ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
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by Joanna Paprocka-Gajek and David N. Nikogosyan

 
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WARSAW SILVER PLATE COMPANIES: III. BROTHERS HENNEBERG.

In 1824 the French businessman Joseph Fraget moved from Paris to Warsaw and together with his brother Alfonse founded a factory to manufacture silver-plated objects. This foundry was the first of its kind not only in Warsaw but in the whole Eastern Europe and was active until 1939 [see References and Notes 1]. Second by importance the Warsaw silver plate factory Norblin and Co. (from 1883 Norblin & Co & Bros.Buch, from 1893 Norblin, Bros. Buch & T. Werner) was founded in 1831 and survived also until 1939. It was also founded by the French emigrant Vincent Norblin [see References and Notes 2,3]. The third renowned Warsaw silver plate foundry was created in 1856 and managed until 1907 by the German emigrant Julius Henneberg, his brother Wilhelm and his son Julian. This investigation is dedicated to the Bros. Henneberg silversmith foundry in Warsaw.

In the second quarter of the XIX century the German family Henneberg settled in Warsaw, where, due to their diligence, skills and talents, they quickly integrated into Polish society. At the beginning of the Fifties, in the Joseph Fraget foundry two friends were zealously working, earning the necessary practical experience: the turning master Julius Henneberg (in Polish Juliusz Henneberg, born 10.06.1835 in Dresden, died 16.12.1907 in Warsaw), the son of Carl August Henneberg and Carolina, born Vorbrodt, and the bronze smith Michael Tchaikovsky (in Polish Michal Czajkowski, we didn't find any biographical data).

Juliusz Henneberg (1835 - 1907), the founder of Henneberg company

Juliusz Henneberg (1835 - 1907), the founder of the company.
Courtesy of Mazovian Library, Warsaw, Poland.

Julian Henneberg (1868 - 1935), son of   Juliusz Henneberg Julian Henneberg (1868 - 1935), son of   Juliusz Henneberg

Julian Henneberg (1868 - 1935), son of Juliusz Henneberg.
Courtesy ofWarsaw, Poland (left photo)
and Mazovian Library, Warsaw, Poland (right photo).

In 1856, these two friends became partners, as they organised their own private company devoted to the manufacturing of silver-plated table ware and cutlery. This first small factory was located on the former Brick street (in Polish ulica Ceglana), which is now called Jan Kazimierz street (ul. Jana Kazimierza) in the Warsaw quarter Wola. Three years later they moved in the building on the neighbouring Waliców str. (ul. Waliców) No.118b. In one of the first advertisements of the Henneberg & Tchaikovsky firm, issued in 1859, it was written that "the company is proposing a wide spectrum of silver-plated products, both electro-plated and made from rolled silver, both ready and to be ordered, starting from the smallest items up to large table ware and cutlery sets, absolutely necessary in the kitchen, toilet room, salon, house and church, everything at a reasonable (!) price" [see References and Notes 4].

A silver-plated candlestick made with the Guilloché technique in 1870 - 1874

A silver-plated candlestick made with the Guilloché technique in 1870 - 1874.
Private collection of David N. Nikogosyan.

In 1862, in order to raise its productivity, the factory was moved to new premises on Wolska street (ul. Wolska) No.17 [see References and Notes 5], where the press, operated by steam engine with a power of about 12 HP was later installed. However, for customer convenience the main warehouse was situated on Krakow Suburb str. (ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie) No.428, the largest shopping street of Warsaw. The number of the company's employees was growing quickly, from 5 in 1859 to 61 workers in 1863, and the small workshop was transferred into a real factory. The firm's production in its first 14 years of activity (mostly hollow ware: sugar bowls, plates, trays, etc. and cutlery) was marked by the names of the two co-owners, HENNEBERG & CZAJKOWSKI. In July 1870, it was presented on the exhibition in Saint-Petersburg and granted with a bronze medal for the beauty of drawing and the accuracy of finish [see References and Notes 6].

A decorative tray made in 1895-1915
A decorative tray made in 1895-1915

A decorative tray made in 1896-1915.
With permission from Mazovian Museum, Plock, Poland.

