Tuesday, May 15, 2012

of mustaches and tea

Thank you, internet and Pittsburgh steampunk acquaintances, for showing me an actual Victorian invention for men with facial hair who drank tea- the mustache cup!

image source: tumblr
From what little I can gather online, the cup seems to have been invented in the 1860s by Harvey Adams to alleviate the problem of gentlemen over for tea who were sick of worrying about getting their waxed, curled, dyed, or otherwise fancified mustaches wet from drinking tea.  Not only could the styled mustache lose its shape, but the dyes used in the 'stache could end up in the tea, causing quite an embarrassment for the gent and a drawing room crisis for the host or hostess.

Soon others were mimicking the design to save whiskers all across the Occident!

image source: Silver Collection
According to the teeny Wikipedia entry on the topic, James Joyce's novel Ulysses has a character that drinks tea from a mustache cup, while eBay and other antiques sellers have this guide on how to tell a mustache tea cup from a shaving cup- which was not used to protect mustaches from beverages at all, but was rather a shelf for a barber to lay a razor across.
So next time you see these in a store or online, remember: the Victorians invented it.


  1. That's epic. I MUST get one of these.

  2. My grandmother has one of these! They are so cool ^_^

  3. My sister has shared the first picture on her facebook page a few days ago, it's such a cool idea!

  4. awesome and they even look very pretty!

  5. I saw one of these in a museum once. So cool! Thanks for the post, very interesting.