Where Printmaking and Shaving Meet: Occupational Shaving Mugs

Printeresting has re-booted their website with a clean new design, and I’ve been spending some time exploring. This curious little article exploring the intersection of occupational shaving mugs and printmaking by  Julia V. Hendrickson was posted on December 10th, but I didn’t see it until today.

Check this out:

Ceramic shaving mug depicting a Washington Press
Washington Press (photo credit: LiveAuctioneers)

Hendrickson explains:

The occupational shaving mug is a late 19th century phenomenon. The first patent for an American shaving mug was registered in 1867, and in the subsequent decades pottery companies (American and European) produced thousands of these simple, functional objects. Wooden shelves built into local barbershop walls would house a man’s personal mug and brush [see above]; thus, within such a public display, in order to distinguish one mug from another, decorative decals, names, and personalized designs were applied to the surface of each mug. A widely popular trend was to proclaim your trade with an image pertaining to your professional occupation (perhaps serving as a conversation starter, too), and the printing profession was of course widely represented. These tiny, roughly painted scenes of print shops and presses offer a view into what has always been a specialized field, and highlight some fascinating manifestations of 19th century masculinity.

Click here to see more examples of printmaking-related occupational shaving mugs.


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