Stein Collectors International, Inc.

~ The Elusive "TP" Mark ~           

The marks shown at the top of this article have been the subject of much conjecture and a fair amount of debate. Apparently formed from the conjoined letters T and P and incised into the base of some stoneware steins, it seems likely that these are two slightly different representations of a single mark, the second being simply an indistinct impression of the mark at the time of manufacture. In the early 1980's there was speculation that the mark belonged to (take your pick) J. W. Remy, Alb. Jac. Thewalt or Eckhardt & Engler. In the first part of this seven-part article, Roland Henschen provides evidence that the mark actually belonged to the firm of Joh. Peter Thewalt, and offers a rationale for why steins bearing this mark share many characteristics with those of J. W. Remy and Eckhard & Engler. Despite this evidence, the most widely published assertion to date is that the mark belongs to the firm of Paulus & Thewalt, a stoneware manufacturer in the Westerwald. In reading the article it is useful to keep a chronology of the "identification" of this mark in mind:
  • 1979 - The Thirsty Knights' Stein Talk #33 refers to the mark as "unknown".
  • 1983 - Glen Joshpe writes in Prosit that the mark is unknown, noting similarity of steins with this mark to those of J. W. Remy.
  • 1984 - "The Stein Book" by Gary Kirsner does not include the mark.
  • 1985 - Glen Joshpe and Roland Henschen write in Prosit about their interpretations of this mark. There is no mention made of the firm of Paulus and Thewalt.
  • 1987 - "Die Neue Ara" attributes the mark to Paulus and Thewalt.
  • 1990 - "The Beer Stein Book" by Kirsner, a revised edition of "The Stein Book" includes the mark and attributes it to Paulus and Thewalt.
  • 1999 - "The Beer Stein Book", 3rd edition, by Kirsner, continues to attribute the mark to Paulus and Thewalt.
  • 2000 - "Beer Stein Marks" compiled by Col. Lester Hopper and published as an addendum to Prosit identifies the mark as Joh. Pet. Thewalt. (This reference also includes a very similar mark as "unidentified".)
This lengthy article requires careful reading in order to fully appreciate the history of the discussion of this mark which has continued over a number of years. Many readers will consider it tedious, and will be satisfied simply to know that the trademark belonged to the firm of Johann Peter Thewalt. Those who continue to question this conclusion will simply have to read the entire article.

Some new thoughts regarding the design of this mark appear at the end of this article.

The Thewalt "TP" Mark
by SCI Master Steinologist Roland A. Henschen (originally published in Prosit, Dec.1985, minor editing done for this republication)

Above, the cover of a catalog for the firm of Joh. Pet. Thewalt, est. 1852. Below, close-up of the detail of the trademark.
About two or three years ago [i.e., early 1980's], articles in various antique journals, including Prosit, had suppositions as to the identification of the elusive "TP" mark. One article in Prosit intimated that it was another mark used by J. W. Remy Co. because the TP steins had a great similarity to the Remy ones. Somewhere else I read that the manufacturer was supposed to be Albert Jac. Thewalt. A third writer attributed the mark to Eckhardt & Engler. I knew these suppositions to be incorrect, but had never finished my research to the point where I was ready to publicly contradict them. Now I feel it necessary to publish my findings. Perhaps there is some good reason why those earlier identifications were made, even though they were false. But I shall go into that later.

The Firm of Joh. Pet. Thewalt
The TP mark was the mark of the firm of Joh. Pet. Thewalt (Johann Peter Thewalt) of Höhr, which was founded in 1852. Herr Thewalt was a manufacturer of both art and common (utilitarian) stoneware. This gentleman bore the same name as his father, and he founded the firm in his father's house, still in existence in modern-day Höhr-Grenzhausen at Bergstrasse 3. (I have been to the house a couple of times.) He died on September 21, 1887. After his death, his son Karl carried on the factory under his father's name, with the addendum "Inhaber: Karl Thewalt" (Inhaber means proprietor, possessor, holder, etc.)

