Earthenware beetle trap, London, England, 1851-1900
Insects have long been seen as a nuisance – if not a health hazard – within the home and in the workplace. The crowded and dirty urban environment of Britain in the 1800s provided them with ideal conditions in which to live and breed. This insect trap, based on an ancient design, provided some defence. Encouraged by food placed within the trap, beetles and other insects would climb up the ridged sides of the trap and fall into the hole in the centre. Here they would become trapped. As the inside is smooth, they would not be able to climb out again.
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Glossary: insect trap
Pottery made of clay which is fired at a relatively low temperature. Earthenware is often semi-porous, meaning some liquid or air can pass through it. This can be altered by treating the pottery with a glaze.