Wikipedia, in their article on shaving soap, sort of implies that a 1867 patent for an improved shaving mug is the first patent for a scuttle. And while I haven’t tried to verify that claim, if this isn’t the first scuttle it is an early scuttle for sure.
Conceptually G P Brooks and J McGrady’s patent isn’t too dissimilar from John T East’s shaving mug we looked at a couple of weeks ago. The soap is kept out of the water, and there is a way for the water around the soap to drain into the main chamber.
But let us start by seeing what the invention is all about:
Our invention consists in combining a. soap-receptacle with a mug, so that the soap may always be in a convenient position ready for use during the operation of shaving.From US patent 66,788
It seems, from the initial description, that the invention was not intended to be scuttle per se. Rather it was a way to keep the soap and water conveniently available when shaving. And the soap receptacle partly covers the hot water, so it don’t cool of as rapidly. As the patent states clearly:
In the said drawings, A represents the portion of the mug which contains the water, the upper portion being enlarged at one side and provided with a bottom, a, and a partition, b, so as to form a receptacle, B, for holding the shaving-soap, which is thus always at hand with the mug, in a position ready for use. And it will be seen that hot water placed in the portion A. of the mug, being partially covered over by the bottom of the receptacle B, will not become cooled so rapidly as would be the case if its entire surface were exposed to the air.
A shaving-mug formed as above described need occupy no more space than an ordinary mug, while it possesses the advantage of two receptacles, for water and soap, combined in one, it being merely necessary to dip the brush from one to the other, to use the amount of soap or water required.From US patent 66,788
So is this the first scuttle? Well… maybe. It certainly is part of the lineage of the scuttles we know and love today. Either way you can read the short patent over at Google Patents.