Fuddling cup

DATE:
c. 1650–1700
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Tin-glazed earthenware
CLASSIFICATION:
Containers
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 4 x 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in. (10.16 x 14.923 x 14.923 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Decorative Arts and Design
LOCATION:
American Art - 18th Century, Level 4
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection, gift of Faith P. Bybee
OBJECT NUMBER:
1992.B.220

General Description

To "fuddle" means to make foolish by drink, and this novelty item assisted in that process. The drinker was challenged to empty the three compartments simultaneously without spilling any liquid. Although it appears impossible to drink without leaking the cup's contents, the three sections are connected by holes in their joining walls, which allows all liquids to drain to the compartment from which one is drinking. The word “fuddling” carries a double-meaning—to both confuse and intoxicate, and this cup delivers both.

Adapted from

Charles Venable, DMA unpublished material, Label text [1992.B.220], 1993.

Fun Facts

Since at least the 1600s, the word "fuddle" or "fuddled" has been a generic term to describe alcoholic beverages and the minds of those who drank too much.

Web Resources

  • Winterthur Museum
    Read a blog post about drinking games and other "trick" drinking vessels like the fuddling cup.