A tankard is a form of drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical, drinking cup with a single handle. Tankards are usually made of silver, pewter, or glass, but can be made of other materials, for example wood, ceramic or leather. A tankard may have a hinged lid, and tankards featuring glass bottoms are also fairly common. Tankards are shaped and used similarly to beer steins.
The word “tankard” originally meant any wooden vessel (13th century) and later came to mean a drinking vessel. The earliest tankards were made of wooden staves, similar to a barrel, and did not have lids. A 2000 year old wooden tankard of approximately four pint capacity has been unearthed in Wales.
Metal tankards often come with a glass bottom. The legend (but a myth) is that the glass bottomed tankard was developed as a way of refusing the King’s shilling, i.e. conscription into the British army or navy. The drinker could see the coin in the bottom of the glass and refuse the drink, thereby avoiding…