Antiques column: Beer mats a cheap and cheerful item to collect

Assorted beermates
Assorted beermates

After our auction sale there is nothing I like better than calling in at my local watering hole for a pint of bitter.

In Yorkshire we like a head on our beer and as the pint is pulled and settles in the glass, often traces of the frothy foam overflow. As I watch them make their journey down the outside of the glass I anticipate the rich hoppy flavour I am about to enjoy. Finally the body is clear and I raise the pint to my lips, sometimes eyes-closed to maximise the taste experience...and then so often the moment is rudely interrupted by the beer-mat that has temporarily stuck itself to the base of the glass, only to free itself and fall ungraciously on to the floor or worse still my shirt!

The first cardboard beer mats were made by the German company Friedrich Horn in 1880 and in 1892 Robert Smith (not Sam or John!) patented the paper pulp beermat in Dresden.

Full story in next week’s (29 January) people’s paper.