Stein Collectors International
Featured Stein ~ April 2018

A Polar Bear Brewery Stein


By Lyn Ayers, SCI Master Steinologist

I was recently walking an antique show when I saw this one liter stein sitting quietly on a table. It was late in the show and I was amazed it was still untaken, until I saw the dealer’s label. It identified the stein as a modern reproduction with a date of 1992, and the price was fitting for such a stein.

When I got it home I had to examine it in more detail. The artwork was hand painted, signed and dated by the decorator - "entw. Z. Schweinle, 27.8.92."  I am sure the seller assumed the date was from the 20th century—after all, the stein body and the pewter are in near perfect condition.

Most experienced collectors would be tempted to identify the maker of this stein as Marzi & Remy because of the characteristic "black handle" (actually referring to the black "saddle" under the pewter strap). Although the base does not contain a trademark, it does indicate form number 992. Page 48 of an original Marzi & Remy catalog available on this site shows this model before decoration and pewter were added.
The Beer Stein Library also shows several examples of finished steins.

Upon close analysis of the barrels, I was able to decipher one of the barrels as being marked Frank Brauerei, Heslach.

I was able to locate a little information on the internet about the company. Heslach is located on the outskirts of Stuttgart and the brewery’s address was 92 Boblinger Str. I was not able to find any detailed history of the Frank Brewery although there appears to have been brewing either at that address or very nearby from the late 1850s. In 1873 an Ice House was added to the facilities. Apparently Emil Frank was a restaurant owner who somehow became involved with the brewery ca. 1880, possibly using his restaurant as an outlet for his beers. By 1889 the brewery had constructed additional buildings and continued to expand its property as it grew.

I have been unable to find anything more about the brewery although the Stuttgarter Hofbrau brewery is located at Boblinger Str. 132 which is at most a block from the original Frank Brewery. I wonder if over the intervening years the Frank Brewery was absorbed or acquired by the larger Stuttgarter breweries.

There is another intriguing characteristic of this stein that I have not yet discussed: what is the significance of the polar bears? I have never seen a polar bear pictured on a stein before! So why on this one? There is one tenuous connection although it’s pure speculation on my part. Could these bears be harkening back to the early days when the ice house might have played a vital role in the brewery?

All I need now is another stein or even two with polar bears. Just what I need is another collecting theme!

But wait... How do I find the "original manufacturers catalogs" mentioned above? The Reading Room contains a link to "Old Stein Manufacturers Catalogs". At that page you can either select a catalog you want to view, or follow the link to "Search all catalogs for a specific mold number."

Click here to view a pictorial index of all Featured Stein articles.