I began collecting northwest Breweriana in the early '80s, and my first NW
beer stein¹ was the fairly common Rainier
version often referred to as the "Judge” stein. I was later to learn
that this ¼L stein was made by Aldolf Diesinger, ca.1903.
Since this had been a fairly common stein I
didn't pay close attention to the design details. I finally noticed that
the frieze band below the lip was not the same on all of the "judge"
steins, and have since found four different variations.
In my early years of collecting (prior to eBay) I
subscribed to numerous breweriana mail auction catalogs, including the
stein auction catalogs. Sometime in the early '90s I found an auction
listing for a ¼L Rainier
stein that I had never seen, but had similarities to the "Judge.”
Subsequently, I was outbid but thought it was no big deal and that I'd just be more
aggressive when the next one turned up. I waited over thirty years
before I found another one (plus a variation) and they're now in my
An example of this stein has the base marking:
"D.R.G.M 154927 - Gesetzligh Geschutzt -
Germany." D.R.G.M. 154927 was issued to Adolf Diesinger on 9
April 1901, and refers to the use of an outline around the figures.
I was puzzled by the choice of subject matter so
I did some research, and
found some interesting connections. First, I found that the design for
this side panel was made by the Binner Engraving Company.
In 1895 this agency undertook a magazine ad
campaign for the Pabst Brewing Company. The public’s response to these
striking graphics, and the success of similar ads for Pabst, propelled
the Binner Co. to the top ranks of the country's ad agencies.
The Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. was also impressed with Binner's work
and contracted with the company to produce display ads for their Rainier
Beer. This large graphic is one of the first examples. The Binner
company name can be found in the lower right-hand corner.
In 1902 Binner began a series of smaller ads for
and their first was the basis for the figure on one of the side panels
that I had puzzled over. The Binner mark is in the lower right of the
Strangely, the other side panel has the figure of
the Münchner Kindl², or Munich child. This iconic
figure was rarely used by any U.S.
brewery, but when it was, it was usually the Pabst Brewing Co. They used
this version of the Munich child on both a beer tray and on a post card.
The Munich child
has never appeared in any other Rainier advertising – in this or any other
pose. However, the version that appeared in this Pabst self-framed sign
an exact match to this one on the Rainier stein.
In 1896 the German painter, Alfred Schwarts, painted
this version of the Munich child as part of a set³. It appears that
Binner later "enhanced" the print, adding the Pabst logo to the uplifted
stein and imprinting Pabst identification to the butt end of the keg.
This adoption of
Schwarts’ image was probably done first for the
Rainier stein, and when the design was not to be used in any
Rainier print advertising, the alteration of the painting was then done for Binner’s
other client, the Pabst Brewing Co.
Oct. 1902 Oscar Binner gained a partner and the company was
reorganized as the Binner-Wells Co. The following year they
published this ad that was the inspiration for the “Judge” stein
(top of the page). While the ad doesn’t depict a wigged magistrate
like the stein, the tag line is essentially the same. The 1903 ad
displays the new Binner-Wells logo in the lower left-hand corner.
Brewing & Malting stayed with Binner-Wells until 1908, when they
went with a local company, Western Engraving & Colortype, for their
Rainier ads. But not before Binner-Wells produced this powerful
graphic for a 1907 magazine.
¹ Through common usage it's understood
that a stein has a lid, and a mug does not. However, a
stein may have lost its lid or was issued without one - as is often
the case, but it's still a stein. So, for the purpose of this
discussion we'll call these steins.
The Münchner Kindl is the name of the figure on the
coat of arms of the city of Munich - the beer capital of Bavaria.
Since the 13th century the figure has been that of a monk holding a
book, but by the 16th century it evolved through different
portrayals into the figure of a small child wearing a pointed hood,
often shown holding a beer mug and a radish.
The gender of the figure has also changed over the
years: from an adult male, to a gender-neutral child, to a small
This updated version of the Munich child is widely used, yet
Munich's original coat-of-arms is still that of a monk holding a
stein collectors will recognize these images as the basis for
the figures atop a pair of steins created by Schierholz & Shon.
Article by Gary Flynn
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