1890's Antique Victorian Ironstone Ladies Spitoon, Cuspidor, Mug Cup
#AD197 Vintage Lady Spittoon Mug, Cuspidor or Coffee Can:
This is a rare 19th century ladie's spitoon, decorated with early Victorian iconic gold gilded embellishments in old white ironstone pottery. It measures 4 inches high and the condition is beautiful. There is some slight wearing of the painted gold gilding from hand use, otherwise in beautiful condition, a wonderful piece of tobacciana.
A spittoon or spitoon was made simply to spit into in the era of extensive use of dipping and chewing tobacco. It is also called a cuspidor, cuspidore or Sputum Mug or cup. Without the spitoon insert, it would be used as a mug, cup or coffee can.
Generally a spitoon was a large round brass vessel found in the public for the use of men in saloons, pubs, stores, banks, railcars and public meeting houses, as well as in the private home. More elaborate glass and highly decorated porcelain and high quality sterling silver spitoons were made for the elite class.
This is a small and delicate example, made for the personal use of women in the Victorian era. It features a wide gold rim on removable cover piece with gilded flowers and a delicate decorative scroll handle. It has no markings. It is highly embellished. it should be noted it is 2 separate pieces, the lid and mug, and is unusual in nature.
Historically, the use of spitoons were in use from the 1880's Victorian era until the 1915 WWI era .The spitting on floors and streets and in public became such a problem that laws were enacted and put in place to counter it. "Do not Spit" posters were hung in public places, and the eventual placing of public spitoons was considered am advancement in health, manners and society.
They were eventually deemed unsanitary in the spread of tuberculosis, and the use of the spittoon was over by the end of the Edwardian era. Today we see their use as acceptable in wine and coffee tasting, and of course are found on the side of the chair in dentist trips.
This old piece was found in the local Newton Abbot, Devon, England area and came out of a Devon house with another rare decorated ironstone ladie's mask jug spitoon and early baby or invalid feeder. They were all owned by the same British family. The other 2 pieces mentioned can be found here and here.
In the era of suffragettes and women's rights, this 125 year old piece was a women's perogative and is in wonderful condition. Click images to see condition in close up views and click again to open full images on screen for scrolling to right. Interesting old women's era pieces such as this are are highly collectible. It is quite rare and unusual to have the mug's spitoon insert intact, and also in wonderful condition, as they would generally be separated over time.
Size: 4 inches high, 3 inch diameter mug, 4.25 inches wide with handle
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Book: Anthology of British Cups, Michael Berthoud 1982 (Coffee Cans too)