The Common Cup

Traditional water fountains

In the early 1900s water fountains were viewed as a technological solution to the common cup problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today marks the 100th anniversary of an early public health and water quality regulation– the regulation banning the Common Cup.

This refers to the popular custom, prior to 1912, of using a single cup for the water cooler aboard trains. Disease transmission as a result of this common cup was a serious problem. Read more about the history of the common cup in this blog post.

On October 30, 1912 the federal government established the very first national drinking water regulation that banned the use of the common cup aboard interstate train carriers. (Common Drinking Cups 1912) One author has explained the arc of drinking water regulation extending from the common cup to Cryptosporidium. (Roberson 2006)

Consider the strides we’ve since made in sanitation,  regulations and technology. Thanks to our many dedicated and reliable water utilities for their work delivering clean drinking water.

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