In the late 1800’s it was common for men to grow “impressive” moustache, which made drinking tea rather a challenge! The heat melted moustache wax, sending the corners drooping . To prevent this and to keep facial hair out of tea, British potter Harvey Adams invented the moustache cup in the 1870s. Basically a sippy cup for adult men. These were very popular, first in the UK, and eventually reaching the U.S. and Canada. They were available at stores like Sears and Marshall Field's which was later owned by Macy's. The cups came in many shapes and sizes.
So why did having a moustache become so popular? Facial hair was uncommon until the British Army was based in India. The stories here differ. Some say the clean-shaven British army simply wanted to emulate the style of the people that lived there, others claim they used it to gain respect or authority. Whatever the explanation, from 1860 to 1916, the orders for the Army was clear: "The hair of the head will be kept short. The chin and the under lip will be shaved, but not the upper lip...” Moustaches swiftly became the norm in the army, at home in Britain, and in time, across the Atlantic.
Then the trend ended, as it had begun, in the British army. They struggled to maintain good grooming in the trenches. More importantly, a hairy face made it near-impossible to get a decent seal on a gas
There was a reappearance of the moustache itself in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but smaller such as Salvador Dali's two-whisker wonder, Clark Gable's miniature handlebar… but the moustache cup was all but forgotten, no longer needed.
Donor: Florence and Ruth Roberts
Belonged to their father.
Credit to atlasobscura.com image above
Origional Owner Alexander Ingram
Donor: Margaret (Peacock) Paterson