How are German Beer Steins Made
Knowing how are German Beer Steins made requires you to know what it is made of. Most of them are made of stoneware or porcelain but there are pewter and glass steins that are still being produced.
The most common path to creating this type of art is like most others, with a model. The artesian starts with a clay template of a generic stein and carefully carves the desired design into it. Since the clay model is delicate, the artisans work is then duplicated to a rubber model so a gypsum mold can be cast from it.
The gypsum mold is then dried and hardened. It is then mounted on a centrifuge so the actual creation of the stein can commence. This is started when the clay is placed inside the mold. With the centrifuge on, the centrifugal force will move the clay into all the nooks and crannies of the mold creating a uniformed coverage of the mold.
Once the centrifuge has done its job, the newly formed stein is removed from the mold and the glazing of the stein can be done. This is not a process that can be done by a machine and is always applied by a person. This is a very labor intensive process, but necessary.
After the initial glazing has covered the entire stein, the first firing is done. The average temperature of a glazing furnace is 2156F or 1180 C. This is a critical step and determines the final hardness of the stein. If it is done incorrectly the stein could become brittle if to hot or malleable is too cold.
After the stein is cooled then there is a choice of decals that can be applied or if desired, the German beer stein can be hand painted. If you stein has a coat of arms or another standard decoration, it most likely is a decal, this will include the words and symbols that are too difficult to paint by hand anymore. Before decals, all of the decorations were done by hand.
This is also the step where the hand painting occurs. To date there are no machines that have been designed to paint a German beer steins. Each stein that is painted is done by one artesian from beginning to end in most instances. This painting process is time tested and is now considered a tradition. This part of the process is done the same as it was nearly 200 years ago and before in some cases.
After all the decoration in the form of decals and paint have been applied then it is time for the second firing. This is just to cure the paint and the decals. The clay that the German beer stein was made from had already been cured with the first firing. Because of this the second firing is done at a reduced temperature. This will be about 1202 F or 650 C.
How are German beer steins made is clearly not a simple process. To top it off the lid still needs to be produced, but that is another process all together.