Oval snuff box, England, 1807
Snuff boxes were personalised by their owners or given as valued gifts. They come in a large variety of shapes, sizes and materials. This oval brass box has the owner’s name and the date (1807) displayed on the lid. The finely ground tobacco was snorted through the nose or rubbed on the gums. Snuff was popular from the 1700s for its aroma, taste and stimulating nicotine boost. It was also believed to ward off colds, be good for ear, nose and throat problems and stop snoring. (Pictured here with two other snuff boxes A49937 and A49942).
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Glossary: snuff box
a small usually ornamental container for holding snuff Boxes, usually having a hinged lid and small enough to be carried in the pocket, used for holding snuff
A chemical compound that forms 0.6-3.0 per cent of the dry weight of tobacco. Nicotine acts as a stimulant in mammals, and is one of the primary reasons for smoking addiction.
Tobacco that has been finely powdered. Snuff is usually sniffed through the nose, or applied to the gums with a finger.