A distribution and sale channel in former times was the "Land-Goers" or "Carters". The latter, as the name suggests, traveled with their cart from place to place and offered house sales. There was also the "Reffträger" who walked through the neighborhoods carrying their stoneware in baskets for sale. The actual land-goers transported their goods by wagon down from the "Kannenbäckerland" to Vallendar (River Rhein) and from there with ships to Holland. Hence the name "Holland Drivers". By the way, the name of my web-shop "Stein-Man" was inspired by these land-goers. The Kannenbäckerland attracted supporters in the early spring and after the "Martin's Fair" (November 11th) they all returned back to their homes. The sales that they had made enabled them to live off their earnings over the winter. During this "quiet time" they bought up new stoneware stocks for the coming next season. An example of how important the stoneware was for the region is that in Ransbach-Baumbach during the 18th and 19 Century there where up to two thirds of the population on the move from spring to November trading with stoneware.
A distribution and sale channel in former times was the "Land-Goers" or "Carters". The latter, as the name suggests, traveled with their cart from place to place and offered house sales. There was also the "Reffträger" who walked through the neighborhoods carrying their stoneware in baskets for sale. The actual land-goers transported their goods by wagon down from the "Kannenbäckerland" to Vallendar (River Rhein) and from there with ships to Holland. Hence the name "Holland Drivers". By the way, the name of my web-shop "Stein-Man" was inspired by these land-goers. The Kannenbäckerland attracted supporters in the early spring and after the "Martin's Fair" (November 11th) they all returned back to their homes. The sales that they had made enabled them to live off their earnings over the winter. During this "quiet time" they bought up new stoneware stocks for the coming next season. An example of how important the stoneware was for the region is that in Ransbach-Baumbach during the 18th and 19 Century there where up to two thirds of the population on the move from spring to November trading with stoneware.
The famous clay called the "white gold" from the "Kannenbäckerland District" was indispensable not only for the many potters in the Westerwald. Because of the excellent quality and its particular characteristics, it was also popular in other pottery regions at home and abroad. In the second Half of the 17th Century the clay was sent largely to Cologne merchants (Furth Lorenz and others). It was on behalf of these traders that many "Tongräber" where encouraged, and with quite primitive means, to excativate the clay from the pits and then transport it from Höhr and Grenzhausen to the river rhein town of Vallendar. There where often hundreds of wagons, carriages and carts from all over the area on the road and the few paved roads that existed were driven through this transport into the ground. In Vallendar the clay was then loaded into vessels and shipped to Cologne and also further up the river to Holland. Entire Westerwald villages were dependent on the "Tonabfuhr" for their main income.
The famous clay called the "white gold" from the "Kannenbäckerland District" was indispensable not only for the many potters in the Westerwald. Because of the excellent quality and its particular characteristics, it was also popular in other pottery regions at home and abroad. In the second Half of the 17th Century the clay was sent largely to Cologne merchants (Furth Lorenz and others). It was on behalf of these traders that many "Tongräber" where encouraged, and with quite primitive means, to excativate the clay from the pits and then transport it from Höhr and Grenzhausen to the river rhein town of Vallendar. There where often hundreds of wagons, carriages and carts from all over the area on the road and the few paved roads that existed were driven through this transport into the ground. In Vallendar the clay was then loaded into vessels and shipped to Cologne and also further up the river to Holland. Entire Westerwald villages were dependent on the "Tonabfuhr" for their main income.
Salt glazed or salted pottery is created by adding common salt, sodium chloride, into the chamber of a hot kiln. Sodium acts as a flux and reacts with the silica in the clay body. A typical salt glaze piece has a glassine finish, usually with a glossy and slightly orange-peel texture, enhancing the natural color of the body beneath it. The unique characteristics of salt glazing was discovered in the Rhineland of Germany, probably in the 14th century. Initially, the process was used on low fired earthenware. By the 15th century, small pottery towns of the Westerwald, including Höhr-Grenzhausen and other areas like Siegberg, Cologne, and Raeren in Flanders, were producing salt-glazed stoneware. The Westerwald pottery was characterized by wooden stamped medallions and the use of a blue cobalt oxide based colorant for decoration. Salt kilns were used extensively in western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in Germany, Scandinavia and the British Isles.
Salt glazed or salted pottery is created by adding common salt, sodium chloride, into the chamber of a hot kiln. Sodium acts as a flux and reacts with the silica in the clay body. A typical salt glaze piece has a glassine finish, usually with a glossy and slightly orange-peel texture, enhancing the natural color of the body beneath it. The unique characteristics of salt glazing was discovered in the Rhineland of Germany, probably in the 14th century. Initially, the process was used on low fired earthenware. By the 15th century, small pottery towns of the Westerwald, including Höhr-Grenzhausen and other areas like Siegberg, Cologne, and Raeren in Flanders, were producing salt-glazed stoneware. The Westerwald pottery was characterized by wooden stamped medallions and the use of a blue cobalt oxide based colorant for decoration. Salt kilns were used extensively in western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in Germany, Scandinavia and the British Isles.
The Beer Stein factories of Germany have come and gone over the centuries, each producing stoneware unique to their area and factory. The most famous and most enduring center of stein manufacturing in Germany is the small area near the River Rhine known as "Kannenbäckerland" or "Pitcher Bakers Land". This region around Ransbach-Baumbach, Höhr-Grenzhausen and Hillscheid is famous since the beginning of the 15th century for its clean high grade clay resources, The influx of migrant potters from Siegburg and Raeren helped establish the stoneware industry towards the end of the 16th century. The production industry grew in the 17th century and remained strong well into the 18th and 19th centuries, with exports not only to Britain, but also Australasia, Africa and America. In London it was imported in bulk until the end of the 19th century. Today this area "Kannenbäckerland" is still the all time champion of German Beer Stein and stoneware production.
