The History of Mugs

The History of Mugs

You might perceive the mug to be just another accessory of the polite society. However, it has got an enriched history, concealed from the masses. In this post, you will get to know about the legacy of mugs, and how it transformed the modern tea etiquette right from its origin.

Well, you might be having small and big mugs in your kitchen. Rarely would you celebrate this accessory, given that its presence in your cupboard is taken for granted. However, being a tea or coffee drinker, you unconsciously owe a lot to your ancient forefathers. They had accurately identified the necessity of this container from where you pour out beverages for a satisfying drink. True indeed, their invention has made our lives more comfortable.

Going back into history

Mugs were necessary even back in the stone age. Early man fashioned out mugs from bones and wood. These mugs, carved from bones, have been traced back to Japan and China. Approximately, this was around 10,000 BC. There were large mugs too, but they were obviously unsophisticated with no handles. This doesn’t prevent us from identifying their purpose.

In the next 5,000 years, pottery was invented and man was already making drinking vessels. Between 5,000 BC and 4,000 BC, the ancient Greeks came up with clay mugs that were ornamentally decorated. Even these hand-made mugs did not have handles. By this time, the potter’s wheel was invented, and this would have facilitated the handles.

Now, with time, handles were attached to mugs. However, it was yet to transform into the ideal vessel for drinking. The problem lied in the thickness of the material. It had to be fashioned into a finer shape, so that it would seamlessly fit into the mouth. Taking beverages from such clay mugs would utterly be an undignified and clumsy affair.

The development of mugs and modern society

 With time, craftsmen continued fashioning out small and big mugs. New technologies facilitated the development of these accessories. Now, man started looking for the ideal material to fashion these mugs. They could use metal to make mugs, as the walls would be thinner. Around 2,000 BC, mugs made of different metals had been made from metals like bronze, lead, silver and gold.

However, there were other problems associated with metal mugs. Lead and other metals had certain adverse properties. Besides, metals could easily conduct heat, which made them unsuitable for hot drinks.

 It was only in C.E. 600 that the breakthrough came in. In China, porcelain was invented around this time. With this development, man could shape the mug into a comfortable vessel for drinking. Even the large mugs were ready for use, given that they did not conduct heat. Even today, porcelain is used as the standard material for making mugs. Along with this, we have glass, bone china and earthenware.

 After the Edwardian and Victorian eras, the popularity of mugs faded. Presently, sophisticated saucers and cups are more in vogue, and the mug has partially passed into oblivion. However, the humble masses still use the mug, and they adore out kitchens along with teabags.
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