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Spittoons for Sale Online - Buy a Spittoon for America!

Updated on October 2, 2012

An American Design Sketch from the Golden Age of Spittoons

Let's put spittoon designers, engineers, and fabricators back to work!
Let's put spittoon designers, engineers, and fabricators back to work! | Source

America's Economy Needs a Shot in the Arm

There's plenty of spitting going on today, whether it's spitting saliva from chewing tobacco, amalgam from a visit to the dentist, or wine or coffee from a formal tasting.

The professionals--the dentists and the wine and coffee tasters--manage spit appropriately. They buy spittoons and cuspidors to keep their premises free of the vibrant bacterial and fungal life that thrives in spit. Thanks to their diligence and also to their compliance with local health regulations and anti-spitting laws, there is a solid professional spittoon economy in this country.

But what about the casual spitter, the guy or gal who either must spit or chooses to spit at home and in public? Where does that spit go when no toilet or sink or hankie is available? Is there an opportunity for the casual spitter to contribute to America’s economy just as the professionals do?

The American Spittoon Economy - Can We Resurrect It?

In the heyday of spitting in America, a bustling economy existed to promote, support, and manage spitting. From the early nineteenth-century well into the twentieth, ceramics, glass, and metal manufacturers produced an astounding variety of spittoons.

The spittoon industry provided jobs for engineers and artists to design spittoons, workers to fabricate them, and advertising copywriters to describe them. News publishers took in advertising revenue to display ads for these products. Then, spittoons were purchased by businesses and homes. The spittoons were cleaned by janitorial and domestic workers. Since everybody was spitting, mostly men, although women participated as well, spittoon supply and maintenance was every bit as much a contributor to economic growth in those years as food production. Lots of people had jobs based on spitting and spittoons.

Who Spits Today and Why Do They Do It?

In March 2009 I asked guys and gals why they spit in public. As of September 2011, 160 guys and 99 gals responded. The majority of both guys and gals (47% and 49%, respectively) said they spit in public because they have to for health reasons or because they chew tobacco or other substances that require spitting. A slightly higher percentage of gals (29%), compared to guys (24%), spit because they think spitting is “cool”. More guys (24%), compared to gals (14%), spit in public because it’s culturally acceptable (it’s how they were raised). Finally, slightly more gals (7%) than guys (5%) are avid spitting contest participants (watermelon seeds, cherry pits, and the like). You can view this informal, continuing HubPages survey of why guys and gals spit as readers continue to tell us why they spit.

The demise of this early economic success began with the court’s decisions about liability. The barbershop may have provided spittoons for the convenience and health of its patrons, but eventually, a patron tripped on a spittoon placed on the floor and broke a leg, and the barber was liable. Public spittoons disappeared in short order by the 1940s.

Today, casual spitters can both bolster our domestic economy and contribute to public health and safety by resurrecting our country’s former spittoon economy through creating a new demand for these sensible products.

Buy a Portable or Pocket Spittoon

Among today's smartest spittoons are the portable and pocket spittoons, which are handy for spitters-on-the-go. For the most part, portable and pocket spittoons are dish-washer safe (top-rack) and designed to be almost spill-proof, not to mention how much more stylish they are than a soda can, pop bottle, or Styrofoam cup.

I'm anxiously awaiting couture models strutting the runway, portable spittoons in hand, accessorizing designer fashions with coordinated portable spittoons. That would be one heck of a shot in the arm not only for the American but the global economy as well. Imagine Wall Street and 5th Avenue in the vortex of this trend!

Current Amazon Portable and Pocket Spittoon Offerings

A New Brass Spittoon

Beautiful and well-made, but a design throw-back to the nineteenth century.
Beautiful and well-made, but a design throw-back to the nineteenth century. | Source

Buy a New Spittoon to Complement Your Décor

Whether you are a spitter on-the-go or not, consider a modern beauty of spittoon fabrication and function to grace your home. If you don't have domestic staff to clean a spittoon, that’s the burden you will bear. But spittoons do look good and serve the noble purposes of containing spit and encouraging economic growth.

