Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back In Time - the public drinking cup

My local paper [1] publishes 'Back In Time'  - local news in the past.  A beer wagon tipping over.  Irish arrested for being drunk [2].  The abolition of the public drinking cup.  The .. what?

1910: The public drinking cup must be abolished in schools of Wisconsin, as well as in parks and on trains.  The order of the state Board of Health, issued last spring, becomes effective soon.  Two years ago, the Legislature enacted a law pronouncing the public drinking cup unsanitary and the Board of Health promises to rigidly enorce the law.  Bubbling fountains [3] will have to be installed at all parks and schools.

At one time progressive-minded municipalities (and railroad companies) supplied a barrel of water and a cup for drinking.

We might conjecture that people thought nothing of drinking from a cup a stranger had just used  Oh, sure, the polite thing, one supposes, was to use one's hanky to wipe off spit after use.  Only an effete would raise a fuss about germs, or drool, or disease.

The past is a strange country, indeed.

[1] News-Record, Neenah Wisconsin
[2] The more things change . . .
[2] Older Wisconsin folk refer to drinking fountains as 'bubblers'.
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