This stinkin’ cute treasure is none other than a Moustache Cup. Invented in the 1860s by British potter, Harvey Adams, the ledge on this teacup functions to prevent the meticulously waxed mustaches of the late 19th century from succumbing to the hot beverages that they held. Think of it as a sippy cup for adult men.
Between 1860 and 1916, most British men were sporting a mustache. This was a direct result of army Command 1695, which ordered that “The hair of the head will be kept short. The chin and the under lip will be shaved, but not the upper lip.” Some speculate that mustaches became required as British troops struggled to maintain authority over the Indian troops who had been growing facial hair for a long time prior. Others believe these clean-shaven troops simply envied the impressive beards and mustaches that they observed on local Indian men. Whatever the reason, for 56 years it was necessary for British troops to grow and maintain some hair on the upper lip.
This trend didn’t last, however. During the Great War, purely aesthetic grooming was not a priority (especially in the trenches) and further, facial hair impeded gas masks from sealing properly. Taking this into account, it’s no wonder that Command 1695 was withdrawn.
With the popularity of mustaches waning, so too did the production of their accompanying cups. But with the rise of hipster-groomed mustaches on the rise (you know what I’m talking about) I wonder just how long it’ll be before Moustache Cups experience a resurgence. History does tend to repeat itself, after all.