ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
ASSOCIATION OF SMALL COLLECTORS OF ANTIQUE SILVER
ASCAS
article # 191
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by Dr. David N. Nikogosyan
(click on photos to enlarge image)

MARKS OF BERNDORF METALWARE FACTORY

Contents.
  1) History of the factory.
  2) Need of thorough study of real BMF marks.
  3) Marks of high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) hollow ware and trays (including Table 1.).
  4) Small and flat ware marks of high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) BMF items (including Table 2).
  5) Marks of middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware (including Table 3).
  6) Marks of hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca (including Table 4).
  7) Special and export marks of BMF Arthur Krupp (including Table 5).
  8) Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany (including Table 6).
  9) Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Milan, Italy (including Table 7).
10) Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland (including Table 8).

1. History of the factory.

The history of Berndorf Metalware Factory (shortly, BMF) is well documented [1,2,3]. I present here a few historical facts which are necessary to understand the marks used by this company.
The famous Berndorf Metalware Factory (in German Berndorfer Metallwaarenfabrik) was founded in 1843 in the small village of Berndorf, situated in the region Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Interestingly, the foundry location is connected with its marking system. Due to the assonance between the words Berndorf and Bärendorf (in German the last word means "bear village"), many of the factory marks contain a bear profile.

A high-quality silver-plated candlestick, issued by BMF Alexander Schoeller between 1852 and 1865

A high-quality silver-plated candlestick, issued by
BMF Alexander Schoeller between 1852 and 1865.


Though this factory got world-wide recognition under the name Berndorf Metalware Factory Arthur Krupp, before 1891 it was called Berndorf Metalware Factory Alexander Schoeller and Co. Indeed, Alexander Schoeller, the Austro-Hungarian businessman, invested a lot of money in buying the land and building the factory. The father of Arthur Krupp, Herman Krupp, joined the firm in 1844 and in 1849 took over half of the shares. When Hermann Krupp died (in 1879), 23-year old Arthur, who already worked at the factory, inherited his business. After the death of Alexander Schoeller (in 1886), Arthur Krupp paid a large sum of money to his heirs and in 1890 became the sole owner of the company. From 1891 his name appears on the mark of the Berndorf foundry.
In 1913 BMF became a public company. The World War I (1914-1918) ended with the crash of the huge Austro-Hungarian Empire. The economy of the whole Europe was in crisis. The market diminished significantly. The usual transport routes for raw materials and final products were disrupted. Nevertheless, Arthur Krupp managed to save the firm and revive the production by 1924. However in 1926/1927 and 1932 two severe economic downturns brought the closure of some BMF productions and a sharp decrease in the employees' number (from 6000 to 800).

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) ash-tray with match holder, issued by
BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1918

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I)ash-tray with match holder,
issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1918.

Arthur Krupp managed the company business until his death in 1938, which coincided with the annexation of Austria by the Nazis (so-called "Anschluss"). The German company Friedrich Krupp A.G., Essen, took over the majority share of the "Berndorf Metalware Factory Arthur Krupp A.G." and kept it until the end of the World War II. After the war, BMF was confiscated by the Allied Occupation Forces (as a German armaments company) and managed by Soviet administration between 1945 and 1955. After 1955 it was nationalised and became again an Austrian public company.






2. Need of thorough study of real BMF marks.

At the very beginning of silver plate collecting (which is my hobby since 2003), I understood that the literature information on silver plate marks is very scarce and/or often not correct. Indeed, most books on that topic are written by art historians who show in their books only the images of marks found in patent offices. For example, Dr. Waltraud Neuwirth in her famous book mentioned 178 (!) different BMF marks [1], though in reality their number is much smaller. How could that be? Very simple! First, each firm registers more marks than necessary and some registered marks might never be used at all. Second, the exact implementation of the designer's sketch from the registered patent into practice could be very difficult (if not impossible), and therefore such design could either be rejected or seriously changed during the mark's application. Let us compare the designer's mark picture, given in the 1891 BMF patent application [1], with the real image of the standard BMF mark, used for high-quality silver-plated hollow ware items after 1891 [4].


the mark picture, given in 1891 patent application real picture of standard BMF mark used between 1891 and 1927

The mark picture, given in 1891 patent application (left) and
real picture of standard BMF mark used between 1891 and 1927.

First, in the image from the patent application, there are two horizontal "separating dots" between the letters "B" and "A" and "F" and "P", which are absent in the actual mark. Second, in the image from the patent application, there is no circle (around the image) which is present in the real mark. Third, the dot between the letters "T" and "K" in the image from the patent application lies at the very bottom of the line, which does not correspond to the real image. Fourth, the bear profile in the patent image is far from that in the actual mark. Thus, it is clear that the image from the patent application presents a rather distorted view. Similar comparisons with similar results could be done also between the pictures taken from the BMF catalogues and real images [4]. All above said led me to the conclusion of the necessity of thorough real-mark studies.


A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) teapot, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1909 and 1927

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) teapot, issued by
BMF Arthur Krupp between 1909 and 1927.






