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3,5,7,9 Min. measuring cup?? for medicine???

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Posted 2 years ago


(4 items)

I recently found this at a thrift store. I had never heard of a minim measurement before, as far as I remember, so I've definitely learned something new with this! :) However, that's about all I've learned, and from that I assume it was for measuring medicine. I apologize if this is in the wrong category. Any information would be appreciated!

UPDATE: Contributors here have helped rule out Minims, so this remains an unsolved mystery. I really have no idea what these markings mean or when/where this is from. Am still enjoying learning from others and researching this little ceramic cup. It is just under 2" tall and approx 1.25" across.

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. avua avua, 2 years ago
    Just as long as that mark doesnt mean thats how long your liquor will last if filled to that line...we're all good ;) ..Luv it!!
  2. Efesgirl Efesgirl, 2 years ago
    Hmmm..."min" to me means minutes. I've never seen such a cup before.
  3. rfreed, 2 years ago
    LOL Avua! This little cup is less than 2 inches tall, so therefore not recommended for liquor! LOL!

    Efesgirl, That's what I thought too, until I found it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minim_(unit) (you may have to click on UNIT)
    Who knew? ;) Thanks!
  4. Celiene Celiene, 2 years ago
    Here's the direct link:

  5. Celiene Celiene, 2 years ago
    Google image search: minim measure. All see to be around 1900 or so. None a little stoneware one like yours!

    I learned something today too!
  6. Celiene Celiene, 2 years ago
    Here's an interesting little history of medicine dosing that mentions mimims.

  7. rfreed, 2 years ago
    Thanks Celiene! Interesting, right? :) Thanks for trying on that link too, I fought with it for a while and it just doesn't want to go straight to that page! LOL!
  8. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    How did "Min." get changed to minim ?
  9. rfreed, 2 years ago
    The wikipedia article above said that min was an abbreviation for minim. That was the only thing I could find that I thought it could be.
  10. mcheconi mcheconi, 2 years ago
    I am also not sure it refers to minims...one minim is a volume too small to be compared to the cup's measure marks.
  11. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    Min is also an Egyptian God associated with the phallus, but the other meanings of "min" make me shy away from that one. LOL !! This is a real curiosity & I hope it gets solved before I lose too much sleep over it.
  12. rfreed, 2 years ago
    Blunder ~ LOL! We'll just say that it's still an unsolved mystery and leave it at that! ;)

    Mchec ~ I know, a min took the place of a drop basically, from what I've read, but it's all I could come up with! It is small, but probably not "9 drop small"! :/
  13. rfreed, 2 years ago
    I updated the pictures, with better ones, to maybe help determine age and such. Thanks! :)
  14. mcheconi mcheconi, 2 years ago
    Searching about "what can be drunk in nine minutes" I found an interesting Jewish fasting rule for the ill and pregnant during the Yom Kippur: a person in these conditions must drink only 40 to 45 grams of water every 9 minutes or, if he or she can't wait for the whole nine minute period, must wait at least 2 minutes before drinking another 40 grams till has drunk the amount prescribed or needed. Maybe a Jewish-Ill-Pregnant-Yom Kippur-Drinking Cup? Read it here: https://books.google.com.br/books?id=Gsgct8jbMKYC&pg=PA623&lpg=PA623&dq=nine+minutes+to+drink&source=bl&ots=J_TCgq3_Ep&sig=oIJ32Ul1M2uX7VX8YskV1mMdxYU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwish5Gj_NDNAhUBgJAKHY3TBjIQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=nine%20minutes%20to%20drink&f=false
  15. rfreed, 2 years ago
    According to metric-calculator.com 40 grams = 1.3526 oz. and this little whatever-it-is fits exactly one ounce to the brim so as interesting as a Jewish-Ill-Pregnant-Yom-Kippur-drinking cup would be, I don't think this is one! Of course, I still don't really have a clue what it is though! ;) We're digging up some interesting stuff with this though, aren't we!? THANKS!!
  16. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    This was posted as "MINIM" instead of "MIN.". This is simple not what was on the poste heading & has been misleading from the start. I bow out.
  17. rfreed, 2 years ago
    I apologize Blunder, I certainly did not mean to be misleading, I just thought I had figured out that much about it on my own. In this discussion though, I'm seeing there are still other possibilities. I did put a question mark in the title and marked this as an unsolved mystery because I really have no idea. I appreciate everyone's input and am enjoying learning from you all! :)
  18. mareredware mareredware, 2 years ago
    This is so curious! I love these mysteries! I did some research today and came up with nothing. But I look forward to someone knowing something about this interesting piece! thanks for sharing rfreed!
  19. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 2 years ago
    I don't see any size reference or measurements. How tall is it & dia.?
  20. Efesgirl Efesgirl, 2 years ago
    BB2 - less than 2 inches high.
  21. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    A minim is equal to a 'drop' ... "A unit of volume, in the Imperial and U.S. customary systems, 1/60 fluid drachm. Approximately equal to 1 drop, 62 ?L or 0.9 grain (weight) of water.
    1886, Robert Louis Stephenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:
    He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out a few minims of the red tincture and added one of the powders." Wiktionary.

