Puzzle jugs were used for drinking games in pubs and taverns from medieval times up into the early 19th century. Users had to figure out how to pour liquid held in the jug into their mouths or a glass without spilling fluid all over themselves or the table.
So what exactly is a “puzzle jug”?
In this entertaining 6 minute film, potter Michelle Erickson recreates an 18th century “puzzle jug” from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection. Ms. Erickson explains both what a puzzle jug is, how they were made, and how they were used in pubs and tavern games.
Here are several examples of puzzle jugs that I found in the V&A’s collection.
In another short film, Leslie Grigsby, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, shows several puzzle jugs in that museum’s collection.