The Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik in Geislingen, Germany, known internationally today as WMF, from the initials of the company's name, was founded in 1853 with sixteen workers. During the second half of the 19th Century the company grew steadily and by 1914 the number of employees had grown to over 6000 in all WMF's factories in Germany, Poland and Austria and showrooms had been opened in London, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin.
A report on the Würtemberg State Industrial Exhibition of 1881 gives an idea of the public the company was trying to serve: "The impression that the WMF stand gives", the author wrote, "is that the combined firms are trying to attract the widest possible number of consumers, as well as to serve an art-loving public which likes genuine gold and silver household objects, but simply cannot afford them" .
The company's unremitting industry was recorded by an ever growing series of sales catalogues printed in three languages and despatched to all points of the globe. As Graham Dry puts it: "The catalogue takes account of every conceivable taste and possible wish. It cannot have been easy to avoid finding just the right thing among a choice of 20 cake-baskets, 71 fruit - stands, 67 flower-vases, 60 candlesticks and candelabra, 34 tea-strainers and an unending array of bon bon dishes, toast racks, game-skewers, vesta-boxes, visiting card trays, sponge boxes" . This large variety of objects still offers a lot of opportunities for today's collectors.
The present inkstand is depicted in WMF's 1906 British catalogue, but may have been available in Germany earlier. However not before 1903, while it is not included in that year's catalogue. In the British catalogue the inkstand is included under number 84 as: "Inkstand, silver plated, I/0 quality, white or "old silver" finish, cut cristal glasses, 116/- each" .
 Art Nouveau, Domestic metalwork from Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik, The English Catalogue 1906, with an introduction by Graham Dry, Antique Collector's Club, 1988, p. xii
 Antique Collector's Club, 1988, note 1, p. xxxiv
 Antique Collector's Club, 1988, note 1, p.280, No. 84