Warm ale was a popular drink on both sides of the Atlantic from the 17th until the late 19th century. Ale was a relatively strong beverage and was consumed either unadulterated or with the addition of spices, sugar, rum or brandy, resulting in a drink known as ‘flip’. Normally an iron rod, heated in the fire, would be plunged into the drinking vessel, creating a froth and warming the drink. These iron flip- or toddy-warmers were usually straight, unadorned rods, but the present example is rather more elaborate. The steel ‘slug’ would be heated in the fire, while the swivel joint reduced the transmission of heat to the user’s hand, thus allowing the slug to be placed into the vessel with some delicacy. The decorative work on the handle shows skill in the manufacture of this high-quality object.
- Neumann, G.C., 2001. Early American Antique Country Furnishings. L-W Book Sales, IN 46933. ISBN 0517661837. p. 295
- Seymour Lindsay, J., 1970. Iron and Brass Implements of the English House. London, Alec Tiranti Ltd. ISBN 085458999/6. p. 80