Hip Flasks - Debonair Elegance for the Modern Gent or Tacky Kitsch?

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Hello my darlings,

I've been perusing the internets in search of a nice hip flask. My best mate bought me one for his wedding but my other friend picked it up when we went out parting in London and as he lives far away I'm unlikely to get it back soon.

In the meantime I've decided I want to get an antique one - but what one to get? I tend to eschew the modern variant as they're so common and appear quite dull. I'd like to get something decorative and stylish but at the same time I don't want to spend too much as I've got a few important things to pay for.

Does anyone else have a hip flask? What is yours like? What ones would you recommend? The pewter ones look quite interesting if they have engravings on but I hear pewter has lead in it so I'm not sure if it's safe to drink.

I think I'd like to get a Victorian/Edwardian style hunting flask so maybe something like this?

1561819956608.png


Or maybe something a bit more ergonomic like this?

1561819920479.png


What's your tipple?

Lots of Love

~Rochester
 
Feb 2019
856
Pennsylvania, US
These are absolutely beautiful... though I have to say that the top one with the leather and stamped / chased metal is truly exquisite. You are probably right to avoid antique pewter, from what I've heard even acidic water can cause the lead to begin to leech out (and alcohol is pretty acidic). You may want to ask the seller if they are glass lined - sometimes one in the style of that top silver/leather style are actually glass and have the metal half removable to be a sort of cup.

I've seen some interesting ones in antique shops, but the one I carry is totally kitsch. It was a sort of gag gift - with Elvis printed on black leather - and it comes with me to weddings, funerals and any party where the people who gave it to me will be. They ask "Did you bring Elvis?", which is a pretty covert statement for anyone not in the know... it's a very discreet way to let people take the edge off without advertising that you are carrying alcohol on your person at horrible events like.... your highly puritanical grandmother's funeral... or your friend's very dull wedding serving only these very sweet "signature" cocktails formulated by the bride and groom. :winktongue:

I always tend to gravitate towards flash over function... so I don't know if I can give a good answer on what to look for from a practical stand point. The dullness of the modern flasks might be from the stainless steel... or maybe that brushed finished they often have?
 
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Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
I think I much prefer the glass style with a pewter protection cup. I've found one I quite like the look of so may purchase it, it's a more square style and I think I prefer the rounded one shown above but I can't seem to find any.

I've gone with this one:


1561841984847.png


1561842127099.png

Unfortunately the photos are a bit rubbish, I think it's by James Dixon & Sons so a fairly good make, hopefully it won't be too bad.

James Dixon & Sons Hip Flask


It has quite a nice fleur de lis thing going on too, tho that was probably engraved by someone later. It's a pity one can't check the provenance of such things. It all seems to be original and in good nick too, most of the other tat I've come across for the same price is falling apart.
 
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Zip

Jan 2018
501
Comancheria
I had lots of experience at this. When was a boilermaker working outside in the Chicago winter and wanted a warming nip handy I carried a half-pint bottle of VO in the breast pocket of my Carhartt jacket. Working outside in the winter lots of hands carried pints and half pints (half dogs) with brandy, scnapps, whisky etc.

So I suggest simply carrying a half pint (or whatever passes for it in the metric world) of your favorite brand of loudmouth. It's not debonair but it's functional.

D864CD51-41C1-4672-94ED-D5AAC59794E8.png
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
My father had one of these that he used in the war, crocodile skin with a silver casing pushing up quite high on it, but leaving a strip of glass open as in your second photo so that you could see what was in it (also rising than that, but you could pull it completely off)-it curved round so that it would be comfortable when slipped into a hip pocket. It was really natty, a shame that it seems to have been snaffled by one of my brothers.
 
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Feb 2019
856
Pennsylvania, US
I think I much prefer the glass style with a pewter protection cup. I've found one I quite like the look of so may purchase it, it's a more square style and I think I prefer the rounded one shown above but I can't seem to find any.

I've gone with this one:


View attachment 21161


View attachment 21162

Unfortunately the photos are a bit rubbish, I think it's by James Dixon & Sons so a fairly good make, hopefully it won't be too bad.

James Dixon & Sons Hip Flask


It has quite a nice fleur de lis thing going on too, tho that was probably engraved by someone later. It's a pity one can't check the provenance of such things. It all seems to be original and in good nick too, most of the other tat I've come across for the same price is falling apart.
That's a good choice... very elegant!
 
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redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,811
Stockport Cheshire UK
My daughter has a hip flask, she uses it to smuggle alcoholic drinks into concerts and night clubs, rather than pay the insane prices.
 
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Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
This one cost me £25 ($30) so it wasn't too bad an investment. The silver ones are in the hundreds, I'd love to have one of them but I can't justify the expense. I want to have something for when I walk along the beach and go fossil hunting too, or just when out on an adventure or at the theatre. Antique hip flasks appear far more interesting than a plastic bottle of water or the modern steel types. There's quite a few that appear on ebay and that's where I got mine.
 
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Feb 2019
856
Pennsylvania, US
One year for Christmas I infused whiskey with all sorts of "fiery" spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper corns, etc), sterilized and steamed antique glass flasks and "medicine" bottles and bottled it in them as presents. I kept this one bottle for myself that was just pocket size - the bottle was stamped with "Dr. True's Elixir"... which probably was nothing but alcohol back in the days when Dr. True was peddling his patent medicine anyway. It was highly vivifying. ;)