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Character Beer Steins
|A character stein is a stein with a shape designed to represent an object, person, or animal. So, like Occupationals and Regimentals, they belong to a style category as opposed to a materials category.|
Although figural vessels date back to several centuries before the ancient Greeks, true character steins had to await the development of the hinged lid in the early 1500s. And, in fact, there are stoneware character steins that date from about that period, generally in the form of owls or seated bears, but they are quite rare.
One can only speculate as to the reasons for the scarcity of character steins that pre-date the late 1800s. One theory is that the odd shapes were too whimsical to be socially acceptable in earlier times. The other popular theory is that before the 1800s and the introduction of molds that could more easily accommodate such shapes, it required too much effort to produce these statuettes.
Some of the character steins that appeared around the 1850s were dull-finished bisque porcelain pieces that were made in slip molds. Much of the initial manufacture of character steins is attributable to the E. Bohne Sohne company of the Thuringen region and other producers situated in Plane.