The best source I've found for new spittoons (other than portable and replica spittoons) is, even though you'll have to plow through the listings to find new spittoons.

Now, isn't that the best proof of the need to resurrect the spittoon industry in America? Major online sellers like Amazon and eBay return few to no spittoons when you search "new spittoons". And new, non-portable spittoons are crafted mostly according to the designs of the nineteenth century. If you readers know of deco, modern, and post-modern spittoons, please let us all know in the comments section below.

Here's a challenge to American educators and students. Research the history of and current need for spittoons. Encourage innovative approaches to design and marketing. There is a huge spitting population in this country, not to mention in the rest of the world.

I'm looking forward to the First American Spittoon Design Expo!

Antique Cobalt Glass Pocket Spittoon

Dr. Dettweiler invented this pocket spittoon to collect sputum from tuberculosis patients in the nineteenth century. True Victorian elegance!
Dr. Dettweiler invented this pocket spittoon to collect sputum from tuberculosis patients in the nineteenth century. True Victorian elegance! | Source

Buy An Antique Spittoon

For some, collecting antique spittoons is a passion, as it is for Jim Kinner. In June of 2008, his collection of more than 350 antique and vintage spittoons was considered by experts to be the largest spittoon collection in America.

Every spittoon tells a unique story through its design, material, and age. Take for instance the elegant Dr. Dettweiler cobalt blue glass pocket spittoon. The good German doctor designed this most attractive spittoon to capture the sputum of tuberculosis patients, thereby lessening the spread of the disease. In its time, this pocket spittoon would have been a relatively expensive item. Today, it is one of the most desirable spittoon collectibles, commanding an excellent price.

Antique spittoons are also rather versatile: they can be displayed in a collection or re-purposed for use as planters, vases, and umbrella stands.

When shopping online for antique spittoons, eBay is an excellent place to start. Merchandise moves rapidly and pricing is competitive. In addition, sellers sometimes write quite detailed information as part of the item description, so there's a wonderful opportunity to learn about spittoons. However, always exercise caution wherever you buy antique spittoons online. Read descriptions carefully, especially being mindful of how the word "antique" is used in the item description, and check out seller ratings before you commit to a purchase.

Buy a Spittoon for America

Buy a spittoon and set an example. There is more spitting around the world than you and I can imagine. Buying a spittoon, antique or new, portable or not, could be a healthy shot in this country’s economic arm.


What Do You Think?

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© 2010 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.


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    • profile image

      Chris Johnson 3 years ago

      I love the article, very entertaining. Spittoons do actually go really far back in the American History. You can check out some of the timeline on this page . Thanks for putting together this great article. By Chris Johnson with

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Buffalo Chips, what a great slice of life and history you shared. I had no idea spittoons were in work places as late as 1953. Your description of the boots and gloves could send shivers up my spine, but I have seen gear similar to this used in cleaning spittoons in old photos. For those who've never see this before, the concept is chilling.

      I'm sure you never had worms, but I'm guessing that wasn't because of swallowing chew. :)

      If you'd like to try publishing your article, Chewchacudquid, here, it's easy enough to join HubPages and publish. If you want some help with that, please get in touch with me through the "Contact Sally's Trove" link at the top-right of this page.

      Thank you so much for sharing your memories and experiences here.

    • profile image

      Buffalo Chips 6 years ago

      I worked in some shoe factories in missouri back in 1953. Every 20 feet was a spittoon. You leanred to walk with a jerky step for fear of getting in the way. I was in the sole department and next to us was the guy who cleaned the spittoons. He wore waist length rubber boots (like fishing gear)and long shoulder length rubber gloves. He also used a five foot wond which was a steam cleaner. Yes, the whole area stunk. Although after awhile you sort of got used to it. I chewed for 20 years and then gave it up for a bad habit. I chewed Copenhagen mostly and learned to swallow it so I didn't have to spit. Yes, it is powerful, but then they give tobacco to horses who love it and it kills worms. I can say it must have worked for me because I never had worms.