Karl Thewalt died in 1923 and the factory was taken over by his son Hubert Thewalt, who remained in business until the depression in 1930, when the firm became insolvent. I have not established the exact date of the firm's demise, but have never found any firing dates after 1930. Karl Thewalt's daughter Helen is still living, and she remembers that the Joh. Pet. Thewalt Co. had a big export business with the United States in the years before the first World War, mainly in "jugs and mugs" (steins) carrying the TP mark, mostly salt-glazed. Some of the wares, however, were the fine stoneware. Although there is more to be written, this is basically the history of the firm with the TP mark. The Joh. Pet. Thewalt folks of course were decorators and also made their own lids.

Trademarks of Eckhardt & Engler
Ties to Eckhardt & Engler
A sister of Hubert Thewalt was married to one Ludwig Eckhardt. Eckardt was the owner of another big stoneware factory, with which we are all familiar, namely Eckhardt &Engler. They produced the same series of steins and other wares as Joh. Pet. Thewalt, but now under the Eckhardt & Engler name and trademark, both marked and unmarked. This firm, as we know, continued to 1971. Thereafter it was purchased by the Goebel Company (Hummel). All the old TP molds, however, were destroyed, and I mean literally destroyed. This included, as far as I can find out, the master molds. This then explains why the TP mark could have been considered one of Eckhardt & Engler's.

Similarities to Steins by Albert Jac. Thewalt
Joh. Peter Thewalt had at least one other son, Albert Jacob Thewalt. Albert and Karl were competitors, Karl having taken over their father's business, while Albert started his own. And of course, that Alb. Jac. Thewalt was the grandfather of present day Albert Jacob Thewalt, owner, operator and manager of the extremely fine and productive firm of stein makers carrying that name today. This company will observe its 100th anniversary in 1994.

Is it possible that some of the technology and artistry was traded between these two brothers? And is that the reason why some of the TP steins look like some of the Alb. Jac. Thewalt steins of that time? Is it possible the brothers got their training in exactly the same place?

And How About J. W. Remy?
What about the J. W. Remy steins? Certainly we know that craftsmen and workmen occasionally moved from firm to firm, and though fierce loyalties were often built up among the workers, the economy and other factors, which have been discussed in print previously, sometimes caused a shift from firm to firm. We know there was cooperation in this area between the [Joh. Pet. Thewalt] firm and the Remy firm in order to keep their employees fully employed. We also know that [Joh. Pet. Thewalt] purchased molds and some technology from Remy. Probably what was said in German would translate better as co-operation between the firms, but this was not the exact meaning - but at least readers will see the connection.

We also are aware that patterns and molds were on occasion sold and traded between other firms.

I would like to close with a word of caution: I have spent many years studying the steins of various manufacturers. I have a special affinity towards, or with, those of the J. W. Remy and Thewalt firms. And I can tell you that to identify an unmarked stein as being a Remy or a Thewalt is often, even for me, extremely difficult.

At one time I purchased by mail a stein identified as J. W. Remy. It carried a J. W. Remy number, was pictured in the J. W. Remy catalog, and bore a great resemblance to a JWR stein. However, on studying it closely, I was able to find five different items that told me it was not a JWR. So again, the identification of unmarked steins can be extremely difficult.

Credits and sources for this article include:
Albert Jac. Thewalt (owner, operator, manager of the large Thewalt stein firm)
Gerd Kessler (son of Robert Kessler)
Robert Kessler (deceased, last owner of J. W. Remy)
Helen (daughter of Karl Thewalt)
Also: Various books and papers made available to me at the times I was in Germany, papers and letters sent to me, and various material collected over the years.

In Search of J. W. Remy - Part 3
by Glen Joshpe (originally published in Prosit, December 1985)

Steins marked with TP, left to right:
½-liter #1220, 2-liter #1398, 2-liter #1498, and ½-liter #1220 - with different handle
Unlike the Mettlach steins, the vast majority of JWR steins lack a maker's mark. A review of 52 etched JWR steins reveal four steins (approximately 8%) with an etched JWR mark within a rectangle, and another four steins (approximately 8%) with an etched TP mark. The enclosed photo shows the four steins which have the TP mark.

