Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Puss and Mew

Last week I wrote of gin and how it basically became an illegal substance.  So what does one do when their favorite substance becomes illegal?  Sneak around the authorities of course!  The roaring 20's had their speakeasies and today we have our drug-dealers on the street.  What they had in the Georgian age was a combination of the two: the puss and mew.

Puss and mews were gin vending machines created when the law was passed decreeing that gin could only be distributed under license.  These machines weren't licensed and therefore quite illegal.  Any self-respecting gin-guzzler knew where to find these machines, which looked something like a door in a wall or even just a small slot.  You walked up to your puss and mew of choice and said "puss" then a voice would answer, "mew." Out popped the slot to reveal a little drawer into which you would place your money.  In goes the coins, out comes a dram of gin.

Quite the genius little "machine," no?  I just wonder how many puss and mew operators were sacked for drinking and then subsequently falling asleep on the job.


  1. Why stop with gin? Think of all the other illegal things you can get through this system.

  2. It reminds me of that McDonalds drive-through drug exchange that was in the news a few years ago!

    I'd like to think there were clever enough criminals to figure out what else could be exchanged

  3. That is a genius idea! There's definitley a market for that in the modern world...

  4. Very interesting. I love the graphic design of that ad too!