History of the flask
Where it all began and alternative uses
The original concept for a concealable and convenient way to carry and store liquor is almost as old as liquor itself. That being said, early flasks didn’t look anywhere close to the hip flasks we have come to adore today.
A really interesting iteration of the flask started in the middle ages; People would gut fruit and use the hollowed shell to store and carry liquor. Another version from the 18th century had people using pig skins to craft makeshift flasks.
The convenience and unencumbered usage of flasks was even attractive to storing other substances. As early as the 1500’s powder flasks were carried as a convenient way to store and use gunpowder for primitive weapons until cartridges became more widespread in the 19th century. Soldiers would hang a powder flask around their neck, Usually made of leather or metal.
The Infamous Prohibition - Start of the modern Hip Flask
One of the important factors for the popularity and current look of modern hip flasks was the banning of alcohol completely including, consumption, sale, storage, transport, or possession more commonly known as the Prohibition. This ban lasted for 13 years (1920 - 1933) in the USA and for varying times in other countries between 1907 and 1948.
Apparently the Prohibition caused more hip flasks sales in the first 6 months of its enforcement in the USA than in the entire decade before its enactment (Source).
Although hip flasks had been in production for centuries, the Prohibition pushed people to look for a way to store their alcohol that was more convenient and concealable in an effort to avoid the law. This caused the appearance of the hip flask to settle in its classic kidney shape so it could be pressed against the body. This also was a factor in the size of modern hip flasks, the common 8oz and 6oz sizes were chosen as they are not too big to carry, but big enough to contain a decent amount of the good stuff.
In the end, banning alcohol is to thank for the rebellious and cool soul of the hip flask. Even with the passage of time, flasks have retained this reputation but also gained more of a fun and light hearted side with many more interesting iterations being produced in a plethora of materials (Psst, check our our dual chambered flask!). Even though using flasks in some public places is illegal, with some awareness of your surroundings you should be able to have a sip anywhere on the go.