The names or symbols on the bases of character steins are automatically assumed to represent the name of the manufacturer. However, the bulk of the Felsenstein & Mainzer ceramic stein bodies were made for them elsewhere. This is not an uncommon situation. As a matter of fact, this middleman approach often holds true. Felsenstein & Mainzer was actually a pewtersmith in Nürnberg. They did manufacture a completely pewter ½ liter Nürnberg Tower character stein. Noting the call for souvenir steins in their city, they designed many steins and had other ceramic factories manufacture the ceramic bodies. They, in turn, would apply the intricate pewter roof-lid and resell them to popular Nürnberg retail souvenir stores.
Even though Felsenstein & Mainzer did not produce any of the ceramic character stein bodies, they are referred to as a manufacturer throughout this book. Steins bearing their name were special order pieces that were not part of the general product line offered by their ceramic’s supplier. Therefore, because these character steins were designed, commissioned, marketed, and distributed by Felsenstein & Mainzer, they are considered the manufacturer. When known, the producer of their designs is also listed.
Felsenstein & Mainzer were good businessmen. They saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. They serviced two of the most popular souvenir retailers in Nürnberg: L. Ostermayr and Georg Leykauf. In some cases, they not only had their own names on the bases but the names of the retailers as well. They ordered many of their ceramic bodies from either M. Girmscheid or Marzi & Remy and added the custom-made lids. They then resold the finished product to the retailer. Illustrated throughout this book are numerous towers with the F & M, N incised mark, sometimes accompanied by the retailer's name.
The only complete character stein that appears to be made by Felsenstein & Mainzer is the ½ liter, all-pewter Nürnberg Tower. The purchased ceramic bodies of their other towers were always made of cream stoneware. The only figural that comes to mind that was made in either cream stoneware or blue-grey stoneware is the Armored Knight. In fact, the cream stoneware version is also available either simply decorated or in full color.
The ceramic-bodied towers came mainly in the ½ liter size. They did make one version in ¼ liter, and several in 1/8 liter. The pewter version has only been reported in the ½ liter size.
Felsenstein & Mainzer generally had their initials incised into the base of the stein with the F & M over the N (for Nürnberg) mark. On rare occasions, they also had the retailer’s name included. There is a stein with a Marzi & Remy ceramic body, a Felsenstein & Mainzer lid, and Georg Leykauf, Nürnberg on the base. Marks can be a confusing issue.
These Nürnberg Tower character steins date as early as 1903 and were sold as late as 1922 (the date of one offered by Ostermayr). This makes it difficult to accurately date them. Here is a list of some of the figurals that can be checked out further in this book.