inscription "GALW" in a cartouche made by the "serif" font. Note the absence of any punctuation mark after the inscription "GALW". Rather common.



































 

9










































 
~1907 - ~1914
Henneberg mark ~1907 - ~1914
Henneberg mark ~1907 - ~1914
Henneberg mark ~1907 - ~1914

A new Henneberg mark for galvanic silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "Br: HENNEBERG w WARSZAWIE", which is a shortening of the Polish lettering "BRACIA HENNEBERG w WARSZAWIE" (in English "BROTHERS HENNEBERG in WARSAW"), placed inside an oval. The size of the oval is about 6.2 mm x 7.2 mm. The rhombus with "N" letter means "normal thickness of silver deposited onto the surface of the base metal (usually on brass)". The inscription "GALW" in a cartouche, made by a "serif" font, is the shortening of the Polish word "GALWANIZACJA" ("GALVANIZATION"), explaining the method of silver deposition. Note the dot at the end of the inscription "GALW". Rather rare.






























 

10


























 
After 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914

A variation of the Henneberg mark No.7, which differs by not-too-accurate eight-petal rosette and by the use of the "serif" font for the inscription "GALW". Note a dot at the end of the inscription "GALW". Rare.























 

11




























 
After 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914
Henneberg mark after 1914

A special Henneberg mark for the application of Alpaca alloy as a base metal for galvanic silver deposition. Two letters "B.M." is a shortening from Polish words "BIALY METAL" (in English "WHITE METAL" or Alpaca). A small oval with the initials "B" and "H" (a shortening from the Polish inscription "BRACIA HENNEBERG") is reminiscent of the famous mark of silver-plated tableware, produced by the famous French foundry Christofle. This suggests possible cooperation/partnership between Christofle and Bros. Henneberg. Rare.




















 

N.B. No.1. In my list of Henneberg marks there is a shortage of the mark used in 1894-1907 for the items made by fusion-based silver deposition. This extremely rare mark is similar to the mark No.6 given above with the inscription "PLATER" in a cartouche (instead of the inscription "GALW") and without the letter "N" in a rhombus. See item No.107 described at page 36 in [6].

N.B. No.2. In my list of Henneberg marks there is a shortage of the mark used in 1907-1914 for the items made by fusion-based silver deposition. This extremely rare mark is similar to the mark No.9 given above with the inscription "PLATER" in a cartouche (instead of the inscription "GALW") and without the letter "N" in a rhombus [5].

Marks of Bros. Buch foundry.

PERIOD & MARK
COMMENT
1





















 
~1865 - ~1872
Bros. Buch mark ~1865 - ~1872
Bros. Buch mark ~1865 - ~1872

Early mark of Bros. Buch, which refers to fusion-based silver deposition. It consists of German inscription "GEBR BUCH WARSCHAU", that means the shortening of "GEBRÜDER BUCH WARSCHAU" (in English "BROTHERS BUCH WARSAW"), put in a cartouche of about 3.8 mm x 9.7 mm. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rather common.
















 

2




















 
~1872 - ~1882
Bros. Buch mark ~1872 - ~1882
Bros. Buch mark ~1872 - ~1882

Next mark of Bros. Buch, which refers to fusion-based silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "BR. BUCH w WARSZAWIE", which is the shortening of "BRACIA BUCH w WARSZAWIE" (in English "BROTHERS BUCH in WARSAW"), put in a cartouche of fancy shape which is similar to that used in mark No.1. Above the cartouche there is an image of the Russian State Coat of Arms, two-headed eagle, a version with a "separated" crown, used in 1857-1883. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rather common.












 

3










 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893

Last mark of the Bros Buch foundry, which refers to fusion-based silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B. BUCH", which is a shortening of "BRACIA BUCH" (in English "BROTHERS BUCH"). Below, a catalogue number is given. Rare.






