The Tiny Handles On Maple Syrup Bottles Hark Back To Days Of Old

Have ever looked at a bottle of maple syrup and wondered what those tiny little rings on the side are? They're not for tiny fingers, if that's what you were wondering. Maple syrup has been around for longer than the United States has been a country. Native Americans had been harvesting the tree sap way before Europeans arrived in North America, with indigenous tribes teaching the first settlers how to harvest the sap, and then boil it down to make the ever-delicious syrup.

Virtually all of the maple syrup in the world comes from North America. In 2022, 80% of the maple syrup consumed in the world was harvested in Canada, with 70% of that being harvested in Quebec. The remaining 20% comes from the United States. Canada exports their amber-colored sweet maple syrup to roughly 50 countries across the world. So, why exactly do maple syrup bottles have those tiny, little handles on them when they serve pretty much zero purpose? Well, one TikTok user wondered the same thing found the explanation everyone has been asking for.

Maple syrup bottles used to be a lot bigger

In a TikTok video, one person explains that maple syrup used to come in large, five-gallon jugs that needed finger holes to make them easier to carry. The bottles also served as a way of propping the jug up on your arm when pouring maple syrup on pancakes, for example. However, the modern — and usually glass — containers that maple syrup is sold in today don't have a need for finger holes as they are much smaller and lighter. With maple syrup jugs designed with little handles being patented as early as the 1920s, it's clear that the maple syrup industry wanted to keep a sense of nostalgia in the packaging, according to Canadian Museum of History curator Jean-François Lozier.

The TikTok video explains that this concept is known as skeuomorphism, which Merriam-Webster defines as, "an ornament or design representing a utensil or implement." An example of skeuomorphism given in the video include how phone cameras make a shutter noise when a picture is taken — even though phone cameras don't physically have shutters. But for nostalgia's sake, we couldn't be happier to entertain the little handle on maple syrup bottles. It may not make holding a modern bottle all that much easier, but it certainly doesn't hurt.