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Fuddling Cups

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Fuddling cups.  These cups are a puzzle and are interlinked in a special way.  They need to be drunk in a certain order or they will spill.  


While I find many pictures of these cups, there are no schematics into exactly how they are linked.  Puzzle jugs have schematics, but I have not found more information on how fuddling cups are joined.  I also would like to see one of these in action!  there I would love to replicate these.


if anyone has any info that would be great!






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5 hours ago, Sputty said:

Hi Bkam - fuddling cups are in fact much less complicated than puzzle jugs. The cups simply connect one to another via holes in the body, and sometimes through hollow linked tubes/handles (although much more rarely).

Like you, I have occasionally read that they need to be drunk in a certain order to avoid spillage; I actually think this is mistaken - all the examples I have seen (and the couple of museum pieces that I have handled) have had no provision for this. They literally just join one to the other, neighbour to neighbour. That's all. The drinking skill is in avoiding a soaking through over-enthusiasm.

The second picture here - Fuddling Cup, c. 1690 - shows detail.

As with puzzle jugs, modern potters certainly make these. Hannah McAndrew in the UK, for example.

Thank you for this!  This is exactly what I'm looking for.  Now it's time to tinker in the shop.  

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50 minutes ago, Pres said:

Actually, from what I understand about fuddling mugs, you almost always have to drink from one particular mug otherwise spilling. It is all derived from either a serial or parallel connection of the pieces in the set.

If you have any pictures or drawings of ones that are set like this, maybe 3 or more connections I would love to see!  This was my understanding too, but from Sputty's comment and pictures they look to all be interlinked.  I did also read somewhere there are fuddling cups up to about 12 cups.  In this case I would imagine that some are connected and others are not, which would be more of a puzzle. 

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I'm not trying to be argumentative, Sputty, it is just that I have used one from the last century(so consider it modern) by a potter that had 3 cups, all three were joined. However there were only holes leading into one. In other words, the left cup had a hole into the lower cup, and the right cup had a hole into the lower cup. However, there were no holes between the right cup and the left cup. Another way of confusing the issue when we were discussing this he told me was to change the size of the hole when working so that the liquid out of one cup would not drain as quickly as the other. Lastly, I have read that in a Fuddling Mug that had more than 3 chambers that they could be designed with two sides to drink from, or that the the furthest chamber would have only one hole draining it into a chamber next. The larger the Fuddling Mug became the harder it was to drink out of it without . . . dribbling.




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Loosely related modern idea.


When ordering drinks at the bar, guests could ask for theirs to served in one of the sculpture's individual compartments. When all three cups were filled, (ideally with drinks ordered by three strangers) the newly-formed trio could cluster together, introduce themselves and forge new connections.

Drinking from one compartment without spilling from the others is a challenge that requires communication, coordination and teamwork, akin to a corporate team building activity, albeit a boozy one.


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