contributed by Ron Gray
What could be a more appropriate stein of the month for April, with its showers, than these four gentlemen crowded under an umbrella. This stein was made by Schierholz & Sohn of Plaue, Thüringen, Germany. According to Frank Loevi, who cites Schierholz records (see "Introduction to Schierholz Character Steins" at The Beer Stein Library accessible through the Links section of this site), the Schierholz character steins were done by modeler Edmund Hasse, who is also credited with a role in designing Neuschwanstein castle of King Ludwig II.
These four well-dressed gentlemen all wear top hats, three have monocles on their right eye and sport watch fobs with gold watches and the two in front carry canes. The thumblift is a crescent moon that has a devious grin. Although they are not dressed for it, this has to be a golf umbrella to be able to cover four men. The lithophane shows two gentlemen meeting on the street, one smoking a cigar, and tipping their hats to each other with their canes.
The Encyclopedia of Character Steins by Dr. Eugene Manusov, Master Steinologist, describes one lithophane scene as two dancers on stage while describing another lithophane scene as two clowns meeting on the street (perhaps he is interpreting the facial features on my gentlemen as those of clowns (figure 461 on page 205). However, my gentlemen appear to be on a street and I can’t tell that they are dancers. My lithophane is shown on page 66 (and identified as ECS-461 "Umbrella") of Character Steins: A Collector’s Guide by Eugene V. Manusov and Mike Wald. Dr. Manusov also describes one as being in tails, but I can’t distinguish that in my lithophane. There are variations of this stein: changes in the color and style of clothing (mine are without gloves while in the picture he shows they are gloved) and a version with a music box base. Readers are invited to send photos of other versions of the stein and/or the lithophane to be included with this article.
This stein is difficult to find in mint condition as the pewter balls at the end of the umbrella ribs are vulnerable.