Napier Cocktail Shaker – Weekend Find!

This weekend I travelled down to New Jersey, with a friend and co-worker to pick up a small collection of 16mm films (we work in a film archive). After we were finished Chris, Deb (my co-worker) and I decided to hit a local antique store. It was already mid-afternoon, so I thought about what is relatively close and where Chris and I haven’t been to in awhile, it turned out to be Grist Mill Antiques Center in Pemberton, N.J. The Grist Mill is two floors jammed packed with antiques and collectibles, it is a rare visit when Chris and I leave empty handed. This visit we came across a silver plated Napier “Tells You How” Drink Mixer. I already own the Pottery Barn reproduction version, but this was the first time that I had ever seen the original version. Designed by Le Roy H. Fontan, the patent was applied for in September, 1932. Even though prohibition was still the law of the land, it was obvious that Franklin Roosevelt was going to win the November election and that repeal would soon follow. The “Tells You How” Drink Mixer went on sale at Sak’s Fifth Avenue in time for the holiday season of 1932 for $7.50 ($130.00 in today’s money). The shaker has a rotating outer sleeve to reveal the recipes for 15 now classic cocktails, such as Dry Martini, Side Car, Dubonnet and Between the Sheets. The silver plate was very tarnished, but a session with some semichrome polish and a bit of elbow grease made the shaker come back to shiny life. The Napier “Tells You How” Drink Mixer is a very welcome addition to my Deco Cocktail Shaker collection and one of my best weekend finds in a while.


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