A SHORT HISTORY OF “ THE BEER STEIN COLLEGE”
A few years back, most probably 2000, several of the east coast S.C.I. members were talking about the lack of really informative talks at the conventions and the amount of “socializing’ that went on at them.
This group felt more research effort should be focused into the beer stein world and its other related drinking vessels. Long, well presented lectures, done with lots of research into specific areas with less emphasis on the social aspects.
The original four people were Ron Fox, Jim Sauer, David Harr and Steve Smith. (Two of which were already SCI “Master Steinologists” and the other two had been nominated.) They talked about the need for a group of serious collectors that were severely eager to learn more about steins – that’s all kinds of steins - not just the big four: Mettlach, Regimental, Character and Occupational.
Several ideas were put forth by email over the next few months and went back and forth between these individuals, but to no avail. Steve felt the group’s name should reflect its activities and should thus be called “The Stein Researcher’s Group”. No formal approval was agreed to by the other three so the matter just dropped for lack of a consensus. All agreed that “this gathering” should be about two days long and be as inexpensive as possible. Also this meeting of like minded drinking vessel collectors should be designed to be an adjunct to S.C.I. and its yearly convention.
Around that same time, the group was taken to task by two prominent SCI collectors, who wrongly assumed we were trying to form a rival organization, when they posted “a traitor amongst us” notice in the SCI web page: “Stein Talk”.
After about a year of the four men just talking and not getting much done, Ron Fox took the lead and hosted a two day “stein event” at his home in N. Babylon, New York.
The First meeting was held in September, 2002 and was attended by as many as 28 collectors. This meeting was set up by invitation only, as there was no budget for any advertising and the group wasn’t at all certain how the idea would be received. It was at this meeting that Ron established “The First Rule”: Everyone attending had to bring at least one stein and talk about it (even if the owner knew nothing about it, then he / she should bring it for questions and answers from the group.) Of course, several attendees brought more than one adding to the fun and the group’s knowledge.
Ron and Sue Fox bought the food for both days and everyone participating at “the event” (still no official name) contributed towards these food expenses. All the attendees stayed at a local hotel of their choice or at fellow collectors’ homes nearby. Well the meeting went off without a hitch. At the conclusion of the second day the collectors all agreed that someone should host another and Jim Sauer stepped up to the plate.
The Second meeting was held only two months later at the Holiday Inn at Runnymede, New Jersey in November 2002 and was hosted by Jim with assistance from his wife Anne. This was to be the first one in a motel/ hotel, and the first to benefit from large meeting rooms. The attendees as part of the hotel package, had their lunches there at the motel, a format all future BSC’s would encourage.
At this function there was further development of “The Rules” - now up to two:  EVERYONE BRINGS AND TALKS ABOUT AT LEAST ONE STEIN –  YOU WILL KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT WHILE THE SPEAKER IS TALKING! NO EXCEPTIONS! (THIS INCLUDES THE MODERATORS).
The Third group get-together was in Frederick Maryland, in April 2003. It was hosted by Steve Smith, with assistance from Norm Paratore and Judy Stuart. Judy and Eric, both nearby stein collectors, opened their homes to the group as part of the evening activities.
Ron Fox speaking on "Cold War" U.S. Military steins at the 3rd B.S.C.
Some of the participants at the 3rd B.S.C.
Les Paul, a serious stein collector and resident of California, told Ron Fox at the conclusion of the two days that he had learned so much it was like going to a Beer Stein College. Well the name stuck! We had about 53 collectors at that meeting, some from as far away as Florida, and Texas as well as Les at that meeting.
The Fourth - Not to be outdone David Harr, who had put on a mini convention up north the year before, held the 4th Beer Stein College close to Elmira N.Y. On the third day, for those that chose to do so, they toured the newly renovated Corning Museum of Glass. This was in October, 2003.
The Fifth - Springfield, Mass. March 2004 - It was hosted again by David Harr. Beginning with this event David began distributing these humorous adds and had full registration two months before event.
One of Many Adds David Produced
Bill Hamer's "Bring and Brag" at the 5th B.S.C.
The Sixth - Was held in Kansas City - in conjunction with the SCI Convention, July 2004, Hosted by Ron Fox and David Harr.
Lyn Ayers speaking on J.W. Remy at the 6th B.S.C.
The Seventh - Was in Gaithersburg MD., November 2004, Hosted by Russel Keiser and Steve Smith.
The Eighth - Was in Northbrook, Ill, September 10 & 11, 2005, Hosted by Bob Groebner
For a report and pictures CLICK HERE.
The Ninth - Was in Springfield, Mass, October 22 & 23, 2005. Hosted by David Harr & Ron Fox. The day before, Oct 21, Ron Fox had a live auction at the same hotel.
The Welcome Sign at the Holiday Inn had us all laughing.
The Tenth - Was in Alameda, CA., November 4 & 5, 2005, Hosted by Les Paul at his home.
The Eleventh - Was in St Louis, MO., September 28 & 29, 2006, Hosted by David Harr.
The Twelfth - Was back in Springfield, Ma, March 29 & 30, 2008, The day before, March 28, Ron Fox had a live auction at the same hotel. ~~~~~~~
For a report and pictures CLICK HERE.
COMING SOON TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU.