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Germany - St.Goar, an array of steins


More on the Origins of these Steins

Many efforts were made to improve the earthenware material used for steins. By raising the firing temperature, clay was vitrified into a solid, moisture-free, stone-like material called stoneware. Because this new material was much more durable than the previous earthenware, steins made of stoneware became very popular and many different types of designs and decorations were artistically applied to them.

The guild system was firmly entrenched in European society at this time. The pewter guild, combined with the heightened awareness for hygiene among food containers, created an environment in Germany that would ensure the presence of permanently attached pewter lids on stoneware drinking vessels for the next 300 years. By the end of the 19th century, the stein was clearly defined as being made in Europe, primarily of stoneware and primarily with a permanently attached pewter lid.

The history of steins includes the development and introduction of several different materials other than stoneware. Pewter was not only used for lids, but also as a primary body material. It was the material of choice throughout large areas of Europe and particularly popular in England. Glass, porcelain and silver steins were introduced several hundred years ago as well and are all still available today.

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copyright Gavin Tay 2000


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