Combined traveller’s drinking cup and shaving mug

A lot of patents I’ve discussed are about making your shavegear smaller, handier, and more portable. And it makes sense, in a way, to have things that pack small for travel – doubly so in the days before we all drove automobiles. So I can see why Charles Finley applied for a combination drinking cup and shaving mug back in 1901. I just don’t see why anyone would combine the two.

Sadly the patent don’t say why Charles felt this was a good idea. But it does claim it to be an improved combined cup and mug, so there must have been some earlier (and worse) versions of this.

Patent drawing showing Charles' combination drinking cup and shaving mug
Patent drawing for US patent 693,959

The cup/mug itself was a telescopic metal cup, of the kind you can still buy. Pull the rim up to make a cup. Push down to make it look like a stack of cookie cutters. As to what the invention was… let us see what the patent has to say:

The outer portion of this device is composed of a bottom 10, several telescopic rings 11, 12, 13, and 14, and a cover 15. So far this is not dissimilar to the ordinary collapsible drinking cup generally used. Within the bottom ring 11, however, I place a soap-box 16, having a tight cover 17. This box I prefer to make removable in order that the drinking cup may be used separately when desired.

From US patent 693,959

So it’s a drinking cup. With a soap box nestling in the bottom. Not exactly earth shattering, but novel enough for a patent a little over a hundred and thirty years ago.

And while the soap cup could – and probably should – be removed for normal use, you could leave it in. In case of extreme haste, such as might be necessitated by military exigencies. Or similar conditions. You know, when the greatest possible economy of time is essential.

And while Charles don’t explain how to use his combination drinking cup and shaving mug as a shaving mug, I think we all can figure that out ourselves. Open soap box, place in bottom, and lather up. And rinse it very, very well before using it as a drinking cup again. Unless you like the taste of shaving soap, of course.

You can read the full patent for the combination drinking cup and shaving mug at Google Patents.

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