Before the untippable Mighty Mug, before KeepCups allowed us to color coordinate our drinkware with our streetwear, and long before Ember 2 warmed our coffees using Bluetooth via our mobile devices, there was the Feltman-Langer.
We are referring, of course, to the “No-Spill Mug,” also sometimes called a “wide-based travel mug,” a widespread totem of on-the-go coffee drinking lifestyle circa 1980. Your long haul truckers, your yacht club swingers, your workin’ folks getting by on a living wage and a social contract: they all shared together in the promise of a mug that wouldn’t spill.
Several brands offered these products, though the Feltman-Langer Company of California (now AMERICAWARE) pioneered the form with its original “MOTOR MUG” and “Bearly Surviving” line. These were the mugs our parents and grandparents clutched in untroubled, nicotine-stained hands, sipping their way through a cream and two sugars across the arc of history.
They were the greatest generations; these were the greatest mugs.
While these mugs have waned in popularity over their more technically enhanced “app-based” relatives, they now sit upon the shelves of antique malls next to their Festiveware and Pyrex cousins. These will one day become as sought after as Corningware—but you can pick them up now on the cheap!
Here are a few of our favorite classic Langers.
The Yacht Mug
A boating enthusiast favorite featuring provocative illustrations of seafaring watercraft. Find this piece on eBay for around $25 shipped—for now!
The Mug With Lid (Langer 2.0)
A few years after the launch and meteoric rise in popularity of the first iteration of the No-Spill, the enterprising folks at Feltman-Langer introduced an updated version making these mugs even more unspillable. Find these on eBay for around $30.
Walk around the office like a big shot with this classic Langer Captain mug. Super rare. As of press time this wasn’t on eBay but check your local vintage reseller—these go for a lot!
No spills on the green with this flashy Feltman-Langer. Fill it up with whisky on the 19th hole, if you know what I mean.
Feltman-Langer produced a number of bird-forward mugs but none were as successful or iconic as their American Bald Eagle line of no-spills.
And there you have it. Five mugs capable of evoking simpler times. An era where Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm, where Hank Aaron smashed majestic dinger after majestic dinger, where the words and music of Stevie Nicks witch-danced us into flowy tunic reverie. A house cost $20,000 back then and a case of Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin could be yours for the price of a Zagnut bar.
The coffee was worse, sure, but the mugs? They never spilled.