Pretty Maids All in a Row ~
by Rich Cress
By some form of serendipity, I bought all of the three Schierholz
steins pictured above within about eight weeks. So, who
needs three identical Happy Munich Child steins anyway? Not me, but
the prices were right, especially for the stein in the middle, the one
that has just a little something extra, in the form of a barrel tap.
To my knowledge, this is the only example of this stein that includes
a tap. Because it's made of porcelain and has identical coloring to
the bung on the barrel, I'm guessing that it was made at the factory.
Perhaps as a trial piece, or more likely as a special order.
Even without the tap, these steins are anything but identical. Because they were hand painted, you can see many slight differences between them, especially in the coloring and in the quality of painting. Interestingly enough, the stein with the tap also has the best painting, which may indicate that it was indeed a special order.
All three of these steins share what initially appears to be a defect on the underside of their lids. There is a very small spot that is unglazed, almost dead center. David Harr gave me the answer as to why the spot is there. The entire lid - base, barrel and Maid - had to be fired together, and Schierholz may have experienced some sagging problems, so at some point they included a ceramic "prop" under the lids in the kiln to help them fire perfectly. Some steins have this unglazed spot, while others have completely glazed underside lids without spots.
When I bought the first stein, I was concerned about this "defect," but when it also appeared on the others, I knew it was a factory thing, and I just needed to find out what it was all about. My Unhappy Munich Child stein also has this same spot, even though she is smaller than her alter ego.