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‘Heinzelmänchen’ stein thumblifts. [1] Drinking and such.

Heinzelmänchen’ stein thumblifts. =  Drinking and such.

Well if you got to this page after looking at the other two pages about Heinzelmänchen’ / gnomes on beer steins, then you might well be “into them” as much as I am.

I get to blame my mother! I can trace my desire to acquire gnomes / dwarfs/elves etc, back to my mom (RIP) who came from a full and large German family; the Diebels from central Germany, and the Michels from Alsace.

When I was growing up in NW Baltimore in the late 1940’s, my mom and dad never had much money. We lived in the bottom section of a large rented house over by City College, but one thing mom always loved to do was decorate the large front living room of the house for Christmas.

Dad would bring out the small paper houses and hook up our ‘Marx’ tin train set (Marx was the poor boy’s Lionel) and we would have a white fenced ‘Christmas Garden’ every year. One cheap thing for them to buy back then at the 5 and 10 cent stores (this all a a few years after “The War” was over) were little gnome / elf figures: “Made in Japan.” They were made with painted plastic faces, paper bodies with pipe cleaner arms and legs; while others had pine cones bodies. These were all copies of earlier German ones, (pre-WAR) made with Paper-Mache bodies and paper dressings.

I think a set of six  Japanese “Dwarfs”  like this would have cost about $.20 back in the late 1950’s. We were helping Japan to get back on their feet {(I never quite understood that – even today! = THEY ARE OUT THERE EVERY DAY  KILLONG WHALES ~ AND CALLING  IT RESEARCH !) Finding some with this original box is a hard thing to do now -a -days .

At Christmas time later in life when mom was living alone, she would still have some of these little Jap elves out on display at her apartment. My mother died in 1982 and prior to that I hadn’t thought much about them at all. Being the only child (spoiled rotten; still am today, thanks to my Lady Julia!) I got all of what were left of the Xmas decorations. She had about 7 or 8 dwarf musicians still left, so for some reason I thought having a Dwarf’s Xmas band would be neat. I started looking for them at the flea markets and other shops when I was out looking for beer steins.

Of course as any “real” collector (like Dougie and Cheryl) knows, one little spark can lead to the obsession, and within weeks sometimes! Well shown here now is only part of Steve’s Xmas Japanese Dwarf display. The three piece old tin train was bought at a ‘give away price’ at a store here in Virginia a few year’s back. The top of the train’s coach carries the invited-to-perform “German Hund Band” (carved, wooden seven piece made up set, all from Germany (pre War.) The coach of the train is used to bring the Maracas players of the band,who were running late, and the engine carries Santa.

The late Maracas players of the orchestra are in the coach and others are standing by the fire (left) or walking in the snow.

Santa hanging out the locomotive’s window. Others helping to “train in” the late orchestra members to play.

Originally “The Band”, now “The Orchestra”, and to the right skiers coming down the slope to listen.


My interest then spilled over into the stein collecting field which I had been addicted to for years. It was long until I had many of the steins shown on this web site’s pages: Heinzelmänchen: The German dwarfs / gnomes. And of course I longed to be rich so I could afford to by one example of each gnome thumblift I could find “out there.”  Well as you will see there are just too, too many for that to be practical (for me.) 

The famous “Gnome Museum” in Germany ( now defunct) only had a few steins of which I bought a couple of examples from.

ABOVE: Barney the “Almost, by God ” dwarf, awakening in the morning wondering “How in the hell did I get in here? “

So here from my “steins stuff” photo files are just “some” of my favorite dwarfs /gnomies as beer stein thumblifts:

It all starts in Dwarf-land with this dude, the Brew master dwarf, going to his work holding his stirring paddle in his left hand.






Daryl, and his other brother Daryl (with pipe)

Silver gnome on silver stein; the close up is at the beginning of this page.


[L]  Jerry Berg calls this one “The gnome’s party starts winding down.”

[R] This one is “just coasting.”




All three: working hard to carry the beer to the party.

The only time I have ever seen this massive lid and thumblift used is on a tall blown glass beer server that has massive colored prunts all over the body! The stein maker and pewter-smith are unknown.

And in the end,  it pays to have a dear “gnomie”  friend to take you home!

[END – SOK – 35 – DD]


WARNING: The consumption of several  beers in a cold stein may cause you to think you can sing!”


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