The Beer Stein factories of Germany have come and gone over the centuries, each producing stoneware unique to their area and factory. The most famous and most enduring center of stein manufacturing in Germany is the small area near the River Rhine known as "Kannenbäckerland" or "Pitcher Bakers Land". This region around Ransbach-Baumbach, Höhr-Grenzhausen and Hillscheid is famous since the beginning of the 15th century for its clean high grade clay resources, The influx of migrant potters from Siegburg and Raeren helped establish the stoneware industry towards the end of the 16th century. The production industry grew in the 17th century and remained strong well into the 18th and 19th centuries, with exports not only to Britain, but also Australasia, Africa and America. In London it was imported in bulk until the end of the 19th century. Today this area "Kannenbäckerland" is still the all time champion of German Beer Stein and stoneware production.
Höhr-Grenzhausen
Höhr-Grenzhausen
Old findings of tobacco pipes in Switzerland demonstrate that around 1650 not only was tobacco imported from Holland, but also tobacco and clay pipes from the Rhineland-Palatinate, i.e. the region "Kannenbäckerland". This district was so very important for the local and foreign markets and enormous amounts of clay pipes were produced, even today it is possible to find old clay pipes buried somewhere in a Westerwald back yard or garden, proof to how popular this type of smoking habit was in the old days. The clay pipes that were produced came in a variety of designs and where completely handcrafted with the help of an iron or brass mould. The still existing moulds today are well over 200 years old and the few makers that still produce pipes have been doing their craftwork for generations.
Old findings of tobacco pipes in Switzerland demonstrate that around 1650 not only was tobacco imported from Holland, but also tobacco and clay pipes from the Rhineland-Palatinate, i.e. the region "Kannenbäckerland". This district was so very important for the local and foreign markets and enormous amounts of clay pipes were produced, even today it is possible to find old clay pipes buried somewhere in a Westerwald back yard or garden, proof to how popular this type of smoking habit was in the old days. The clay pipes that were produced came in a variety of designs and where completely handcrafted with the help of an iron or brass mould. The still existing moulds today are well over 200 years old and the few makers that still produce pipes have been doing their craftwork for generations.
Beer Boots or named "Bierstiefeln" in German have over a century of history and culture behind them. One tradition tells that sixteenth-century German fraternities would settle their differences via sword-fight duels. Following the duels, the students would stitch their wounds up and reconcile the differences while drinking beer. As the tradition went, a fraternity brother's own boot would be filled with beer and drunk while the other members would cheer him on. Another tradition tells that the beer boot came into use during the World War I. At that time, German Soldiers, before heading into battle and without any useful drinking vessel, used their own leather boots for the consumption of their beer. With wax they tried to get the boots as watertight as possible and then filled them to the top with beer and circled them around between their comrades. American Soldiers were introduced to this tradition of drinking from a glass or stoneware beer boot while stationed in West Germany after World War II.
Beer Boots or named "Bierstiefeln" in German have centuries of history and culture behind them. One tradition tells that sixteenth-century German fraternities would settle their differences via sword-fight duels. Following the duels, the students would stitch their wounds up and reconcile the differences while drinking beer. As the tradition went, a fraternity brother's own boot would be filled with beer and drunk while the other members would cheer him on. Another tradition tells that the beer boot came into use during the World War I. At that time, German Soldiers, before heading into battle and without any useful drinking vessel, used their own leather boots for the consumption of their beer. With wax they tried to get the boots as watertight as possible and then filled them to the top with beer and circled them around between their comrades. American Soldiers were introduced to this tradition of drinking from a glass or stoneware beer boot while stationed in West Germany after World War II.
The traditional Bavarian beer stein ("Kefeloher") is one of the most famous German beer steins. The Bavarian name Kefeloher comes from the city of the same name nearby Munich, where an annual cattle market was held in the early 19th century. The traders and farmers drank from the same lidless ceramic steins that are still traditional today. Even the special festival beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich was served in such steins until the mid 1950s, when they were replaced by the easier-to-clean "Maß" glasses, which remain the standard at the Oktoberfest to this day. In the rest of Germany, this type of stein is also known as a "Kannenbäckerkrug", named after the region where the best clay for creating them can be found. In fact, this region is still home to some of the oldest manufacturers of the Kefeloher today.
The traditional Bavarian beer stein ("Kefeloher") is one of the most famous German beer steins. The Bavarian name Kefeloher comes from the city of the same name nearby Munich, where an annual cattle market was held in the early 19th century. The traders and farmers drank from the same lidless ceramic steins that are still traditional today. Even the special festival beer at the Oktoberfest in Munich was served in such steins until the mid 1950s, when they were replaced by the easier-to-clean "Maß" glasses, which remain the standard at the Oktoberfest to this day. In the rest of Germany, this type of stein is also known as a "Kannenbäckerkrug", named after the region where the best clay for creating them can be found. In fact, this region is still home to some of the oldest manufacturers of the Kefeloher today.
The lid of a beer stein was originally conceived as a sanitary measure. During the late 1400s, masses of flies frequently invaded Central Europe. By the early 1500s, several areas in what is now Germany passed laws requiring that all food and beverage containers should be covered to protect consumers against these dirty insects. The common tankard also had to be covered, and this was accomplished by adding a hinged lid with a thumblift. This unique invention was soon used to cover all German drinking containers while still allowing them to be used with one hand. This covered container law and several other public health laws were enthusiastically passed through and enforced as a result of public fears about a return of the Black Death plague. The first lid versions where initially carved from wood and then later hammered or pressed out of tin. The final lid ("Zinndeckel") that still exists till today is cast out of molten pewter and can be very valuable and artistic in design.
