Hans Hansen (1884 – 1940) Native of Denmark, Hans Hansen opened his workshop Kolding, Denmark in 1906 where it is still in operation. Kolding was already well known for its silver and in particular for the silversmith Holger Kyster and the silverware produced there by him and other notable silversmiths.
In the 1920s Hansen began to offer his own line based on his and H.F. Gross’ designs. First offering flatware, the company soon moved on to jewelry. The first pieces were designed by Hansen around 1931.
In 1932, Hansen asked his 18-year-old son, Karl Gustav, to design a “Future” line. This collection of 50 pieces (rings, brooches and earrings) was deemed too Avant garde for the period and first derided as “funkis,” meaning funky or out-of-control Functionalism. Eventually, it gained more popularity and was sold successfully into the late Forties.
After travelling in Europe Karl Gustav opened a Copenhagen workshop with his father. Passers-by could watch KG and other craftsmen at work through the large window.
KG had his first exhibition in Copenhagen in May 1940. The next month, his father died at only 56 and KG, at 25, assumed leadership of the Hans Hansen Silversmithy. Karl Gustav became the workshop’s artistic director and into the 1950’s mostly concentrated his attention on hollowware leaving jewelry design to Bent Gabrielsen Petersen.
The ‘HaH” maker’s mark was used in the early years. “Hans Hansen” in script is the current mark.
In 1893, Denmark passed a law that standardized a system of silver marking. Some experts write that adherence to the marking law was at the discretion of the maker and/or only loosely enforced. They also suggest that larger firms like Hans Hansen and Georg Jensen rarely had official assay marks on their silverware since their reputations and loyal customers insured trust.
By the last quarter of the 20th Century, official state hallmarks began to disappear. They were officially retired in 1977 and the maker’s initials are now deemed sufficient.
Royal Copenhagen acquired the company in 1991.