3. Marks of high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) hollow ware and trays.

In 2007, I was lucky to purchase on ebay auction a three-piece coffee set issued by BMF, which consisted of a coffee pot, a milk jug and a sugar bowl, all with the same monogram "BL" and special surface machining, characteristic of the end of the nineteenth century (so-called, "guilloche" style). Surprisingly, each piece from this stylistically uniform set has completely different maker's marks. The coffee pot has the well-known standard mark No.8 from the Table 1 below with the "standing bear" profile; the sugar bowl features an old and rather rare mark, No. 6 from Table 1 (in my collection there are only three pieces with such a marking); and the milk can displays the unknown mark, No.7 from Table 1, with the beautiful image of the "tiger-skinned bear" [4], also without the volume designation. Contrary to marks Nos.6 and 8, the mark on the milk can does feature the separating horizontal dots.


A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) three-piece BMF coffee set
Mark on a  three-piece BMF coffee set Mark on a  three-piece BMF coffee set Mark on a  three-piece BMF coffee set

A three-piece BMF coffee set (above) and their marks (below).

According to data from [1], mark No. 6 was registered in 1880 and mark No.8 in 1891; the mark No.7 is probably a modification of mark No. 6. In [4] it was suggested that the milk can was produced between 1886 and 1891, the period between the death of Alexander von Schoeller and the beginning of sole management of the Berndorf foundry by Arthur Krupp. Recently, I have found a photo of a gravy boat, marked with the "tiger-skinned bear", it was bearing an additional inscription "Berndorfer Metalwaarenfabrik/Wien", which refers to the Vienna Jubilee Manufacture Exhibition, held in 1888. This confirms my previous dating of the mark No.7.


An Art-Nouveau sugar bowl with inlet made of Bohemian glass, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1900 and 1914

An Art-Nouveau sugar bowl with inlet made of Bohemian glass,
issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1900 and 1914.

In 2008 I got to know Dr. Ingrid Haslinger from Austria and she showed me some high-quality silver-plated BMF items from her collection. Together we tried to establish a chronology of BMF marks for high-quality pieces issued between 1851 and 1880 [5]. Such a first approximation was rather successful, the new data obtained since does not contradict this scheme, moreover, I managed to develop further this classification (see Table 1 below).
For the last three years I was intensively studying the marks of the Russian (later Polish) silver plate companies Fraget and Norblin, active in Warsaw in the XIX-XX centuries [6]. Both companies very early started the production of silver plated ware using the galvanic silver deposition: Fraget in 1851 (even earlier than BMF!) and Norblin in around 1853. It is known [7], that in 1857 Fraget purchased in Austria-Hungary a unique machine for the mass production of Neusilber-based cutlery, 150 dozens per day. As at that time BMF was the sole and most advanced silver plate company in Austria-Hungary, it is clear that the interaction and cooperation between these factories were inevitable. Comparing the marks of Warsaw factories with the BMF ones for the period circa 1852, we can suggest that BMF marks with the dots should refer to galvanic silver deposition, while similar marks without the dots to rolling-silver technique (fusion-based silver deposition).


A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) teapot, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1918 and 1927

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) teapot,
issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1918 and 1927.

From 1891 and for more than thirty-five years, the mark for high-quality silver-plated BMF items has not been changed. But in the thirties, different marks, larger by a factor of two, where used. When did exactly the change of marks happen? Recently, on ebay auctions I have found two stylistically similar BMF items, one of which I bought, but the owner of the other refused to sell it to Ireland. Nevertheless, I kept the photo of the second piece. Though both items are dated by 1927, they bear completely different marks (marks Nos. 8 and 9 from Table 1). This finding allows us to establish the year, namely 1927, when the standard BMF mark was changed. To the best of my knowledge, this fact was not known so far.


high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) BMF creamer, issued in 1927 marks on  BMF creamer
high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) BMF coffee-pot, issued in 1927 marks on  BMF coffee-pot

Two high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) BMF items, creamer (above) and
coffee-pot (below), both issued in 1927 with corresponding marks (above and below).

After 1927, a much larger standard BMF mark (6.1 mm in diameter instead of former 3.7 mm) for high-quality silver-plated hollow ware items was used. In reality, three very distinctive varieties consequently were used: the "fat bear" (1927-1933), the "chicken-legs bear" (1933-1935) and the "dancing bear" (1935-1938) (marks Nos. 9, 10 and 11 from Table 1). To the best of my knowledge, these marks haven't been reported until now.



standard BMF marks for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) items used between 1927 and 1938 standard BMF marks for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) items used between 1927 and 1938 standard BMF marks for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) items used between 1927 and 1938

Three different standard BMF marks for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I)
items used between 1927 and 1938.

The next standard BMF mark (1938-1945) for high-quality silver-plated hollow ware items is a simple combination of the previous round mark with the two words: "KRUPP" (from the left) and "BERNDORF" (from the right).


The standard BMF mark for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) items used between 1938 and 1945

The standard BMF mark for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I)
items used between 1938 and 1945.

In the first issues of this mark (c.1938), the diameter of the round part was about 6.1 mm. After that the diameter of the round part diminishes down to 4.2 mm. The bear profile changes from the "dancing bear" to the "single-paw bear", for details see Table 1 below.
The standard BMF marks for the periods of 1945-1955 and 1956-1986, which refer to high-quality galvanic silver deposition, conclude the Table 1.


A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) sugar bowl from the Berlin cafe Telschow, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1927 and 1933

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) sugar bowl from the Berlin cafe
Telschow, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1927 and 1933.