This mark is seen on some of the larger steins, as well as the taller false bottom ½-liter steins, as opposed to the shorter flat bottom ½-liter steins. Note that the two ½-liter steins have the same body, but contrasting colors and handles.

Many of the JWR steins have a much more superficial scratch or even a painted symbol, single digit or letter, in contrast to the deeper incised and cleaner TP mark.

It is apparent to anyone who has examined these steins closely, that these steins bearing the TP mark are indistinguishable from and have all of the characteristics of JWR steins.

A "TP" Follow-up
by SCI Master Steinologist Roland A. Henschen (originally published in Prosit, June 1986)

Shortly after I received my copy of Prosit #82, and before I received a number of letters with kind comments on my TP mark article, along with a few questions, I received a letter from my friend Albert Jac. Thewalt. Herr Thewalt is ever helpful and a stickler for accuracy and detail. These traits I am sure contributed a great deal to the present-day success of his firm: outstanding makers of steins and fine stoneware. He wanted to make sure that the members of SCI and I had the correct information to the smallest detail.

The first item had to do with the house where the firm of Johann Pet. Thewalt was founded. I will quote this directly from his letter:
"The house of Johann Pet. Thewalt in the Bergstrasse formerly had the number "1a" - instead of number "3" now!"
In my earlier article I asked the question, "Is it possible that some of the technology and artistry was traded between these two brothers?" Meaning, of course, the grandfather of Albert Jac. Thewalt, who was also named Albert Jacob, and his brother Karl. My friend Herr Thewalt answers this with: "No! Never! No No." There was never any connection of technology or artistry between the two brothers. He also adds some information that I seem to recall having in my files somewhere, but apparently I didn't find it in time to include it in this article.

He first stated that his grandfather started his business in 1893 and went into steins in 1897. (I knew that and should have written it.) And, that he began in competition with his brother. He went on to state that all of the master-molds of that time were made by Wilhelm Kamp, and that they were developed independently, starting with the number 1, piece by piece: no outside molds or reliefs were registered. Wilhelm Kamp was the designer. He next answers the question, and confirms my contention as to why the beer steins of J. W. Remy and Thewalt (Albert Jac. Thewalt of the turn-of-the-century, that is) had some similarity in artistic appearance. The answer is: Wilhelm Kamp, the designer, worked for J. W. Remy before he came with the Thewalt firm. Therefore the similarity.

Herr Thewalt further reminded me of a relationship between the firms of Joh. Pet. Thewalt and JWR by sending me a family-tree showing that the wife of Karl Thewalt (son of Johann Peter Thewalt and proprietor of the family firm, as mentioned in my earlier article) was the daughter of Wilhelm Remy. And their daughter, Anna Helene Thewalt, is still living. So the idea of cooperation between these firms would be quite natural.

I hope this will add to the reader's knowledge of these stein firms. And again, my thanks to my friend, Albert Jac. Thewalt, for taking time out from his very busy schedule to send me this information.

Excerpts from...

Thewalt Firm... 100th Anniversary
The Stein Makers

by SCI Master Steinologist Roland Henschen (originally published in Prosit, Dec. 1993)

[I have abstracted portions of this article which have direct bearing on the subject of the family history, and our quest to establish the owner of the TP mark.]

In 1993 the firm of Albert Jac. Thewalt, or Thewalt GmbH, celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in Höhr. At the time of its founding (technically, its registration with the government) the family already had a tradition in pottery for well over 100 years.

The Thewalts had settled in Hillscheid in the Westerwald, and in 1809 Johann Peter Thewalt Sr. (1784-1861) moved his family to Höhr, where on the 4th of July 1813, he married Anna Maria Knoedgen. Their son Johann Peter Thewalt Jr. (1822-1887), who married Kath Susanne Gerz, another fine name in Westerwald stoneware, is a central figure in this search for the origin of the TP mark as well as an understanding of the firm of Paulus and Thewalt. As noted earlier, he began production of stoneware articles in his father's house in 1852. After his death in 1887 the firm continued in operation under his son, Karl, later by Karl's son Hubert, until 1930 when it became insolvent. It is Johann Peter Thewalt's business card or advertisement shown earlier which ties the TP mark to this firm.

