The sculptor Gerhard Marcks (1889-1974) was director of the Pottery Workshop at the Bauhaus, the progressive German design school at Weimar, from 1919-25. After the school moved to Dessau, Marcks taught ceramics at the Kunstgewerberschule (School of Applied Arts) at Burg Giebichenstein near Halle. It was here that he designed this functionalist coffee percolator, known as the Sintrax, between 1925 and 1930.
The percolator functions as follows: Ground coffee is placed in a glass sieve in the centre, and water is heated in the lower vessel; As the water boils, it is drawn up the funnel, through the filter and into the upper container.
The manufacturers of the Sintrax were Schott & Genossen of Jena, also known as Jenaer Glaswerk. It was Otto Schott (1851-1935), the founder of the company, who had originally developed the formula for heat-resistant borosilicate glass. Initially it was just used for laboratory instruments and babies' bottles, but from 1922 onwards a wider range domestic glassware was introduced. Gerhard Marcks was one of the first outside designers to be employed by Schott, along with Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900-90), another Bauhaus designer. They were chosen because of their ability to create practical everyday objects in a simple modern style.