History of the Drinking Flask

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
January 21, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PST January 21, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PSTst, January 21, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PST

An American icon remains popular, even today.

Throughout history, evidence has proven the popularity of drinking flasks. These durable containers capable of carrying beverages over long distances are first created by nomadic Norwegians, and have evolved along the way to include the hip flask – made for holding a distilled beverage, and many others. Also called canteens, drinking flasks are made of pewter, silver, glass and stainless steel, as well as leather or animal skins. Native Americans and early settlers use drinking flasks; soldiers preferred them in WWII. Silver and glass flasks gain popularity in the early 1800’s, especially as the kidney flask, which is usually contoured to match the curve of the hip or thigh for comfort and discrete placement. Some flasks include small cups to make sharing easier, although generally liquid is drunk directly from the flask.

Flasks Throughout History

Early 1800’s – if you were a Mason, you would likely have used a flask to bring anywhere from a pint to a quart of your own liquor to Masonic Lodge meetings. Masonic flasks are elliptical in shape, tapering to a short neck, which allowed them to fit discreetly in a pocket. Masonic symbols are often etched into the molds for decoration.

● Beautiful glass flasks of the period showcase portraits of the Founding Fathers of America and other historical figures etched into clear, amber, blue, honey and aquamarine glass. Both these types of flasks are sought after by today’s collectors.

1920’s Prohibition – Flasks enjoyed a heyday during the days of the American Prohibition. Small and discreet, they could easily be concealed in men’s daily wear, or in a lady’s purse. Silver and pewter are very popular because they are found to react the least with the liquids they hold; silver flasks are most popular due to a belief that the silver enhances the properties of alcohol. Who knew?

Today – the use of flasks has never lost its appeal. People would carry their own beverages to ballparks, for instance, before ballparks began selling their own beer. After glass containers are banned from public events, people started to use flasks made from plastic and leather. While modern leather flasks have stainless steel bodies, plastic flasks have become popular, because they are inexpensive and disposable – and can beat metal detectors that are now part of the public event experience. Status symbols among collectors, stainless steel flasks are also very popular because of their sleek, higher quality, unique designs.

Personalize Custom Engraved Stainless Steel Flasks at PlaqueMaker

Engrave our stainless steel flasks with a name or message as well as a photo, logo or clip art. Engraved flasks are available in a standard stainless steel finish or choose from a variety of colors in a matte or glossy finish. Leather-wrapped flasks are also available. Theses flasks make a great gift for any party or holiday event – great for groomsmen, military personnel, Father’s Day or Christmas stocking stuffers. We also have a standard 6-ounce size and flask sets that come with shot glasses!