    I'm just wondering if this is so small that 3 drops would get up to that first mark?
  22. rfreed, 2 years ago
    Sorry, I was away on vacation. Thank you all for your responses! :)
    3 drops from a normal modern day eyedropper does not come anywhere near the first line. Approx 8 teaspoons of water fills it to the top. It is just over 1¾ " tall. It is just under 1¼" wide at the base and slightly over that at the top.
  23. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    I think the exact figure is something like this:
    Amount: 1 minim US (min) in volume
    Equals: 1.23 drops of water (drop - gtt SI)


    My point is probably that min may not equal a minim. Not that I have an alternative, unfortunately.
  24. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    9 minims = 0.1125 of a US teaspoon.
  25. rfreed, 2 years ago
    "min may not equal a minim. Not that I have an alternative, unfortunately." Exactly my dilemma, Vet! Minim doesn't seem right from what we know of it, but it's the only thing we've found that sort of "fits"! Thank you for your research and input! I hope we can all solve this mystery together! :-D
  26. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    I'm still looking !!!!
  27. TallCakes TallCakes, 2 years ago
    I'm thinkin' one might get better response if the title and description were edited. It would help to include the size in fluid content and physical measurements in the description along with any known provenance. Not sure why one would surmise that "min." might be minim rather than "minute". I'm thinking this is rather a novelty one ounce single shot espresso cup.
  28. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    It's also an interesting sequence: 3, 5, 7, 9.
    A difference of 2, but that first 3 looks an equal volume to the subsequent measures.
    Perhaps it has nothing to do with volume?
  29. rfreed, 2 years ago
    Vet~ I'm still looking too! :) THANKS for the help and all the great info! The difference of 3 and then 2 is curious!! I also don't feel like the inside marks match exactly with the outside. I guess measurements were not exact "back then".

    TallCakes ~ Of course when I see min., minute is the first thing to come to mind, but can't imagine how that would be appropriate in this case. That's why I went searching and found minim, which seemed like the only measurement that would be on the side of a tiny ceramic mug. With help here, I see that's unlikely the correct measurement, but then what?! I certainly don't know, which is why I put a question mark at the end of that title. I'm not even sure I'm in the right category here!
  30. rfreed, 2 years ago
    I keep going back to mcheconi's comment above (#14). It would make minutes make sense and also the 9... going down by 2 at a time. What do you all think?
  31. Efesgirl Efesgirl, 2 years ago
    I had initially thought it was Minutes (in my post of 23 days ago). Unfortunately, no other thoughts followed....LOL!
  32. rfreed, 2 years ago
    LOL Efe! I know, I'm sorry, I just couldn't imagine how minutes could make sense. :/ The fact that I can't find one other picture of one of these and that nobody here has seen one makes no sense either though! LOL! I have a tendency to acquire weird stuff! :)
  33. fleafinder fleafinder, 2 years ago
    Hmm some might think it's a doctor's cup but the perfectionist in me finds that it maybe a mathematican's cup

    min. is short for minus for me





    test it out folks!!

