Where Did the Term “Tumblers” For Drinking Glasses Come From and What Does the Word Mean?

In 1945, Earl Tupper produced his first polyethylene plastic seven-ounce bathroom tumbler, so called because it could fall or tumble without breaking.

But a “tumbler” drinking glass had already been around for centuries before Tupperware.

It was specially designed with a round or pointed bottom so that it couldn’t stand upright and had to be drunk dry before it could be laid on its side, otherwise it would tumble and spill.

That’s why drinking glasses are sometimes called “tumblers”.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Where Did the Term “Tumblers” For Drinking Glasses Come From and What Does the Word Mean?”

  1. Tumblers weren’t originally designed that way, Originally all glasses were made with stems and bases (wine glasses, goblets, brandy balloons etc), and were very costly. The stems and bases were often knocked off, leaving a round-bottomed glass which would fall (tumble) over if put down but was good enough for the lesser class of drinker. ‘Tumbler’ gradually became the general term for any glass without a stem and base.

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