Long before water came in little plastic bottles, many public places provided a bucket (or barrel) of water and a public drinking cup (or dipper). Thirsty after a long train ride? Just walk up to the bucket, dip the common cup into it and enjoy a cool drink. (But be sure to return the cup to its peg so the next person can use it.)
Kentucky outlawed the public drinking cup in 1912 and required all stores, hotels, boarding houses, depots and other public places where drinking water was usually available to post a warning sign requiring the parched visitor to provide his own personal cup.
Nevertheless, the common water barrel and shared tin dipper remained a fixture at the Kentucky Confederate Home through at least 1920.
(See Hartford (Ky.) Herald, June 10, 1912.)