What's a Jigger you say? A jigger is another term used to describe shot glasses. Traditionally shot glasses were called Jigger because it was given to workers digging canals and they just caught on.
It was a means to measure liquor in the early 19th century. It's a mystery where the term shot glass first appeared in the English Language, but they have been used in Italy for over 200 years. They were originally known as whiskey tumblers. American shot glass manufacturers started adding graphics, etched on the tiny glasses in the 19th century. They did this to promote businesses, events and it served as new means for advertising.
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There are plenty of old wives' tales floating around about the origin of shot glasses. Most dating back to the good ole wild west. It's said that cowboys used to trade in their bullets for a shot glass full of whiskey. Another tale states that shot glasses were originally used to hold quill pens (you know those pens with the feather on them that you dip in ink) but later turned into whiskey glasses because writers will get drunk to aid writer's block.
Okay, I admit I made up the last part of that second story but still pretty funny. It's a writer's joke. But in all seriousness those stories were proved invalid, there's no real fact supporting these theories but still very interesting.
A true historical fact that can be linked back to the origin of shot glasses is German glassmaker Friedrich Schott. He opened a glass factory with a few colleagues and developed the Schott glass which of course became shot glass in American layman's terms. There are so many variations to shot glasses in size, style, and use which also varies from country to country. You can even get a shot glass that's shaped like a boot.