Thomas Lipton (1849-193), a Scotsman famed for his grocery stores and Lipton teas, wanted badly to win the America’s Cup for England. He had yachts called Shamrock through Shamrock V, but he couldn’t defeat the yachts from the New York Yacht Club‘s members. “The poor auld mug has been in America for 50 years,” Lipton said in January 1928.
Lipton never won the America’s Cup trophy, but his affectionate nickname of the “auld mug” (old mug) is still used.
Wikipedia: America’s Cup
The America’s Cup, affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”, is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The timing of each match is determined by an agreement between the defender and the challenger. The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy.
The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was renamed the America’s Cup after the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition.
Wikipedia: Thomas Lipton
Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton, 1st Baronet, KCVO (10 May 1848 – 2 October 1931) was a Scotsman of Ulster-Scots parentage who was a self-made man, merchant, and yachtsman. He engaged in extensive advertising for his chain of grocery stores and his brand of Lipton teas. He boasted that his secret for success was selling the best goods at the cheapest prices, harnessing the power of advertising, and always being optimistic. He was the most persistent challenger in the history of the America’s Cup.
King Edward VII and King George V both shared their interest in yachting with Lipton and enjoyed his company. Between 1899 and 1930 he challenged the American holders of the America’s Cup through the Royal Ulster Yacht Club five times with his yachts called Shamrock through Shamrock V. His well-publicised efforts to win the cup, which earned him a specially designed cup for “the best of all losers”, made his tea famous in the United States. Lipton, a self-made man, was no natural member of the British upper class and the Royal Yacht Squadron only admitted him shortly before his death. Lipton was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
3 January 1928, Long Island (NY) Daily Press, “Sir Thomas, 77, Still in Quest of Yacht Title,” pg. 10, col. 7:
San Francisco, Jan. 3.—Sir Thomas Lipton is paying his first visit to San Francisco in 15 years. He’s here “for business and pleasure.”
His greatest ambition, which he aims to fulfill, in spite of his 77 years, is to build a yacht that will win back the “America’s Cup for England.”
“The poor auld mug has been in America for 50 years,” he mourned.
26 April 1930, The Illustrated London News, pg. 723 headline:
TO BRING “THAT AULD MUG” BACK FROM AMERICA? “SHAMROCK V.”
20 July 1930, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Immense Fortune and Better Part of a Lifetime Given to Failure, but Tommy Lipton Still Seeks Cup,” pg. 21, col. 3:
The eight million of dollar, or thereabouts, that “Tommy” Lipton, as he prefers to be called, will have spent by the end of the summer in trying to get this cup, doesn’t begin to express what it means to him. He could have built a cup the size of the national capitol with that money and filled it with champagne. He could have duplicated the “auld mug”, as he consistently and affectionately refers to the America’s Cup thousands of times and you couldn’t tell any of them from the original article.
But the auld mug, as symbolized behind the humorous blue of Sir Tommy’s eyes, can’t be valued in money.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
19 August 1930, Yonkers (NY) Statesman, “Winning of America’s Cup Last Ambition Of Lipton” (International News Service), pg. 16, col. 6:
“I am getting along in years now,” Sir Thomas declares, “and there isn’t much more in life for me than that ‘auld’ mug.”
11 September 1930, The Evening Tribune (Albert Lea, MN), pg. 11, col. 5 photo caption:
“That Old Mug”
This is the “old mug” that brings Sir Thomas Lipton to the United States. It is the America’s cup which he hopes to take home after the race between his Shamrock V and the American defender Enterprise.
OCLC WorldCat record
The Auld Mug : The Scots and the America’s Cup
Author: L J Paterson
Publisher: Glasgow : Neil Wilson Publishing, 2012.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : English