Drink dispenser, France, 1840-1910

1840-1910 in France

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Pewter and glass iced medicinal drink dispenser, French, 1840-1910. Full view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Pewter and glass iced drink dispenser, possibly medicinal or possibly for absinthe drinking, French, 1840-1910

This elegant drink dispenser from France, with its four working metal taps and typical acorn ‘top’, was almost certainly associated with one of the most notorious of all alcoholic drinks. The design is sometimes described as a fountain and it carried ice-cold water to dilute a measure of absinthe, the powerful green spirit derived from herbs including wormwood and other plants. Extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th century it became particularly associated with bohemian and artistic circles in Paris.

Nicknamed, amongst others things, ‘the green fairy’, ‘the atrocious sorceress’ and ‘our lady of forgetting’ it developed a fearsome reputation for mental and physical ruination. Banned in many countries by 1915, it has recently experienced renewed popularity and partial rehabilitation through the lifting of a number of national bans.


Nursing & Hospital Furnishings
Object Number:
glass and pewter
drink dispenser
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • dispenser

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