What would one do if offered a spot of tea after tediously caring for their moustache and applying wax to hold their facial hair in place? Well, rather than turn down a freshly brewed pot of tea, gentlemen could make use of a moustache cup. A moustache cup served to protect the wax from melting off the gentlemen’s moustaches, or simply from ruining the moustache with warm liquid. I suppose women could also use it to protect their faces from steaming liquid, but they were geared more towards protecting the moustaches of fashionable men.
From the outside, moustache cups resemble any other ordinary tea cup, but the inside is a little different. A small semi-circular lip sits across part of the opening, leaving a small space in between the lip and the cup side. The small space allowed for the passage of liquid, while the lip served to protect gentlemen’s moustaches. Since the lip is only over a small portion of the opening, more towards one side than the other, it forces the cup to become right-handed or left-handed. Our moustache cup is white with raised floral designs in gold luster. The protective lip forces our cup to be for right-handed tea drinkers.
The moustache cups made their appearance sometime in the 1860s, but lost popularity as moustaches went out of fashion in the 1920s and 1930s. Perhaps men with moustaches no longer felt the need to be so particular when it came to the styling of their moustaches, or perhaps they were just very careful when it came to drinking tea. Who knows why these weren’t still used by the few with moustaches and have yet to reappear, but if you know of a moustache enthusiast that’s hard to buy for now you know about the moustache cups. Who knows, maybe they’ll make a comeback!