In the end of 1870, the 26-year-old younger brother of Juliusz, Wilhelm (1844-1917) joined the company [see References and Notes 7]. After that, the name of the company became Bracia HENNEBERG & CZAJKOWSKI, shortly Br. HENNEBERG & CZAJKOWSKI (in English Bros. HENNEBERG & TCHAIKOVSKY). In 1874 Michal Czajkowski left the firm and started his own silver plate business, labeling the production with the mark M.CZAJKOWSKI w WARSZAWIE. However, this new enterprise was not very successful and the new factory did not stay on the market too long. We don't know when exactly he became bankrupt; there is no accurate data. The rest owners of the Henneberg company gave it the new brand name of Bracia HENNEBERG (in English Brothers HENNEBERG or shortly Bros. HENNEBERG), which was kept until 1939 despite further changes of the personnel. In 1887, Wilhelm retired from the firm, devoting himself to cultural/social activities, but in 1894 the two young Henneberg brothers, Julian (1868-1936) [see References and Notes 8] and Stanislav, in Polish Stanislaw, (1869-?), sons of Juliusz Henneberg and Valerie (in Polish Waleri) Balandowicz, joined the company. At the request of their father, in addition to technical training they practiced in all the departments of the foundry, learning in depth the practical skills. However, in 1907 Stanislav Henneberg won a huge fortune in Monte Carlo, after that he sold his share in the company to his brother Julian, and as fast as gained, lost all his capital, remaining without a penny. After the death of Juliusz in December 1907, the company was managed solely by his son Julian.

An advertisment of Bros. Henneberg company

An advertisement of Bros. Henneberg company.

In the end of XIXth century - beginning of XXth century, the "Bros. HENNEBERG" firm developed dynamically. In 1876 the number of employees was 90 and the annual profit 130 000 rubles. In 1884 the number of employees grew up to 150, and the annual profit reached 150 000 rubles. In 1900 the number of employees reached 266, and in 1904 - even 321 persons [see References and Notes 9]. Between 1897 and 1900, the Bros. Henneberg foundry absorbed another Warsaw silver plate company, Fabryka Wolska pod Warszawa (in English Wola Factory near Warsaw), which employed 76 persons and had an annual profit of 49 000 rubles [see References and Notes 10]. These data were received in our latest studies, see parallel publication on Bros. Henneberg marks.

A tea-glass holder made in Chinese style

A tea-glass holder made in Chinese style.
Private collection of Sergei Kruglov, Moscow, Russia.

The high quality of the Bros. Henneberg products allowed the company to compete successfully with the major Warsaw players on the silver plate production market, such as Fraget and Norblin (from 1893 N.B.W.) companies. The Bros. HENNEBERG foundry had to participate in a series of exhibitions, where its products received a number of awards, namely: a certificate of merit in Warsaw (1881), a silver medal in Moscow (1882), a gold medal in Riga (1883), a gold medal in Warsaw (1895) [see References and Notes 11] and a silver medal in Nizhny Novgorod (1896) [see References and Notes 12,13]. The factory outlets were located in Warsaw (Nalewski str. No.26, Trebacka str. No.1 and Krakowskie Przedmiescie No.13) as well as in the Russian cities Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tiflis and Irkutsk. At that time the company catalogues offered about 1000 kinds of different products: cutlery, pieces and sets for table and buffet, haberdashery, toilet articles, decorations for churches, etc. During the subsequent crisis, the production range was limited to 120 samples.

A silver-plated Art Nouveau basket made from tin-containing alloy between 1895 and 1915

A silver-plated Art Nouveau basket made from tin-containing alloy between 1896 and 1915.
Private collection of David N. Nikogosyan.

The worst times for the Bros. HENNEBERG owners started after the first Russian revolution in 1905 and continued at least until 1918. The working hours were significantly reduced, as well as the staff numbers. The World War I destroyed the material-technical base of the factory: some equipment was taken away; the stock of the metal was also devastated. The political changes, happening after the end of World War I (e.g., revival of the Polish State) led to the loss of the huge and tax-free Russian market. This made imperative the total restructuring of the company. The new policy of the Bros. HENNEBERG firm included reviving its prestige by finding new markets and new customers. New stores were opened in Romania, Bulgaria, Persia, Greece, Canada, Shanghai and North Africa. Thinking about the new customers, the firm began to use design in a simplified modern form, often developed with the support of local artists, working in the fashionable Art Deco style (e.g., the famous Julia Keilowa [see References and Notes 2] In the Twenties and Thirties, the manufacturing of Art Deco items allowed the Bros. HENNEBERG company to win six gold, four silver and one bronze medals at international exhibitions. This helped the company to dominate the Warsaw silver plate market and to restore the brand awareness. Unfortunately, the reduced purchasing power of society in the era of the great economic crisis that rolled across the USA and Europe touched also the Warsaw silver plate manufacturers. The salvation for the maintenance of factory productivity came through state orders, e.g., naval and military ones. The huge orders for cartridges for army ammunition, metal parts for reflectors, decoration for uniforms, etc., allowed to keep the manufacturing of elite products for the canteens. In 1936 Bros. HENNEBERG introduced the new silver-plated cutlery sets under the brand name NIKORA with stainless steel bladed knives; as much as eleven different models were available.

