Contributed by SCI Master Steinologist John McGregor
During the mid- to late-1880s there were too many factories producing saltglazed Steinzeug (stoneware), and the supply was outstripping the demand. At the same time these factories were faced with increasing wages and tariffs. A few factories and finishing shops looked for ways to get a competitive edge. One method to distinguish these wares was to apply colorful enamels to the blue and grey pieces, and they found a way to do this without having to invest in new processes, training, technology or equipment. The stein shown below is an excellent example of the type of wares which resulted.
The stein is marked with an incised trademark, "L.T.M.", which is a so-far unidentified finishing shop. L.T.M. applied the enamel and the pewter, but the stein was manufactured for them by Marzi & Remy. This model, number 313, and a similar piece numbered 312, are shown in an early Marzi & Remy sales catalog, without the enameling of course. Note that in this case the Marzi & Remy factory was able to complete the production of these saltglazed-relief steins, sell a portion of them themselves, and sell the rest to L.T.M. for further decoration!
In other cases these saltglazed Steinzeug pieces were produced with an area left specifically for further enamel decoration. Two more examples are shown below.
The stein shown in the left and center images above is HR 187/25 (form/design). The body was fired in the standard blue and grey saltglaze, with the center panel left blank for the decorator. In the center image we see the enameled design side-by-side with the standard blue and gray side decoration. At right is a stein produced by Fritz Thenn which was saltglazed totally without decoration, leaving the full body and handle to be decorated by the firm of August Sältzer.
Two other examples of enameled saltglazed stoneware steins may be seen in the Stein-of-the-Month articles for July 2000 (a stein with a humorous scene featuring the Munich Child) and June 2002 ("A Rare HR Character Stein").