The lid of a beer stein was originally conceived as a sanitary measure. During the late 1400s, masses of flies frequently invaded Central Europe. By the early 1500s, several areas in what is now Germany passed laws requiring that all food and beverage containers should be covered to protect consumers against these dirty insects. The common tankard also had to be covered, and this was accomplished by adding a hinged lid with a thumblift. This unique invention was soon used to cover all German drinking containers while still allowing them to be used with one hand. This covered container law and several other public health laws were enthusiastically passed through and enforced as a result of public fears about a return of the Black Death plague. The first lid versions where initially carved from wood and then later hammered or pressed out of tin. The final lid ("Zinndeckel") that still exists till today is cast out of molten pewter and can be very valuable and artistic in design.
Mineral table water during the 18th Century in Germany was mainly bottled in stoneware produced in the "Kannenbäcker District". It was realized that with a company stamp these bottles provided a strong statement regarding their liquid content and thus they became very popular by the bottlers and consumers. These stoneware bottles were pure disposables, it was too expensive to bring back the empty bottles to the bottler and then have them again refilled, logically these bottles where then used for the storage of other fluids and proved to be ideal due to their salt glazing for the containment of aggresive chemicals etc. One typical example of a famous German stoneware bottle that was used for nearly 200 years is the "Selters" stamp bottle, this bottle was virtually synonymous with bottled table water in Germany and even today table water is still in Germany colloquially known as "Selterswasser".
Mineral table water during the 18th Century in Germany was mainly bottled in stoneware produced in the "Kannenbäcker District". It was realized that with a company stamp these bottles provided a strong statement regarding their liquid content and thus they became very popular by the bottlers and consumers. These stoneware bottles were pure disposables, it was too expensive to bring back the empty bottles to the bottler and then have them again refilled, logically these bottles where then used for the storage of other fluids and proved to be ideal due to their salt glazing for the containment of aggresive chemicals etc. One typical example of a famous German stoneware bottle that was used for nearly 200 years is the "Selters" stamp bottle, this bottle was virtually synonymous with bottled table water in Germany and even today table water is still in Germany colloquially known as "Selterswasser".
Over the centuries, the eagle as a national crest made multiple conversions from being the symbol of the Roman Empire into the state symbol for Germany and other countries. The eagle as a symbol for the Federal Republic of Germany has a long tradition. It was already in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire and later during the Frankish kingdom a very important icon. Primary it symbolized the idea of the kingdom as a state order and later in the 1200s, the eagle was regarded as the ruler of arms and most princes presented the eagle on their shields, this also documented their position as vassals (a person who held land from a feudal lord or king and received protection in return for homage and allegiance). In the time of the Crusades from 1100 to 1300 the eagle developed into a heraldry crest. European Union rules established then the style and presentation and also the color theory on the eagle icon and thus the reason for the black golden eagle pointing to the role as the imperial arms. The double-headed eagle was the symbol of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg introduced the double eagle in 1433. It remained to be the imperial and royal arms icon to the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until the 6 August 1806. The black double-headed eagle contined to be the symbol of the Austrian Emperor. After the German revolution of 1848, the Bundestag confirmed in 1848 the double-headed eagle as their official state coat of arms. In 1871 the German Empire discarded the double eagle and linked it to the single-headed eagle of Brandenburg and Prussia. Emil Doepler created 1919 the template for the eagle of the Weimar Republic and it was introduced from President Friedrich Ebert in the same year. This Republican Eagle icon was quickly nicknamed in Germany as the "Vulture". Under the rule of the Nazis in 1935 the imperial eagle recieved a complete different appearance and was modeled after a Roman legion's eagle emblem. With the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950, the use of the eagle as the German national emblem recieved its modern day appearance.
The national eagle emblems used on beer stein designs and pewter attachments are mainly based upon the style (historical or contemporary) so both single and double headed versions can be found.

Over the centuries, the eagle as a national crest made multiple conversions from being the symbol of the Roman Empire into the state symbol for Germany and other countries. The eagle as a symbol for the Federal Republic of Germany has a long tradition. It was already in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire and later during the Frankish kingdom a very important icon. Primary it symbolized the idea of the kingdom as a state order and later in the 1200s, the eagle was regarded as the ruler of arms and most princes presented the eagle on their shields, this also documented their position as vassals (a person who held land from a feudal lord or king and received protection in return for homage and allegiance). In the time of the Crusades from 1100 to 1300 the eagle developed into a heraldry crest. European Union rules established then the style and presentation and also the color theory on the eagle icon and thus the reason for the black golden eagle pointing to the role as the imperial arms. The double-headed eagle was the symbol of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg introduced the double eagle in 1433. It remained to be the imperial and royal arms icon to the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until the 6 August 1806. The black double-headed eagle contined to be the symbol of the Austrian Emperor. After the German revolution of 1848, the Bundestag confirmed in 1848 the double-headed eagle as their official state coat of arms. In 1871 the German Empire discarded the double eagle and linked it to the single-headed eagle of Brandenburg and Prussia. Emil Doepler created 1919 the template for the eagle of the Weimar Republic and it was introduced from President Friedrich Ebert in the same year. This Republican Eagle icon was quickly nicknamed in Germany as the "Vulture". Under the rule of the Nazis in 1935 the imperial eagle recieved a complete different appearance and was modeled after a Roman legion's eagle emblem. With the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950, the use of the eagle as the German national emblem recieved its modern day appearance.
