Orivit advertisement showing awards won 1900, 1902 and 1904.
The company was founded in 1894 as "Rheinische Broncegieserei fur Kleinplastiken" in Koln-Ehrenfeld, Germany. "Orivit" was initially a trade name (registered in 1898) for the company's proprietary metal alloy - its so called "orivit metal" which when polished would look like silver. This was achieved by removing lead, using a higher percentage of antimony and adding a small amount of silver.
In 1900 the company changed its name to "Orivit A.G. fur Kunsthandwerkliche Metalwarenfabrikation" - opening a new factory in 1902 with a revolutionary new hydraulic press enabling them to produce more intricate designs in greater numbers. Their leading designs of the period won them recognition at the Paris (1900) and St Louis (1904) World Exhibitions - however by 1905 the company was in financial problems and was acquired by WMF.
Orivit candlesticks produced for the Paris World Fair 1900
It was the acquisition of Orivit AG, who by this time were renowned for producing pewter ware (together with the subsequent acquisition of Orion Kunstgewerbliche Metallwarenfabrik) that helped drive WMF's expansion. WMF produced items with the Orivit mark until 1914.
Orivit’s designers included Hermann Gradl (1883-1964), Georg Grasegger, Walter Scherf (1875- 1909), Vicor Heinrich Seifert, Johann Cristian Kroner (1838-1911) and Georges Charles Couldray (1862-1932).
Orivit Art Nouveau pewter centerpiece with glass liner c1910
We have given a brief overview of the history of Orivit pewter. Orivit's history is closely linked to WMF and little is documented about the Orivit company itself.