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Viennese handicrafts at the World's Fair

Viennese craft businesses that exhibited their designs at the World's Fair back in 1873 can still be found operating in Vienna today. Then as now, the companies sought to engage with the leading designers of their time. They were and continue to be modern. Through the dialog with contemporary designers, they combine tradition with the present day.

J. & L. Lobmeyr: Crystalline artworks

Crystal glass manufacturer J. & L. Lobmeyr was among the best-known participants in the 1873 Vienna World's Fair and celebrated great success there. Company founder Ludwig Lobmeyr received numerous awards for his designs and also sat on the judging panel himself. Incidentally, the company was even able to fit out the Imperial Pavilion, among other things with the lavishly engraved Emperor service and am impressive mirror, which can still be marveled at today in the store on Kärntner Strasse. The family company established in 1823 is known for extremely delicate drinking glasses in countless designs, but also for its impressive and magnificent chandeliers.

The cooperation with artists has long been nurtured at Lobmeyr: From Theophil Hansen, Adolf Loos, and Josef Hoffmann to current designers like Marco Dessí and Stefan Sagmeister. Above all, the efforts with the Wiener Werkstätte resulted in timeless classics that are still in the range today, such as the iconic "B" series drinking glasses by Josef Hoffmann. One of the oldest series at Lobmeyr is Service No. 4 from 1856. It was shown at the 1873 World's Fair and has been a permanent bestseller ever since. Now as then, the service impresses with its simplicity. The best-known chandelier from the house of Lobmeyr is the Starburst chandelier produced for the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1966.

Tip: Exhibitions on 200 years of Lobmeyr

  • J. & L. Lobmeyr celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2023. An exhibition at the MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (June 7 - September 24, 2023) is dedicated to the World's Fair and the company anniversary of Lobmeyr.
  • The anniversary will be celebrated with two exhibitions on the second floor of the Lobmeyr head office at Kärntner Strasse 26: From April to July 2023, the focus is on Lobmeyr at (world) exhibitions and spans an arc from the 1862 London World's Fair via Vienna in 1873, Cologne in 1914, and Paris in 1925 to the "Passionswege" of the Vienna Design Week of more recent times. From September to December 2023, an exhibition will run under the motto "Design" and deal with the design process, the understanding of materials, and the icons that arose at Lobmeyr over the last 200 years.  

Jewel hunt at Köchert

The Viennese traditional jewelers A.E. Köchert were among Europe's leading jewelers even at the time of the Vienna World's Fair. Once jeweler to the Austrian emperors, this traditional company still makes typically Viennese jewelry ranging from avant-garde to classical. The most famous piece of jewelry from the house of Köchert are the Sisi stars. Empress Elisabeth owned 27 diamond stars designed and made by the former Imperial and Royal Court and Chamber Jeweler Köchert. Sisi could wear the stars as necklaces, diadems, pendants, brooches or in her hair. The latter became world-famous through a painting of the empress by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. With it, Sisi unleashed a "star trend" across Europe. The Sisi stars, recreated according to original designs, can now be purchased again at Köchert.

The family company founded in 1814 has been located since 1873, the year of the Vienna World's Fair, in business premises on Neuer Markt designed by the famous Ringstrasse architect Theophil Hansen. Hansen was not only an architect; he even designed jewelry for Köchert. With the diadem "Byzantine" designed by Theophil Hansen and the "Schwanenparure", comprising a necklace and earrings, Köchert was awarded first prize by the international jury at the 1873 Vienna World's Fair. However, the pieces produced for the World's Fair were never sold because they were too expensive. They were taken apart again and the parts turned into other items of jewelry.

Like every other self-respecting craft business, the house of Köchert later also worked with the Wiener Werkstätte. Today, the goldsmiths at Köchert produce the historic pieces as well as many creations by contemporary designers. This historic business premises of Hansen was also given a contemporary style, while the Hansen Salon from 1873 remains preserved in its original form. The elegant pieces of jewelry are still made to this day in the historic workshop on the second floor. In front of that is a salon that also serves as a museum – with valuable original drawings and jewelry designs.

Jarosinski & Vaugoin: Silversmiths for kings

The traditional silversmiths Jarosinski & Vaugoin was also an exhibitor at the 1873 Vienna World's Fair and received medals for its outstanding silver pieces. Today, Jean-Paul Vaugoin represents the sixth generation of the family company founded in 1847. Elegant silverware is made by hand here, and even supplied to the royals in London's Kensington Palace, as well as to the far-away royal houses of Arabia and Malaysia. The silver manufactory specializes in tableware and dining culture, from the Baroque through contemporary designs.

As one of the last companies in the world to make silverware by hand, Jaronski & Vaugoin has 200 different models in its range. Jean-Paul Vaugoin likes to talk about these and other unusual parts of the tableware. Because there's pretty much something for everything, from the grapefruit spoon to oyster fork and even a chicken drumstick holder – all made from silver. Production still takes place today in a historic workshop in the 7th district. And not only historic pieces, but also modern creations by designers like Thomas Feichtner or Sebastian Menschhorn. Jean-Paul Vaugoin is especially proud of a replica of the famous Saliera by Benvenuto Cellini in silver (the original is in gold). The replica was made in 1969 in Vienna as a gift for a state visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

Video with Jean-Paul Vaugoin on the steel punches of silversmiths Jarosinski & Vaugoin

Bespoke shoes from Scheer: Timeless elegance

Scheer has been famous for its hand-made bespoke shoes since 1816. And not just any old shoes. In 1873, the company was awarded at the Vienna World's Fair and soon afterwards appointed the status of Imperial and Royal Court Purveyor. Today, the company is under the seventh-generation management of Markus Scheer. Elegant bespoke shoes for ladies and gentlemen are made here according to an old shoemaking art. Production by hand takes 60 hours per shoe. A free, highly professional cleaning service is included, for which customers send their shoes to Vienna – even from as far away as Japan. The shoe trees of Emperor Franz Joseph and other prominent clients are stored in the beautiful, historic store.

Tip: To mark the 150th anniversary of the World's Fair, Scheer is also showing the medal of merit and display cases from 1873 in his sales rooms from the beginning of January 2023.

J. & L. Lobmeyr

Kärntner Straße 26
1010 Vienna

A.E. Köchert

Neuer Markt 15
1010 Vienna

Jarosinski & Vaugoin

Zieglergasse 24
1070 Vienna

Scheer

Bräunerstraße 4
1010 Vienna

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