Tantalus, a Greek mythological figure, is most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink. Historically, a Tantalus was a small wooden cabinet containing two or three decanters. Its defining feature was a lock and key to stop unauthorized people drinking the contents (in particular, "servants and younger sons getting at the whisky"), while still allowing them to be on display. The original patent in 1881 was by George Betjemann, a cabinet maker from the Netherlands. Very few Betjemann examples survive in complete condition; those that do are sold at auction for thousands of dollars.