Stein Collectors International
Featured Stein ~ February 2019

O Alte Burschenherrlichkeit

By John Piet

This month’s stein is quite unusual. I acquired it on eBay a while back. At first glance, it appears that it may have been handmade from a coffee can. On closer inspection, it can be seen that the designs on the stein have been impressed into the metal, indicating that it was mass produced. The body and lid of this stein are made from an iron compound – both are attracted to a magnet. The handle appears to be made of an early plastic like celluloid or Bakelite. It doesn’t appear that this stein was ever intended to hold a liquid, although it does seem water tight. After starting this article, I came across an article about this stein by Martin Kiely in the September 2002 issue of Prosit which explains its origins and interprets the scenes and verses on the stein.

This stein was actually a container for toffee candy produced in England by Bristows of Devon. The bi-lingual label mentioned in the article is shown at right. It seems strange that a product obviously made for the German market has a label in English and French. My guess is that this was a special order and the company just used their standard label.

The theme expressed in the scenes and verses on this stein is that of a fond reminiscence of youth and student days. The verse on the left of the stein is from an old student song O Alte Burschenherrlichkeit, first published anonymously in the Berlin journal The Free-thinker on August 9, 1825. The first two lines of the song are shown below:

O alte Burschenherrlichkeit,           Oh those glorious old student days,
Wohin bist du verschwunden?         Which have long since vanished.

This theme is also found on many other steins and postcards produced during the Golden age of steins. It has also occurred in song, Golden Days from the  Student Prince, Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days, and even the song that was sung to me as I started out for first grade: School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule days...

For more information on the stein and candy company please link to Martin Kiely's article in Prosit.

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