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Yard of Ale Glasses...
Did you know it has a long history?
Whether you know it as the 'Ell Glass', 'Long Glass' or the 'Cambridge Yard Glass', the Yard of Ale glass (as we know it today) has been in use for about 400 years. The Yard of Ale glass is mentioned in Youngs quote in 'Englands Bane' (1617) and on the 10th February 1685 in the diary of John Evelyn.
Wagers being placed on the contestant to finish first without spillage at Wayside Inns and Taverns during Shakespearean times were common place, although it is believed that drinking from the Yard of Ale Glass was really reserved for special occasions.
At the annual 'Vinis' of the Mock Corporation of Hanley (Staffordshire), drinking a Yard of Port Wine for new members was the order. In Stoke-on-Trent part of the entry of a Freeman ceremony was that he would consume a Yard of Ale. Originally it is believed that it was made for ease of use to pass to coachmen and their passengers riding on top. The round bottom (of which they weren't the only glass to have this), encouraged the drinker to sip more often so were topped up more often by the bar ladies of the time! The glass 'tumbler' came about when flat bottom glasses were eventually made.
Yards of Ale produced after 1745 were subject to an Excise Tax calculated on the weight of the glass before it was manufactured. This tax had to be paid before any decoration by means of grinding or cutting but since the tax didn't apply to Ireland this helped the growth of their cut glass industry. In 1777 the tax was doubled!
To use the Yard of Ale properly without spillage requires practice. The secret of drinking the Yard of Ale is that the stem must be carefully raised above the horizontal whilst drinking, otherwise an air pocket forms behind the contents in the globe at the foot of the vessel, which having once taken place makes the flow of liquid impossible to control. The result for the uninitiated is a christening with the contents. A great present and fundraising idea.