From the Archives

Message on a bottle

The craft of drinking well

By Justin Japitana

Whether it was a tankard of ale or a fine wine, early Masons knew that presentation was key. The archives of the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry house several show-stopping drinking vessels spanning the centuries. Here, a few standouts from the collection.

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1. The G.O.A.T. Mug

This 20th century Brazilan beer mug was made by Anheuser-Busch for the Freemasons of Rio Negrinho, Brazil, in 1994. It features a stupendous lifelike goat head, a square and compass logo on the back, and the words “Liberdade,” “Igualdade,” and “Fraternidade,”(Liberty, Equality, Fraternity) molded into the base.

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2. Distilling a Masonic Essence

When times called for more celebratory measures, intricate Masonic-ware was called into action. Cue this circa 1875–1900 Scottish ceramic whiskey bottle. The unique mauled shaped bottle features familiar Masonic symbols as well as the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. A small, engraved plaque reads, “Alex F. Riach & Co. Rothes Carriers,” which may have been a distiller. Sadly, it remains empty.

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3. Wisdom in a Pitcher

This 1813 Lusterware beer jug by Dixon and Austin Sunderland Pottery of England displays a beautiful transfer print pattern of King Solomon’s Temple and, on the back, a scene featuring the Wearmouth Bridge, also known as the Iron Bridge, spanning the River Wear in Northeast England, as well as two short Masonic poems.

Winni Wintermeyer

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