Henry Petzal came to the United States as a German refugee in 1936. Starting around 1950 he began working in brass and then in silver. His greatest inspiration in his designs was Chinese ceramics. He designed and hand-raised every piece. His works are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Chicago Museum of Fine Arts, the Silversmith's Museum in London, England. The largest collection is at the Mingei Museum in San Diego, and the Mingei International Museum.