A wide variety of materials have been
used to produce authentic German steins. Below we have listed and
briefly describe the most prominent ones.
A pliable compound consisting of tin, copper and antimony. European
pewter has a minimum tin content of 92%. Copper and antimony
are added to harden the metal. The higher the tin content, the
more silver the final color. A common misconception is that all
pewter products contain lead. Although used in the past, lead
is virtually never used to create pewter steins. Primarily, steins
are component cast - that is, the lids, bodies, handles and special
ornamentation are separately made. Pewter is also occasionally
rolled or hammered. The final color is a result of the tin content,
polishing and chemical antiquing.
A clear, high-quality glass. Please don't confuse this with lead
crystal, which is a material consisting of 24% or more lead monoxide.
The body is hand-cut, hand engraved and/or patterned by the mold.
They are case hardened, usually are mouth-blown and often feature
transparent coloring on the exterior or the interior of the body.
The least expensive of all popular materials. Unlike the procedure
for making stoneware, pewter, and crystal steins, glass bodies
and handles are formed in one mold. Also, the lids are often
attached by machine. The bodies are usually transfer-decorated
and the only hand work involved usually is the application of
Ceramic steins fall into one of five categories according to the
quality of the ceramic mass, the raw materials, the firing temperature,
the color, and density of the mass.
(German-Irdenware, Topferware) - A colored mass that is porous
(absorbs liquid) until is is glazed. It is fired at a temperature
(German-Keramik) - Slightly porous, light-colored ware, usually
fired at about 1,050° - 1,080°C. It must be glazed
to make it impermeable.
(German-Steingut/Feinsteingut) - White earthenware with a lead
glaze. Contains Kaolin (a fine white clay). It is fired twice,
once at 1,150° - 1,180°C without a glaze, then decorated,
glazed and fired again around 900° - 1,000°C.
a Stoneware stein is decorated)
(German-Steinzeug) - Hard material, fired in high temperature,
kilns generally around 1,200° - 1,400°C. At this temperature,
stoneware vitrifies (becomes glasslike). The resulting product
is less than 2% porous, therefore, glaze is not mandatory for
a stoneware stein. When glaze is used, it must be of special
quality to withstand the high kiln temperature.
(German-Porzellan) - True porcelain, known as hard paste, is
made of Kaolin (white clay) and Petuntse (pulverized granite).
When fired at a temperature of 1,300° - 1,400°C, these
ingredients produce a white, more or less translucent, glasslike