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Author Topic:   German maker ID question

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 01-06-2008 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

A request to those of you with references on German marks:

My parents and I lived near Munich for a little more than a year in 1956-57, and we traveled within Germany and to other countries in Europe several times while there. At some point my parents bought dinner knives with silver handles and stainless blades (Henckels Friodur).

The silver marks, which are in the curve of the handle just beneath the bolster, are not on any of the three German pages at the site, though there are several there in the same sequence.

From left to right:

  • indecipherable maker's symbol - could be an M, or a dot and a right half-moon in an oval
  • 800
  • crescent with midpoint (points facing right)
  • five-lobed crown
I understand that the 800 is the silver % and that the crescent and crown are the German national marks. The leftmost mark is slightly smaller than the others, with more space beneath it; the 800 etc. are all the same size and on the same level. The crown is less crude-looking than most shown on the pages at

I will make a real effort to post a photo soon, but am still learning how to use the new camera, and this mark will be a challenge to shoot clearly.

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iconnumber posted 01-06-2008 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The leftmost (maker's) mark is most similar to the image of an unidentified M-like mark:


The crown in the image is quite different (I'm assuming the rightmost mark is a crown; it's almost unrecognizable). But the sequence of marks is correct, and the maker's mark is very plausible.

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iconnumber posted 01-07-2008 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for inserting that image, Scott. It's made me realize that the 'M-like object' is the crown, which explains why the rightmost mark looks nothing like a crown -- it's the maker's mark. Back to square one... and to getting a photo of my own up.

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Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 01-07-2008 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the posted image, the marks on the right are the moon & crown; the mark on the left is the (incompletely struck) maker’s mark of the Vereinigte Silberwarenfabrik [United Silverware Fabricators] of Düsseldorf. The company was created in 1901 from the earlier firm of Gebrüder Bahner, itself founded in 1887 by brothers Wilhelm and Anton Bahner, Jr. The company made a wide variety of flatware, and was out of business by 1967.

Hope this helps!

[This message has been edited by blakstone (edited 01-09-2008).]

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iconnumber posted 01-15-2008 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, blakstone, that does help a lot, and it's a real possibility. Unfortunately, my best shot is too small and crappy to help resolve the question. I'll improve my shooting skills, but for now, just to get it up here:

Looking at the knife 'live', I find it quite possible that the maker's mark is that of the Duesseldorf company.

Pros: the similarity of the leftmost mark, the order of the marks, the fact that they're not in a rectangle or other recess but just cut into the silver surface itself, and that my parents did visit Duesseldorf (though the company's products might well have been sold in Munich, the closest city to where we were staying).

Cons: 1. On the knife, the M-like mark is a bit shorter than the other marks, and 'floats' rather than being right on a level with them as in the first image. 2. The crowns seem very different: On the knife the five lobes of the crown are drawn with fine lines; in the first image I'm having trouble even seeing it as a crown, though I take your word for it that it is. But we can all agree that it isn't a delicately drawn five-lobed version.

My respect for those of you who supply great images has grown a lot in the last few days.

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iconnumber posted 01-15-2008 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's apparent in the picture that the blade is not aligned very well with the handle. That's the result of the Dishwasher Incident sometime in the '70s, when my father ran the machine with the drying cycle. The blades exploded from the handle in just the way many "how to care for silver" articles warn about.

In two of the knives the blades are still close enough to use in a pinch, but I plan eventually to get them all re-seated since the blades are in great shape, the handles have a great weight and feel, and they're what I grew up eating with. Is that the kind of thing any jeweler can do, or should I be looking for a specialist?

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Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 01-16-2008 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've done it many times myself. It requires just careful monitoring of the heating; I use a water bath on a simmer, and test the pitch until it's soft enough to move the blade. If you overcook them the pitch will run out into the water! But if you lose only a little they can still be reseated securely. Of course you have to use hot mitts to handle them! And I sometimes use a contraption to hold them upright in the water, sometimes just grab them out with tongs.

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