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mugs & cups with covers

updated wed 22 feb 06


The Chapel of Art on wed 22 feb 06

Bees in beer or soda? , cannot say that I have
experienced that! But wasps, most certainly! They
are a menace through the summer but get a lot
more persistent in the autumn. They are attracted
to anything sweet containing sugar. Which may
explain why they are not generally a problem at
the Oktoberfest in Munich or other beer drinking
festivals. Not in my experience anyway. Unless
you drink shandies or mixes? Maybe then.

Indeed, the beer steins at the Oktoberfest do not
have lids. They are plain Steinzeug or
stoneware... Or at least they are a type of
"hotel ware" made to look like traditional
stoneware. A brownish or dark buff body in most
of the tents as I recall, although it is a decade
since my last/final Oktoberfest. Depends on the
brewery... I have a Hoffbr=E4u stein somewhere
around the house. Holds a litre. No lid.

There was another reason for lids on beer mugs in
the UK... When the press gangs roamed the streets
and public houses in search of new recruits for
the Navy, they dropped a shilling into the beer
mugs of unsuspecting men. Drinking the beer and
reaching the money at the bottom constituted
"volunteering" to sign up for service. That is
also the reason for a glass bottom in some pewter
mugs... So the contents could be checked before
drinking. A lid would prevent the slight of hand
method of dropping a coin into a mug.

Hinged lids on most glass and ceramic mugs are
almost always continental... German, Czech, etc.
And for what it is worth, I am personally not
entirely convinced that the "fashion" of adding
an element to a ceramic handle originated in the
hinged lids of beer mugs! Where is the evidence
of that?

And I think we are forgetting that there are two
different types of addition... One is purely
functional, deemed by the designer/maker to be
necessary to give the person using the jug/mug
extra help when pouring. The form follows the
function. The other is merely a decorative
element put in for no other reason than artistic
or aesthetic whim or fancy. I have seen too many
tea pots, vases, jugs, cup, etc. with decorative
handles which are shaped more as an expression or
reflection of the fashionable forms of the
current artistic movement (rococo, baroque,
chinoiserie, etc.) to believe they had any other

That is may story and I am sticking to it too!

Janet Kaiser


>About those mug lids...
I think they were used big time during
>Germany's Oktoberfest to keep the bees out of
their beer...mid Sept. to
>early Oct. Have you ever left an open can of
soda on your deck at that
>time of the year? Bees...Bees all over the
place. That's my story and
>I'm sticking to it.
8 Marine Crescent : Criccieth : GB-Wales LL52 0EA

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