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Carbon water filter, London, England, 1890-1915

Some diseases can be spread through contaminated water. These include dysentery and cholera. Carbon absorbs impurities present in water making it much safer to drink. The carbon filter is inside the earthenware container and filtered water is poured out of the tap at the bottom. This large filter measures 425 mm high and was probably used in the home or in the workplace to provide fresh water.

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Glossary: water filter

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Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.

Glossary: dysentery

Infectious disease with symptoms including diarrhoea, bleeding, and abdominal cramps. It spreads in contaminated food and water, especially in the tropics.