Artists & Designers

B. D. Beiderhase & Co. (American, 1851-1874)

Bernard Beiderhase (d. 1874) was a German immigrant who throughout his lifetime maintained strong ties to other German silversmiths working in the United States. The 1859-60 New York City directory lists Beiderhase as a chaser. As early as 1851 he was in partnership with Robert Copeland, running a modest-sized silverware manufactory. It is listed in the New York State Industrial Census of 1855 as having a capital of $5,000 and fabricating 6,000 ounces of silver per annum for an annual value of $10,000. By the early 1900s, he was employed in the shop of John R. Wendt. By 1866 he had an interest in the Wendt firm, along with Charles Witteck. Beiderhase was also wealthey enough to provide capital for the newly formed firm of Wm. Bogert & Co. between 1866 and 1874.

Beiderhase received design patents for at least six flatware patterns, the first being granted in 1868 when he was with Wendt & Co. Additionally, he and Witteck jointly held patents for the production of "satin" and "pearl" finishes. During 1873 and 1874, Beiderhase & Co. was sued by Tiffany & Co. for patent infringements. The first action involved the patents held on satin and pearl finishes. Tiffany & Co. had purchased an earlier metal stippling patent and claimed exclusive right. The second action challenged Beiderhase's Design Patent no. 5,876 for a flatware pattern named Bird, stating that the design infringed on the Japanese pattern patented by Edward C. Moore. Tiffany & Co. prevailed in both legal actions, which resulted in injunctions and financial penalties against Beiderhase & Co.

Excerpt from

Charles L. Venable, Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art; New York, New York; Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994), 315-316.