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Silver vinaigrette with hinged lid, Birmingham, 1809

Vinaigrettes were small, often ornamental containers filled with vinegar. If a person was about to faint, the sharp smell of the vinegar would shock the body into action. They could also carry sweet smelling substances and be used as pomanders. They were carried by both men and women. The container is small enough to be portable and carried in a pocket and may be engraved with the initials of its owner.

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Glossary: vinaigrette

Small receptacles to contain scented vinegar, formerly used by women, and sometimes men, to ward off faintness. A small container with a perforated top, used to contain an aromatic substance such as vinegar or smelling salts, especially popular for women in Victorian times to combat the aroma from the waste products common in cities.