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Mechanical tobacco box, England, 1770-1830

In the 1700s, before the era of cigarette machines, penny-slot machines like this one were used in taverns and pubs in London to sell tobacco for smoking, chewing and snorting. Inserting an old British penny (1d) into the slot would have sprung open the lid to reveal tobacco. The box was designed in Bridgwater, Somerset, England.

Object number:

A3298

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Glossary:

Glossary: tobacco box

Small box used for carrying smoking or chewing tobacco, especially those with unattached fitted covers. For similar box having a hinged lid instead of an unattached, fitted cover, use "snuffbox."