Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is That Another Growler I See?

I spotted what I'm pretty sure is an old-style growler back in August here. It's in a John Sloan painting in the Philly Museum of Art.

Regular reader Steven Herberger spotted another, and I got permission to link to the picture: it's at Print Magazine's website. Take a look.
STAG does not endorse Prohibition-era stereotyping.
Check the large pail the slack-bellied fellow with the spade is holding. I don't believe he's bailing out a ditch he's dug; I'm pretty sure he's supposed to represent 'immigrant labor.' Let's leave the stereotyping out, though (the point being made is that while the scary Papa Doc-type black man, and the slob of a ditch digger, and the scary Italian extortionist, and even the dopey white guy get to vote, the beautiful, virginal woman does not), and focus on the growler.

Note that it's shiny! It's a steel growler, not a dull tin item. And it's a big one, too. You've got to agree: no one holds their lunchbucket that way; Ditch-digging Danny-boy (or Duncan, or Dietrich, or Dmitri) is definitely getting a noseful of suds, 1913-style. (UPDATED: I had '1919' here, Steve Herberger corrected me. Don't know how I got that wrong; thanks!)

Growlers. The history is out there. Keep your eyes open. (Thanks, Steven, and thanks to Steven Heller of Print for permission to make the link.)

8 comments:

Steven said...

What comes to my mind; was the growler hugely frowned upon by teetotalers and prohibitionists as too much mass-consumption at one time? The atmosphere of this (editorial) illustration certainly suggests that!

Truman said...

the date causes me concern, 1919 would have been prohibition, yes? Would a growler have been out in the open if availble at all? Trying to make pour ditch digger Dimitri look like a drunk with the other skullduggery is aprapos but growlers during prohibtion are questionable.

Lew Bryson said...

Some states had Prohibition in 1919, but national Prohibition didn't start till January of 1920.

Steven said...

The date on the cover is actually 1913.

Lew Bryson said...

Thanks Steven! Don't know how I missed that!

Steven said...

'Cause it's teeny weeny!

Fortunately, Heller calls it out at Print.

Ken K. in NJ said...

I just happened to watch the 1915 movie "Regeneration" last night. Several scenes involved lower class street types (Irish surnames, of course...) drinking from beat up growlers. One scene even showed one of them purchasing one from a saloon.

Steven said...

Our old friend Jess Kiddin contacted me after he saw this new thread and reminded me that he has some well-researched history at his own site:
https://sites.google.com/site/jesskidden/thegrowler

Be sure to follow the second link to Post Prohibition info.

Thanks Jess!