The national eagle emblems used on beer stein designs and pewter attachments are mainly based upon the style (historical or contemporary) so both single and double headed versions can be found.

The practice of the "Limited Edition" beer steins with running numbers became popular when the stoneware was not any more important for daily use but more of a item for the vastly growing stoneware collectors. Specially designed stoneware with limited quantities became very common amongst the various stoneware producers. The different methods that were used by the companies for these editions were numerous, some were produced with hand written numbers and also fired decals appeared with the numbers applied later on in the production row. These different methods have all one thing in common: the strict limitation was booked by the painters etc and from this the end production date and the person responsible for the decoration could be back traced for later reference.
The practice of the "Limited Edition" beer steins with running numbers became popular when the stoneware was not any more important for daily use but more of a item for the vastly growing stoneware collectors. Specially designed stoneware with limited quantities became very common amongst the various stoneware producers. The different methods that were used by the companies for these editions were numerous, some were produced with hand written numbers and also fired decals appeared with the numbers applied later on in the production row. These different methods have all one thing in common: the strict limitation was booked by the painters etc and from this the end production date and the person responsible for the decoration could be back traced for later reference.
Limited edition stoneware is not simply a sales gimmick and depending on the amount that were produced could upgrade the value of the item immensely, as examples of the famous beer stein company Gerz do demonstrate.
Limited edition stoneware is not simply a sales gimmick and depending on the amount that were produced could upgrade the value of the item immensely, as examples of the famous beer stein company Gerz do demonstrate.
The largest and still functioning Westerwald stoneware kiln is the 120 year old kiln of the "Töpferei Helfrich" in the ceramic town of Ransbach-Baumbach. With a firing compacity of 140 m3 it is unusually large and is one of the last "Kannenöfen" of this kind which is still in operation in the Westerwald. The kiln is located on the ground floor of the company and because of its size, the building was originally built almost around it. Since 2009, this kiln is registered under the Federal German monument conservation. The build-up of the kiln requires a lot of experience - tower to tower and row by row. Each of the kiln towers with the stoneware items is up to 3 m high. When the kiln is full, the entrance is finally bricked up. Initially the kiln was first heated with wood and coal - a tedious process. Today the kiln is fired with natural gas. The overall firing process of the kiln takes about one week and towards the end of the firing process temperatures of up to 1250 degrees Celsius are achieved. during the maximum temperature period common salt is added to the kiln and evaporates in the heat and settles down on the stoneware. The final result is the typical Westerwald salt glaze. The subsequent cooling of the kiln is maintained by slowly removing the bricks of the walled entrance with a long iron bar. Through this slow cooling process the stoneware recieve their characteristic brown color. This cooling phase period lasts a few days. Because of the size of the kiln, the conditions vary during the firing and creates a wide color palette of many shades. The brown-blue salt glaze formed is completely lead-free and makes the stoneware frost proof, acid-proof and resistant to chemicals. This unique kiln is only fired 2 times per year and the vast assortment of stoneware produced varies from firing to firing.
The largest and still functioning Westerwald stoneware kiln is the 120 year old kiln of the "Töpferei Helfrich" in the ceramic town of Ransbach-Baumbach. With a firing compacity of 140 m3 it is unusually large and is one of the last "Kannenöfen" of this kind which is still in operation in the Westerwald. The kiln is located on the ground floor of the company and because of its size, the building was originally built almost around it. Since 2009, this kiln is registered under the Federal German monument conservation. The build-up of the kiln requires a lot of experience - tower to tower and row by row. Each of the kiln towers with the stoneware items is up to 3 m high. When the kiln is full, the entrance is finally bricked up. Initially the kiln was first heated with wood and coal - a tedious process. Today the kiln is fired with natural gas. The overall firing process of the kiln takes about one week and towards the end of the firing process temperatures of up to 1250 degrees Celsius are achieved. during the maximum temperature period common salt is added to the kiln and evaporates in the heat and settles down on the stoneware. The final result is the typical Westerwald salt glaze. The subsequent cooling of the kiln is maintained by slowly removing the bricks of the walled entrance with a long iron bar. Through this slow cooling process the stoneware recieve their characteristic brown color. This cooling phase period lasts a few days. Because of the size of the kiln, the conditions vary during the firing and creates a wide color palette of many shades. The brown-blue salt glaze formed is completely lead-free and makes the stoneware frost proof, acid-proof and resistant to chemicals. This unique kiln is only fired 2 times per year and the vast assortment of stoneware produced varies from firing to firing.
FACTS AND TALES
FACTS AND TALES
The most popular and durable glaze color used by Westerwald stein makers is the "Blue Cobalt". The use of Cobalt as a coloring material in ceramic glazes goes back more than 2000 years. Commercial production began in France in 1807. The first recorded use of cobalt blue as a color name in English was in 1777. The world leading manufacturer of cobalt blue in the 19th century was Blaafarveværket in Norway, led by Benjamin Wegner. Cobalt is the most powerful coloring mineral used in ceramic glazes. Less than 1% can give a very strong blue. The Chinese "Blue and White" and the Dutch and English "Delft" pottery are also very famous examples of the use of cobalt.
The most popular and durable glaze color used by Westerwald stein makers is the "Blue Cobalt". The use of Cobalt as a coloring material in ceramic glazes goes back more than 2000 years. Commercial production began in France in 1807. The first recorded use of cobalt blue as a color name in English was in 1777. The world leading manufacturer of cobalt blue in the 19th century was Blaafarveværket in Norway, led by Benjamin Wegner. Cobalt is the most powerful coloring mineral used in ceramic glazes. Less than 1% can give a very strong blue. The Chinese "Blue and White" and the Dutch and English "Delft" pottery are also very famous examples of the use of cobalt.
