In 1796, their great-grandmother, Babette, set the foundation for the Schweizer tradition. She established the Zinnfiguren company, located in the same house on Herrenstrasse 7 where Wilhelm Schweizer is based today. Pilgrims journeying to the Marienmünster Church in Diessen would look for souvenirs to bring home. Babette saw this as an opportunity to create something unique and special that represented the Marienmünster. This is how the tradition of pewter casting first came about, as the Schweizer family created the first molds from church construction materials and produced mementos like small coins for other churches and pilgrimage sites. Zinnfiguren Schweizer then specialized in crafting custom religious souvenirs for churches from Germany to Hungary embedding Madonna (Virgin Mary) and Saints figures into coins, plates, and crosses. These delicate ornaments were often purchased by parents for their children to play with, creating enduring family memories.
As the Schweizer tradition evolved, the focus shifted from religious mementos to Christmas decorations. This change began when Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria visited the company around 1900, and they started producing Christmas tree decorations for the royal court. During this time, Babette’s son, and his wife, Wilhelmine and Adam Schweizer, continued the family legacy. They were known for their exceptional engraving and design skills and were leading the company into a new direction.
Wilhelm, the founding father of Wilhelm Schweizer, was born to Adam and Wilhelmine. Following the passing of Wilhelmine in 1953, after steering the company through two world wars, Wilhelm and his sister, Annie, inherited the business. They rebuilt it, focusing on pewter tableware and popular beer mugs.
Family tensions led to a company split in 1972, but Wilhelm persisted, continuing his branch as the Wilhelm Schweizer Zinnmanufaktur. Upon Wilhelm’s death in 1976, his daughter Anne Marie and Wilhelm’s widow Ottilie took the reins, dedicating themselves to the continuing the legacy of pewter casting. Anne Marie’s earliest memory of the company is of her parents working in the evenings soldering and shaping Christmas ornamental spheres, a tradition that is carried on until today.
In 1977, Anne Marie’s husband, Jordi, joined Wilhelm Schweizer, designing, and creating the first-ever figurine., the Adler train miniature. From the 1980’s, Anne Marie and Jordi led the Wilhelm Schweizer Zinnmanufaktur, expanding the business. With the surge in demand for these delicate figurines, the pair decided it was time to expand and the business and hire more staff.
After Jordi’s passing in 2020, his son Joan Migel assumed leadership, promising to carry the Schweizer tradition into the future, and the next Schweizer generations.
Today, Wilhelm Schweizer Zinnmanufaktur still specializes in figurine making, and continues the family tradition of pewter casting. With the support of 70+ employees, they will be adding new “works of art” yearly to their vast collection.
Wilhelm Schweizer Pewter from Jordanwood endeavors to support Joan Migel in continuing this long historical tradition.