- Published on Tuesday, 04 April 2006 20:15
- Written by Nick Casey - Special to the Town Crier
History tells us that our affection for wine long predates our taste for the delicate crystal and glass vessels we drink from today.
The earliest intact wineglasses date from the Pleistocene era and consist of baked-clay goblets made by the Iberians, and subsequently passed on to the early Britons. With the spread of Roman culture circa the first century BC, silver and gold vessels with ornate scrollwork along the edges of the goblets increased in popularity.
This finery, however, was short-lived. In Britain, Saxon invasions meant the disappearance of wine goblets in favor of the barbarian vessel of choice: the goat horn. While drinking horns boasted the advantage of livestock rather than skilled potters, the disadvantage was that having no legs, the horns could not be balanced on a table. Thus, wine was taken in one mighty gulp. These vessels remained popular in Western Europe during the Early Middle Ages and were often used as titles to property.
One ancestor of the modern wineglass, known as the "blackjack," can still be found in some European taverns today. Appearing in the mid-1300s, this leather drinking vessel was lined with pitch to make it watertight and sewn together with thick twine.The name "black" came from the color of the pitch and "jack" referred to a piece of archer's clothing known as the "jack of defense," a thick leather jacket.
Vessels from later eras were as odd as their names. The 1600s onward saw the advent of the piggin (a small leather cup), the noggin (a small wooden mug), the goddard (a pewter vessel used by churches), the bombard (a richly decorated vessel holding several gallons), the Jacobite (a glass de- designed by the Freemasons) and