The plaster moulds used for the production of beer steins are usually made from a so-called "Mother Mould" which is constructed from the original model form of the stein designer. Some original moulds from master modellers like Peter Dümler; Gustav Thinwiebel etc. can be very old and are passed on from company to company. Plaster moulds are always seedless, and can consist of several parts with different divided levels. Usually, for symmetrical pieces, such as steins, vaces etc, a two part mould with a parting plane is used. The longer the "slurry" (clay-water mixture with a fixed viscosity) remains in the mould, the thicker is the layer deposition. As soon as the intended thickness is reached, the excess slip is then finally poured out from the mould. After casting the plaster moulds are dried and then used for further casting cycles. When the plaster moulds reach their maximum recommended wear tolerance they are exchanged with a new one.
The plaster moulds used for the production of beer steins are usually made from a so-called "Mother Mould" which is constructed from the original model form of the stein designer. Some original moulds from master modellers like Peter Dümler; Gustav Thinwiebel etc. can be very old and are passed on from company to company. Plaster moulds are always seedless, and can consist of several parts with different divided levels. Usually, for symmetrical pieces, such as steins, vaces etc, a two part mould with a parting plane is used. The longer the "slurry" (clay-water mixture with a fixed viscosity) remains in the mould, the thicker is the layer deposition. As soon as the intended thickness is reached, the excess slip is then finally poured out from the mould. After casting the plaster moulds are dried and then used for further casting cycles. When the plaster moulds reach their maximum recommended wear tolerance they are exchanged with a new one.
STEIN-MAN BEER STEINS
STEIN-MAN BEER STEINS
"KANNENBÄCKER"
"KANNENBÄCKER"
In the Kannenbäcker district of the German Westerwald it is common that potters are described as "Euler" ("Owls") and their workshops as "Eulerei" ("Owlery"). The name "Westerwald owls" is indeed a quite unusable term to relate with ceramic potters and its background comes from the old Westerwald word "Aule" which means "Vessel". They were also known as "Wirker" ("Caster") which is derived from their work with ceramic cast forms.
In the Kannenbäcker district of the German Westerwald it is common that potters are described as "Euler" ("Owls") and their workshops as "Eulerei" ("Owlery"). The name "Westerwald owls" is indeed a quite unusable term to relate with ceramic potters and its background comes from the old Westerwald word "Aule" which means "Vessel". They were also known as "Wirker" ("Caster") which is derived from their work with ceramic cast forms.
A very famous and popular stoneware item from the Kannenbäckerland district is the "Römertopf" ("Romanpot") produced out of unglazed clay. The name Römertopf was taken from the fact that the Romans preferred to use cooking vessels made out of clay. Today it has become very popular with the slogan: "The Clay Pot that Cooks All". You can cook almost any recipe you desire in the Römertopf from main dishes to desserts and just about anything in between! Originally produced by Gerz GmbH, the modern day copyright of this product holds the Römertopf Keramik GmbH in Ransbach-Baumbach.
A very famous and popular stoneware item from the Kannenbäckerland district is the "Römertopf" ("Romanpot") produced out of unglazed clay. The name Römertopf was taken from the fact that the Romans preferred to use cooking vessels made out of clay. Today it has become very popular with the slogan: "The Clay Pot that Cooks All". You can cook almost any recipe you desire in the Römertopf from main dishes to desserts and just about anything in between! Originally produced by Gerz GmbH, the modern day copyright of this product holds the Römertopf Keramik GmbH in Ransbach-Baumbach.
Amongst collectors the "Bartmannkrug" (Bearded Man Pitcher) with their typical beard mask decoration are extremely popular. Large numbers were produced in the 16th to 18 Century in Frechen near Cologne and also in the Kannenbäckerland district. Recent excavations in Potsdam revealed "Bartmann" items going even back to the 14th-15th century.The "Bartmannkrüge" were produced for the regional and for the international market and the great demand in England and Holland made it a very important export item. In England they were known as "Grey Beards" or "Bellarmines", the latter name derived from the well known and hated English Cardinal Bellarmine. 20th Century farmers in the German Bremen area used "Henkel" (Handle) bottles made out of stoneware during their field work that they called "Baartmann" even though these no longer had any mask decoration attached to them.
Amongst collectors the "Bartmannkrug" (Bearded Man Pitcher) with their typical beard mask decoration are extremely popular. Large numbers were produced in the 16th to 18 Century in Frechen near Cologne and also in the Kannenbäckerland district. Recent excavations in Potsdam revealed "Bartmann" items going even back to the 14th-15th century.The "Bartmannkrüge" were produced for the regional and for the international market and the great demand in England and Holland made it a very important export item. In England they were known as "Grey Beards" or "Bellarmines", the latter name derived from the well known and hated English Cardinal Bellarmine. 20th Century farmers in the German Bremen area used "Henkel" (Handle) bottles made out of stoneware during their field work that they called "Baartmann" even though these no longer had any mask decoration attached to them.
