This stunning Late 19th Century English Three-Barrel Tantalus Cart, circa 1885, originally carried three different beverage options down the dining table. Imagine this piece traveling from one head of the table to the other, offering the finest whiskey and wine to the Victorian revelers in attendance.
What makes a tantalus different from a regular decanter is that these decanters, when not in use, were kept under lock and key to make sure that the employees or any young gentleman of the house weren’t dipping into the head of the house’s reserves.
The Greek mythic figure, Tantalus, is best known for the punishment he suffered. He was forced to stand in a pool of water underneath a tree with low-hanging fruit. Whenever he went to try to drink the water, it would recede, and the branches of the fruit tree were always beyond his reach.
Just like the myth, this tantalus keeps the liquor or wine in sight, but just out of reach.