Muir’s Improved Pub

In 1865, temperance advocate William Muir obtained a British patent (No. 1 for 1865) for what he called "Improvements in the construction of public houses." Although whether they were actually improvements depended, I suppose, on one's point of view.

Muir wanted to improve pubs first by constructing their front walls out of plate glass in order to make the interior visible to people passing by. This, he believed, would "to a great extent check drunkenness and the indecent behaviour of the persons obtaining refreshment."

Second, he wanted to make the entrances only two feet wide in order "to prevent, as far as possible, the entrance of females with extensive steel crinolines." Why prevent women wearing crinolines? He didn't elaborate. Was this some kind of code for keeping prostitutes out of the pubs?

I don't think many publicans rushed to adopt his improvements.

More info about William Muir

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 21, 2022
     Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants | Patents | Nineteenth Century

Supposedly, one of the dozens of reasons why there are mirrors behind bars is so people can see how they look when drunk, which should act as a deterrent to further drinking.
Posted by Phideaux on 01/21/22 at 10:55 AM
Making the door narrow might have been a deterrent to women of all types, since patronizing bars was not ladylike back then.
Posted by Brian on 01/21/22 at 11:38 AM
Yeah, the glass fronts would surely "check the indecent behaviour of the persons obtaining refreshment." With that, they could moon those passing by, or show them other obscene gestures.

Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 01/23/22 at 12:44 PM
I agree with Brian. I doubt if "extensive steel crinolines" was a hallmark of prostitutes. Given the amount of effort required to disassemble such constructions, I'd think it would reduce their productivity.
Posted by ges on 01/23/22 at 02:23 PM
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