The 212 121 transporting Westerwald clay during a short stop at Grenzau Bahnhof Railway Station before entering the Brexbachtal valley down to Bendorf on the Rhein River (16th June 1986)
The 212 121 transporting Westerwald clay during a short stop at Grenzau Bahnhof Railway Station before entering the Brexbachtal valley down to Bendorf on the Rhein River (16th June 1986)
During the middle of the last century large efforts were undertaken in connecting the Kannenbäckerland to the right side of the Rhine river by rail. After more than three years of construction the "Westerwaldbahn" was opened on the 30th of may 1884. The new railway line ensured the transport of the "White Gold" down the track to the Rhein river. After World War 2 the clay export to Italy increased in influence and especially the Sassuolo region in northern Italy recieved over four million tons of Westerwald clay by rail. In recent years large amounts of clay was also exported to France. In addition to the transport abroad various other German companies like Villeroy & Boch based in Mettlach recieved by rail the favored Westerwald clay until the railway line closed down in 1994. Today the transport is handled with trucks and the efficient German "Autobahn" system but the past success of the Kannenbäckerland is deeply related to the "Westerwaldbahn".
During the middle of the last century large efforts were undertaken in connecting the Kannenbäckerland to the right side of the Rhine river by rail. After more than three years of construction the "Westerwaldbahn" was opened on the 30th of may 1884. The new railway line ensured the transport of the "White Gold" down the track to the Rhein river. After World War 2 the clay export to Italy increased in influence and especially the Sassuolo region in northern Italy recieved over four million tons of Westerwald clay by rail. In recent years large amounts of clay was also exported to France. In addition to the transport abroad various other German companies like Villeroy & Boch based in Mettlach recieved by rail the favored Westerwald clay until the railway line closed down in 1994. Today the transport is handled with trucks and the efficient German "Autobahn" system but the past success of the Kannenbäckerland is deeply related to the "Westerwaldbahn".
Not so long ago in the Netherlands, a Westerwald stoneware item called the "Keulse Pot" (Cologne Pot) became very popular. The earlier hand-thrown Keulse pot was initially gray glazed with cobalt blue glaze applications and were available in various sizes. The pots served as the ideal preservation vessel for summer vegetables such as beans and cabbage and typical winter vegetables such as string beans and sprouts. The raw vegetables were first cleaned and cut, then the pot was filled up with alternate layers of vegetables and salt. A clean cloth was then placed upon the layers and the pot then sealed with a timber lid with a stone on top. The pot was then stored in a cool place. Occasionally it was necessary to change the cloth when it had soaked up to much moisture. Finally a serving of vegetables could be taken from the pot, rinsed and then cooked. The pots were also used for the preservation of meat and even hard boiled eggs were preserved for winter when the hens did not lay any eggs. They were often used as vinegar jars to pickle (such as onions and sauerkraut) and also for the preservation of fruit.
During the 18th century the Keulse pot belonged to one of the most popular German stoneware items available in Holland.

Not so long ago in the Netherlands, a Westerwald stoneware item called the "Keulse Pot" (Cologne Pot) became very popular. The earlier hand-thrown Keulse pot was initially gray glazed with cobalt blue glaze applications and were available in various sizes. The pots served as the ideal preservation vessel for summer vegetables such as beans and cabbage and typical winter vegetables such as string beans and sprouts. The raw vegetables were first cleaned and cut, then the pot was filled up with alternate layers of vegetables and salt. A clean cloth was then placed upon the layers and the pot then sealed with a timber lid with a stone on top. The pot was then stored in a cool place. Occasionally it was necessary to change the cloth when it had soaked up to much moisture. Finally a serving of vegetables could be taken from the pot, rinsed and then cooked. The pots were also used for the preservation of meat and even hard boiled eggs were preserved for winter when the hens did not lay any eggs. They were often used as vinegar jars to pickle (such as onions and sauerkraut) and also for the preservation of fruit.
During the 18th century the Keulse pot belonged to one of the most popular German stoneware items available in Holland.

Most people believe that Westerwald stoneware originally came from Cologne (see "Keulse pot"), but in fact, after being produced in the Kannenbäckerland it was transported from Vallender near Koblenz up the Rhein river to Cologne. The Cologne based merchants then distributed it further up the Rhein to Holland. The Dutch port Dordrecht became besides Cologne, very important for the German stoneware because it was here that the stoneware could be further unloaded onto other ships for the worldwide export and also for the Dutch domestic shipping (e.g. Amsterdam). Numerous German land-goers from the Kannenbäckerland (see Land-Goers) selected Dordrecht as their location for trading. The loading of ships was only possible from March until autumn and so during the summer months German and local land-goers could easily replenish their stoneware supplies. The available stoneware consisted of dishes, pots, steins and other items for domestic and commercial purposes.
Most people believe that Westerwald stoneware originally came from Cologne (see "Keulse pot"), but in fact, after being produced in the Kannenbäckerland it was transported from Vallender near Koblenz up the Rhein river to Cologne. The Cologne based merchants then distributed it further up the Rhein to Holland. The Dutch port Dordrecht became besides Cologne, very important for the German stoneware because it was here that the stoneware could be further unloaded onto other ships for the worldwide export and also for the Dutch domestic shipping (e.g. Amsterdam). Numerous German land-goers from the Kannenbäckerland (see Land-Goers) selected Dordrecht as their location for trading. The loading of ships was only possible from March until autumn and so during the summer months German and local land-goers could easily replenish their stoneware supplies. The available stoneware consisted of dishes, pots, steins and other items for domestic and commercial purposes.
Illustration: "Sailing ships in the port of Dordrecht" from Paul-Jean Clays (27 Nov 1819 – 10 Feb 1900)
Illustration: "Sailing ships in the port of Dordrecht" from Paul-Jean Clays (27 Nov 1819 – 10 Feb 1900)
Another famous stoneware item is the "Rumtopf" (Rumpot). These glazed stoneware pots were, and are still available in numerous designs and shapes. Some older modells produced by famous Kannenbäcker companies are very cherished by collectors and are very valuable in price. Rumpots proved to be the ideal conservation method for fresh fruit with rum and sugar. The preparation during the course of the summer consisted of loading the pot with ripe fruit with about the same amount of sugar and high-proof rum. Important is that the fruit had always to be covered with liquid. After being stored airtight in a cool, dark place towards winter it was ready to be served with puddings and other desserts. Suitable fruits used could be berries, cherries, plums and apricots.
