This section answers some of the most common questions we get. If you have a question that you cannot find an answer to here, you are welcome to contact Sara Brunn Buch at info@hornvarefabrikken.dk.

Where do the horns come from?

Our horns come from Nigeria, Africa. We are responsible for nearly all the horn imported to Denmark. The horns are imported in keeping with current regulations on the import of semi-manufactured goods. We use horns from various cattle breeds, e.g. Watussi and Ankole.

Some of the horns are imported to the EU by the trading company Hermann W.F. Maas & Hans W.B. Fenck in Hamburg, Germany.

How much horn do you use in a year?

We go through approx. 5 to 7 tons of raw horn per year. A very small proportion comes from Danish cattle.

Are the horns from protected animals?

The horns do not come from protected cattle, but from domestic cows. Horns from domestic cows are normally lost; many abattoirs simply burn them, because they don’t know what else to do with them.

When you buy horn goods from Hornvarefabrikken, you support businesses in developing countries.

How do you process the raw horns?

The horns are empty when they arrive in the EU. This means that the core has been removed by boiling and the horns have been further sanitised in boiling water.

How does one dispose of horn?

Horn is 100% bio-degradable. You can throw hornware out with your regular garbage or even compost it in your garden. Horn is a rich source of nitrogen and can be used as a natural fertiliser. The material is kind on plants as it decomposes slowly.

What is horn composed of?

Horn is composed mainly of the protein keratin. The keratin proteins are plentiful in sulphurous amino acids called cysteine, making the material extremely strong and poorly soluble. Keratin consists of:
• carbon 50%
• oxygen 22-25%
• nitrogen 16-17%
• hydrogen 7%
• sulphur 3-4%

What do I do if my spoon smells?

Horn contains keratin which contains a small amount of sulphur. If a horn spoon is heated, e.g. in a bowl of porridge, or is left in water for a prolonged period, the material can give off an unpleasant odour as it emits sulphur. The odour will fade away as the spoon is used.

What is Hornvarefabrikken’s history?

Hornvarefabrikken was founded in 1935 by Peder Husted. Peder worked in farming, but met with a work-related accident and had to look for a new occupation. He began to make household objects from horn in the 1930s, drawing on the craft he had learned from his father.

Peder’s son Asger took over Hornvarefabrikken in 1959 before selling off to Agner Andersen in 1990. Sara Brunn Buch became the proprietor in 2008. Hornvarefabrikken’s products have received a Silver Medal at the 1935 World Fair in Brussels and a nomination for the Formland Design Award in 2009.

Where are the horn products made?

Your hornware from Hornvarefabrikken is made in our workshop in Bøvlingbjerg, Denmark using methods that have been tried and tested over more than 200 years. Everything is handmade with some aid from manually operated machines. You are more than welcome to come by and experience our workshop.