It appears that the factory of Karl Diesinger was formed in 1860. Adolph Diesinger, possibly a son, appears to have run the factory at the turn of the century. It was Adolph who applied for and received legal protection for his designs through D.R.G.M., which stands for Deutches Reichs Gebrauchsmuster. This allowed him to have exclusive rights under the number 154927. It is believed that the factory lasted until about 1910. There seem to be some conflicting reports on the above, but the evidence best supports this scenario.
Diesinger was a large producer of character steins, all made of cream stoneware. They were almost always mounted with a pewter lid rim. Diesinger’s designs are distinctive and, once their traits are familiar, they are easy to recognize.
Some Diesinger figurals were made in a unique style: only the front half of the character stein body has a relief figural design while the balance of the body is used for panels or leaves, or even left blank. As a result, only the front of the stein appears as a character while the rest does not. Therefore, they can only be displayed head-on (see figure__). The background often contains a stippled design.
Another trait unique to certain Diesinger steins is what can be called a measled effect. On some of their figurals, coloring is muted, and random relief red or brown dots are visible across the entire design of the stein. In some cases, this affect was applied to only a section of the stein such as a coat or a hat, or over the full-colored portion. This coloring was common on some of their figurals, but many with this type of design have not surfaced as yet (see figures__ and __). Even though Diesinger had to use a different mold when they used this type of decoration, they did not change the mold number.
Diesinger commonly used different lids on the same character stein bodies. This is common in the clown series: the same character bodies were made with a variety of hats forming the lids. Though they changed the lids, the same bodies and mold numbers were used. In the case of the Head of a Woman (mold #702), three different lids have thus far been reported. Only one of them, on which the ribbon from the lid matches up to the ribbon on the body, has the correct lid (see figure__). Another interesting decorating method used by Diesinger was to color the entire exterior of the figural with a high-glaze dark blue (see figure_____). This has only been seen twice, but it is likely that others will surface in the near future.
Numerous Diesinger master character steins are illustrated throughout this book. These master steins often contain a pouring spout. Many of them are actually part of a set with a matching ¼ liter or 3/10 liter version. When this is the case, the smaller version will frequently carry a mold number consecutive to the master (as in the #726 three-liter and the #727 ¼ liter). This does not necessarily mean that all of the large master character steins have a matching smaller version. Also, in some cases, the immediate subsequent mold number was not used on smaller matching figurals. In the case of the master #752 Clown, the smaller mate was not issued until mold #791. Also, the master and the smaller mate were not an exact match in every instance. In the case of the #719-720 set, the master depicts a full-figure clown while the smaller mate shows only the clown's head. A master and its mate form a very handsome set (see figure ___).
As can be seen from the matching sets, Diesinger did make master pouring character steins as large as three liters. The smallest known is a children's stein of a clown that measures approximately 1/8 liter. Of course, the majority of their character steins were made in the ½ liter size.
As stated earlier, all of Diesinger’s character steins found thus far are cream stoneware. None in blue-grey stoneware have been seen nor reported.
It is customary for a stein manufacturer to use a certain type of capacity mark for the majority of their steins. They chose either the fraction or the decimal form. Diesinger, however, seemed to use both with no discernible reason for the choice. One figural will carry one type while another will carry the other. Diesinger sometimes even used both types on the very same mold number. Since none of their steins are dated, perhaps they used different marks during different time periods. Or perhaps they used the decimals on those pieces made for sale in Germany and fractions on those exported.
All of the mold numbers on Diesinger's character steins are three-digit and are in the 600, 700, or 800 range. This mold number was incised into the stein base and is sometimes found elsewhere on the stein body, often inside a box. Occasionally it is also found on the lid.
The most distinguishing Diesinger character stein mark is D.R.G.M. 154927 incised into the base. In most instances, the words GESETZLICH GESCHÜTZT and GERMANY are also incised. Sometimes figurals that were obviously made by Diesinger do not carry the above basemarks. One possible theory suggests that these were made prior to the time Diesinger obtained their DRGM number. Another possibility is that they were manufactured from the same mold made by a different factory. It is also possible that other character stein makers purchased the molds after Diesinger’s demise. There are obvious examples illustrated in early catalogs from Leopold Gerz, Emil Sahm, and Walter Müller.