Table 1.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
1














 before 1852
a theoretical model of mark possibly used before 1852







As discussed above, all early BMF marks for high-quality silver-plated Alpacca base metal (so-called "Alpacca-Silber", in English "silver-plated nickel silver") exist in two versions: marks referring to the old rolled-silver deposition technique (without dots) and very similar marks (but with dots) for the novel method of galvanic silver deposition on the surface of the base metal. Berndorf Metalware Factory Alexander Schoeller started to use the galvanic silver deposition method in 1852. It should be noted that the mark No.1 for the rolled-silver deposition technique shown above is not a real mark, but rather a theoretical model created with Photoshop, which, as I suppose, was used before 1852. This mark is still to be found. All other marks, shown below, are the real images of BMF marks. Probably extremely rare.

2



































 c.1852 - c.1865
BMF mark: c.1852  - c.1865






BMF mark: c.1852  - c.1865






BMF mark: c.1852  - c.1865








BMF mark: c.1852  - c.1865








There are two pairs of marks, in the first pair the word "BERNDORF" and two letters "AS" are of the same height, whereas in the second pair they are of different height (the two letters "AS" are higher). All the inscriptions are made with a "sans serif" font. The dotted marks refer to the galvanic silver deposition. The upper mark in the first pair (for the rolled-silver technique) is equal to mark No.1. Extremely rare/Very rare.
3











































 c.1865 - c.1870
BMF mark: c.1865 - c.1870









BMF mark: c.1865 - c.1870


















BMF mark: c.1865 - c.1870









Again we have two slightly different pairs of marks, each of them consist of the inscription "BMF", made with a "serif" font and two letters "M" and "F" joined together, and two letters "AS", made with a "gothic" font. These "AS" letters could be higher than the inscription "BMF" (earlier variety of mark No.2), or of the same height (later variety of mark No.2). Again the un-dotted varieties refer to the rolled-silver technique and dotted ones - to the galvanic silver deposition. Note that the dotted variety for the first pair of marks is absent. Extremely rare/Very rare.
4













 c.1870 - c.1875
BMF mark: c.1870 - c.1875









In the next mark, both the inscription "BMF" and the two letters "AS" are made with a "serif" font. The dotted variety of the mark disappears. This latter fact could be connected either with the complete termination of using the old non-economic rolled-silver technique or with the unimportance in further continuation of silvering technique designation. Very rare.
5













 c.1875 - c.1880
BMF mark: c.1875 - c.1880










The next mark for high-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber I) differs from previous mark No.4 by using the profile of the "standing bear" instead of the two-headed eagle image (coat of arms of Austria-Hungary). Very rare.
6
















 c.1880 - c.1887
BMF mark: c.1880 - c.1887 BMF mark: c.1880 - c.1887












A first round BMF Alexander Schoeller mark for high-quality silver-plating consists of the round inscription "BERNDORF ALPACCASILBER", with the image of the "standing bear" with paws out and legs separated, put in the centre of the circle. Note the absence of any dots in the inscription. The mean diameter of the circle is 3.7 mm. Very rare.
7
















 c.1887 - c.1891
BMF mark: c.1887 - c.1891 BMF mark: c.1887 - c.1891












A first round BMF Alexander Schoeller mark for high-quality silver-plating consists of the round inscription "BERNDORF ALPACCASILBER", with the image of the "standing bear" with paws out and legs separated, put in the centre of the circle. Note the absence of any dots in the inscription. The mean diameter of the circle is 3.7 mm. Very rare.
8



















 c.1891 - 1927
BMF mark: c.1891 - 1927 BMF mark: c.1891 - 1927












A standard mark for high-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber I), used by Berndorfer Metallwaarenfabrik Arthur Krupp during a prolonged period of 36 years. It differs from the previous mark No.7 by the following characteristic features: 1) for the first time on BMF mark appears the name of the factory owner "ART.KRUPP" (the shortening of "ARTHUR KRUPP"), which together with the factory location "BERNDORF" forms the round inscription; it should be noted that the dot between the words "ART" and "KRUPP" lies neither in the middle of the line nor at the bottom, but on the level of about 1/3 of the line's height; 2) the circle reappears; 3) the profile of the bear image changes again, now it is the "standing bear" profile with paws out and legs separated; 4) finally, the diameter of the circle changes, now it makes up 3.7 mm. Very common.
9


















 1927 - c.1933
BMF mark: 1927 - c.1933 BMF mark: 1927 - c.1933












The next BMF mark for high-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber I) is the first in series of three, so-called large marks. Indeed, its main characteristic feature is its size. In comparison with the previous mark No.8 the diameter of the circle increases nearly twice, from 3.7 mm up to 6.1 mm. The second feature is the presence of two additional horizontal separating dots, which separate the inscriptions "ART.KRUPP" and "BERNDORF". The third is the location of the dot between the words "ART" and "KRUPP", now it lies at the bottom of the line. Finally, the profile of the bear image changes again, now it is the "fat bear" profile. Rather common.
10















 c.1933 - c.1935
BMF mark: c.1933 - c.1935 BMF mark: c.1933 - c.1935












Second BMF mark for high-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber I) in series of three large marks. It differs from the previous mark No.9 by the bear profile, now the so-called "chicken-legs bear" is used. Note the existence of the eye in this bear profile. The diameter of the circle is 6.1 mm. Rather rare.
11


















 c.1935 - 1938
BMF mark: c.1935 - 1938 BMF mark: c.1935 - 1938 BMF mark: c.1935 - 1938