Another famous stoneware item is the "Rumtopf" (Rumpot). These glazed stoneware pots were, and are still available in numerous designs and shapes. Some older modells produced by famous Kannenbäcker companies are very cherished by collectors and are very valuable in price. Rumpots proved to be the ideal conservation method for fresh fruit with rum and sugar. The preparation during the course of the summer consisted of loading the pot with ripe fruit with about the same amount of sugar and high-proof rum. Important is that the fruit had always to be covered with liquid. After being stored airtight in a cool, dark place towards winter it was ready to be served with puddings and other desserts. Suitable fruits used could be berries, cherries, plums and apricots.
The success of the Westerwald historical blue-gray stoneware has its roots in the emigration of foreign German potters to the Westerwald. The Kannenbäckerland experienced a economic boom around 1590 when leading potters from the german pottery centers Raeren and Siegburg moved to the area. Shortly before 1590 the Raerener potter families of Johann Hermann Mennicken and Kalb had already moved to Grenzau. Later John Kalb remained in Grenzau, while the Mennickens moved on in 1600 to Grenzhausen to settle there permanently. Also the master potter Anno Knütgen with his sons Bertram and Rutger left Siegburg around 1600 and settled in Hoehr, where he died shortly afterwards. They were joined later by the Lorraine Potter Peter Remy, who also moved around 1600 to Grenzau. In addition to their templates and matrices, the foreign potters brought also their expertise and artistic craftsmanship to the district and it proved to be a particularly groundbreaking technology for the production of gray stoneware with cobalt blue painting. The so-called blue-gray historical style had already been invented 1520 in Cologne but it had never been applied to the Westerwald stoneware. Ian Emens Mennicken had been testing this technique since 1584 in Raeren. Also Anno Knütgen had experimented since 1587 with the cobalt blue glaze design in Siegburg. In their new home this technology laid the foundation for the famous gray-blue Westerwald stoneware. The local Westerwald potters at that time only manufactured simple, brown tableware without any artistic style and thus were not in direct competition with the new arrivals, but there were open disagreements. At that time the existing guild rules only allowed the production of simple stoneware with red shards that sought to circumvent the newcomers. In 1643 a new official guild order for all of the Westerwald stoneware was established, which eliminated then the disputes.
The success of the Westerwald historical blue-gray stoneware has its roots in the emigration of foreign German potters to the Westerwald. The Kannenbäckerland experienced a economic boom around 1590 when leading potters from the german pottery centers Raeren and Siegburg moved to the area. Shortly before 1590 the Raerener potter families of Johann Hermann Mennicken and Kalb had already moved to Grenzau. Later John Kalb remained in Grenzau, while the Mennickens moved on in 1600 to Grenzhausen to settle there permanently. Also the master potter Anno Knütgen with his sons Bertram and Rutger left Siegburg around 1600 and settled in Hoehr, where he died shortly afterwards. They were joined later by the Lorraine Potter Peter Remy, who also moved around 1600 to Grenzau. In addition to their templates and matrices, the foreign potters brought also their expertise and artistic craftsmanship to the district and it proved to be a particularly groundbreaking technology for the production of gray stoneware with cobalt blue painting. The so-called blue-gray historical style had already been invented 1520 in Cologne but it had never been applied to the Westerwald stoneware. Ian Emens Mennicken had been testing this technique since 1584 in Raeren. Also Anno Knütgen had experimented since 1587 with the cobalt blue glaze design in Siegburg. In their new home this technology laid the foundation for the famous gray-blue Westerwald stoneware. The local Westerwald potters at that time only manufactured simple, brown tableware without any artistic style and thus were not in direct competition with the new arrivals, but there were open disagreements. At that time the existing guild rules only allowed the production of simple stoneware with red shards that sought to circumvent the newcomers. In 1643 a new official guild order for all of the Westerwald stoneware was established, which eliminated then the disputes.
Kannenbäckerland stoneware is particularly appreciated because of its excellent quality, and it is not surprising that it has been exported overseas for centuries. In 1629 the cargo ship "Batavia" belonging to the Dutch East India Trading Company was stranded because of a navigation error together with its valuable cargo and many passengers on a coral reef 60 miles off the west coast of Australia. Tragically because of this maritime accident 20 people lost their lives. In the years 1972-1974, archaeologists discovered in the recovery of the Batavia, amongst other things, valuable German stoneware from the Kannenbäckerland. These findings proved to be very artistically designed vessels and demonstrated how popular this stoneware was in all parts of the world already in those early days.
Kannenbäckerland stoneware is particularly appreciated because of its excellent quality, and it is not surprising that it has been exported overseas for centuries. In 1629 the cargo ship "Batavia" belonging to the Dutch East India Trading Company was stranded because of a navigation error together with its valuable cargo and many passengers on a coral reef 60 miles off the west coast of Australia. Tragically because of this maritime accident 20 people lost their lives. In the years 1972-1974, archaeologists discovered in the recovery of the Batavia, amongst other things, valuable German stoneware from the Kannenbäckerland. These findings proved to be very artistically designed vessels and demonstrated how popular this stoneware was in all parts of the world already in those early days.
