|December 2014||STEIN OF THE MONTH||Stein of the Month Archives|
A Stolen Stein
by Roy DeSelms
It seems probable that these relatively rare “Stolen Steins” were worth it to the original owners for their advertising value. This one was property of the “Hotel Restaurant Gerstenberg in Washington, DC” which opened in 1887 and closed in 1917. The photo transfer is presumably Ernst Gerstenberg, the proprietor of the establishment.
The stein without lid, which at the time would have at least doubled the cost of the stein, can be dated to between 1888 and 1906 by comparing the distinctive handle to those on dated regimental steins. The stein was made for the American market by Bauscher Porcelain Manufactory of Weiden, Germany, and marked “Made in Germany”. (See: Chris Wheeler’s “Stein Marks” and a more extensive article in the June 2016 issue of Prosit.) This also helps to date the stein to after March 1, 1891 because that’s when the marking of “country of origin” went into effect for imports to the USA. Great Britain had a similar law, but slightly earlier in 1887. Note the use of the German “s” in “Washington”, etc. This form of “s” that looks more like the “f” in “Stolen from” was also used in the early English script and print including here in the USA. Also the capacity mark in “Liters” is interesting because Germany adopted the metric system in 1875 and the USA never has. However the entire scientific community worldwide does use the metric system exclusively.
The closure of the restaurant was coincident with the entry of the USA into WW I and the beginning of Prohibition. Even though the largest ethnic group in the US was of German decent at the time, there was so much anti-German sentiment including among some of those of German decent, that it caused some German restaurants to close and aided the cause of the Anti-Saloon-League and the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union). This is when “Frankfurters” became “hot-dogs” and “German Toast” became “French Toast”……….. Fortunately in the end sensibility prevailed and we still have Bier und Sauerkraut und Wurst!