Heintz Art Metal – What You Should Know

While we tend to assume that all Arts & Crafts metalware was hand-hammered copper, we need to realize that there was often the exception to the rule.

And the exception is always worthy of our attention.

Starting in 1903, a few years before the Roycrofters produced their first copper letter openers, Otto Heintz took over the Art Crafts Shop in Buffalo, changed its name to the Heintz Art Metal Shop and began producing an extensive line of vases, bowls, desk accessories, picture frames, jewelry, bookends and a limited number of monumental table lamps.

Just as Artis Van Briggle and Teco Pottery utilized molds, Otto Heintz turned to the lathe rather than the hammer to produce his unique line of metalware. And rather than copper, his craftsmen attached pieces of bronze to the lathe and ‘spun’ each form by pressing the thin bronze sheet against spinning forms with wooden mallets.

Heintz Art Metal was also distinguished two other ways. First, they developed a variety of unique patinas, including Verde, a dark green finish favored by many Arts & Crafts collectors. Second, Heintz invented and patented a secret method of attaching decorative sterling silver overlay to each piece without the use of messy solder. The silver overlay is decidedly Arts & Crafts in the handcraftsmanship it required and the depiction of natural motifs, such as flowers, plants, leaves, birds and branches.

For years collector, antiques dealer and authority David Surgan has been specializing in the Heintz Art Metal Shop (1906-1930) and its competitor, the Silver Crest line of the Smith Metal Arts Company. The Brooklyn-based Surgan exhibits regularly at major Arts & Crafts shows, including, for more than 20 years, the annual Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference.

“Collectors need to realize,” Surgan explained, “that the condition of the original patina is the most important aspect of any piece. Condition is everything and the loss or degradation of the patina severely affects its value.”

While the Heintz Art Metal Shop made subtle changes to its shopmark, the majority of pieces were stamped or labeled with the initials H.A.M.S within a diamond along with the words STERLING ON BRONZE and PAT.AUG.27.12, a reference to his 1912 patent for attaching the overlay.

For additional information on this unique and highly-collectible Arts & Crafts metalware, go to David Surgan’s website:


Note: David will again be bringing more than a hundred examples of Heintz Art Metal to the Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference Antiques Show February 22-24. We’re also offering two metalsmithing Pre-Conference Workshops with noted metalsmiths Ronald VanOstrand and Frank Glapa. For more information visit www.Arts-CraftsConference.com or call our office today! Hurry because our Workshops are filling up quickly.