      I have written an article caled, Chewchacudquid. It is mostly humor and all true. Never have had it published.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      That's REALLY putrid, writeronline. I never heard that one, and I think I'm going to do my best to forget it. Guess I got a good taste of my own medicine *gag*. Glad this Hub was so inspiring!

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      Hi Sally's Trove, I must say that, while I frequently wrack my brain in search of ideas on what to write about, I'd have to rate this topic as one that would never have occurred to me! (I only found this Hub by chance) And yet, it's very interesting - except I keep gagging as I picture the image of somebody hoicking up a gooey wad and sharing it with anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby...

      I was reminded of the Old West story about two guys in a bar, idly drinking, idly chatting, idly watching fellow patrons smacking phlegmy deposits into the appropriately large brass spittoon.

      After a time one guy says to the other, "Tell you what Jake, I bet you ain't got the stomach to do it, but if'n you go take a sip from that spittoon, I'll make the next round doubles from the topshelf, and I'll be payin."

      Just drunk enough to take the dare, Jake strides to the spittoon, picks it up with both hands, raises it to his lips, takes a sip and swallows it, then another, and another, and another still...

      Watching Jake's adam's apple pacing the progress of the contents of the spittoon down his throat, his buddy's retching by the time Jake puts the now empty vessel down, and stumbles back to take his seat.

      "Jeez Jake, lemme get those drinks right away,I didn't mean for you to swallow the whole thing!"

      And Jake says,"Me neither, but once I started I couldn't stop. It was all in one piece.."

      Who's retching now, Sally? :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      LOL, Tony. I do seem to have a thing for spittoons, actually a thing about (not for) spitting. It's an under-researched subject that has the potential for both serious discourse and humor. In this Hub, I see it also may have some political and economic promise if handled creatively. I've written four spitting Hubs, and have three more in draft. I just can't seem to get enough of it. I think I'll shut up now. :) Glad you chuckled on this one.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      I had a nice chuckle reading this, although the idea of public spitting is rather revolting to me, I have to admit! I have no desire to spit and can't see the need of it at all. But to each their own, I guess.

      Surely spitting is not very hygenic?

      Anyway thanks for an interesting and rather unusual read (though you seem to have a thing for spittoons? I seem to remember commenting on a previous Hub of yours one the subject).

      Love and peace


    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Ashlie, thank you so much for taking the time to write your very complimentary comment. I'm glad the spittoons were pleasant surprises for you...for most they aren't! LOL

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Peggy, you're right. Most people don't think about spittoons. But now that you're thinking about them, you may be noticing them more often, like I did the redbuds. :) "Yes we can" simply pales next to "Buy a spittoon for America". LOL

    • AskAshlie3433 profile image

      AskAshlie3433 7 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

      Sally, those are some very pretty pieces. I didn't even know they existed! They would make a lovely decoration in the house somewhere. Thank you for sharing Sally. You are one of a kind and you are loved by many, here on the hubs! God Bless.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Haha! Like some others I found humor in this hub about a subject that one seldom thinks about in this day and age. Ahem! Perhaps I should have said that most people do not think about spittoons. You have obviously given it a great deal of thought. (Smile) "Buy a Spittoon for America!" New campaign slogan for the 2012 elections? Guess we will have to wait and see! :)))

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You've got just the right idea, Micky. Go for it! No spitting in the vase, and no flowers in the spit. Perfect.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      You know Sally, I don't spit but I was thinking of taking it up. This would be perfect.

      It makes a beautiful vase.

      No spitting while the spittoon is occupied with flowers!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Glad you enjoyed, Nell! Thanks so much for the good words.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, this brought back visions of the Wild West! ha ha I didn't even know they still existed, how funny! but what a great hub! lol cheers nell

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      annemaeve, thanks to our discussion the other night, there are more spitting Hubs in the wind, which you will wade through because you are an awesome daughter and critic. It was the stuffed veal pocket that made you salivate; certainly it was not the Hub on spitting. Love you.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      MsLizzy, you have a great point. Someone other than the spitter will clean the spittoons, but that drives economy. If it's the lady of the house who does this, then this act of hers goes into the accounting of her yearly financial unpaid worth. So, when there's a divorce settlement coming up, she can charge at least minimum wage for cleaning her husband's spit. (Actually, I think that worth ought to go about 100 bucks an hour.)