Coffee-pot in Art Deco style, designed by Julia Keilowa milk can in Art Deco style, designed by Julia Keilowa

Coffee-pot and milk can in Art Deco style, designed by Julia Keilowa
and manufactured by Bros. Henneberg company.
Courtesy of Museum Warszawy (Warsaw Museum).

The collapse of the company started with the beginning of World War II. In 1944 90% of the factory buildings and the machinery/materials were destroyed. After the war an attempt was made to start the production and to rebuild the brand, but it was not possible due to the prevailing political and economic conditions. In September 1948, the factory of Brothers Henneberg was nationalized under the name Warsaw Factory Platerow (WFP). In 1964 the headquarters of the new factory moved to the building on Jan Kazimierz str. 32/40 in the Wola region of Warsaw, and a year later, the WFP was united with its pre-war competitor, the firm of Joseph Fraget, creating a state enterprise under the combined name HEFRA (HEnnebergFRAget). In the Seventies and Eighties, the production of items according with the pre-war models was equated with the idea of continuation of the old Polish traditions and became synonymous with prosperity and good taste.

A head of the receipt, issued by Warsaw Bros. Henneberg shop on December 27, 1930

A head of the receipt, issued by Warsaw Bros. Henneberg shop on December 27, 1930.
Courtesy of Warsaw State Archive (AGAD).

Today Hefra, the famous manufacturer on the Polish silver plate market, is in crisis. A limited offer, despite the great demand, does not compete in price and does not correspond to today's taste. On the contrary, the Bros. HENNEBERG items appearing on the antiques market reach high prices, testifying to the attractiveness of the old production and an ongoing attachment to the best silver plate items in Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.

Acknowledgements.

We are grateful to a curator of Warsaw Museum, for invaluable help.


References and Notes.

[1] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, David N. Nikogosyan, Warsaw Silver Plate Companies, History and Marks: I. Jozef Fraget, Silver Magazine, vol.47, No.2, pp.16-21 (2015).

[2] David N. Nikogosyan, Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, Warsaw Silver Plate Companies, History and Marks: II. Norblin, Silver Magazine, vol.47, No.6, pp.28-37 (2015).

[3] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, David N. Nikogosyan, Warsaw Silver Plate Companies, History and Marks: III. Bros. Buch, Silver Magazine, vol.49, No.3, pp.26-32 (2017).

[4] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, Platery Warszawskie w Latach 1822 - 1914 (Warszawa: Museum Palac w Wilanowie, 2010), p.130 [in Polish]. English translation of the title: Silver Plated Items produced by Warsaw factories in 1822 - 1914.

[5] Other sources erroneously give for the factory address at Wolska street No.15 or No.19.

[6] "Gazeta Warszawka"(Warsaw Newspaper), 19.07.1870, No.157, p.1.

[7] Wilhelm Henneberg, the second son of Carl August Henneberg and Carolina, nee Vorbrodt. Studied in Paris, London, Berlin and Vienna.

[8] Julian Henneberg was born in Warsaw. Graduate of Ian Pankiewicz school , Warsaw, and Applied Art School, Dresden.

[9] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, Platery Warszawskie w Latach 1822 - 1914 (Warszawa: Museum Palac w Wilanowie, 2010), pp.131-132 [in Polish]. English translation of the title: Silver Plated Items produced by Warsaw factories in 1822 - 1914.

[10] Joanna Paprocka-Gajek, Platery Warszawskie w Latach 1822 - 1914 (Warszawa: Museum Palac w Wilanowie, 2010), p.141 [in Polish]. English translation of the title: Silver Plated Items produced by Warsaw factories in 1822 - 1914.

[11] "Gazeta Polska" (Polish Newspaper), 24.06.1895, No.142, p.2.

[12] "Gazeta Handlowa. Dziennik poswiecony handlowi, polityce i ekonomii " (Business Newspaper. A magazine devoted to commerce, politics and economy), 9/21.09.1896, No.216, pp.2-3;

[13] "Gazeta Polska" (Polish Newspaper), 10/11.09.1896, No.217, p.3.

go to the article FULL LIST OF MARKS USED BY BROTHERS HENNEBERG COMPANY.

Joanna Paprocka-Gajek and David N. Nikogosyan
- 2018 -