In addition to Karl, Johann Peter Thewalt had a second son, Albert Jac. Thewalt (1857-1939) who, with his brother-in-law Jean Paulus, founded the stoneware firm of Paulus and Thewalt in 1882. (The wives of Albert and Jean were sisters from the well-known Westerwald family of Gerz.) One year later a second stoneware factory was begun on an adjacent piece of ground. About 10 years later Albert separated from the firm of Paulus & Thewalt, and registered his own firm with the government, thus establishing the official founding of the firm of Albert Jac. Thewalt in 1893. Production in this early period consisted of various kinds of stoneware for pharmacies and laboratories, including containers for ointment, mortar and pestle, steam bowls to disinfect articles and the like. With the hiring of the modeler Wilhelm Kemp in 1897, the production of beer steins was started, throwing Albert into direct competition with his brother Karl. All stein models were independently developed and the outside molds or reliefs were registered. Wilhelm Kemp had previously worked for the firm of J. W. Remy, providing possible explanation of the similarities between some of the artistry.

Thus we see the relationships between the firms of Johann Peter Thewalt (continued in operation by the line of his eldest son, Karl, until 1930), Paulus & Thewalt, founded by his younger son Albert with brother-in-law Jean Paulus, a relationship lasting approximately 10 years, and Albert Jac. Thewalt, a second firm founded by Albert and operated by his descendants to present day.

Confession of a Dilatory Researcher

by John M. Gaustad (from the June 1996 issue of Prosit)

Two or three years ago, I came across the stein you will see illustrated in figures 1 and 2. I first noticed the Thewalt mark on the bottom and then on the face of the stein the name "Paulus & Thewalt". I thought this a bit unusual, in that there are Paulus & Thewalt steins with their own distinctive mark. I took it along for "Show and Tell" at a meeting of the Gambrinus Stein Club where my colleagues agreed that it was, indeed, unusual.

Back home, I returned it to the shelf and gave it little thought until in the December 1993 Prosit, I read an article by Roland Henschen titled "The Stein Makers". It is, essentially, a history of the Thewalt family. From this article I learned that Albert Jac. Thewalt (1857-1939) and Jean Paulus were brothers-in-law and that the two founded the firm of Paulus & Thewalt in 1882. Reading on, I learned that production in 1894 consisted of various kinds of stoneware for pharmacies and laboratories, and finally, that the production of beer steins began in 1897. From the foregoing I concluded that the stein I had discovered was, basically, an advertisement for the firm of Paulus & Thewalt.

I put the stein back on the shelf and turned my attention to other matters. However, at the Milwaukee Convention I listened to Pat Manusov's account of a visit to Thewalt in Höhr-Grenzhausen. At the break I told her about my stein. She suggested I write to Albert J. Thewalt and was certain that he would be glad to help with additional information. I did write and Herr Thewalt was indeed helpful. He is a member of SCI. He agreed that it was reasonable to classify the stein as an advertisement for the firm, but also suggested that it might have been ordered on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Paulus & Thewalt in 1907. He told me that the company still has the original mold and that the theme of the design was "The Studying Pharmacist." Moreover, he included in his reply a copy of a page from the archives of the period which includes a #536 and its description in German (figure 3). If there is a moral to this story, it must be that sometimes even the lazy researcher can come up with some answers.

Another Stein Illustrating the Firm of Paulus & Thewalt

by Jerry Berg and Walt Vogdes

Take a look at the stein pictured below, courtesy of Jerry Berg. (Click anywhere in the images to see a more detailed view of the side and center scenes.)

The photos show a contemporary stein made by the firm of Albert Jac. Thewalt. Apparently made from an earlier mold, the decorative theme refers to the firm of Paulus & Thewalt in 1902, which was the 20th anniversary of the founding of this firm:

"Zur freundl. Erinnerung an den Besuch bei der Firma des Paulus & Thewalt Höhr 1902".

