"The Dictionary of Blue and White Printed Pottery 1780-1880" by A.W. Coysh and R.K. Henrywood says the box was often called a toilet box and was included in a toilet set to hold toothsticks. "In Georgian times a toothstick was made by wrapping a clean piece of cloth around one end of a stick. This was then used to clean the teeth using lemon juice mixed with salt to whiten them." I will add that my dentist said that lemon juice used regularly will remove the enamel from your teeth!
Below are two toothstick or toothbrush boxes from the 1820s and 1830s. Later toothstick boxes might have a handle on the lid as well as pierced holes for ventilation.
|Toothstick or Toothbrush Boxes|
|Rose pattern toothstick box, approximately 7 inches by 3 inches by 2.5 inches high/Maker Unknown, c. 1830|
|Inside of the rose pattern toothstick box|
|Lid of the rose pattern toothstick box|
|"British Views" toothstick box, approximately 6.5 inches by 3 inches by 1.5 inches high, c. 1820|
|Lid of "British Views" toothstick box/View of Comb Bank, Kent, Maker Unknown*|
|Inside of the "British Views" toothstick box|