Third BMF mark for high-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber I) in series of three large marks. It differs from the previous mark No.10 by the bear profile, now the so-called "dancing bear" with its paws down is used. During the short period of three years, the dancing bear profile is constantly changing. First issues of this mark reveal the eye in the bear profile and a change in the position of the separating dots, then the eye disappears, then the bear's paws increase in size and the separating dots try to return back to horizontal position (c.f. marks Nos.9,10). The circle diameter is 6.1 mm. Rare/very rare.
12


















 1938
BMF mark: 1938 BMF mark: 1938












In 1938 Arthur Krupp dies and his factory is inherited by his German relatives, the Krupp family in Essen. These heirs have simply added to the previous mark No.11 two words: "KRUPP" (from the left side) and "BERNDORF" (from the right side). The diameter of the circle is 6.0 mm, which is very near to that of the mark No.11. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 7.1 mm with the length to height ratio 3.7. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 10.7 mm with the length to height ratio 5.7. It should be emphasized that this mark (No.12) is a transitional mark and therefore it was used for a very short period. Very rare.
13






























 1938 - c.1945
BMF mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF mark: 1938 - c.1945











BMF mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF mark: 1938 - c.1945












The composition of the next BMF mark (No.13) keeps the composition of the previous mark No.12 with two significant differences. First, the diameter of the circle decreases to 4.2 mm. Second, the bear profile again changes, now the "single-paw" bear is used. The mean length of the word "KRUPP" is now 4.7 mm with the mean length to height ratio 3.0. The mean length of the word "BERNDORF" is now 7.4 mm with the mean length to height ratio 5.0. This mark is quite common, but there is a rare variety where the inscriptions and the bear profile are made as a bas-relief, see last two photos above.
14
















 c.1945 - c.1955
BMF mark: c.1945 - c.1955 BMF mark: c.1945 - c.1955












A BMF mark for high-quality silver-plating relating to the period when BMF was ruled by the Soviet administration. A round inscription "BERNDORF AUSTRIA" is placed in a circle together with the image of the "standing bear" with paws out and legs gripped. The diameter of the circle is 4.6 mm. Another inscription "BERNDORF", made in italics, is placed under the round mark. Very rare.
15
















 c.1955 - c.1989
BMF mark: c.1955 - c.1989












This round BMF mark for high-quality silver-plating relates to the period when BMF became again an Austrian public company. Here the image of the "standing bear" with an eye, paws out and legs separated is set above the inscription "BERNDORF" inside the circle. The diameter of the circle is 5.8 mm. Common.

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) sugar bowl with a cover, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1935 and 1938

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) sugar bowl with a cover,
issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1935 and 1938.






4. Small and flat-ware marks of high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) BMF items.

In Table 2 we list so-called "small marks", which were used in the case of a shortage of the marking space, and flat ware marks (excluding cutlery).

Table 2.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
16












 c.1891 - 1927
BMF small and flat ware marks: c.1900 - 1927








A BMF small mark for high-quality silver-plated items, used in the first quarter of the XXth century. It consists of the oval (which measures 1.3 mm × 1.7 mm) with the profile of the "standing bear" (with paws out and legs separated) inside and two inscriptions: "A.KRUPP" (from the left) and "BERNDORF" (from the right). Note that the dot between "A" and "KRUPP" is placed exactly on the level of 1/2 of the line's height. Common.
17
















 c.1891 - 1927
BMF small and flat ware marks: c.1891 - 1927












A BMF mark for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) flat ware items. It differs from the standard mark No.8 by the location of the dot between the words "ART" and "KRUPP", which lies exactly at the bottom of the line. The diameter of the circle measures 3.7 mm, that value equals to the diameter of the circle for the mark No.8. Rather rare.
18
















 1927 - 1938
BMF small and flat ware marks: 1927 - 1938 BMF small and flat ware marks: 1927 - 1938












Two BMF small marks are used in this period. They both have the same size (diameter of the circle is 3.5-3.6 mm), display the same bear profile, but differ in the number of dots. The more widespread variety possesses two separating dots, while a rarer variety additionally has the dot between the words "ART" and "KRUPP", which lies exactly at the bottom of the line. Rare/Very rare.
19

















 c.1934 - 1938
BMF small and flat ware marks: c.1934 - 1938 BMF small and flat ware marks: c.1934 - 1938












This mark for silver-plated flat ware items consists of a rhombus with the "walking bear" profile, and three inscriptions, given in the rectangles, "EPNS", "ART.KRUPP" and "BERNDORF". EPNS is an abbreviation from "electro-plated nickel silver", "nickel silver" is a synonym for Alpacca in English. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 3.2 mm with the length to height ratio 3.3. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 5.6 mm with the length to height ratio 6.7. The length of any of two rhombus diagonals is 4.2 mm.
20
















 1938 - c.1945
BMF small and flat ware marks: 1938 - c.1945 BMF small and flat ware marks: 1938 - c.1945












This small mark for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) is similar to standard mark No.13, but displays a noticeably smaller diameter of the circle (3.0 mm instead of 4.2 mm). The mean length of the word "KRUPP" is 3.6 mm with the mean length to height ratio 3.4. The mean length of the word "BERNDORF" is now 5.1 mm with the mean length to height ratio 5.3. Common.
21












 1938 - c.1945
BMF small and flat ware marks: 1938 - c.1945









A BMF mark for silver-plated flat ware items, used after 1938. It slightly differs from the mark No.19, namely, instead of the inscription "ART.KRUPP", the word "KRUPP" is used. "EPNS" is an abbreviation from "electro-plated nickel silver", "nickel silver" is a synonym for Alpacca in English.








A middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) teapot, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1927

A middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) teapot, issued by
BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1927.

5. Marks of middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware.

Practically in every old BMF catalogue there is a mention of high-quality "Alpacca-Silber I" marks (see, for example, 1893 BMF catalogue [8]). Opposite, much less information is available on the marks for the middle-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber II). Recently, I was lucky to read on the page 2 of the 1898 BMF catalogue a couple of lines which gave me a key to understanding the chronology of BMF marks used in the case of middle-quality silver-plated hollow ware items. Below, this excerpt from the 1898 BMF catalogue is reproduced. In Table 3, the known marks of middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware items are gathered.

An excerpt on Alpacca-Silber II from the 1893 BMF catalogue

An excerpt on Alpacca-Silber II from the 1893 BMF catalogue [8]. English translation:
Alpacca-Silber II is a silver-plated nickel silver under current registered trade mark ***
or earlier mark *** which offers a strong enough coating for lower prices.

Table 3.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
22













 c.1870 - c.1875
BMF middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware marks: c.1870 - c.1875









An early mark for middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware items. It consists of the two-headed eagle (coat of arms of Austria-Hungary) and the inscription "BMF" (the letters "M" and "F" are joined) plus three mysterious letters given in two lines "CH/S", which mean "CHinesische Silber" (Chinese silver or silver-plated PACFONG, the latter word means nickel silver in Chinese). Very rare.
23











 c.1875 - c.1880
BMF middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware marks: c.1875 - c.1880







The next mark for middle-quality silver-plating (Alpacca-Silber II) differs from previous mark No.22 by using instead of the two-headed eagle image the profile of walking bear (with a hollow on its back). Additionally, instead of three letters in two lines "CH/S", the inscription "ASII", which is a shortening of "Alpacca-Silber II", is used. Very rare.
24














 c.1880 - 1927
BMF middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware marks: c.1880 - 1927











This mark displays all three elements of the previous mark No.23, but now these elements are placed in the rhombus with a vertical diagonal of 3.5 mm. It should be noted that the bear profile slightly changes as the hollow on its back disappears. Rare.
25
















 1927 - 1938
BMF middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) hollow ware marks: 1927 - 1938












Next mark keeps the composition of the previous mark No.24, but the size of the rhomb increases nearly twice, the length of vertical diagonal reaches 6.2 mm. This corresponds to the size increase of mark for the high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silver I) items issued by BMF in this period, see Table 1, marks Nos.9,10,11. The bear profile also changes, the hollow on its back reappears. Very rare.

The marks for Alpacca-Silber II items after 1938 are unknown. I think that by that time due to low demand BMF stopped completely the production of such items. Probably, rich people preferred to buy high-quality silver plate, poor people - items from pure nickel silver, but only few ordered the middle-quality silver-plated products. In this relation, I want to remind that in the mid-twenties (at the peak of BMF activities) the low-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber III) hollow ware items were also manufactured. Though the BMF mark of such items is known [1,9], during the last eight years of my collecting, I never saw it. This means that this mark is exceptionally rare, even rarer than any of Alpacca-Silber II ones.









An ash-tray with a match stand made by BMF from pure nickel silver  between 1880 and 1887

An ash-tray with a match stand made by BMF from pure
nickel silver between 1880 and 1887.

6. Marks of hollow ware produced from pure nickel silver.

An excerpt on Alpacca from the 1893 BMF catalogue

An excerpt on Alpacca from the 1893 BMF catalogue [8]. English translation:
Products from Alpacca (in English - nickel silver), silver-like white metal, known
under the names PACFONG or Neusilber, are manufactured with current registered mark *** or earlier mark ***.

Table 4.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
26










 c.1870 - c.1875
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: c.1870 - c.1875







An early mark for the BMF Alexander Schoeller items made from pure nickel silver. It consists of the two-headed eagle (coat of arms of Austria-Hungary) and the inscription "BMF" (the letters "M" and "F" are joined). Very rare.
27









 c.1875 - c.1880
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: c.1875 - c.1880






The next mark for the items made of pure silver nickel differs from previous mark No.26 by using instead of the two-headed eagle image the profile of the "walking bear" with a hollow on its back. Very rare.
28













 c.1880 - 1887
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: c.1880 - 1887









A first standard BMF Alexander Schoeller mark for the items made of pure nickel silver, where the two elements from the previous mark No.27 plus the inscription "ALPACCA" are put together inside the oval with the size about 3.0 mm x 3.6 mm. Note that the "walking bear" profile slightly changes and the hollow on its back disappears. Rare.
29










 1887 - 1891
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1887 - 1891 BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1887 - 1891








