Hip Flasks

Hip Flasks

I bought myself a porcelain hip flask and it got me to thinking about the history of these ingenious devices. The flask is the descendant of the canteen and, even older, the pilgrim bottle of medieval times (associated with the pilgrimages to the holy land, it was flat on one side and round on the other with loops around the neck to allow for a strap). European travelers in the middle ages once carried hollow gourds, leather bags or animal bladders that would serve as a canteen. It’s believed that the first flasks were used by Norwegian nomads that needed to keep warm on long journeys. The hip flask, as we would recognize it today, was most likely designed in the early 1800s. In the early 19th century, glass blowing techniques were being used to create individual...