Showing posts with label Irwins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irwins. Show all posts

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moustache Mugs

Over the past weeks on Sepia posts,  there's been comment on moustaches in men's photos and the current interest in sporting  a moustache.  I mentioned that in our hutch are two fine china mugs, inherited from the Irwin family that are Moustache mugs.  These were used to serve men only, I presume, and had  a protective lip to protect  keep the moustache, preventing it from getting  wet with tea or coffee.  

 I have been interested in these but have done no research until now.  I have never spotted any at estate sales or auctions, making them all the more curious to me.  We don't  know anyone who has been to  our home for dinner with moustache, so have never used these.  Actually when friend Tom visited last year, I did not think about them or would have gotten them out for his use as he does have a moustache.  Sorry Tom, next time.   

 I believe they are mugs, different for their era because no saucers came with them and they are much larger than the  normal china cups with saucers. I remember my Uncle John Irwin would use them from time to time and said they came from his grandfather, the wealthy J.R. Irwin. 

Moustache mug

Moustache mug
Lip of the moustache mug

There is little information on the 'net about these, instead many that are shown and sold as collectibles  are shaving mugs, a heavier porcelain type.  But I did find the following,

"The moustache cup is a drinking cup with a semi-circular ledge inside. The ledge has a semi-circular opening to allow the passage of liquids and serves as a guard to keep moustaches dry. It is generally acknowledged to have been invented by British potter Harvey Adams (born 1835), but the invention did not occur till the 1860s.

During the recording of The Beatles' album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, John Lennon drank his tea from a moustache cup."

At least that tells these could not be earlier than 1860's.  JR was the millionaire of the Irwin family, when a million was unimaginable to most people, including my direct ancestors of miners.  He made his fortune hauling iron ore on the Great Lakes  and working at construction and design of the Railroads.  He was a contemporary of Carnegie and acquainted with President McKinley who visited the Irwins;  after McKinley was assassinated, Mr. Irwin purchased one of his carriages.  My uncle told  of being a small boy at his grandfather's home and seeing the magnificent  carriage drawn by  shiny black horses  decked out in silver.  But I am drifting away from these mugs.  

If anyone knows more about these, please let me know.  Perhaps there will be a resurrection of interest with men sporting moustache's.  Now I doubt that, now a days, there is not the interest in fine china, more apt to grab those stainless steel or plastic long tall mugs, covered from the local coffee shop on the way to be consumed in the traffic in the car!  A far cry from sitting with fine china mugs!