~ The Last Thewalt Mold ~
By Ronald E. Gray
This beer stein is neither the rarest, oldest, nor most expensive beer stein in my collection. It is,
however, the most cherished beer stein in my collection. I cherish it for two reasons. First, it
represents the last mold made at the firm of Albert Jacob Thewalt GmbH (1893-2009). The stein was designed
for M. Cornell Importers, Inc. of St. Paul,
MN.(1) Hence, the stein does not show a capacity mark at the top, although based on its interior dimensions (2.5 inches
by 8.0 inches it should hold approximately 0,6 liters. The stein is a limited edition of 2500 with each
stein bearing its individual number impressed in the bottom of the stein. I have number 261. The words
“Made in Germany” are also stamped on the bottom as its manufacture occurred several years after the
reunification of Germany in 1990. It also does not have a mold number displayed on either the bottom of
the stein or under the handle. Albert Jakob Thewalt, grandson of the firm’s founder, told me the lack of
a mold number was an oversight, but the mold number is 1463 in the book of mold numbers. The mold was
designed by Jörgen Christmann, a Westerwald modeler, by using existing molds. Neptune, the Roman god of
the sea, is the main feature on the face of the stein. Neptune was originally designed on a plaque
(plaque mold 258) by Wilhelm Kamp circa 1902. The lighthouse on Neptune’s right and the ship on Neptune’s
left are from other molds by Christmann. The band
on the bottom of the stein showing a woman with outstretched hands is from Thewalt mold 243,
“Prince Heinrich” stein. The main scene on Thewalt 243 is the Imperial Yacht Meteor III, which was
commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II to be built in New York City. The side panels show Prince Heinrich
(brother of the Kaiser) and President Theodore Roosevelt, both of whom attended the christening by
Alice Roosevelt, the President’s daughter, in 1902.(2)
Some Internet sources say the President’s wife did the christening, but that Alice Roosevelt died
two days after giving birth, due to an unrelated undiagnosed illness, to their daughter in 1884.(3)
The bottom band also appears on Thewalt 1344,
Sailing Ship stein, although it was modified slightly. The pewter lid with the sailing ship finial was
made by Paul
Seelgen. This lid also appears on Thewalt 1344. Lids with a plain steeple finial were also
used on the
Neptune stein. The mermaid handle originally appeared on the Thewalt Navy stein. It also appears on
Thewalt 621, 642, 643 and 1344, as well as on other steins at the customer’s request.
Paul Seelgen began his career with Gilles & Sohn in 1950 before going out on his own in 1959.(4) He purchased the pewter foundry of Manfred Heuser in 2001.(4) The inside of the lid on the Neptune stein shows the pewterer’s mark of Paul Seelgen. This mark, according to Paul Seelgen, was previously used by the Heuser firm. It shows an “H” in a circle with “Zinn” appearing above the horizontal bar in the “H” and a set of balanced scales, the mark indicating it is lead-free, appearing below the horizontal bar in the “H.” The “H” is from the Heuser firm name.
I said I cherished this stein for two reasons, the first being that it is the last mold designed at Thewalt. The other reason is obvious when you view the bottom of this stein. It was a personal gift from Albert Jakob Thewalt, grandson of the firm’s founder, who gave it to me in appreciation for the article I wrote on his firm. He personally signed it on the bottom:
“Albert J. Thewalt 04.10.10 (October 4, 2010) with
compliments for my friend Ronald E. Gray.”
My thanks go to Albert Jakob Thewalt for all his help and assistance to me and other collectors over the years. He is always willing to share his stein making knowledge with us. While his firm may no longer be producing beer steins, some of the Thewalt molds are in the hands of King-Works Würfel & Mueller GmbH and Co. KG(5) and will continue to be sold as Thewalt steins.
1. M. Cornell Importers, Inc. is a wholesaler to retail stores in the United States. They distributed the popular Bulldog and Corona character steins. Their web site is http://cornellgifts.com/
2. The Imperial Yachts Meteor: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_(Yacht).
3. Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Hathaway_Lee_Roosevelt
4. Paul Seeglen has a web site displaying examples of his lids, finials and thumblifts: http://www.zinngiesserei-seelgen.de/content/home.html. He also has a DVD made in 2011 showing Traditional Regimental Stein Production.
5. King-Works Würfel & Mueller GmbH and Co. KG web pages show the stein manufacturing process as well as a link to information on Thewalt: http://www.king-werk.de/
© Ronald E. Gray 2014
All rights reserved.