Blue glass sputum bottle, England, 1871-1920

1871-1920 in England

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Blue glass sputum bottle with metal cap and graduated scale in cubic centimetres, English, 1871-1920.

Sputum bottles were used by people with tuberculosis to cough sputum into. The foul-smelling sputum contains the bacteria responsible for causing the disease. Contact with sputum, coughed up from the lungs, could spread the disease. The blue glass bottle would have been cleaned and disinfected after use.

This example has a scale in cubic centimetres moulded on to the side, perhaps to measure how much sputum a patient produced daily. This may have been to record how the person’s treatment was progressing.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
aluminium (metal), blue, complete, glass
sputum bottle

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