The next standard BMF mark bears the profile of a "tiger-skinned bear". Above the bear's image and the "BMF" inscription, there are two letters "N" and "S", meaning "nickel silver", imprinted additionally. The size of oval is 4.8 mm x 6.2 mm. I have just discovered this mark. Extremely rare.
30














 1891 - 1927
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1891 - 1927











A first standard BMF Arthur Krupp mark for the items made of nickel silver differs from mark No.28 by using the inscription "BERNDORF" instead of the inscription "BMF" and by the presence of two horizontal separating dots. The size of the oval increases up to 3.6 mm x 4.6 mm (mean value of 8 marks from different items). Common.
31














 1927 - 1938
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1927 - 1938











The composition of the next standard BMF Arthur Krupp mark for the items made of pure nickel silver is similar to that for the previous mark No.30, but the oval of the new mark reveals a larger size, 4.5 mm x 6.5 mm, and the bear's profile changes again, now it is "two-ears walking bear" with the hollow on its back. Very rare.
32






























 1938 - c.1945
BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1938 - c.1945









BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF hollow ware produced from pure Alpacca mark: 1938 - c.1945













The next mark combines the oval from the previous mark No.31 with two words: "KRUPP" (from the left) and "BERNDORF" (from the right). In my collection there are two varieties of this new mark: in one case the oval and the inscription inside are plane, in the other the oval and the inscriptions are made as a bas-relief. The first variety is of larger size, the oval measures 3.5 mm x 4.5 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 3.8 mm with the length to height ratio 3.3. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 6.3 mm with the length to height ratio 5.8. The second bas-relief variety is smaller, the oval measures 2.8 mm x 3.5 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 3.4 mm with the length to height ratio 3.3. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 5.2 mm with the length to height ratio 5.5. I suppose that the bas-relief variety serves as a small mark. Note that the bear profile again changes, now the "one-ear walking bear" with the hollow on its back is used. Both varieties of this mark are very rare.








A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) creamer bearing the mark of 70-year jubilee of Arthur Krupp (1926).

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) creamer bearing the mark of
70-year jubilee of Arthur Krupp (1926).

7. Special and export marks of BMF Arthur Krupp.

Table 5.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
33















 c.1918 - c.1927
BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: c.1918 - c.1927 BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: c.1918 - c.1927












An export mark for high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) hollow ware items. This mark features a snake entwined on a palm tree, which is part of the coat of arms of the Krupp family. Diameter of the circle with the palm tree is 3 mm.
34











 c.1918 - c.1927
BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: c.1918 - c.1927









An export mark for items made of pure Alpacca.  NS  means Nickel Silver which is a synonym for Alpacca in English.
35













 1926
BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: 1926 BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: 1926 BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: 1926









A jubilee mark, consisting of a beehive with the standard profile of  standing bear  and initials A.K, was used to mark the 70th birthday of of Arthur Krupp. The dot between the letters "A" and "K" is placed exactly on the level of 1/2 of the line's height. The beehive size is 2.4 mm x 3.2 mm. It should be emphasized that the accompanying standard BMF Arthur Krupp mark displays additionally a pair of horizontal separating dots. Rare.
36




















 1927 - 1938
BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: 1927 - 1938 BMF Arthur Krupp Special and export mark: 1927 - 1938

















An export mark used in 1927-1938 for the high-quality silver-plated hollow ware items, consists of one word  AUSTRIA . This inscription should be not mixed with a somewhat similar inscription  AUS , which is a shortening of  AUSSCHUSS  and means rejects.








A beautiful silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I)<br/>bucket for champagne, issued by<br/>Esslingen BMF branch c.1927.

A beautiful silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I)
bucket for champagne, issued by
Esslingen BMF branch c.1927.

In my collection, I possess a BMF advertisement, published in 1925. It states that BMF has four branches, in Bucharest (Romania), Esslingen am Neckar (Germany), Luzern (Switzerland) and Milan (Italy). Beside this ad, I never heard anything about the BMF branch in Bucharest, it probably existed for a very short time. The marks of other three branches are discussed below.

8. Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany.

Table 6.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
37





















 c.1919 - 1927
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1919 - 1927 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1919 - 1927

















The first mark for the high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) items, issued by the BMF branch in Esslingen, displays a fancy key shape with one letter on each side, "B" and "E" for "BERNDORF" and "ESSLINGEN". The length of the key is about 7 mm. The rectangle occupied by "B" and "E" letters is about 1.7 mm x 3.6 mm. Rare.
38






















 c.1927
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1927 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1927

















The mark No.37 of the BMF branch in Esslingen was not very successful. On the contrary, the next mark, consisting of a standard mark together with a single for designation of Esslingen branch (first alone, then inside the circle), was well accepted. Here you can see the letter "E" being added to the mark, similar to the mark No.8, but with two additional horizontal separating dots. The diameter of the circle is of 3.7-3.8 mm. The letter "E" height is about 1 mm, the diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm. Very rare.
39




















 1927 - 1938
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1927 - 1938

















Here the main mark is very similar to the small BMF mark No.18, but the diameter of its circle is slightly larger (measures 3.8 mm). The diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm. Very rare.
40




