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 7 years ago

      Well, now that you mention the 19th century, perhaps I can be persuaded to make an exception :)

      ohhh, I know! is that what you got me for Christmas?

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Wow, FlyingPanther, thanks for the reminder of the spitting from Cameron's Titanic. I'd completely forgotten about that.

      Trish, I promise never to gift you with a spittoon, even though I might find the most gorgeous 19th century piece to add to your antique and country décor. :)

    • annemaeve profile image

      annemaeve 7 years ago from Philly Burbs

      Another fun and informative look into the world of spitters... makes me wonder how many more topics you could cover on the subject! I'm practically salivating with anticipation... or is that the veal?

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Ewww...I maintain my postion as per my comment on your earlier hub, "Spitting--Why Do Guys Do It?"

      Someone has to clean the spittoons...and IMO it should be the spitter...but we all know that's probably not going to happen in the majority of cases.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 7 years ago

      Sorry, dear friend. I find this whole topic unsettling, to say the least. Spit is disgusting, in my opinion. Of course, it's a natural bodily function, but still, gross. The idea that these spittoon sit in homes and businesses is not the healthiest thing. Who knows what germs are getting into the air. And the poor souls whose task it was to clean them, well, ugh is all I can say. What's next? Boogeroons for those who pick their noses? I'm thinking they could have contests, roll up the offensive snot into a ball and see who can flick it the furthest, and who can land one in a boogeroon. :) I've seen women, yes, women, hold one nostril closed and blow the snot out the other nostril into a sink, at the workplace! Horrifying. I can't imagine how many boogers are casually tossed on floors, in vehicles, even at home or at the workplace.

      You certainly know of my love of antiques, however, this is one item that would not find its way into my home, for any purpose LOL.

      Despite my feelings about this, you've done a wonderful job promoting spittoons!

    • FlyingPanther profile image

      FlyingPanther 7 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

      Sally.Thank you for the great hub again.Remember the movie Titanic at least we saw a few spit out in the open water LOL.Hope you're doing well.

      Love always.


    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Steve, it's preposterous, I know. And there's the laugh. I've got a mind about this which is satirical or not. So use the spittoon for leaky roof capture. There's a use for a spittoon!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sam, I hear you. There was a time for these things, they are a part of our childhoods. We've got that cusp, being on the edge of living these memories in our own heads while knowing that it's a time gone by. It's like the flat iron and the krout stone. ~Sherri

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Chris, miniature spittoons are fascinating. Some were salesmen's samples, some were made for doll houses, some for model railroads. If your miniature spittoon looks like this one, you could be "realizing" a fine holiday cash gift:

      Check out the "Price Realized".

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Sabu, I've seen pictures of what betelnut juice does when it lands on floors and walls. No a pretty sight, indeed. Say, you're an enterprising fellow...Why not start a spittoon craze in India? Thanks for the good words. :)

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Why did this make me laugh the whole way through? I don't know, but I want a spittoon now. I might just put it under that leaking ceiling!

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 7 years ago from Tennessee

      up and beautiful! Well written and descriptive hub. Interesting, nostalgic...

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Ha, ha. Another remarkable interesting hub from Sally's Trove about spitting. You know, I've always been a design fan of spittoons, but not the act or the contents within. I have a little miniature spittoon, which I have no idea if was ever used as a real one or is simply a decorative item. Certainly, decorative in terms of my use of it.

    • sabu singh profile image

      sabu singh 7 years ago

      Thank you for another well-written and well-researched Hub, ST.

      We have our fair share of spitters in India, who make an art of spitting, combining spit with red betelnut juice which does horrendous things to the substrate where it lands.

      And we also see sportsmen on TV spitting quite openly.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      No need to Neil. This Hub was just to let you know that food is not the only thing on my mind. :) Thanks for your speedy comment...I like knowing you are there.

    • profile image

      neil taft 7 years ago

      I somehow can't picture you chewing "Backer". NEIL