Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The mystery mug revealed ...

So, did you know what this unusual piece was at the end of yesterday's post? I certainly did not.

I knew that it was pretty, though, and probably very old, since these old soft roses usually appear on pieces from the late 1800s or early 1900s.

And what do you suppose these holes were for?

Or this ornate but oddly placed spout?

A pretty handle, obviously designed as a ... handle. So, I did what I usually do and went online to search for a string of terms like "Victorian pitcher spout strainer handle." Before too long I had come across a photo of a similar piece, and lo and behold, this is an old scuttle style shaving mug! Can any of you friends picture your husband shaving with such a mug? I sure can't! It seems the bar of soap (presumably round) would go in the top, and as it was lathered up the soapy water would drip down below where it could be discarded after shaving. Then, that piece I call a "spout" was actually where they'd store the shaving brush. Who knew? Well, I'll bet *somebody* knew, perhaps some of you, but I did not, and neither did my completely horrified friend when I wrote her a thank-you note for a shaving mug! Actually, I had so much fun joking with her about it that the story surrounding this gift actually means more to me than the gift itself!

And besides, who says this can't be used for tea? A few Jasmine Dragon Pearls in the top, some hot water poured over, twice (since the water obviously won't stay there very long) ...

... and you have a lovely and most unique steeping device! I can also see this holding teaspoons or flowers. I don't think my sweet friend should feel too badly about giving me a shaving mug, do you?


  1. Well, thank you for answering what has been a nagging question for me for a very long time. I found a lovely but mysterious little "thing" several years ago at DAV. That it might be a shaving mug wasn't on my list of possibles. Gotta say I was rather hoping for something more romantic!

  2. Such an elegant cup for shaving. I remember my dad using an old mug and then the brush would just sit in it inside the medicine cabinet. I'll bet he, and others were excited when cans of shaving cream were invented.
    Thanks for showing all the dishes and tea things you received for Christmas, your family and friends surely know what pleases you.

  3. It is very elegant and ornate for a shaving mug! Very pretty and much more useful as a steeper, I'm thinking! :)

  4. Much fancier than my late husband's grandfather's Old Spice shaving mug! But yours is SO much prettier.♥♫

  5. Interesting. I never would have guessed!

  6. Very pretty. My husband actually would use it. He has a small collection of shaving mugs, but not one like this.

  7. Hi Angela,

    Your shaving mug is just beautiful!
    What a lovely gift.

    I have a similar shaving mug and did some research on it when I found it and discovered that these elegant pieces were made for women. When women started wearing sleeveless garments there was a marketing push to get women to shave their underarms and "so a few ads mentioned hygiene as a motive for getting rid of hair, but most appealed strictly to the ancient yearning to be hip. "The Woman of Fashion says the underarm must be as smooth as the face," read a typical pitch." This trend really took hold around 1915, but women were shaving well before that time to rid themselves of unwanted hair.

    Etsy has some round shaving soaps for women to use in these mugs.

    I do love the idea of steeping tea in it since it is so pretty!!!
    No reason why it can't find a new use on the tea tray.

  8. Oh, this has been such a fun mystery! LOL, about your friends reaction!

    You can't beat the intertainment of a mystery, some fun, great information and seeing a beautiful floral tea steeper/men's shave cup/women's shave cup. A great Christmas memory, for sure!

    Thanks for all the fun you share!
    Love, Carol B.

  9. Glad you are a good detective. I would have never guessed a shaving mug.

  10. What a fun mystery, Angela! It certainly had the look of an elegant tea strainer. I love seeing 'every day' items of the past, when they were so ornate and delicate. I enjoyed reading about it, Joanie


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