 1927 - 1938
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1927 -  1938

















Here is the mark for middle-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber II) items, issued by the BMF branch in Esslingen. The size of the rhombus and the bear profile are similar to those in the mark No.25. The length of vertical diagonal is 6.1 mm. The diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm. Very rare.
41
















 c.1938
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1938 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1938












With the exception of the "E" circle, this mark of Esslingen branch is identical to the mark No.12. The diameter of the main circle is 6.1 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 7.5 mm with the length to height ratio 3.4. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 10.4 mm with the length to height ratio 5.1. The diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm. Very rare.
42































 1938 - 1945
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945











BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945













With the exception of the "E" circle, the next mark for high-quality silver-plated items issued by the BMF branch in Esslingen is identical to that of the mark No.13. Again there are two varieties: the plane one and the other, executed as a bas-relief. For the plane variety, the diameter of the main circle is 4.2 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 4.7 mm with the length to height ratio 2.8. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 7.4 mm with the length to height ratio 4.8. For the "bas-relief" variety, the diameter of the main circle is 4.0 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 4.9 mm with the length to height ratio 3.3. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 7.3 mm with the length to height ratio 5.2. The diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm in all cases. Very rare.
43
















 1938 - 1945
BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945 BMF branch in Esslingen, Germany, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945












The last mark concerning the Esslingen BMF branch is a small mark, identical to the mark No.20 (with the exception of the "E" circle). The diameter of the main circle is 2.9 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 3.8 mm with the length to height ratio 3.5. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 5.0 mm with the length to height ratio 5.4. The diameter of the "E" circle is 1.9 mm. Very rare.

A silver-plated coffee-pot  with the logo 'Flug u. Zeppelinhafen-Gastätten' (Plane and Zeppelin Harbour Restaurant), issued by Esslingen BMF branch between 1938 and 1945

A silver-plated coffee-pot with the logo " Flug u. Zeppelinhafen-Gastätten"
(Plane and Zeppelin Harbour Restaurant), issued by Esslingen BMF
branch between 1938 and 1945. Designed by Gio Ponti.







9. Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Milan, Italy.

Table 7.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
44
















c.1920 - 1927
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1920 - 1927












The first mark of the BMF branch in Italy for high-quality silver-plated items consists of the inscription "ART.KRUPP MILANO", with one dot between "T" and "K" letters, lying exactly at the bottom of the line, and two horizontal separating dots. The profile of the "standing bear" with two paws out and legs separated is placed in the centre of the circle. The diameter of the circle is 3.9 mm. Rare.
45















1927 - 1938
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1927 - 1938












The next mark for high-quality silver-plated items differs from the previous mark No.44 by two characteristic details: 1) the diameter of the circle increases from 3.9 mm up to 5.8 mm; 2) the profile of the bear image changes, now the "single-paw bear" profile is used. Rare.
46















 1938 - c.1945
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945












The next standard mark of the BMF branch in Milano for high-quality silver-plated hollow ware items is a simple combination of the previous round mark No.45 with the two words: "KRUPP" (from the left) and "MILANO" (from the right). The diameter of the circle is 3.7 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 5.0 mm with the length to height ratio 4.1. Very rare.
47
















 1938 - c.1945
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - c.1945 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 - 1945












A variation of the previous mark with the omitted dot between "T" and "K" letters. The diameter of the circle is 3.9 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 5.3 mm with the length to height ratio 5.1. Very rare.
48















 c.1945 - c.1955
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1945 - c.1955 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1945 - c.1955












The next mark displays the dot between "T" and "K" letters, but the separating horizontal dots are absent. The diameter of the circle varies between 3.5 mm and 4.2 mm. The bear profile and the inscriptions inside the circle are very inaccurate. Rather common.
49

















 c.1945 - c.1955
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1945 - c.1955 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1945 - c.1955












The mark for middle-quality silver-plated items issued by BMF branch in Milan, Italy. It consists of a rhombus placed between two words: "KRUPP" and "MILANO". Inside the rhombus is the profile of walking bear. The upper inscription is not clear, it reads probably as "AKM" (a shortening from "ARTHUR KRUPP MILANO"). The lower inscription is "ASII". The length of the vertical diagonal in rhombus is 2.9 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 4.1 mm with the length to height ratio 3.7. Very rare.
50
















 after c.1955
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: after c.1955 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: after c.1955












After the end of World War II, the Milan factory returns to its original name "ARTHUR KRUPP MILANO". This mark is for high-quality silver-plated items and consists of the factory name, given in two lines, and the circle with a "standing bear" profile, placed in the centre of this three-word inscription. The diameter of the circle is 2.9 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 5.8 mm with the length to height ratio 4.5. Rare.
51
















 after c.1955
BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: after c.1955 BMF branch in Milan, Italy, silver-plated hollow ware mark: after c.1955












This mark for middle-quality silver-plated items consists of the factory name, presented in two lines, and the rhombus with a "walking bear" profile, placed in the centre of this three-word inscription. The length of the vertical diagonal in rhombus is 4.0 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 6.0 mm with the length to height ratio 4.7. Rare.

A silver-plated coffee-pot with the logo 'Jolly Hotels Ciatsa', issued by Milan BMF branch after 1955. Designed by Gio Ponti

A silver-plated coffee-pot with the logo "Jolly Hotels Ciatsa",
issued by Milan BMF branch after 1955. Designed by Gio Ponti.







