Right after the Civil War, an unknown bartender pushed two tumblers together, and the cocktail shaker was born. But there weren't a lot of cocktails that needed shaking. Who'd want to add cherry juice to a single-malt scotch?
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The prohibition moonshine of the 1920s was so harsh that shaking it with orange, apple and other fruit sugars made it taste a lot better and watered it down.
Movies like The Thin Man made cocktails chic and soon every middle- and upper-class home in America owned at least one cocktail shaker.
The thousands of different shakers that hit the market were made of glass, aluminum, pewter, silver plate, and chrome.
Today collectors pay from $50 to $5,000 for mint-condition shakers in the shape of things like golf bags, penguins, lighthouses, even a woman's leg.
Other top-money shakers are those by famous designers like Norman Bel Geddes or Russel Wright. One Wright-designed set made of pewter from the mid-'60s is worth $6,000.
So if you are looking to mix tasty drinks or find a hidden treasure, shakers can be good moneymakers.
For more information concerning collectible cocktail shakers, Hyman recommends Stephen Visakay, author of Vintage Bar Ware Identification & Value Guide. Visakay can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.