WMF Wächtersbach Art Deco Modernist Biscuit Box

A metal and ceramic storage box from early 20th century Germany, with simple, modernist design. Second-hand.
Availability: Out of stock.
Stock ID: 1796

What's for sale?

This is an attractive, metal and ceramic biscuit box, made around the 1920s and 1930s by the German companies WMF and Wächtersbach Keramik. The metal sections are in nickel-plated. It was part of a large range of kitchen and table ware, decorated in a variety of patterns.

The metalwork comprises the handle, lid and catch. The lid holds the ceramic top, giving it a protective border, as well as providing the hinges and hasp for the closure mechanism. The hasp folds over a metal ball which has been drilled and could probably take a padlock (expensive biscuits!). The C-shaped handle is attached to the ceramic top using rivets, as are the hinges and catch.

This pattern is referenced by "Dec. 2000" on the base and is described in their 1929 trade catalogue as "Art grey on white ground". This biscuit box had catalogue number 7481/2000 and was available in two sizes: (8 and 9.5 inches). This 8 inch example was available to the trade for 21 shillings and 8 pence.

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). We don't know exactly when these forms and designs were introduced, but their production spanned a long time. For example, hot water jugs in the range were first introduced in the late 19th century and were still appearing in the 1930s, updated with modern patterns like this one.

The form is probably a design by ceramist Christian Neureuther (1869-1921), who founded what became the Wächtersbach art department. The pattern particularly 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, around the 1920s to 1930s. The metalwork is unsigned, although other examples have been. The printed mark on the base reads:

  • Dec 2000 (the decoration number)
  • FOREIGN (it was made for export)
  • 5

Also impressed into the base are:

  • A shield with horizontal bands (the Wächtersbach mark)
  • 2838/1
  • P

What condition is it in?

  • Second-hand
  • In very good condition
  • No chips or cracks
  • There's some crazing, most noticeable on the base
  • The metal shows its age in places with pitting and tarnish
  • The hinges, handle and hasp are all fully operational

What are the measurements?

  • 10.5cm high (4 inches)
  • 21cm width (8.25 inches)
  • 12cm depth (4.75 inches)
  • 1240grams

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