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Sneek Peek at New Item for William Brown House

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

In the video below, can you guess what the item being held is? It is just one of several new items that will be coming to the William Brown House when we reopen for the the 2023 spring season the weekend of April 1st.

See the answer below!

London Town's Puzzle Jug: A Tavern Game

It is a Puzzle Jug!

Popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, puzzle jugs are what they sound like: jugs that are also puzzles. These ceramic containers had perforated necks, so the liquid contents could not be drunk normally, or they would spill all over the drinker. Each puzzle jug had a different solution - usually involving a built-in straw from the base of the cup up to a hole around the rim. To make matters more challenging, the cups had multiple holes, some of which needed to be blocked off for the liquid to flow. Are you getting frustrated now because you just want your ale?! Remember, whatever you do, don't tip the jug lest your grog end up in your lap!

Many jugs had cheeky inscriptions taunting the drinker, like this one at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:

Puzzle jug, about 1770 – 75, Bristol, England. Museum no. 275-1896. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London





Enjoy this video on how puzzle jugs were made:

Puzzle jugs were common in taverns, and the Rumney-West Tavern or other London Town taverns may have had one in their collection. Ours was made by hand at SJ Pottery, LLC in Salesville, Arkansas - it will be on display in the William Brown House starting the the weekend of April 1st. Try to figure out how it works for yourself!

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