We're celebrating the small things weekly. This week I'm celebrating a wonderful invention that has saved the world a lot of pain. What is is? Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
We have, here, a photo of tea cups, as the Chinese used them: They certainly are pretty - I love the color, but in one way you could say that they're lacking. Still, this is the shape of teacups over the course of millennia. Even in eighteenth century England, when tea really took off. Here's a depiction, by Hogarth, of a family in which two members are enjoying a cuppa. Looks just a little awkward, doesn't it?
It is awkward. I've burned my fingers, slopped hot beverages on my lap, scowled at a high level of nearly boiling water and shaken my head.
Awkwardness doesn't count for much if you are dealing with a fad, which Tea has always been, not that I'm complaining. I drink a cup or two in the morning. Strong, hot, laced with milk. I love the stuff.
But, you see, I am the beneficiary - along with most tea and coffee and hot beverage drinkers - of an invention that revolutionized the drinking of hot things. The Cup Handle. the invention that is this week's small wonder. Here is a sample in all its European glory (though I did see samples produced by the Chinese):
Look at it. It's elegant, balanced, decorative - and practical. You won't be putting those burned fingers in your mouth and wincing. I never realized how wonderful this was until I thought about it (and went to a top-notch Vietnamese restaurant that had the old style cups, ending up with my fingers in my mouth, eyeing the elegant white porcelain cups with raised eyebrows). Yes, they're a great invention, and they are this week's small triumph.