Featured Stein: April   2011
~  A Gamewarden Occupational Stein ~
by  Phil Masenheimer
Recently a great example of an unusual occupational stein was sold on E-bay. The occupation was for a "Jagdaufseher" to mean "game warden" or "hunting guide".

The Jagdaufseher was similar to English game wardens in preserving the lands of the local noble from poaching. They were also responsible for the upkeep of the trails and pathways through the woods as well as overseeing logging and other forestry programs. The Jagdaufseher are still used today in Germany, often employed by the state and patrolling in specially marked vehicles.

Game wardens are a critical part of Germany’s modern hunting culture, ensuring that only licensed hunters operate within specific boundaries and within a specified time of year. Their job preserves the prey of hunters (and fishermen) for future generations.

The inscription on the stein reads:  "Eher soll die Welt verderben,  als vor Durst ein, Jagdaufsehe sterben." This translates to "The world should come to an end before a game warden should die of thirst".
Many of us stein collectors with German roots are reminded of our ancestors‘ working backgrounds via their surnames. Many of these names were adopted from their occupations or trades. Examples of this phenomenon are FISHER, ZIMMERMAN, KOCH, WEBER, SNEIDER, SMITTY, etc. These are a great testimony to pride that our forefathers placed in their work and trades, regardless of the perceived status of them.

Occupational steins that were manufactured during the “Golden Age of Steins“ are the most desirable to collect. Most of these steins were usually named for the recipient/owner. Several characteristics distinguished an occupational stein: a lithophane is usually present; the majority of the bodies are in the .5 liter size; colorful transfers were used to represent the occupation while the stein is usually not marked by the manufacturer, some of the steins were signed by the decorating shop.

Unlike this stein, occupational steins usually have a steepled pewter lid. The transfers represent a scene that was common to the occupation, often showing a grouping of tools associated with an occupation. There could also be a crest (Wappen) composed of tools or symbols that depict the occupation. Many of the steins have an inscription touting the virtues of the worker‘s occupation somewhere on the stein body.

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