General Question

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Why do maple syrup bottles have small handles?

Asked by rpm_pseud0name (8162 points ) July 23rd, 2011

I know of the term, skeuomorph, which, as wiki puts it – “a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original.”

Why did the original maple syrup jugs have such tiny handles? Why was it necessary?

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12 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Most (real) maple syrup jugs are not that big. Creating a small handle that is the height of the neck and doesn’t stick out past the edge of the jug makes it more efficient and cost-effective for packaging.

anartist's avatar

original jugs were probably stoneware, like Snuffy Smith’s corn likker bottle. Retention of handle is advertising gambit.antique maple syrup jug

woodcutter's avatar

All that is really needed is to get a finger in the handle. I would call it more of a loop.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because after the syrup was gone, they were used as moonshine bottles. And when you’re drunk plastered silly, it’s easier to hold onto and drink from a bottle with a finger loop.

woodcutter's avatar

Some have the finger loop with a little tang under the loop for a second finger to grab.

john65pennington's avatar

A little of real maple syrup goes a long way. A small handle on a real syrup bottle is there to remind you that only a small amount is needed…......well, maybe.

This is only my opinion and no facts to back it up.

woodcutter's avatar

This reminds me of my youth when I would help the farmer next door who would tap his trees, hang the buckets and collect the sap into a large galvanized tank on a sled behind his dozer. It’s interesting to see them boil it down and to sample it from a spigot on the boiler. We would put the syrup in a dixie cup with snow and make a maple syrup icy. A little would go a long way. Few people get to taste it right out of the boiler before its bottled. The old farmers are long gone as is the old sugarhouse.memories….
are all we all will have one day.

Earthgirl's avatar

I think it’s because the syrup is still hot when it is bottled. Here’s a video of it being done.
Notice that the handle really is functional.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VklQilRdv30
Funny that this came up because last year at the Newport Folk Festival Doc Watson told a story of how he used to play guitar and sing while they were outdoors boiling down the sap to make the syrup. It’s an all day process boiling and skimming. Nice of him to provide some entertainment for everyone!

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Earthgirl's avatar

woodcutter That sounds like a beautiful boyhood memory! The only thing that could have made it better might be Doc Watson being there to play his guitar and sing, lol. I think there are a lot of people still into the traditional making of maple syrup. The technique hasn’t changed much over the years and a lot of families and small farms carry on the tradition. So hopefully we always have real sugarhouses and not just fake high fructose corn syrup monstrosities!

breedmitch's avatar

Handles break. A smaller, more compact handle is less likely to break than a large delicate one.

wundayatta's avatar

I have a scar on my left index finger to remind me forever of what it was like to make maple syrup in a home-brew kind of way. I don’t really remember how we bottled our syrup, but I remember how we made it pretty clearly. We sure made a lot of fuck-ups—not just my finger, either.

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