The biggest German pewter factory of the 19th century originates from a little family business: Johann Peter Kayser was born in Cologne in 1813 and in 1844 he founded a small foundry in Kaiserswerth. 7 years later the family moved to Krefeld, where they inaugurated a new tin foundry.
In 1864 Johan Peter Kayser’s eldest son, called Engelbert Kayser, opened an atelier which offered a view on the German and European artistic craftsmanship of that time and in 1885 his brother Jean Kayser, heir of his father’s foundry since 1874, built the “Leuconide- und Metallwarenfabrik J. P. Kayser Sohn” in Krefeld-Bockum. We don’t know a lot in the matter of the period from 1870 to 1890, but we have to be aware about the existence of a division between the production of consumer goods and that of luxury goods.
In 1890 Engelbert Kayser decided to lead the factory in order to abolish the distinction and unite the productions. There were two main artists and designers who worked with Engelbert: Hugo Leven and Karl Geyer. The collaboration between Engelbert, Leven and Geyer led to the development of the first collections and services until 1901. This is the period of floral decorations in relief made by Leven.
In 1900, during the Paris worldwide exhibition, Engelbert Kayser received a gold medal as the main designer of Kayserzinn factory in Krefeld, whose production increased a lot because of this important praise. In this period Leven and Fauser began to use clay and plasticine and developed a new technique called “Daumendrückrelief”, by which the relief was less perceivable and decorations appeared nearly engraved, in bas-relief.
From 1902, when Kayserzinn got a second worldwide praise, to 1904 more than 100 new models were invented and Karl Berghof presented innovative conic and cylindrical forms.
In 1904 Kayserzinn received its last praise at the world exhibition in St. Louis (USA) but from this moment the production started to diminish and Leven and Fauser left their job at the atelier. Engelbert Kayser dead in Cologne in 1911, and the outbreak of the first world war, together with the increasing price of the rough tin caused the abandoned of the atelier.
The rich war ministry tried to preserve the Krefeld factory but, with the passage of time all the molds of Art Nouveau were sold and in February 1930 began the bankruptcy of “J. P. Kayser Sohn AG Krefeld Fabrik”.