  34. fleafinder fleafinder, 2 years ago
    The difference between each number must be 2
  35. mcheconi mcheconi, 2 years ago
    This must be one of the best mysteries in CW til now.
  36. gemmyb85, 4 months ago
    I know this post is old, but I found this same cup today in my friend's attic. I went to google but found nothing in images except the ones here. Were you able to find out any more about it?
  37. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 months ago
    Maybe when your power goes off, it's a cup for borrowing electricity from a neighbour. Obviously, I've run out of ideas.
  38. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 4 months ago
    I am seeing this post for the first time now too -- my first impression (given the approx. 'shot glass' dimensions) wonders if it might have been a promo kind of item, meant to sorta indicate how many "minutes" one might either be 'energized' (if for a coffee/espresso drink) or 'passed out' (if a hi-test liquor drink) if consuming any various indicated level of something...? <lol>

    But that's probably just (far too contemporary?) silliness on my part -- after a few more moments of more serious thought, I wonder if it might be an old 'measuring cup' for some kind of photo developing chemicals, intended to be used in a darkroom?
  39. rfreed, 4 months ago
    Gemmy, I've not found anything more than what I've learned here! I'd love to hear if you learn more! What a fun "treasure" we have! :)
    Blunder, I'm with you, I ran out of ideas a long time ago! LOL! It is fun to see this pop back up though, maybe some new info will come up! :)
    Anything, I agree the coffee idea might be too contemporary, but the chemicals idea seems very likely! Thanks!! :)
  40. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 months ago
    I thought this post had gone away but glad to see it back. During an online chat with a collector in England I mentioned this odd cup and said I thought it was some kind of a joke cup. In return he laughed and said it is no joke. According to him it is used to measure flow and viscosity of a liquid in minutes as opposed to seconds. The example he gave was the flow of thick grease. Thinner liquid is measured in seconds because it flows faster. Another easier to understand is setting it under a leaking liquid to calculate how much is being lost. I have to admit it sounds logical even though I never heard of it.
  41. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 months ago
    So you measure a leak instead of fixing it. Must be a West Indian invention. LOL !!
  42. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 months ago
    Blunderbuss - I never heard of it either but I do know they measure whether you have a seep or a leak by timing it. Believe it or not there is a difference especially with an expensive repair. I never saw a cup to do it but I sure as heck timed a leak/seep in the military. Kind of like watching the grass grow or the paint dry. A cup like this would have been easier. Put the cup under it, go have a beer, check in 3 minutes, have another beer until you get to 9 MIN. or pass out.
  43. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 months ago
    The US Army will not tear down an engine for a seep and a leak has to be so many drops per minute before they do a rebuild.
  44. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 months ago
    Or if you want to increase a leak. A tank farm at Montego Bay had a leaking tank and had a block of wood pounded into a flanged pipe at the bottom. Jamaicans would would put cans under it to catch the dripping fuel(don't believe they had one of these cups). One brilliant Rasta decided that if they loosened the bung a little more, they would fill containers faster. You got it ! Bung blew out, spliff ignited fuel and the tank burned happily for almost 2 months. What has this got to do with this cup ? I don't know ! Thy cup runneth over ? This just reminded me of that. The good news was that Mo Bay saved money leaving the street lights off.
  45. rfreed, 4 months ago
    Fh, how interesting!!! Thank you!
  46. kyratango kyratango, 3 months ago
    No more explanation... but found another:
  47. AnythingObscure AnythingObscure, 3 months ago
    I can't get my mind wrapped around the viscosity/leak measuring idea...having the 'time' and 'quantity' as fixed parameters (with such a cup) are the wrong constants to that equation, aren't they??
  48. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 months ago
    Interesting that a friend in England told me about this and kyratango found one for sale in the UK.

    AnythingObscure minim is a measure of fluid which equals approximately one drop. In that the term was first used a couple hundred years or more ago, I assume they felt the constants served the purpose for the equation.
  49. rfreed, 3 months ago
    Kyra - how cool! thanks for sharing that! :)
    Mac - lol! Great idea!!
  50. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 3 months ago
    I like that McD. Minutes till next beer. That would be my kind of mug !
  51. Daddy_Nobucks Daddy_Nobucks, 3 months ago
    Drinking cup for sure. Dilution is typically required for medicinal liquid dosing, including those of the herbal and apothecarial variety. The stuff tastes terrible, usually bitter. So alcoholic spirits like brandy were used to dilute medicine and improve taste, as well as contribute to effect ("ease the pain"... ahem bb2 LOL). It appears here that Min indeed refers to minim. Fill cup with dilution liquid and add indicated number of drops (minim). Maybe for a child.

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