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Diplomat Coffee Set

This is a Coffee Set. It was designed by Walter von Nessen. It is dated ca. 1931. Its medium is chromium-plated copper, catalin. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Designed by Walter von Nessen, this Diplomat Coffee Service was the first coffee service released by the Specialty Division of Chase Brass & Copper Company and it was in continuous production until 1941. Available in polished brass or chrome, with either white or black Catalin knobs and handles, this set offered sophistication at an affordable price point. An impression of high style was also achieved by giving the set the sophisticated name of Diplomat. Chase used a base of copper, in this case, or brass, under their chromium finish that guaranteed that the chrome wouldn’t pit, flake or rust, making it more durable than some of their competitors’ wares. The set experienced commercial success and critical acclaim at the time of its production; von Nessen earned an Award of Merit from the National Alliance of Art and Industry for the coffee set in brass. In comparison to many of the other wares later available via Chase Brass & Copper’s collaborations with well-known industrial designers, this coffee set was rather traditional, making direct reference to Neoclassical metalwork in the vessels’ fluted bodies. At the same time the Catalin handles and knobs use a new material that does not conduct heat to the hands and the handles are placed tall enough for the user to avoid contact with the hot metal bodies of the pots. Similar to designers including Lurelle Guild and Russel Wright, von Nessen has created visual connections to earlier periods in American design, showing a respect for histories and traditions of craftsmanship that resonated with Depression-era consumers yearning for a sense of stability.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

  • Tea Service, ca. 1931
  • silver and ivory.
  • Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert....
  • 66.2016.5a/g
  • Four-Piece Tea Set
  • silver, ivory.
  • Lent by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the 2007 Collectors....
  • 36.2016.1a/d

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (Coffepot): 21 × 16.5 × 9.5 cm (8 1/4 × 6 1/2 × 3 3/4 in.) H x W x D (Creamer): 10.8 × 13.7 × 11.4 cm (4 1/4 × 5 3/8 × 4 1/2 in.) H x W x D (Sugar bowl): 11.1 × 8.9 × 7 cm (4 3/8 × 3 1/2 × 2 3/4 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamped on bottom of sugar only: “Chase USA” with logo at left

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Diplomat Coffee Set |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>