The Germans are a practical people. In industry, government or home-management, they seem to appreciate the most-direct route between two points. Their language reflects this sensibility as well: long words are created by simply sticking-together a series of smaller words. Case in point: the three English words which make-up “Metal Ware Fabricators” becomes (in German) “Metalwarenfabrik.” Which brings us to today’s topic at hand, WMF or “Württembergishe Metalwarenfabrik.”
WMF was founded in 1853 in Geislingen an der Steige, Germany. Within fifty years, it had become the world’s largest producer of household metalware—much of it in the popular aesthetic of the day, Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau). At the turn-of-the-century, WMF design was lead by sculptor Albert Meyer whose thirty year run ended in 1914. It is he who oversaw the design and production of the WMF Jugendstil copper tray, shown above. A stylized botanical (elderberry?) motif—intertwined with energetic whiplashing—encircles the copper tray which was then fitted with brass handles and ball-feet. It would be perfect for carrying a generous round of drinks. It would also serve as a beautiful dressing table caddy—to keep perfume and lotion bottles together, off the wooden tabletop.
WMF continues in-business to this day, however, their Jugendstil offerings did not make it too much past the 1920’s. Instead, they are now known for their high quality, modern design—flatware, glassware, pots & pans.
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