The original purpose of the stein
lid, as well as the body itself, is far from glamorous. Since the
very first steins were simple drinking vessels, the primary reason
for the lid was functional - a common=sense precaution to keep
insects and other contaminants away from the aromatic liquid. In
addition to this, early functions of lids were to help keep the
liquid at a constant temperature as well as to prevent spillage.
Lids, even in early days, provided an attractive finishing touch.
Today, the "finishing touch"
aspect is by far the most important reason for the lid. In many
cases, the lid is the most important feature of the stein. Lids
have a tremendous effect on price as well, sometimes more than
doubling the cost of a stein. Hundreds of different lids are
currently available - however, the vast majority of them can
be categorized into the following groups: conical, flat, ornamental,
inlay/figurine, figurine and stoneware.
This is the "cone" or "steeple" shaped lid.
It is the most common and least expensive type of lid. Today, most
conical lids are entirely made of pewter and machine made. However,
they can also be made from a white base metal. The surface is then
plated with a nickel or similar alloy to create a shiny finish,
or a pewter or pewter-like alloy to create a dark antique finish.
Flat lids, also known as semi-flat lids, are normally made of pewter.
Although not entirely flat, the top surface does lend itself
well to engraving.
Ornamental lids are always pewter. They feature superior detail,
require special hand work, and are presently the most popular
lids for limited edition steins. They generally have a glorified
conical shape, complete with top finial. Recently, the stein
factories have been introducing very interesting ornamental pewter
A very attractive lid, virtually always consisting of a pewter
rim, a pewter flange (or lip), and a stoneware figurine or ornament
inlaid in the center.
"Top of the line" lid in which a figurine, most often made of pewter,
is mounted on an ornamental pewter lid.
Just as the name implies, the top is made of the same material
as the body. A pewter or metal alloy hinge, strap, tang, shank,
support and thumblift are also used.