the U.S., that means "throw the bum out," and if they don't leave
voluntarily, we will literally use our boot to kick them out. As in so
other traditions, the Germans have a different use - one that involves
"Trinkenstiefel" is a drinking boot. These drinking boots were most
commonly made from glass and, to a lesser degree, stoneware or pottery.
The boots must be drunk from correctly or the drinker gets a face full
If the toe of the boot is held straight up or straight down, once the
raised past a certain angle, beer will rush out dousing the drinker.
must be held on its side so the heel and toe are on the horizontal,
the ground. (Life is always kinder when you know its little secrets.)
Most drinking boots came from Germany, although some came from other
Falstaff, from England, was one of the seven legendary, drinkers of all
is frequently depicted sitting back in a big chair, his one foot up on
stool, drinking from one of his gigantic dirty leather boots. As far as
concerned, I think I would rather take my chances with the plague. Now
boots - they are another story .
have pictured four drinking boots from my collection. The first item
is an elegant large two liter Crystal boot made by the WMF
Metal Iwarenfabrik) company. It has a fancy cut and polished geometric
walked into an antique show in Philadelphia and saw this in a case.
collector of glass steins and drinking vessels, I knew immediately that
piece was destined to reside on my shelves. After an eternity (about 90
the dealer pulled it out of the case. The lid was bent a little and the
eagle had some feathers missing. As I was assessing the condition I
engraving (translated): "Reservist Boldt; 5th Company; Magdeburg
Regiment Number 6; Diedenhofen; Riding School, Hannover 1898-1901" on
strap over the instep. The lid was engraved: "Reservist Boldt; 1 Prize,
Riding School, Hannover 1901." This scarce designation made the boot
more appealing. I was probably as nervous waiting to finalize this deal
Reservist Boldt was on the day he was waiting to receive his elegant
trophy. I'm sure he worked a lot harder than I did to earn it, but I
just the same.
The pair of boots in figure 2 each hold a half a liter. The one on the
copper wheel etched with hops leaves and buds in five arched panels and
geometric border. The one on the right is cut with a hard wheel and
polished using a more simple geometric design. It has a silver-plated
stirrup and spur, and a silver-plated set-on lid with a finial of Cupid
olive leaf wreath and a handful of arrows. It was also made by WMF
WMF was the largest German pewter factory at the turn of the century.
made electroplated wares in addition to their pewter work.
The last piece, Figure 3, is almost a boot stein. It doesn't have a
it does have a hinged-lid with a thumblift. Most boots have set-on
lids. The top
portion of the 3/4 liter boot is cut in a geometric design with a round
panel "To your Health." It is ruby stained after cutting. The pewter
lid is signed "Johann Georg Winckler, Lindau," dating the piece to
around 1875. The lid has a hand-painted porcelain inlay with a scene of
lady poaching a rabbit from a hunter who is in the background. The
has grabbed her underwear in his teeth while she is trying to escape
stream. This exposed her bare bottom which was pretty risqué for the
All in all, I really like the designs, the history and the uniqueness
So if any of you want to give me the boot, as long as it is something
pieces--go to it!