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Similar to wrist watches the hip flask began to appear in the form it is recognized today in the 18th century, initially used by members of the gentry However, less compact versions had been in production for several centuries. Notably, in the Middle Ages, there are several accounts of gutted fruit being used to store liquor. During the 18th century, women boarding docked British warships would smuggle gin into the ship via makeshift flasks, created from pig's bladders and hidden inside their petticoats. Following the act of prohibition in 1920s America, the state of Indiana banned the sale of cocktail shakers and hip flasks.
Antique hip flasks, particularly those made of silver, are now sought-after collector's items.
In the Royal Air Force, “hip-flask” was used as code for a revolver.
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