Stein Collectors International

~ The Story Behind the Babies Stein ~

by  Ronald E. Gray

 
The Library has an article titled "Baby Steins" (sic), which was also featured as the January 2000 Stein of the Month. The Beer Stein Library includes this stein in the Reinhold Hanke catalog under the title Stork with Babies. While recent stein auction catalogs show this stein, none of them identify the maker. And the ones I have seen on eBay not only do not have a manufacturer’s mark, but the word Germany is in a straight line rather than the arched Germany Hanke was known for. Frank Loevi states that some of these steins do carry the Hanke mark and that the arched Germany came into use later. In the What's New section of The Beer Stein Library, Frank shows a new method for determining Hanke steins. It shows Germany in all capital letters followed by a period in Helvetica font. He does not state the source of this attribution.
 
Not only is there a story behind this stein, there are actually 36 stories, most likely written as poems, in a book written by Edwin Bormann. The title of the book is "S Buch von Klabberstorche." Edwin Bormann was born in Leipzig in 1851 and died there in 1912. He was a learned man with a wide range of interests. He was a poet, composer and author. His book’s ranged from children’s books to works on Bacon writing Shakespeare’s plays. Being from Leipzig, his book was written in the Saxonian dialect. This then accounts for the spelling difference between the main title on the book and that on the stein. My copy of the book does not show a publication date, but it is circa 1900. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate an English translation of the book. The illustrations look intriguing and two of the stories are about Lohengrin and Julius Caesar.
 
The illustrations in the book were done by George Schöbel, a famous painter from Berlin. To learn more about him, Google “Schöbel-Archiv” and then click on translate. Shown below are the cover of the book, the page showing the illustration of the babies that was the inspiration for the stein and the contents page showing the 36 stories in the book. In the book the hats, which indicate the baby’s future occupation, are at the top of the rack whereas on the stein they appear on the babies along with tools of their trade.
 
The book must have been quite popular in its day. A circus act known as the Harrison Sextet incorporated the babies into their routine. You can view their circus poster by going to  http://www.circusmuseum.nl/eng/   and then entering Harrison Sextet in the search box.
 
As my favorite radio commentator (Paul Harvey), would say, now we know the rest of the story.
 
Cover of Book Second Page of First Story
 
Contents Page 1 Contents Page 2
   
   

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