Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter
The Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Tradition
Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collection has a history that goes back to 1796. The rich tradition of creating German Pewter pieces has been kept alive by the family of Wilhelm Schweizer. Even today, the Wilhelm Schweizer family bases their designs on originals often hundreds of years old. Each piece is truly a handmade item, as everyone is cast individually from molds carefully engraved in slabs of slate. Each mold’s “life” is limited to about one thousand castings after which a new mold has to be carved to ensure the quality and richness of even the tiniest detail. The accuracy and intricacy of the finished pieces are testimony to the pewter caster’s and hand painter’s art and skill.
The Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collection
The Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter collection includes a broad range of themes, from Christmas Ornaments and Easter decorations, to standing Folklore, Santa and Angel figures and pictures to hang on walls and windows. All designed with the same loving care and respect for the heritage and tradition of Wilhelm Schweizer.
Each year, carefully selected individual pieces are added to the Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter collection. And although this site shows painted pieces, many of the same pieces are available unpainted. (Contact us if you would like more information about the price and availability of unpainted pieces.)
Creation of a Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collectible
Mold Creation of an Original Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collectible
As in the past, hand engraved pieces of slate are used for the molds of the pewter figurine. After drawing the image, the engraver applies their artistry to the stone until the desired shape for the piece is created. Two molds must be created to provide a mirror image which will complete the front and back of each figure.
Hand Engraving the Image In Slate
Casting of a Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collectible
First molten pewter is poured into the feeding tubes of the completed mold. Since the molten pewter cools and hardens very quickly, a challenge of the design is to ensure the molten metal fills the mold completely before the pewter sets. In order to ensure the highest level of detail and subtlety in the figure being created, a tin alloy from a centuries-old recipe is used.
Pouring the Liquid Pewter into the Mold
Removing the Casting of a New Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collectible
Once the molten pewter has set, the mold is opened almost immediately. Now the new casting is removed from the mold and carefully trimmed and prepared for the artist to paint.
Removing the Casting from the Mold
Painting of a Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter Collectible
Each mold is carefully painted by one of several talented artists. Enamel paint is applied with special Rotmarderhaar (Red Martin Hair) brushes. These brushes, along with the skill of the artist, allow for the extremely fine detail that all Wilhelm Schweizer pieces are known for. Since each piece is hand painted by an individual artist, the colors from piece to piece may vary, thus making each piece unique. Any small imperfections that you might notice are a sign of their handcrafted workmanship.
Hand Painting the Finished Casting