Curator’s Curios: January 7, 2014 Reveal

Thanks for all your guesses on this week’s Curio – read on to find out the answer!

A chamber pot was a good guess, because this object is somewhat related – it’s a spittoon, which means it was used as a receptacle for spitting into!  You can see the rim of a hole in the container, through which communal spit was drained.  Before the 1900s, people mainly chewed tobacco instead of smoking cigarettes.  This produced a lot of spit, and during the latter half of the 1800s it was considered unhygienic and ungentlemanly to spit on the floor or the sidewalk.  It was common to find spittoons in many public places where men gathered, like pubs or hotels.  The fancier the establishment, the more elaborate the spittoon.

DSCF1262_artifact #2176

What sort of building do you think this spittoon was used in?

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