 

4































 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893

First mark of Bros. Buch company, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "B. BUCH" (see above) + another Polish inscription "W.M.F. WARSZAWA GALW.", put inside the triangle. Some researchers suppose that the abbreviation W.M.F. refers to Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik. However, amongst all Warsaw silver plate factories, only one (Roman Plewkiewicz) kept permanent contacts with this company (see below). It should be also emphasized, that the exact widely-used abbreviation of Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik is WMF (and not W.M.F.!). Therefore, the use of such abbreviation in the Bros. Buch mark looks like an advertising gimmick. The inscription "GALW." in a triangle is the shortening of the Polish word “GALWANIZACJA” (“GALVANIZATION”), which refers to the method of silver deposition on the surface of a base metal (usually, on brass). Note the dot at the end of the inscription "GALW.". At the top of the triangle there is a small six-pointed Star of David (sometimes, a small five-pointed star). Inside the triangle, there is a Roman digit II, the meaning of it is not clear. Below, a catalogue number is given. Rather common.












 

5




 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1887 - ~1894

A variation of previous Bros. Buch mark with a shortened writing of the word "WARSZAWA", namely, "WARSZAW" instead of "WARSZAWA". Extremely rare.


 

6















 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893

Another variation of the Bros. Buch No.4 with very shortened writing of the word "WARSZAWA", namely, "WARSZ." instead of "WARSZAWA". It was probably used due to shortage of space for marking, i.e., while marking the bottom rim of a tea glass holder. Very rare.











 

7



































 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893

Next mark of Bros. Buch company, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. It differs from the mark No.4 by the more thinned out inscription "B. BUCH". Common.

































 

8


















 
~1882 - ~1893
Bros. Buch mark ~1882 - ~1893

Last mark of Bros. Buch company. It was used without additional inscription "B. BUCH". This inscription was put inside the triangle together with two other inscriptions "W.M.F." and "GALW.". Contrary to the previous triangles, this one contains three (!) six-pointed Stars of David. This mark is probably a pattern and therefore extremely rare.













 

Marks of Wola factory.

PERIOD & MARK
COMMENT
1










 
~1885 - ~1914
Wola factory mark ~1885 - ~1914

The mark of Wola factory which probably refers to fusion-based silver deposition. Consists of the Polish inscription "FABRYKA WOLSKA POD WARSZAWA", which means "FACTORY IN WARSAW SUBURB WOLA", forming an oval. Rare.







 

2



































 
~1885 - ~1914
Wola factory mark ~1885 - ~1914
Wola factory mark ~1885 - ~1914
Wola factory mark ~1885 - ~1914

The mark Wola factory which probably refers to galvanic silver deposition. Consists of the Polish inscription "FABR. WOLSKA POD WARSZAWA", which means "FACTORY IN WARSAW SUBURB WOLA" (the word FACTORY is shortened). This inscription forms an oval of 6.2 mm x 8.7 mm in size. Above the oval a five-petal crown is placed. Common.






























 

Marks of Plewkiewicz company.

PERIOD & MARK
COMMENT
1














 
~1886 - ~1900
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1886 - ~1900

Early mark of Roman Plewkiewicz firm, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. It consists of the Polish inscription "PLEWKIEWICZ W WARSZAWIE", which means in English "PLEWKIEWICZ IN WARSAW", placed in an oblong oval. The volume of a table ware item is given in tenth parts of a litre. Such designation is characteristic for the items, produced by Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (WMF) in 1885-1895. In addition, this early Plewkiewicz mark contains a letter "N" in a square box. Such designation means "normal thickness of silver deposited onto the surface of the base metal (usually on brass)". It is characteristic for many other Warsaw silver plate companies, utilizing the galvanic approach of silver deposition (Fraget, Norblin, Bros. Henneberg, etc.). Extremely rare.


 

2









 
~1886 - ~1900
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1886 - ~1900

A variation of the previous mark. It was used in the case of the shortage of place for marking. Extremely rare.








