Beautiful pair of repoussé Russian hallmark and hallmarks for Warsaw dated 1908 Norblini Co. MARKS OF EUROPEAN SILVER PLATE:
XIII. NORBLIN, RUSSIA/POLAND
(Revised & Updated Version of Members' Window # 57)
Three years ago I published a Members' Window in ASCAS newsletter devoted to the Warsaw silver plate factories Fraget and Norblin . Since then I found new material, both in literature and in my recent acquisitions, which has allowed me the revising and updating of the Fraget part of my previous Members' Window . Now it is time to revise the Norblin part.
The history of the Norblin company is well known [3,4,5,6]. Vincent Norblin (1805-1872) was born in Paris. His life story reads like a cheap fiction. At the age of fourteen, Vincent appeared in Warsaw, where his father, the jeweller Alexandre Jean Constantin Norblin (1777-1828), together with Vincent’s uncles was running a small enterprise, a bronze foundry (founded in 1819). After his apprenticeship at his father’s factory and studies abroad, Vincent found work in Warsaw in a silver company managed by the French jeweller Jean Cerisy (in 1822). Cerisy had married the daughter of Filip Vorbrodt, a local businessman of German origin, who moved to Warsaw from the small German principality of Anhalt. After the death of Filip Vorbrodt, the wife of Cerisy, Henriette Leopoldina Augusta, inherited her father's silver company. However, in 1831, Jean Cerisy died suddenly and Vincent Norblin (Wincenty Norblin in Polish) married his widow and became the boss of the firm.
In 1843, Wincenty Norblin, together with Jan Meylert, former associate of Cerisy, organised the new jewellery firm Norblin i Spólka (Norblin & Co.), where the bronze foundry of his father was also included. After that, Wincenty permanently renewed the machinery in his factory, which resulted in a steady increase of the production, and in 1853-1855, following the latest improvement at the Fraget factory, implemented the galvanic silver deposition. After the death of Jan Meylert in 1863, Wincenty became the sole owner of Norblin i Spólka. In 1865, seven years before his death, he transferred the factory to his son Ludwik Norblin (1/2 of the total capital) and to his daughter Albertina Wilhelmina together with the son-in-law Teodor Werner (the other 1/2 of the capital). Teodor Werner was a rather rich businessman and owned his own silversmith enterprise. Interestingly, after the dividing of the Wincenty Norblin heritage, both companions continued their own business: Ludwik Norblin produced silver plated items, while Teodor Werner made items from sterling silver. In 1870, Norblin & Co. won a silver medal at Russian Manufacture Exhibition in St. Petersburg and got the right to print the State Coat of Arms on his items .
In 1882 Ludwik Norblin (1836-1914) purchased a factory from Brothers Buch (Gebruder Buch, in German or Bracia Buch in Polish). After that the name of the company changed to Norblin i S-ka i Bracia Buch. Again, all three companions continued for a while to use old marks. The number of workers employed by the company quickly grew from 112 in 1879 to 600 in 1890. In 1893 this firm was transferred to a joint-stock company under the name: "Metal Factories Norblin, Bracia Buch & T. Werner (N.B.W.) in Warsaw". In 1896, the N.B.W. company won a Grand Prix for its participation in All-Russia Fair in Nizhnii Novgorod and received again the right to print the State Coat of Arms on its production [5,6]. In 1908, the N.B.W. firm patented a new tin alloy "Verit" to be used as a base metal for silvering.
It should be reminded that before 1850 in Russia all silver-plated objects were produced by soldering of a thin sheet of silver to a red-heated copper plate with subsequent rolling [7,8]. Such copper base with a fused silver layer was called "SILVER PLATE" or simply "PLATE" ("PLAQUÉ" in French, "PLATER" in Polish). However, in the second quarter of the XIXth century a revolutionary method of silver deposition on the surface of a base metal using the electrolysis process under high voltage was invented. The great advantage of the "galvanic" approach was the possibility of a very thin silver layer deposition, which led to the economic consumption of precious metal and a significant decrease in price for the final product. To the end of the XIXth century the galvanic method of silver deposition practically replaced the former soldering-based silver plating technique. Nevertheless, until now in Polish and English literature the confusion remains, the Polish term “PLATER” and the English term "PLATE" refer simultaneously to both, old (fusion-based) and new (galvanic) silver deposition techniques.
In contrast to Fraget, who kept its fusion-based silver plate production until the beginning of the XXth century, Norblin stopped applying the old (fusion-based) plating technique soon after 1870 and since that used only the galvanic silver deposition method. Hence, before 1870 the marks of Norblin sh