The glass tea holder or the podstakannik in the Russian language is a device that was used and is still used sometimes to hold a drinking glass (stakan) which is filled with very hot tea and held in the hand. It was a traditional way of serving and drinking hot tea in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus for decades. In the former Soviet Union, a glass tea holder was an item of daily life and especially used on railroads. Tea holders were made of different metals and alloys like aluminum, German silver, copper-nickel, brass, and sterling silver. However, sterling silver’s podstakanniks are not practical because silver is a high thermal conductivity metal.
The first podstakanniks appeared in Russia in the 18th century, when drinking tea became a common habit in Russian tea culture. The interesting fact is that the importation of tea into the Russia lands from China began in the late 16th century.
The design of glass tea holders was a very varied and anecdotal. Now antique and vintage podstakanniks have become an object for collecting by many people.