A pitcher is a container used to hold liquids. A pitcher is equipped with a spout to facilitate pouring of the contents.

Origin of the Pitcher:

The traditional use of the pitcher was to help in caulking the seams of wooden sailing vessels. The pitch was heated and then put in a container which had a long spout. It was then poured over fibers of rope. The rope was first “paid” or pressed into the gaps and the hot pitch strengthened it and blocked the gaps completely. The long spouted container used to pour the hot pitch gave rise to the term “pitcher”. Among pitchers, an ewer is a kind of decorated pitcher. It has a base, an oval body and a flaring spout. The trophy used in the America's Cup is an ewer.

Types of Pitchers:

In Britain, or any country apart from North America, a pitcher is also called a jug. In British pubs, pitchers are used to serve beer. Pitchers also have religious significance as symbols of innocence. A broken pitcher signifies loss of innocence or are considered to bring bad luck. Pitchers are made of any watertight material. Traditionally they were made of clay or carved stone. Nowadays pitchers are made from glass, silver, metal or plastic. Pitchers are available in many varieties:

Puzzle Jug:

Puzzle jugs or pitchers are puzzles incorporated into the form of a pitcher. They present a challenge to the drinker. The drinker of the pitcher's contents has to drink the beverage without spilling it. This becomes quite difficult as the neck of the pitcher is riddled with holes. One of the earliest puzzle pitchers is available in England. It is the Exeter Puzzle jug. The Exeter Puzzle jug is an example of medieval pottery and dates from 1300 A.D. The pitcher was originally made in Saintonge, Western France. Puzzle pitchers were very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. They were popular in homes as well as taverns. Puzzle pitchers are descendants of early drinking puzzles like the Fuddling cup or the pot crown. The solution to puzzle pitchers is a hidden tube. The spout of the pitcher is actually a tube that runs around the rim of the pitcher, down to the handle and opens up inside near the bottom of the jug. To drink the contents of the jug, one has to suck on the tube. In order to make the puzzle even more interesting, the tube had a lot of perforations which had to be closed off before sucking the contents.

Wine Pitchers:

Wine pitchers or wine jugs are essentially decanters used to hold wine. Wine forms sediments, hence wine is poured into pitchers or decanters in small volumes to allow the wine sediments to settle down at the bottom of the original bottle and be left behind. The wine is then poured from the decanter into glasses and only the clear liquid is drunk. Wine pitchers are usually very ornate or elaborate, since wine is served from the wine pitcher. Wine pitchers or decanters are often available with stoppered lids or corks. Wine pitchers are tall and upright in shape. They are usually made of glass or crystal. They are available in many modern shapes. Wine pitchers used to store cheap wines are known as carafes. Wine pitchers are most commonly used for red wines. Red wines increase in flavor if they are well oxygenated. The process of decanting red wine facilitates oxygenation and takes off the unpleasant edge of wine while giving it a fuller flavor.

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