The development of ceramic industry has been significantly influenced and funded by the ceramic college that was founded 1879 in Hoehr-Grenzhausen. The college was in constant contact with the industry and worked with a number of important ceramic artists hand in hand. The modern day college is based on the principles of material science and engineering and includes the school of ceramic design, the school of ceramic technique combined with the ceramic vocational school. The subject of Ceramics has developed and changed since the founding and the traditional clay-based knowledge has thus been broadened out into a wider treatment of inorganic, non-metallic materials, where the natural plasticity of clays has to be provided instead by organic additives.
The development of ceramic industry has been significantly influenced and funded by the ceramic college that was founded 1879 in Hoehr-Grenzhausen. The college was in constant contact with the industry and worked with a number of important ceramic artists hand in hand. The modern day college is based on the principles of material science and engineering and includes the school of ceramic design, the school of ceramic technique combined with the ceramic vocational school. The subject of Ceramics has developed and changed since the founding and the traditional clay-based knowledge has thus been broadened out into a wider treatment of inorganic, non-metallic materials, where the natural plasticity of clays has to be provided instead by organic additives.
In addition to the founding days is that the modern day industry has a very wide and diverse product range from household oriented ceramics (decorative and functional ceramics), construction oriented ceramics (e.g. ceramic split tiles, wall and floor tiles, sanitary ware, stoneware pipes, fire and acid resistant products, abrasives) and technical ceramics (e.g. insulators, packing rings, dental porcelain and heat-resistant shields for spacecraft).

The Campus in Hoehr-Grenzhausen provides worldwide students two full-time degree courses: Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) in Materials Engineering, Glass and Ceramics and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Ceramics Science and Engineering and also the opportunity to acquire a Master's Degree with full German University status. This can be the stepping stone to a career in industrial management or in materials research and development.

In addition to the founding days is that the modern day industry has a very wide and diverse product range from household oriented ceramics (decorative and functional ceramics), construction oriented ceramics (e.g. ceramic split tiles, wall and floor tiles, sanitary ware, stoneware pipes, fire and acid resistant products, abrasives) and technical ceramics (e.g. insulators, packing rings, dental porcelain and heat-resistant shields for spacecraft).

The Campus in Hoehr-Grenzhausen provides worldwide students two full-time degree courses: Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) in Materials Engineering, Glass and Ceramics and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Ceramics Science and Engineering and also the opportunity to acquire a Master's Degree with full German University status. This can be the stepping stone to a career in industrial management or in materials research and development.

The incised or carved styles belong to one of the oldest and most typicall techniques for the decoration of Westerwald ceramic vessels. The unfired stoneware recieve their incision pattern when the clay is in a leather-hard state. Common used incision tools are a cutter wheel or a pointed wooden stick, nail, fork or comb to create equal decorational subdivisions and sections on the stoneware. The resulting patterns are sometimes filled out with use of a stamp made out of ceramic, plaster, wood or metal. Finally glazes are then applied to highlight the patterns before they are placed in the kiln. Incision is also used for beer steins and they sometimes recieve very complex illustrations which after the first firing, are painted out by hand and then again refired.
The incised or carved styles belong to one of the oldest and most typicall techniques for the decoration of Westerwald ceramic vessels. The unfired stoneware recieve their incision pattern when the clay is in a leather-hard state. Common used incision tools are a cutter wheel or a pointed wooden stick, nail, fork or comb to create equal decorational subdivisions and sections on the stoneware. The resulting patterns are sometimes filled out with use of a stamp made out of ceramic, plaster, wood or metal. Finally glazes are then applied to highlight the patterns before they are placed in the kiln. Incision is also used for beer steins and they sometimes recieve very complex illustrations which after the first firing, are painted out by hand and then again refired.
The Keramikmuseum Westerwald in Höhr-Grenzhausen is referred to as the "German Collection of Historical and Contemporary Ceramics".
Finally completed in 1982, the exhibition space of about 2000 m² highlights the history of ceramics. The Museums major emphasis is a permanent collection of Kannenbäckerland salt glazed stoneware from the Hoehr-Grenzhausen district. Founded as a museum of contemporary and historical ceramics, the museum presents in special exhibition areas technical examples that document the work with clay, ceramic design and artwork. On four exhibition levels, the visitor can overview the historical development of ceramics from the early salt glazed Westerwald stoneware to the pomp of 20th century Renaissance and Art Nouveau stoneware. In addition the work of contemporary ceramicists with special exhibitions, stoneware collections and the work of artist groups are presented thematically due to their current artistic statement. The Keramikmuseum Westerwald presents itself as a forum for contemporary ceramic art and also includes regular non-ceramic cultural events such as concerts and lectures.

The Keramikmuseum Westerwald in Höhr-Grenzhausen is referred to as the "German Collection of Historical and Contemporary Ceramics".
Finally completed in 1982, the exhibition space of about 2000 m² highlights the history of ceramics. The Museums major emphasis is a permanent collection of Kannenbäckerland salt glazed stoneware from the Hoehr-Grenzhausen district. Founded as a museum of contemporary and historical ceramics, the museum presents in special exhibition areas technical examples that document the work with clay, ceramic design and artwork. On four exhibition levels, the visitor can overview the historical development of ceramics from the early salt glazed Westerwald stoneware to the pomp of 20th century Renaissance and Art Nouveau stoneware. In addition the work of contemporary ceramicists with special exhibitions, stoneware collections and the work of artist groups are presented thematically due to their current artistic statement. The Keramikmuseum Westerwald presents itself as a forum for contemporary ceramic art and also includes regular non-ceramic cultural events such as concerts and lectures.

To visit the Keramikmuseum Westerwald website, please click here...
To visit the Keramikmuseum Westerwald website, please click here...