Wilhelm Wagenfeld Biography

Wilhelm Wagenfeld Typewriter
Wilhelm Wagenfeld Typewriter
Classic Designs » Designers » Wilhelm Wagenfeld Biography

Wilhelm Wagenfeld – (15 April 1900, Bremen, Germany — 28 May 1990, Stuttgart, Germany)

After high school Wilhelm Wagenfeld began his apprenticeship in the drawing office of a Bremen silverware factory and simultaneously attended the local art and craft school.

He then continued his studies at the Hanau Drawing Academy. From 1923 to 1925 he took a foundation course and was then trained in “Bauhaus” design with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in the metal workshop.

He completed his studies with a trade exam as a silversmith and engraver for the goldsmith guild.

In the same year he also started to work as an assistant at the metal workshop of the Weimar building college. 

WA24 Wagenfeld Lamp
WA24 Wagenfeld Lamp

In 1929 and 1930 he progressed to teacher and head of the Metal workshop and began his long practical collaboration with industry. He designed many articles such as a door latch and a wardrobe for S.A. Loewy of Berlin.

A year later he started his freelance career and worked for many famous manufacturers such as Jenaer Glaswerk Schott (Jena Glass Factory). From 1931 to 1935 he taught at the Berlin Art College.

After the war years he moved to Wagenfeld and then in 1947 to Berlin, where he became head of the standardisation department at the Building Institute of the Leibnitz Academy. In the same year he also became professor at the Berlin College of Graphic Art, where he taught the industrial design course.

From 1949 to 1950 he worked for the Industrial Design Review in the Württemberg regional chamber of commerce in Stuttgart. At the same time he collaborated with the “Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik” (Württemberg Hardware Factory) in Geislingen.

In 1954 he founded “Werkstatt Wagenfeld” (Wagenfeld Workshop) for the development of industrial models, which he continued to manage until 1978. 


Hans Fischli, Dr. Willy Rotzler: Industrieware von Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Künstlerische Mitarbeit in der Industrie 1930 – 1960, Kunstgewerbemuseum Zürich (Art and Craft Museum),

Exhibition 7th October to 13th November 1960, Zürich 1960.

Written by Simon
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. I have life long interest in creative design, art and function and this website is an exploration of that in all its forms and guises.