"In friendly remembrance of a visit to the Firm of Paulus & Thewalt Höhr 1902."

It would appear that this stein was ordered in 1902 from the firm of Albert Jac. Thewalt by Paulus & Thewalt, and it was likely a keepsake given to special visitors, perhaps in celebration of the anniversary of the firm. This decoration of the stein confirms that Paulus & Thewalt specialized in producing stoneware items for the medical and pharmaceutical industry. The side scenes show a chalice with an entwined snake, symbols of the medical potion, while the center scene is in a laboratory or classroom setting. The marks on the base of this stein are shown to the right.


Conclusions and Some New Thoughts
by SCI Master Steinologists John McGregor and Walt Vogdes

In 1985 Roland Henschen offered credible evidence, in the form of printed company material displaying this trademark, that the so-called TP mark was used by Joh. Peter Thewalt. Upon his death in 1887 the operation of the firm was taken over by his son Karl, and passed on again to Karl's son Hubert in 1923, which would allow for the appearance of the TP base mark on steins produced during the Jugendstil period (ca. 1910).

Glen Joshpe replied to Henschen's assertion by pointing out that some steins bearing the TP mark were "indistinguishable from and have all the characteristics" of those made - and marked - by J. W. Remy, but Joshpe stopped short of stating directly that the mark belonged to that firm.

The attribution of this mark to Paulus and Thewalt seems to first appear in the book Die Neue Ära in 1987, although no basis for the assertion is offered. In fact, the authors indicate that "no further information is available" regarding this firm, and stein collectors do not know of the firm except as a result of this assertion (and the apparent reliance on this identification by the author of "The Beer Stein Book"). The book shows three items which it attributes to this factory - two punchbowls and a pouring stein whose design matches one of the bowls. All three pieces are blue and gray saltglazed, and design of all three pieces is attributed to Paul Wynand, a Jugendstil artist who provided designs to many factories of the Westerwald stoneware industry from about 1905. Two of the three pieces are unmarked(!), while the third bears the TP mark.

Recent correspondence with Albert Jakob Thewalt (and a search of the Internet) sheds more light on the firm of Paulus & Thewalt. Co-founded by Albert Jac. Thewalt and his brother-in-law Jean Paulus in 1882, the firm provided items to the pharmaceutical industry. In 1893 Albert founded his own business in a second stoneware factory next door, and ended his involvement with the older firm. It appears that both firms focused their early efforts on the needs of laboratories and pharmacies, until in 1897 Thewalt started producing beer steins. The Thewalt steins shown by Jack Gaustad and Jerry Berg indicate by their decorative themes that the firm of Paulus & Thewalt continued with their original product focus, and this is confirmed by Herr Thewalt. It is also interesting to note that both firms continue in operation today, on their original sites.

Finally, to remove any lingering questions, in correspondence with SCI member Ron Gray, Torsten Bowe of Paulus & Thewalt GmbH & Co states "we never produced Bierkrüge. We produce and deal with pharmaceutical instruments."

Here are the facts:
  • The stoneware firm of Johann Peter Thewalt was founded in 1852 and continued in business until 1930, producing beer steins as one of their products.
  • We have direct evidence that the TP mark was used by Johann Peter Thewalt (1822-1887).
  • The firm of Paulus & Thewalt was founded in 1882, and continues in operation today, serving the the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, and a statement from the company indicates that they never produced beer steins.
  • The firm of Albert Jac. Thewalt was founded in 1893 and continues in operation today, producing beer steins among other items.

Based on what we know today, thanks to the research and the observations of the contributors to this article, we know for a certainty that the steins bearing the so-called TP mark were in the product line and sold by the firm of Joh. Pet. Thewalt. Did they actually make them? Perhaps. But there is also reasonable possibility that these steins may have been made by J. W. Remy to fill an order from Joh. Pet. Thewalt.

