Makers & Retailers - Louis Kuppenheim

Louis Kuppenheim

Louis Kuppenheim (1824-1889) was founded in 1854 together with Heinrich Witzemann they were located in Pforzheim, southwestern Germany and is known as the gateway to the Black Forest. In 1857 Kuppenheim moved forward as a solo business without his partner and moved to Durlacher Straße 1, Old Town street in Pforzheim. Upon the death of Louis Kuppenheim in 1889 3 of his 6 children (Albert, Hugo and Moritz) took over running the company and in 1900 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris the firm won a gold medal for a paper knife. In the same year the company opened the first store in the Rue de Richelieu 67 in Paris.

In the 1900s Hans Christiansen designed some silver parts and pieces of jewellery, which were made by the Manufacture Kuppenheim. Christiansen was an important Art Nouveau painter and a member of the Darmstadt artists’ colony. In 1906 Albert, Hugo and Moritz convert the inherited jewellery factory into a modern gold and silverware fabrication and one year later relocated to 69 Durocher Street. Over the next 30 years the company expanded their business with mechanical workshops for gold and silver along with more machinery along with the death of Albert Kuppenheim and Ludwig (another son of Louis) taking over the company. After the war broke out in 1939 the company went into liquidation ending its 82 year history. During the heyday of the company over 200 people were employed by Louis Kuppenheim making it one of the most important employers in the jewellery city of Pforzheim.

In the more than eighty years of production some 100,000 pieces left the company. Kuppenheim made many items in small series, for example boxes and minaudières (women’s fashion accessory, generally considered a jewellery piece, intended to substitute for an evening bag. A case with compartments, it allows storage for several items in a small space, such as a makeup compact, lipstick, watch, reading glasses, or keys) and compacts and cigarette cases were made in different sizes and shapes. Many hundreds of different styles and a unique variety of shapes are evidence of the creative mind of this designer.

The silverware were usually cut by machine, engraved and soldered together by hand. An elaborately crafted vanity case consists of up to twenty items. Many fashion pieces at that time were decorated accordingly, engine turned with enamels. The Kuppenheimer enamel, because of the high quality obtained worldwide fame. Products were exported to England, France, the United States and to South America.