The roots of the Pott manufactory go back more than 100 years. The history starts in Solingen (Germany), where Carl Hugo Pott founded a workshop in 1904 for the processing of damascened steel for the cutlery industry. His son, Carl Pott, joined the company in 1932, and as brilliant flatware designer established the reputation that Pott enjoys today. In the course of half a century, he managed to create an epic flatware program that continues to be ahead of its time. In 1985 Hannspeter Pott carries on his father’s work and supplements it with extravagant designs by young artists. In 2006 the Seibel family – in their own right a successful and experienced producer of handcrafted flatware – acquires the company. Since then, all Pott flatware are manufactured at the Mono manufactory in the neighboring town of Mettmann.
Contrary to the modern and elegant appearance of Pott flatware, the production of these pieces seems almost archaic. Before any piece winds up in your hand, it has gone through the hands of master craftsmen at the manufactory in Mettmann, who with great dedication and patience work every tool until it has satisfied the most exigent quality requisites. Processing techniques have been passed down and refined over the decades. Smoothing, sharpening, honing, sanding, polishing, brushing, grinding, and in between stepping back and examining every detail, every nuance gets the full attention of the master craftsman. With a trained eye and “music in the hands” they perform precision work that is reminiscent of Swiss watchmakers and the cutting of diamonds. Such work cannot be replaced by computerized equipment. A fork and a spoon require more than 30 production steps, a knife more than 90. The quality and intransigence of each Pott-piece justifies this extraordinary endeavor. Pott table knives are produced manually, under a traditional process, in a Solingen plant. Made of a molybdenum and vanadium steel alloy, the blades are first heated to 1900° F and then hammered into shape with a two-ton pressure. After cutting out the basic shape, the blade is once again heated to 1900° F. Gradual cooling down to 175° F results in a blade that is hard on the inside and elastic on the exterior. Another crucial and elaborate step in the more than 90 steps is the special grinding – the metal acquires a blue hue – that results in a very dense and non-porous surface of the blade. This particular process further boosts the non-oxidation feature. The setting of the blade inside the handle with quartz-sand, assures the perfect balance of every table knife. The special Pott micro-serration, hardly visible to the naked eye, guarantees the best constant sharpness.
There has never been nor is there a designer who dedicated himself so intensely and innovatively to the design of flatware and the ergonomics of eating as Carl Pott. He dedicated his entire life to “spoonery” as he jokingly referred to his design, since he always started his flatware designs with the spoon. His opus as a designer and at the same time entrepreneur has always had and continues to have an influence in the flatware industry. In the early years, he encountered a great deal of opposition to his un-adorned and minimalist designs, but eventually, the Pott style asserted itself. During most of his life, Carl Pott was in close contact with other significant designers of functional objects. He ran his designs by them, and at the same time, challenged them to develop their own flatware patterns. His credo was, “I consider it to be my duty to produce not only from the fiscal point of view but as a manufacturer I also have cultural responsibilities.” This reasoning led him to persuade Hermann Gretsch, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Josef Hoffmann, Elisabeth Treskow, Hans Schwippert, Paul Voss and Alexander Schaffner to design flatware for the Pott production program. His son, Hannspeter continued the tradition by enticing young designers such as Ralph Krämer, Tobias Huys and Stefanie Hengel, to create products for the firm. The cultural significance of the Pott program is evidenced by the over 700 awards that the various products received worldwide, as well as the global recognition in numerous museums and design collections.