Tuberculosis is an illness that affects the lungs. It is more commonly known as TB and it was a big killer in Victorian times, as the conditions in towns were so bad. Housing was damp and the air was full of smoke from the factories that sprung up everywhere during the Industrial Revolution.
Tuberculosis is contagious and to avoid infection spreading sufferers would cough into a spittoon, such as the one shown here. This is a particularly nice example in blue glass, which would have been quite expensive. It is marked on both sides with the name Dr Dettweiler, who was a German doctor who pioneered the successful treatment of tuberculosis. The spittoon was made by Down Brothers and was used during the late 19th century.
This spittoon along with other examples can be seen in the Home and Domestic Care Cabinet in the Museum.