10. Marks of silver-plated hollow ware produced by BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland.

Table 8.

No.
Period, Mark & Comment
52
















 1938
BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938 BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland, silver-plated hollow ware mark: 1938












This mark is identical to mark No.12, issued by BMF in 1938, but it contains an additional inscription "SWITZERLAND", which points to Luzern branch. The diameter of the circle is 6.1 mm. The length of the word "KRUPP" is 6.8 mm with the length to height ratio 3.2. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 10.9 mm with the length to height ratio 5.5. Very rare.
53
















 c.1945 - 1955
BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland, silver-plated hollow ware mark: c.1945 - 1955












This beautiful mark for high-quality silver-plated items contains the image of a bear, holding a spoon. Originally this image was created for the celebration of 100-year BMF jubilee in 1943 [3]. Otherwise, the composition of this mark similar to that of No.14 with the small (but important) difference in inscription, here the inscription "BERNDORF LUZERN" is used instead of "BERNDORF AUSTRIA". The diameter of the circle is 5.2 mm. Rare.
54















 after c.1955
BMF branch in Luzern, Switzerland, silver-plated hollow ware mark: after c.1955











Next mark of BMF Luzern contain the image of standing bear in the circle with the inscription "BERNDORF LUZERN" in two lines. The diameter of the circle is 2.9 mm and corresponds to that for mark No.50. The length of the word "BERNDORF" is 7.9 mm with the length to height ratio 6.2. The length of the word "LUZERN" is 5.9 mm with the length to height ratio 4.6. Rare.

A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) milk-can, issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1900
A high-quality silver-plated (Alpacca-Silber I) milk-can,
issued by BMF Arthur Krupp between 1891 and 1900.

Conclusion.

This article describes the marks of Berndorf Metalware Factory (BMF) for silver-plated hollow ware and trays used between 1852 and up to 1989. This updated and extensive description includes the marks for the high-quality silver plated items (so-called, Alpacca-Silber I), the ones for the middle-quality silver-plated items (Alpacca-Silber II) and the marks for the items made from uncoated nickel silver. For the first time, the BMF marks for the period 1927-1945 are systematized and tabulated. Some special marks are also discussed, namely, the small marks, which were used in case of a shortage of marking space, the flat-ware marks (excluding cutlery), the export marks and the marks, issued in 1926 in the honour of 70-year jubilee of the firm's director, Arthur Krupp. At the end, the marks of the BMF branches in Esslingen am Neckar (Germany), Milan (Italy) and Luzern (Switzerland) are also presented.


Acknowledgements.

I would like to thank Mr. Ernst Terzer, a volunteer from Krupp stadt museum Berndorf, and Dr. Felix Wahlmüller, a collectioner from Vienna, for their invaluable consultations/discussions.



Literature.

1. Waltraud Neuwirth, Blühender Jugendstil Österreich, Band 2: Firmen und Marken (Wien: Selbstverlag Dr. Waltraud Neuwirth, 1991), pp.1-288 [in German]. English translation of the title: Art Nouveau in Blossom - Austria, Vol. 2: Companies and Marks.

2. Ingrid Haslinger, Tafelkultur Marke Berndorf: Das Niederösterreichische Erfolgsunternehmen Arthur Krupp (Wien: Eugen Ketterl Verlag GmbH, 1998), pp.1-174 [in German]. English translation of the title: The Berndorf Brand Table Culture, Lower-Austrian Success Story of Arthur Krupp.

3. Dietmar Lautscham, Arthur der Österreichische Krupp (Berndorf: Kral Verlag - Anton Kral GmbH, 2005), pp.1-438 [in German]. English translation of the title: Arthur, the Austrian Krupp.

4. D.N. Nikogosyan, Marks of silver-plated hollowware made by the Berndorf Metalware Factory in Austria. Silver Magazine, Vol.40, No.3, pp.34-41 (2008); Correction. Silver Magazine, Vol.40, No.4, p.11 (2008).

5. I. Haslinger, D.N. Nikogosyan, Early marks of Berndorf Metalware Factory. Silver Magazine, Vol.42, No.1, pp.12-15 (2010).

6. J. Paprocka-Gajek, D.N. Nikogosyan, Warsaw Silver Plate Companies. History and Marks: I. Józef Fraget, Silver Magazine, 2015 [in press].

7. Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, Platery Warszawskie w Latach 1822-1914 (Warszawa: Muzeum Palac w Wilanowie, 2010), pp.1-375 [in Polish]. English translation of the title: Silver Plated Items Produced by Warsaw Factories in 1822-1914.

8. Muster- und Preis-Buch der Berndorfer Metallwaarenfabrik Arthur Krupp, Berndorf, Nieder-Österreich, 1898, p.2 [in German]. English translation of the title: Berndorf Metalware Factory Arthur Krupp, 1898 Catalogue.

9. Isabel Bauer, Ingrid Haslinger, Susanne Schmieder-Haslinger, Gabriele Schöberl, Berndorfsilber, Tafel und Stil, Besteckkultur von 1843 bis Heute (Berndorf: Kral Verlag - Anton Kral GmbH, 2007), pp.1-200 [in German]. English translation of the title: Berndorf Silver. Banqueting in Style. Cutlery Culture from 1843 until Now.

Dr. David N. Nikogosyan
- 2015 -