Stein of the Month: November 2003

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The unique triangular tower of Burg Grenzau, interpreted by King-Werke

Souvenir print of Burg Grenzau from the 1978 SCI convention

A facsimile of the Grenzau and Alt Grenzau marks used by Thewalt

~ Burg Grenzau ~

contributed by SCI member Ron Gray

SCI Members attending Convention XII in Mettlach/Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany in 1978 will recall visiting Burg Grenzau and should immediately recognize this stein. This character stein is a representation of the unique triangular tower of Burg Grenzau, the only tower of this shape in Europe. Convention attendees were treated to a private tour of the castle and its famous tower. At the conclusion of the tour we were given a black and white print of the castle. I had mine framed to display with my steins (see picture). A few years later, while shopping in a gift shop in Dubuque, Iowa, I saw this stein. Since it seemed to be following me from Germany, I naturally had to have it. The stein was made in the early 1980s by King-Werke Würfel & Müller, exclusively for Tripar International, Inc., in a numbered limited edition of 12,000. Each side of the tower/stein is shown in the pictures included with this article. A relief scene of the castle appears on the front side of the stein, while the history of the castle is summarized in text on the other two sides (see below).

The images of Burg Grenzau shown in the black and white print and the one gracing the front of this stein may seem familiar to collectors of contemporary steins. The firm of Albert Jacob Thewalt produced a series of steins circa 1970-1985 featuring an image of the Burg Grenzau and its tower with the words "Grenzau 1894" or "Alt-Grenzau 1894" below that mark. (While the Thewalt firm was founded in 1893, production did not begin until 1894.) This mark generally appears in combination with the Thewalt trademark, and was used on reproductions of steins designed by Wilhelm Kamp (1879-1953). Herr Kamp was employed by Thewalt from 1897 (the year the firm began producing steins) to 1914, designing nearly 800 steins, most of which were based on paintings by Tyrolean artist Franz von Defregger (1835-1921).

The village of Grenzau is in the Westerwald area known as Kannenbäckerland, or land of the jug baker. The cities of Höhr, Grenzhausen and Grenzau merged in 1936 to form the city of Höhr-Grenzhausen. Visit to see more pictures and information on Burg Grenzau. Unfortunately the site is only in German. You can use a translator, however, to get a rough translation into English. Master Steinologist Art Maethner is currently developing an English translation.

Peter Dümler of Dümler and Breiden also had an interest in Burg Grenzau. According to the 100th Anniversary brochure of that firm, his interest resulted in the publication of a brochure on Burg Grenzau and its inhabitants.
Anno Domini 1200 von Graf Heinrich I von Isenburg erbaut. Einmalig der dreieckige bergfried in Europa. 1324 besitzer Grafen von Isenburg-Grenzau. 1635 von den Franzosen gebrandschatzt.

[Built by Count Heinrich I of Isenburg in 1200 A.D. Only triangular castle tower in Europe. In 1324 it was owned by Count von Isenburg. It was plundered by the French in 1635.]
Burg-Grenzau       Castle Grenzau
1635 an kurtrier 1637 Jan v. Werth siegte bei Grenzhausen. 1803 an Nassau. 1866 an Preussen. Jetzt privat-besitz. Heimat-museum.

[For two years (1635-1637) it was administered by the Electorate of Trier. Jan von Werth was victorious near Grenzhausen. It was under the jurisdiction of Nassau (a German duchy now a part of the present German federal state on Hessia) in 1803. It came under the rule of Prussia in1866. It is currently under private ownership and houses a local history museum.]

Thanks to Grace Gurak of Tripar, Albert Jacob Thewalt of Thewalt (also the grandson of the founder of that firm and a member of SCI) and Master Steinologist Art Maethner for providing assistance for this article.

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