What Is the History of the Buenilum Aluminum Company?
The Buenilum Aluminum company was founded as Buehner-Wanner by metalsmith and industrial designer Frederick Buehner and his business partner, Franz Wanner, in Norwalk, Conn. in 1944. Buehner emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1929. He developed a unique formula for using hammered aluminum, which he trademarked in 1933 as Buenilum, a cross between Buehner and aluminum.
The Buehner-Wanner company produced Buenilum pieces throughout the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s, making mid-century modern decorative, kitchenware and food service items such as serving trays, lazy Susans, relish dishes, bowls, pots and pans. The company was sold to the Pfaltzgraff company in 1969, which continued to make Buenilum pieces until closing the line in 1979.
Frederick Buehner was born in 1908 and died in 1971. Before coming to America, Buehner studied at the Deutscher Werkbund, or Work Federation, a German association of craftsmen, artists, architects and industrial designers, under the influential architect, furniture designer and cartoonist Bruno Paul.
Vintage hammered Buenilum pieces with the initials BW flanking an image of a castle turret on the back, along with an imprint of the name Buenilum, are considered valuable antiques as of 2014. They are known for their workmanship and design; some are even found in museums.