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Pastille burner in the shape of a house, Europe, 1820-1850

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In the 1800s pastilles were burnt to produce fragrant smells in an attempt to fumigate or deodorise what could often be very foul smelling air. In this burner, vapours would have travelled up through the chimney of the model house and out into the room. In the mid-1800s, theories of disease focussed on the idea of miasmas – foul smelling vapours that were believed to carry and spread disease. Domestic devices like these, while not protecting the householder, could at least rid the house of the worst of the offending odours.

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