 

3



















































 
~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914  

Main mark of Roman Plewkiewicz foundry, which refers to galvanic silver deposition. Very similar in design to the marks used by WMF in the same period. In the centre of the mark there is an oval, which contains the Polish inscription "PLEWKIEWICZ W WARSZAWIE", which means in English "PLEWKIEWICZ IN WARSAW". The size of the oval is 6.1 mm x 8.9 mm. Above the oval there is a fraction 1/0 (WMF used a somewhat different fraction, I/0), which again means "normal thickness of silver deposited onto the surface of the base metal". In this specific case the brass was used as a base metal, which is marked by the letter "M", put below the oval (WMF also used the same letter for marking the silver deposition on brass). Common.







































 

4



































 
~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914  

A variation of the Plewkiewicz mark No.3, which differs from the previous mark by the base metal used. In this specific case the so-called "Britannia Metal" (a tin-based alloy) was used, which is marked by the letter "B", put below the oval (WMF also used the same letter for marking the silver deposition on Britannia Metal). The size of the oval is 5.8 mm x 7.8 mm. Common.






























 

5


































 
~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914

Another variation of the Plewkiewicz mark No.3, in which the Polish inscription "PLEWKIEWICZ W WARSZAWIE" forms the oval. The size of the oval is 4.9 mm x 7.6 mm. Rare.
































 

6
































 
~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914
Plewkiewicz company mark ~1900 - ~1914

A variation of the Plewkiewicz mark No.4, in which the Polish inscription "PLEWKIEWICZ W WARSZAWIE" forms the oval. Rare.






























 

Marks of Schiffers foundry.

PERIOD & MARK
COMMENT
1












 
~1888 - ~1914
Schiffers foundry mark ~1888 - ~1914

Main mark of Schiffers firm, refers to galvanic silver deposition. Consists of the English/Polish inscription "SCHIFFERS & C° GALW WARSZAWA", put inside the oval. The size of the oval is 6.3 mm x 8.5 mm. The inscription "GALW" is the shortening of the Polish word "GALWANIZACJA" ("GALVANIZATION"), explaining the method of silver deposition on the surface of base metal (usually on brass). Very common.






 

2











 
~1885 - ~1914
Schiffers foundry mark ~1888 - ~1914

Next Schiffers mark contains a dot (!) after the word "GALW". The English/Polish inscription "SCHIFFERS & C° GALW. WARSZAWA" is placed inside the oval of the same size, as Mark No.1. This is probably connected with some change in technology of galvanic silver deposition. Rare.







 

Acknowledgements
I would like to acknowledge the invaluable help of two people, Mr. Sergei Kruglov, who shared with me some photographs of marks from his collection of tea glass holders, and Mr. Alexander Maroutian, who allowed me to photograph the marks on Warsaw silver-plated pieces from his collection. My e-mail address is niko@phys.ucc.ie. Any comments, questions or letters with additional information are very welcome. However, please do not send any requests for valuation and/or expertise, such letters will be ignored.

LITERATURE

[1] David N. Nikogosyan. Marks of European Silver Plate: XII. Fraget, Russia/Poland. http://www.ascasonline.org/windowAGOS99.html

[2] David N. Nikogosyan. Marks of European Silver Plate: XIII. Norblin, Russia/Poland. http://www.ascasonline.org/windowOTTOB101.html

[3] Svetlana Kaikova. Silver Replacement Techniques in Russia. Antiques, Art and Collectables, N°1, pp.65-78 (2002) [in Russian].

[4] Elena Elkova. "Plaqué" and "Doublé" Techniques in French Silver Plate Production. Antiques, Art and Collectables, N°4 (46), pp.76-84 (2007) [in Russian].

[5] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek. Platery Warszawskie w Latach 1822-1914. Warszawa: Muzeum Palac w Wilanowie, 2010, pp.1-375 [in Polish]. English translation: Silver Plated Items produced by Warsaw factories in 1822-1914.

[6] Maria Ejchmann. Platery. Katalog Zbioru Platerów Warszawskich im. Anieli i Tadeusza Wysiadeckich. Warszawa: Muzeum Woli, 2005, pp.1-107 [in Polish]. English translation: Warsaw Silver Plate. Catalogue of the collection, gathered by Aniela and Tadeusz Wysiadecki.
Dr. David N. Nikogosyan
- 2012 -