The Westerwald practice of purchasing - instead of manufacturing - stein bodies in order to finish and market them is well known. Such stein bodies were marked with the trademark of the purchaser, in place of the trademark of the actual manufacturer. Examples include Marzi & Remy, who made steins marked “L.T.M.” for an unidentified finishing shop; Hauber & Reuther, who made steins marked "L.B.&C.", another unidentified finishing shop; Fritz Thenn and others who made steins for August Saeltzer; the Gerz and Merkelbach & Wick factories which made steins marked “HR”; and both Hauber & Reuther and Merkelbach & Wick produced steins for the Nurnberg firm of Theodor Wieseler.  And while we've been told that there was no cooperation between Karl Thewalt (operating his father's firm, Joh. Pet. Thewalt) and his brother Albert (who founded his own firm, Albert Jac. Thewalt), we have also been told that Karl established a close and cooperative relationship for his firm with J. W. Remy, going so far as to purchase molds and technology from J. W. Remy, and to take such steps as were necessary from time to time to keep the employees of both companies gainfully employed. Did Karl Thewalt also purchase stein bodies bearing the TP mark from J. W. Remy? We simply don't know, but it is no surprise that some very similar steins may be found, perhaps indistinguishable from each other except that one bears the TP mark of Joh. Pet. Thewalt while the other shows the J.W.R. mark of J. W. Remy.

For a simplified illustration of the lineage of the Thewalt family and the various firms which are discussed in this article, click here.

One Last Intriguing Thought

   A drawing of the mark used by Joh. Peter Thewalt. The upturns at the base of the downstroke may be "nuances" of this rendering (see photo below).
A drawing of the mark used by Albert Jac. Thewalt, 1897-1920.
A photograph of the TP mark which appears on the base of a Jugendstil (post-1900) piece. The photo differs in minor ways from the drawing above.
One question which was raised to counter the conclusion we endorse here, is why the firm of Joh. Pet. Thewalt would use a trademark based upon the initials P and T, instead of J and T, or possibly J, and P and T. After all, the competing family firm, Albert Jac. Thewalt used a more obvious A and T in their trademark. This question seemed destined to be answered with little more than a shrug of the shoulders - until we realized that both of these trademarks employ an unusual dot, and began to wonder why. The so-called TP mark (which might better have been called the PT mark) was used by Johann. His son Albert, upon founding his own business, chose to use a dot in his mark as well. Actually, there is a very straight-forward supposition which, if it could be verified, would resolve all of the questions.

Although the business card for Joh. Pet. Thewalt which appears at the beginning of this article is printed in a more modern style (and we don't know the date of the card), in the old German lettering, upper case I and J were the same letter. There was no difficulty in distinguishing the letters in use, because I only appears before a consonant, and J only before a vowel. The names which provided the basis for these trademarks would appear as Ioh. Pet. Thewalt and Alb. Iac. Thewalt. Now suppose you wanted to design a mark which combined the three letters I, P and T (for Ioh. Pet. Thewalt). Combining the downstroke of the P and the T is straightforward, and the I is in there at the same time, but it is lost - unless you hint at its presence by placing a dot directly above the downstroke! Similarly, Albert Iacob Thewalt's initials may be drawn by having the horizontal stroke of the A serve double duty as the cross bar atop the T - and again hinting at the presence of the I by placing a dot directly above the downstroke! Grasping at straws? Perhaps. But it seems a sensible explanation for the dots in both trademarks, which is otherwise nothing more than unexplained ornamentation.

Walt Vogdes recently spoke directly with Albert Jacob Thewalt about this conjecture. He is skeptical, but notes that nothing can be proven about the origin of these dots.


This lengthy article was assembled by Walt Vogdes, much of it from previously published sources. Stein collectors are indebted to Roland Henschen for identifying the correct ownership of the TP mark (which really does deserve a better name), and for his diligent research into the various Thewalt firms (among others). Thanks are also due to Albert Jacob Thewalt for his review and comments on this article. The speculation about the meaning of the dot in trademarks was jointly developed by Walt Vogdes and John McGregor, and if it turns out to be total foolishness, then we will be the fools.

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