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Insect swatter, United Kingdom, 1900-1930

Insect swatters are used to kill flies and other insects. Flies are not only a nuisance, they can also spread germs that cause disease. Killing them has often been encouraged as a public health measure. Flies can spread disease in a number of ways, for example by picking up germs from rubbish, faeces, and dirt before contaminating uncovered food which is then eaten by humans.

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Glossary: fly swatter

A device for killing insects that consists of a flat piece of perforated rubber or plastic or fine-mesh wire netting attached to a handle.