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