Bear Flag Revolt, 1847 – commemorative stein?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Michael Benge 6 months ago.

  • Author
  • #38744 Reply


    I’m seeking information on a beer stein that was used as a model in a painting of early California artifacts.
    The painting was commissioned by the Acme Brewing Co. in 1945 by artist, Claude Buck, who was living in Santa Cruz at the time. Buck borrowed the piece from a local stein collector.
    My belief is that the stein commemorates the Conquest of California which began with the June 1846 Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, and ended with the Capitulation at Cahuenga (now Studio City) in January 1847. The mounted soldiers may represent Fremont’s California Battalion of Mounted Riflemen.
    The original stein may also have had the California Republic’s Bear Flag, or a conquest citation, in the area near the rim where Buck placed Acme’s logo.
    Here’s my web-page that has the painting and discussion of the early Calif. relics used as models.
    Thanks for any info you might have on this stein.
    Gary Flynn

  • #38747 Reply


    By the handle it appears to be a Dumler and Breiden, but that’s about all I can offer.

    • #38753 Reply



      The handle may be close to some of the Dumler & Breiden handles, but it is not an exact match. The design on the base of the stein is reminiscent of some found on Reinhold Hanke steins. I presume Gary does not have the stein to tell us of any markings on the bottom. I have never seen this stein.

      We know the stein dates prior to 1945. If it was made in Germany, it would have been made prior to 1939, because we didn’t do business with Germany during the war. And 1920-1933 was prohibition, so that probably rules out that period too. Apparently the Acme named was added by the painter as Gary provided a photo of the stein without the name. Where did that photo come from Gary? If the scene does depict Fremont’s men in the Bear Revolt, it could have been an anniversary stein. The 5oth anniversary would have been in 1897, the golden age of beer steins. However, the pewter lid has a more modern look to it.

      Gary, can you give us any more information on this stein or who the collector was?

  • #38754 Reply


    I’m often guilty of not clarifying my thoughts sufficiently so let me correct that. I’m aware that the handle isn’t an exact match and that the decorations around the bottom resemble those found on some Hanke’s. But I think the best method of identifying an unknown maker is via the handle. And while this one isn’t an exact match to any known D & B’s it is quite close to a couple of them, much closer than any other manufacturer. So D & B is my best guess but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it were a Hanke, or some other manufacturer for that matter.

    I’ve always thought it rather odd that California would base their state flag on the flag used in this “revolt”. Fremont’s party arrived in Sonoma shortly after it occurred and the Bear Republic lasted only a few days before Commodore Sloat occupied the area and replaced the bear flag with the American flag.

  • #38756 Reply


    The image above isn’t a photo. It’s a detail from the “Quest for Fortune” painting (I removed the Acme logo). Randy’s suggestion that the handle looks like a Dumler & Breiden prompted me to look at the steins in their catalog and I found No.550 that is probably the stein that Buck used as a model.
    Dumler & Breiden stein with a painted copy
    I know believe that Buck chose a stein having nothing to do with California, but had the style and details that pleased him. He accurately copied the stein then painted a his own scene representing early California, and added the Acme logo.

  • #38757 Reply



    Great find. I think you solved your own question.

  • #38760 Reply


    Thanks to Ron and Randy.

  • #38767 Reply


    I wish I could see more details of the cavalry troops on the stein… if it was a real stein at all 🙂

    US Cavalry troops during the Mexican/American war did not look anything like those on the stein. They wore a blue folding cap, a crossed white saber belt over a dark blue jacket, and light blue pants. I’m not sure what Fremont’s troops were wearing, specifically, but that was the official uniform that had been established as of 1839, with some minor changes dealing with the display of rank insignia (chevrons) on the sleeves above the elbows in the uniform regulations of 1847.

    The union cavalry during the Civil War wore blue hats. In the period after the war, though there was a large degree of variability in what men wore, the official campaign hat was black. (Like the troops wore at the Battle of Little Bighorn).

    The cavalry didn’t wear tan hats (officially) until they adopted the drab campaign hat in 1883.

    So who knows whether it was a real stein that referred to a different event, or whether the artist took some liberties with cavalry uniforms 🙂

    • #38773 Reply



      I think we all agree that the artist painted a fake beer stein. The only thing that is real is the bottom of the body of the stein and the handle. He shows the lid open and he painted it without any patina, hence the newer look.

  • #38877 Reply

    Michael Benge

    Freemont’s battalion was mostly California militia, with the only US troops being Freemont and his cartographers. Militia uniforms, if they even had any, would probably not be based on US Army standards. At the outbreak of the Civil War, militia units in the US wore all sorts of uniforms, many of them gray, to suit local taste and budget.

Reply To: Bear Flag Revolt, 1847 – commemorative stein?
Your information: