AN AUGUST SAELTZER STEIN
By Bernd Hoffmann
Left to right: Martin Luther, St.
Elizabeth of Hungary, Ludwig der
For November I have selected a stein decorated by the August Saeltzer
factory of Eisenach a city in Thuringia, Germany featuring Martin
Luther born November 10th, 1483. Eisenach is also the home the
Wartburg, a castle built in the Middle Ages, and an important outpost
securing the extreme borders of the Thuringian count of Schauenburg,
Louis the Springer’s (Ludwig der Springer) traditional territories.
Martin Luther was a German
professor of theology, composer, priest, monk and an influential figure
in the Protestant Reformation. Luther came to reject several teachings
and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. His refusal to renounce all
of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman
Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his
excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the
Emperor and requiring his arrest. It also made it a crime for anyone in
Germany to give Luther food or shelter. It permitted anyone to kill
Luther without legal consequence.
Luther's disappearance during his return trip back to Wittenberg was
planned. Frederick III had him intercepted on his way home by masked
horsemen who were made to appear as armed highwaymen. They escorted
Luther to the security of the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach.
While in hiding at the Wartburg Luther translated
the New Testament from Greek into German. His translation of the Bible
into the vernacular made it more accessible to the laity, an event that
had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It
fostered the development of a standard version of the German language,
added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the
writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns
influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His
marriage to Katharina von Bora in 1525, a former nun, set a model for
the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry.
The Saeltzer factory came into existence at the beginning of the
Historismus period in Germany. Founded in 1850 they began making a line
of hand decorated enameled stoneware in 1870 using blanks purchased
from Westwald, Fritz Thenn, H&R, Mettlach, and some porcelain
blacks from Nymphenburg. Because the factory was founded in the same
town as the Wartburg, this was commonly used as subject matter along
with many biblical themes or reference to Martin Luther. The Wartburg
became the symbol for Evangelical theology due to the fact that Martin
Luther sought shelter there. The company ceased operation after
High quality pewter lids.
Saeltzer Mark - Unknown decorator "F."