Monday, 10 January 2011

Gebrüder Bing Nürnberg 1863 - 1933

Here we have a German pewter (zinn) wine flagon decorated with an art nouveau or jugendstil design. This is a recent purchase that has led to some interesting research. I have seen this mark on other items but this flagon was the first special piece to prompt more interest.

The basic information about this mark is; GBN stands for Gebrüder Bing Nürnberg or to anglicise it Bing Brothers, Nuremberg and the Bingit Zinn refer to their range of decorative pewter made c1904/5

The factory was established in Nuremberg, Germany by the Ignaz and Adolf Bing in 1863 initially producing metal kitchen utensils and the like. By 1880 they had begun toy manufacturing and by the early 20th century the factory in Nuremberg was the biggest toy factory in the world. They produced their first Teddy Bear in 1907. They are best remembered for the tin plate toy trains they produced which are amongst the most keenly collected early 20thC toys.

The "Nuremberg Style" of manufacturing toys with lithographed designs on steel sheets that were stamped out and assembled using tabs and slots was  perfected by Bing. In addition to toys they continued to make a wide range of metal household, kitchen and office equipment. Some were more decorative with design influences from the Jugendstil and art nouveau schools of design.

They took over the firm 
Felsenstein and Mainzer - Norica Zinn (Co.) in 1918. This firm had been established in Nuremberg by Simon Felsenstein und Sigmund Mainzer in 1886 as a small pewter workshop and from 1904 started producing on a larger scale (Norica Zinn).

The company suffered badly from the effects of the First World War with loss of their export market and a rise in competition from US companies. Some revival in the early 1920's was short lived and by 1927 the company was in financial trouble. The family Bing was Jewish and president of the company, Stephen Bing and his family fled to England following the rise of Adolf Hitler. The company was in liquidation by 1932 and ceased trading in 1933.
 The Bing factory site in Nürnburg was taken over by Diehl Metall in 1938

Stephen Bing continued toy manufacturing in England helping establish the firm Trix.
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