The original purpose of the stein lid, as well as the body itself, is far from glamorous. Since the very first steins were simple drinking vessels, the primary reason for the lid was functional — common-sense precaution to keep insects and other contaminants away from the aromatic liquid. In addition to this, early functions of lids were to help keep the liquid at a constant temperature as well
as to prevent spillage. Lids, even in the early days, provided an attractive finishing touch.
Today, the “finishing touch” aspect is by far the most important reason for the lid. In many cases, the lid is the
most important feature of the stein. Hundreds of different lids are currently available — however, the vast majority of them can be categorized into the following groups:
ORNAMENTAL — Ornamental lids are always pewter. They feature superior detail, require special hand work, and are presently the most popular lids for limited-edition steins. They generally have glorified conical shape, complete with a top finial. Recently the stein
factories have been introducing very interesting ornamental pewter lids, many of which are included on this site.
CONICAL — This is the “cone”- or “steeple”-shaped llid. It is the most common and least expensive type of lid. Today, most conical lids are entirely made of pewter and machine made. However, they can also be made from a white base metal. The surface is then plated with a nickel or similar alloy to create a shiny finish, or a pewter or pewter-like alloy to create a dark antique finish.
FLAT — Flat lids, also known as semi-flat lids, are normally made of pewter. Although not entirely flat, the top surface does lend itself well to engraving.
INLAY — A very attractive lid, virtually always consisting of a pewter rim, a pewter flange (or lip), and a stoneware figurine or ornamental inlaid in the center.
FIGURINE — “Top of the line” lid in which a figurine, most often made of pewter, is mounted on an ornamental pewter lid.