One of the most successful makers of commercial Art Nouveau metalware was the Württemberg Electroplate Company, originally founded in 1853 by Daniel Straub in Geislingen. It was renamed the Württembergische Metallwaren Fabrik (known as W.M.F.) in 1880, following an amalgamation of several firms. The company began with 16 workers, but by 1914 it had grown to some 6,000 employees, with factories in Germany, Poland, and Austria, and showrooms in London, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin. The region of Württemberg, with a long history of manufacturing dating back to the 15th century, was home to a highly successful metalwork industry. The area was a reservoir of skilled craftspeople: modelers, engravers, draftsmen, chasers, turners and brass founders. These gifted people facilitated the development of W.M.F. into one of the world's leading producers of high-quality tableware, kitchen utensils, and cutlery in silver plate and continental pewter (an electroplated metal alloy) from the late 19th century to the present day.