WMF Wächtersbach Art Deco Modernist Hot Water Jug

An early 20th century, metal and ceramic, jug with automatic lid, decorated in pattern 1876a. Second-hand.
Availability: Out of stock.
Stock ID: 1657

What's for sale?

This is an attractive, modern-looking, ceramic and metal hot water jug with weighted lid. It was made between 1910 and 1930 by German companies WMF and Wächtersbach. The ceramic is by Wächtersbach, the nickel-plated metal by WMF.

The jug was part of a very large range of kitchen and table ware available in several patterns. The pattern is referenced by the "Dec. 1876a" on the base and is one of the harder ones to find today. It is described in the 1929 WMF trade catalogue as "Grey Art Squares". This jug is in the middle of 3 available sizes, with a capacity of 1.2 pints or 600ml.

In the catalogue, WMF describes the metal lid as 'automatic'. On the underside of it is a ball weight which opens it when pouring and closes it when the jug is back upright.

This range is an example of how styles evolved between Art Nouveau and Art Deco and the small squares are reminiscent of work by modernists Joseph Maria Olbrich  (1867-1908) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928). Jugendstil developed in Germany after an 1887 publication of the Munich magazine "Jugend", promoting their local version of Art Nouveau.

The form is possibly a design by ceramist Christian Neureuther (1869-1921), who founded what became the Wächtersbach art department. The pattern shows the influence of Olbrich, an Austrian architect who produced a number of similar designs for interiors, homeware, book bindings, etc.

Who made it and when?

It was made by WMF and Wächtersbach in Germany, between 1910 and 1930. The metalwork is not signed, but the printed mark on the base reads:

  • WMF
  • Dec 1876a(the decoration number)
  • 20

Also impressed into the base are:

  • A shield with horizontal bands (the Wächtersbach mark)
  • 3536
  • VTK
  • 5

What condition is it in?

  • Second-hand
  • In good condition with no cracks or splits
  • The metal has a few scratches but the plating is very good
  • The lid has a faint depression on the opposite side to the ball, which may be caused by the weight as it falls
  • There is a chip on the base which can be seen when the jug is upright (see photo)
  • The lid sits a little above the ceramic spout when viewed from the side

What are the measurements?

  • 15cm high (6 inches)
  • 14cm spout to handle (5.5 inches)
  • 10cm base diameter (4 inches)
  • 540 grams
  • 600ml capacity (1.2 pints)

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Item Attributes
Attribute nameAttribute value
MakerWMF Wächtersbach
PeriodEarly 20th century (1900-1949)