Thesis


     Is your food and drink “moustache friendly”?  The moustachioed man of the Victorian era had to consider what and how he ate and drank due to the prominent moustache that was the style of the day [1].  The exquisitely groomed facial hair was constantly gathering crumbs, sauces, creams, and liquids as a man dined. Numerous devices have been invented over the years to reduce this problem [2].  In 1862, an English potter from Longton, Stroke-on-Trent in Staffordshire named Harvey Adams of the firm Adams, Scrivener and Co. added a moustache guard to his tea cup which allowed a man to drink his tea without his moustache getting soaked with every sip [3].   Hence the aptly named moustache cup was born. Lives of the Victorian moustache men were instantly improved.​ 
 2018, MrCoffee.com
Moustache Cup, 2018, Image by Author
  
     After a long period of clean shaven faces being the norm in the western world, the Victorian moustache craze began in 1854 with the General George Cathcart’s orders to his Horse Guards permitting them to grow a moustache [4].  The new military habit quickly turned into a worldwide trend that is one of the defining characteristics of the Victorian man.  Cathcart was killed in action a few months later – moustache trend narrowly happened at all.
            
                                                                                     “A large part of the Army being employed in                                                                                            Turkey, where it has been found beneficial to                                                                                           keep the upper lip unshaven and allow the                                                                                              moustache to grow, the General Commanding-In                                                                                      Chief is pleased to authorize that practice in the                                                                                      Army in general, subject to the following                                                                                                    regulations, which are to be strictly obeyed in                                                                                          Home & Colonial Service...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              By Command Geo. Cathgart, A.G”

                                                                                     Horse Guard Circular Memorandum 21 July 1854 (X)

    
      Although no formal registration or patent exists for the moustache cup attributing credit to Harvey Adams, neither does any to dispute that credit.  The earliest primary source crediting the invention to Harvey’s company Adams, Scrivener and Co.,  is an extensive history of British ceramics written by the Secretary of Antiquities in London in 1878 [4].
           

In tea and breakfast services many novel,
but at the same time chastely beautiful
designs, have been introduced by this firm,
who also have the credit of being the first
to make and introduce “Moustache Cups”
an invention that has become so popular as
to be adopted by many other firms.”

     Description of the wares produced by Adams, Scrivener & Co. (X)


 The earliest reference to the existence of the moustache cup describes the new creation but does not credit its inventor. Surprisingly the oldest reference is not from England, but rather from a visit to an English storefront in Pennsylvania.
           
   “I saw in a store window, clocks, watches, and jewelry of the costliest kinds carpets and oilcloths of elegant patterns clothing of the most expensive quality, and every variety of              china, glass and earthenware, even the newly invented moustache cup, for the especial use of the advocates of flowing beards and intended as a protection against soaking their moustaches, as well as their toast in their tea.”

                                                             Expert from  “A Country Gentleman” 1863 (X)
           

         I interviewed Reverend David Leese, a descendant of Harvey Adams and traveling lecturer on the subject of Harvey Adams [5].  He told me that no direct evidence crediting Adams with the invention has ever surfaced, however he too confirmed that “His contemporaries accepted it was his idea! The contemporary advertising emphasised that his was the original moustache cup. This never seems to have been contested.” [6].
  
Jesse Greenspan, Charge of the Light Brigade, 2014
Hammersley & Co Moustache Cup, 
 2018, Image by Author

Mustache Cup Advertisement, 1897,Sears, Roebuck & Co.