What is the Buenilum Aluminum Company’s Background?

In 1944, metalsmith and industrial designer Frederick Buehner and his business partner Franz Wanner formed Buenilum Aluminum as Buehner-Wanner in Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1929, Buehner moved to the United States from Germany. In 1933, he trademarked Buenilum, a combination of Buehner and aluminium, as a novel formula for employing hammered metal.

Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the Buehner-Wanner company created Buenilum ornamental, cookware, and food service products such as serving trays, lazy Susans, relish dishes, bowls, and pots and pans. In 1969, the company was sold to Pfaltzgraff, which continued to produce Buenilum pieces until 1979, when the line was shut down.

Frederick Buehner was a writer who lived from 1908 until 1971. Before coming to America, Buehner trained under the prominent architect, furniture designer, and cartoonist Bruno Paul at the Deutscher Werkbund, or Work Federation, a German group of artisans, artists, architects, and industrial designers.

As of 2014, vintage hammered Buenilum pieces with the initials BW flanking a depiction of a castle turret on the back, as well as an imprint of the name Buenilum, are valued antiques. They’re well-known for their craftsmanship and design, and some of them may even be found in museums.

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Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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