14 September 2010

Results: Glasses in the Cupboard Rim Up or Down

Asking an open-ended question of genealogists always brings out some wonderful family stories. My recent question about storage of drinking glasses caused several of us to spend some time with fond memories of moms and grandmothers. A few of us were spurred to phone home. Some of us commented on differences between mothers and daughters and others on how we do things like mom without knowing why. I enjoyed all of the responses. Thank you.

I heard someone state once that rim-side down glass storage was a result of the Dust Bowl in the U.S. I could see how those in the Dust Bowl might start storing glasses rim-side down, but there had to be other reasons in other areas. So I asked. Here are the survey results on whether glasses are stored rim-side up or down and why in different locales.

One responder had two family lines in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. One family stored glasses rim-side up and the other family stored them down. This story emphasizes the conclusion supported by the other responses. Even if the Dust Bowl caused some families to store their glasses rim-side down, dust and bugs exist everywhere. And there are other reasons that might cause a homemaker to choose one storage plan over another.

Thirty families are represented in this informal, unscientific survey. Twenty-six store glasses rim-side down, two rim-side up, two alternate glasses up and down.

Of those who store glasses rim-side down, eight blamed bugs and critters. Most of those were located on the east coast (New York, Maryland), the south (Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, unspecified), Hawaii, and multiple areas for a family who made frequent moves to different Army posts. Three responders from New York and central Canada blamed both critters and dust. Five responders from Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, and New England blamed dust. Four families placed the glasses upside down to dry completely. Four did not specify. One person pointed out it is easier to dry dust off the outside of a glass than to clean the inside if you have big hands. Another pointed out that stability often determines how we stack and store dishes. (A very interesting analysis I would bet comes from someone with an engineering frame of mind. Thanks.)

No reason was given for the rim-side up storage in Pennsylvania although other families in the same area stored rim-side down. Dust covered all the dishes no matter how they were stored in Oklahoma and Kansas. Maybe if you had to wash the dishes again before use it didn't matter much which way they were stored.

Both homemakers who alternate glasses up and down do it to save space.

I also learned something new. One family stored everyday glasses rim-side down. When crystal glasses were purchased the manufacturer recommended they be stored rim-side up to prevent the fragile glass from chipping. Interestingly, several responders mentioned they or their daughters don't follow mom's methods.

Thank you all for sharing your stories.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

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