Modern Era Beer Steins
Prior to World War I, Germany was known as "the" ceramic industry. From World War I up to World War II, there were alot of economic and physical influences that changed the production and manufacturing capacity in Germany.
After World War II ended, the beer stein production in Germany was back. Most of the steins that were made after World War II were reproductions of earlier designs using the same molds. But it was also during this time that two new types of steins were born. They were Regimental and souvenir.
From about 1960 into the 1970's beer stein producers once again decreased. Now, there are only a few companies that make over 50% of the German beer steins.
It used to be that only Germany was making the beer steins, but by the middle 1970's, Ceramarte of Brazil began making steins and during the 1980's became the largest producer of beer steins in the world. They specialized in promotional products for companies and organizations.
Today, about 1/3 of the steins made by German companies are being exported. Many tourists from America and other countries buy a large percentage of the steins sold inside Germany.
Villeroy & Boch (Mettlach) became famous for their etched steins. In the 1980's, this company made many steins that came extremely close to the original c.1900 etched steins. Thewalt and Gerz also made etched-type steins during the 1980's. Porcelain steins with transfer or handpainted decorations are produced in the same way as c.1900 steins. Glass steins are also made in the same way and in many of the same styles as earlier steins.
Faience steins have been produced and reproduced in recent years, mostly as items for gift stores. Sometimes the quality of these steins is good enough to confuse the novice collector, but the quality is not the same as their 200 year old counterparts.
Pewter relief steins are currently made in the same manner at their c.1900 counterparts. Except for natural aging, it can be hard to tell the new from the old.
Identification of the new Regimental steins is usually not hard. Here are a few ways to tell if your Regimental stein is an original or not:
Next month we will discuss the how to's on buying and selling your steins.....
If you enjoy collecting steins and are as interested as I am when it comes to identifying and placing value on your steins, I couldn't recommend a better book than The Beer Stein Book.
Some other places on the Internet where you can find some interesting information is always at www.steincollectors.org. If you are interested in finding out what some of the marks are on your stein, once again, I recommend the book, but you can also check out http://members.home.com/leshopper/stnmark.htm which is a Louisiana chapter of Stein Collectors.org.