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Cream spittoon, England, 1775-1850

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Spittoons are containers made for spitting into, especially for those chewing tobacco. This cream coloured spittoon may have been placed in a public area or perhaps used in the home. Spitting was a socially acceptable habit in the United Kingdom until the late 1880s when it was realised that it was connected to the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis. Since then it has been actively discouraged – at times by law – and remains a habit that is frowned upon. This type of earthenware is known as Leedsware.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: tuberculosis

An infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. The disease usually affects the lungs first, and is accompanied by a chronic cough.

Glossary: spittoon

Large containers serving as places to spit. Associated with chewing tobacco.