While they called themselves the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, they were known as “Shakers” on account of their crazy dancing and talking in tongues. To be fair, they had a lot of pent up energy to get out – they were completely celibate.
Beyond giving up sex, they sought spiritual perfection by living communally, regularly confessing their sins and by separating themselves from the outside world. They also believed in cleanliness, public sanitation and the purity of food.
And what was most remarkable about the utopian society beyond the now highly prized furniture was their strong belief in the full equality of men and women – a revolutionary idea 150 years before women had the right to vote.
At their height in 1840, there were more than 6,000 believers in 19 communal villages across the country. But given the vow of celibacy and the changing time, their numbers had dwindled to around 2,500 by 1875 and down to 1,000 by 1900. While there are a few remaining practitioners, the last sister from the original order died in Canterbury, New Hampshire in 1992.
To be sure, the rest of us still have shakers and they are for our spirits. And one great recent twist on the cocktail shaker is Metrokane’s Fliptop Cocktail Shaker, $29.
The 24-ounce shaker’s double-walled steel keeps condensation from forming on the outside, and the pop-up top with built-in strainer can be lock securely for leak-free mixing. It means having a dry grip, no fussing with that tiny top and no struggles or spills even late into the night.