A puzzle jug from the Museum of Somerset in England
A puzzle jug from the Museum of Somerset in England
Principle of operation of a puzzle jug: covering the optional hole in the handle with a finger lets the drink be sucked up as with a straw
Principle of operation of a puzzle jug: covering the optional hole in the handle with a finger lets the drink be sucked up as with a straw

A puzzle jug is a puzzle in the form of a jug, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Puzzle jugs of varying quality were popular in homes and taverns. An inscription typically challenges the drinker to consume the contents without spilling them, which, because the neck of the jug is perforated, is impossible to do conventionally.

The solution to the puzzle is that the jug has a hidden tube, one end of which is the spout. The tube usually runs around the rim and then down the handle, with its other opening inside the jug and near the bottom. To solve the puzzle, the drinker must suck from the spout end of the tube. To make the puzzle more interesting, it was common to provide a number of additional holes along the tube, which must be closed off before the contents could be sucked. Some jugs even have a hidden hole to make the challenge still more confounding.

History

The earliest example in England is the Exeter puzzle jug—an example of medieval pottery in Britain. The Exeter puzzle jug dates from about AD 1300 and was originally made in Saintonge, Western France.[1] The puzzle jug is a descendant of earlier drinking puzzles, such as the fuddling cup and the pot crown, each of which has a different solution.[2]

Known inscriptions include:

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Exeter puzzle jug". A History of the World. BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  2. ^ National Museums Liverpool: 18 Century Puzzle Jug, by Liverpool
  3. ^ Peoples Collection Wales: Cymraeg, Puzzle jug, made at Buckley (19th century)