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HEPP: The Art of Service


For more than 150 years, Hepp has been known for “The Art of Service”, with a goal of combining tradition and modernity, the timeless and the contemporary.The Hepp brand is one of the world’s leading names in refined tableware. As the inventor of hotel silver, Hepp is renowned for sophisticated product ranges and outstanding collaborative pieces with celebrated product designers. Since 1863, Hepp has made their name in the upmarket catering and hotel business, with form-perfect functionality, precision, and lasting appearance that is tried and testing in high-volume gastronomy and catering. 


An exquisitely laid table without silverware: unthinkable. This was also what the brothers Carl and Otto Hepp thought when they founded their company in 1863 to provide exclusive gastronomy with sophisticated products of the best quality. Some of its first customers included the ocean fleet of the North German Lloyd and the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

As beautiful as the table compositions of pure silver have always been, they also have their pitfalls. Tableware and cutlery are much heavier and, as silver is a relatively soft material, more susceptible to scratches on the surface. The chemist Carl Hepp set a milestone in the history of exclusive gastronomy with the development of the process for silver-plating materials such as alpaca (and later stainless steel). This made the cutlery not only lighter, but also harder and more durable – perfect for use in the gastronomy world. The “Gebrüder Hepp 90” or “hotel silver” conquered the market and over time they replaced the products made of pure silver. So, it’s not for nothing that the Hepp brothers invented hotel silver.

There was huge demand right from the start. The name HEPP quickly established itself as an outfitter for upmarket houses, airlines and shipping companies around the globe – even back in the 19th century, the company had a considerable share of the export market. In 1916, the company changed hands for the first time: the Hepp brothers sold to their long-standing supplier Albert Lange for reasons of age. At the end of the 1920s, HEPP felt the full force of the world economic crisis. In 1931, the Frank family, owners of the Mitteldeutsche Metallwarenfabrik Glachau in Saxony, took over the company and led it out of the depression. However, shortly before the end of World War II the factory was completely destroyed. The reconstruction was only completed six years later, and the company recovered quickly – the economic upswing of the 1950s contributed to this. At the end of the 1970s, the Pforzheim factory halls became too small, so an extensive new building was erected in the neighbouring town of Birkenfeld, which Hepp moved into in 1980. In 1988, WMF AG recognised the potential of the brand and took the company into the group of companies.

Whether it was the world economic crisis or wars: thanks to loyal customers and a demanding repertoire, the company has always found its way back to its former glory. Today – more than 150 years after its foundation – awards such as the “German Design Award” honour the extraordinary design of HEPP. All in accordance with the commitment to “The Art of Service”. After all, it is an art to bring together tradition and modernity, the timeless and the contemporary. If you succeed, you don’t create an interchangeable look, instead you create a whole world of experience. The world of experience table culture, or: the HEPP world.

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