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  What was the purpose of this metal attachment during the late 19th century?

A. To preserve a lady’s lipstick

B. To keep a gentleman’s mustache wax from melting into his tea

C. To protect wooden teeth from staining

D. To strain botanicals from herbal tea

B.

The Detachable Mustache Guard was designed to be affixed to the rim of cups, tumblers, and wine glasses, in order to protect well-waxed whiskers from tea steam, beer foam, and red wine stains. Patented by, the presumably long-suffering and hirsuit, C. H. Barrows on May 28, 1878, the invention’s popularity spread throughout Europe, until potters began featuring a cup with a mustache guard built right in. For many decades, famous china manufacturers such as Limoges, Meissen, Royal Bayreuth, and others created their own versions. Mustache cup production slowed after 1920 and finally faded from cups altogether by the later 20th century. However, as facial hair returns to fashion, a plethora of protective paraphernalia has hit the market including the “Mo’ Guard”, “Whisker Dam,” and “Lipmaster.”

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