Tobacco chewing was popular among men of all economic classes during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In some places it is still the preferred form of tobacco use. It is a habit that produces a great deal of saliva, and tobacco chewers disposed of their saliva in metal containers called spittoons.
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The value of antique brass spittoons depends on finding a buyer who has a use for or an interest in the item, which can be used as a planter, an outdoor ashtray, an umbrella stand or for its original purpose. There are collectors of spittoons who display them because they are decorative and historically interesting .
Vintage brass spittoons are available for sale in antique stores and on the Internet for prices ranging from £3 to £32. The low price usually indicates a smaller size or an item in poor condition. Spittoons associated with history, such as the ones used in railroad cars and stamped with the logo of the Union Pacific or other line, may attract buyers who will pay a higher price.
Spittoons became a necessity in most public places at the tail end of the l9th century. Spitting on sidewalks was such problem that communities passed laws against it, but spitting in taverns and bars was acceptable, and spittoons could be found in most establishments. Chewing and spitting was generally a male habit, disdained by most women, though many Victorian homes contained a concealed spittoon.
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