Stein Collectors International, Inc.
Beer Steins ~
An Introduction to the Hobby
What is a beer stein?
"Stein" means "stone" in German.
Most early steins were made of stoneware. Today, collectors consider steins to
be beer-drinking vessels with handles and hinged lids. Without the lid, the
vessel is called a mug. Without the handle, it is considered a beaker. The
hinged lid found its place in history during the 15th and 16th centuries. When
the bubonic plague was thought to be caused by flies and other insects, it
became common practice to put lids on drinking vessels. [Ed. note: This
assertion, and the so-called "covered container law", have defied all
attempts to establish historical basis. Even so, it is widely believed and
repeated by stein collectors.] Once the lid was attached, there was no turning
back...the beer stein would always have a hinged lid. Beer steins come in all
sizes and shapes and are made from a variety of materials, such as glass,
pottery (earthenware), pewter, porcelain, stoneware, faience, etc. There are
even rare examples carved from wood, made from leather, ivory, ostrich eggs and
horns. The royalty occasionally had steins of pure gold or silver. Now let us
explore the major stein categories:
We thank SCI Master Steinologist Ron Heiligenstein whose initial idea launched
this "introduction to the hobby". Our sincere appreciation is extended
to the following SCI members whose assistance made the idea into a reality:
Author: John Aschenbrenner
Editors: David Cantwell, Richard Cress, Ron Heiligenstein, Patricia Jahn,
David Lowry, Eugene Manusov, Patricia Manusov, Robert Smith, Therese Thomas,
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