Belgium is known for chocolate. And chocolate is known for leaving chocolate brown stains on clothes. Here is a creative solution from the 19th century.
My discovery at the Belgian Museum
In the "Choco Story" of Brussels, you can learn a lot about the luxury good: From the cultivation to the processing to the mixed history of cocoa beans.
Even Marie Antoinette's contemporaries were self-confessed connoisseurs when it came to this noble hot beverage - and not just the women. For them in particular, it was considered a regular health remedy for becoming more hot-blooded.
Unfortunately, it became fashionable in the Victorian era to wear a noble mustache as an elder gentleman, and it did not go well with sipping hot, sensual chocolate - at least not spill-free. This was evidenced by the telltale marks on the noble clothing, which in turn did not look distinguished at all.
So they came up with something very useful!
In addition to the beautifully crafted and exquisite chocolate services, with which the distinguished society did not have to give up the pleasure even during their picnics; one can also find in the showcases of the Chocolate Museum these curious-looking porcelain cups with a bar:
Who invented them?
This clever innovation is credited to Harvey Adams of Longton, Great Britain, who himself ran a pottery and, as a bearded man, was aware of the problems.
The oldest known beard cup is from 1860 and soon had many imitators around the world. Among them famous porcelain manufacturers from Derby, Meißen, Limoges oder Imari.
In Germany, it was very popular especially during the German Empire (1871-1918) and for a while it was considered the "finest cup of the man with a beard" Its shape is unique in cultural history.
What distinguishes a mustache cup?
Basically, it differs from a conventional cup only in the attachment, which itself looks a bit like a mustache.
On it, the man can put his facial hair while drinking from the small hole underneath. This protects not only the hairstyle from dirt but also the other way around the drink from pomade, beard wax and whatever else might be hiding in the hair.
Being a high quality craft and not a mass-produced item, the cups were often very elaborately decorated with initials, sayings, scrollwork, and gold edging - just all the manly stuff.
Whether they are not only nice to look at, but actually practical, I can unfortunately not personally judge in the absence of a suitably voluminous lady beard.
However, I seriously wonder why they went out of fashion again at some point and are not part of every porcelain service. Along with the recent boom in barbers, they are now back as a fancy gift idea. For example on https://barttasse.de/
- Videobeitrag des NDR: Barttassen – des Mannes feinste Tasse | ARD Mediathek
- Sammlung des Ostfriesischen Teemuseums: https://teemuseum.de/barttassen