Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I wondered about the purpose of the mug with the funnel I had on a shelf.  I learned it was known as a spitting cup, spitting pot or lady's spittoon.    The spittoon is approximately 4.5 inches by 3.25 inches, and could easily be mistaken for a mug if it didn't have its funnel (it actually is a mug without its funnel).  Although I wondered if ladies in the 19th century had more need to spit than ladies today, I think they may have used the spittoon to get rid of the tobacco or snuff they chewed or the blood from tuberculosis.  I really know little about it.  Please let me know if you have more information.

The spitting cup below was made at the Bovey Tracey Potteries (1842-1957).  It is titled "The Gem," and shows different images that illustrate the four seasons; ice skating for Winter and raking in a field for Summer are shown here.  "The Gem" was made in the mid-nineteenth century, but I found a lovely Wedgwood "Water Lily" example, circa 1810-1815, in the Friends of Blue "True Blue" book (illustrated on p. 129 (17) and discussed on p. 84 (17). 

Spitting cups were made in other shapes.  Here is a link to one in the Spode Online Exhibit:

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, "The Gem" circa 1850/I used tape to keep the lid on 

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, Winter View

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup, Summer View

Bovey Tracey Spitting Cup with View of the Funnel
Spitting Cup, possibly Minton

Spitting Cup View of Funnel

Spitting Cup and Funnel


  1. Does David have sand from Sanibel or Captiva?

  2. He doesn't have any sand from Florida!

  3. Nice spittalcups, Judie! I have collected lady's spittoons & cuspidors for more than 40 years and, of the 450+ in all forms of art & cut glass, porcelain, china, metal figural types & even a few hidden in upholstered Victorian footstools, I have always favored these colorful & dainty objects! I have added your interesting blog to my email list and look forward to more of your informative articles!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments! I look forward to hearing more from you.

    2. Very interesting post! Did Victorian ladies really spit or could they be for sick children? Like the little vomit pots so often labelled "miniature or child's chamber pot" here in the UK

    3. I read that ladies' spittoons or spitting cups were used by women suffering from TB and other respiratory illnesses. They could be used by children too. As for the children's chamber pots, I think they were intended as jokey souvenirs or gifts. At such a small size, the one I have in my collection is 2 inches high by 2.5 inches in diameter, they would have been a mess to use with a young child! Spitting or otherwise! I imagine a normal sized chamber pot was used.