Circular pewter spittoon with removable funnel-shaped lid, English, 1771-1850
Spittoons are containers made for spitting into, especially for those chewing tobacco. They were often placed in the home or in public places such as inns and taverns. This pewter spittoon has a removable lid so it can be emptied – a particularly unpleasant job. 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.