A scuttle is a piece of equipment developed in the 19th century before running hot water was as abundant as it is today. The scuttle is an item which can hold hot water both for wetting and warming the shaving brush, but also to keep a shaving soap warm. It has two main parts, the upper part is a small bowl just large enough to hold a cake of shaving soap and below that is a reservoir that holds hot water.
These days the word scuttle usually refers to one of three popular scuttle designs: The Moss Scuttle, the Dirty Bird Scuttle, and the Georgetown Scuttle. The difference in form and function are easily discernible by way of visual inspection, but the true differences are found in the intricacies of each variation.
The Moss Scuttle is not primarily developed to conserve hot water, but to keep lather and specifically a lather-filled brush warm between lather applications. It consists of an inner bowl-like reservoir where lather and brush are placed, and an outer reservoir--with just a small opening to fill and drain it--which holds hot water. The heat from the water keeps the lather and brush warm for the duration of the shave. Sara Bonnyman and Schwarzweisskeramik are two manufacturers of this type of scuttle.
Dirty Bird Scuttle
The Dirty Bird Scuttle is an alternative to the Moss Scuttle and varies in both design and purpose. In addition to keeping lather and brush warm during the shave, lather can be created directly in the scuttle itself. Compared to the Moss Scuttle, the Dirty Bird Scuttle is noticeably larger, and often contains grooves or other scourings to the exterior surface of the inner reservoir. These grooves are intended to aid in and quicken the creation of lather prior to the shave. Another option available to those interested in purchasing a Dirty Bird Scuttle is the Dirty Bird Brush Scuttle; a taller, thinner scuttle designed to keep lather and brush warm but not for actual lather creation. The inner reservoir is designed with a more cylindrical shape than that of the Moss Scuttle with the intent of exposing more ceramic surface area to the brush; and therefore exposing more heat to the brush, increasing both lather and brush, warmth and the maximum time for maintaining lather and brush warmth. To further complicate matters, Julie from Dirty Bird Pottery will customize any Dirty Bird Scuttle or Dirty Bird Brush Scuttle to a customers specifications, adding endless possibilities to the variations available in the world of Dirty Bird Scuttles. Dirty Bird Scuttles are made by Julie Moore of Dirty Bird Pottery.
The Georgetown Scuttle is yet another alternative to both the Moss Scuttle and the various Dirty Bird Scuttles. Like the Dirty Bird Scuttle the Georgetown Scuttle is designed to fill the dual purpose of lather creation and warmth retention; sporting a swirled pattern in the bottom of the inner reservoir to aid in lather creation; and in newest versions a thinner interior wall to allow better heat penetration. The Georgetown Scuttle has a more modernized appearance when compared to the Moss Scuttle and Dirty Bird Scuttle, sporting straighter lines and lacking the mid-bowl "bulge" found in both the Moss and Dirty Bird Scuttles. Georgetown Scuttles are made by Georgetown Pottery.