Saving the 'Stache
Facial hair is in again. Which means it’s probably time to revive the mustache cup, an ingenious Victorian invention made for tea-loving mustached men.
Facial hair is more in than it’s been since the Victorian era. So great is the popularity of a little facial fluff amongst the 20- and 30-something men of our generation that a new term has been coined for this fashion and cultural zeitgeist: “The lumbersexual is here, with his beard, plaid shirt, backpack and artfully scruffy hair barely contained by his sensible woollen hat,” declared The Guardian in mid November.
So long, metrosexual of yesteryear, with your soft, smooth skin, collection of hair products, and slim-fit khaki pants. The lumbersexual is here to stay — at least for a little while.
With the ubiquity of facial hair these days, it might just be time to revive a quirky old invention which, we think, should never have fallen by the wayside in the first place: the mustache cup.
Invented by British potter Harvey Adams in the 1860s, at the peak of the Victorian mustache craze, these cups were designed with a sole purpose: to protect the mustaches of tea drinkers while they sipped. Not only did mustaches become stained when they dipped into the cup, but the mustache wax men were prone to using those days would melt into the hot tea.
The simple-yet-ingenious mustache teacup was the perfect solution, featuring a narrow, built-in ledge on one side with a hole to let tea flow through. When the drinker raised the cup to his lips, his mustache would rest on this shelf while a narrow stream of tea flowed through the hole. No direct mustache-to-tea contact at any time. Genius.
Images Creative Commons via Flickr: Länsmuseet Gävleborg / Kordite / Mitch Hell