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 Museum Explorer

Daily life in Europe

Snuff box

Length: 7.100 cm
Width: 5.600 cm

M&ME 1895,5-21,21

Snuff box and cover

From: Birmingham, England
Date: around AD 1770

Tobacco plants were grown in North America from the 17th century. The leaves were taken by ship to Europe where people would smoke the tobacco, or take snuff. Snuff is a powder made from tobacco leaves that smells nice. People would sniff a small pinch up their nose to get the full flavour.

Snuff was expensive, so people would keep it safe in special snuff boxes. This box was made in 1770 and has a picture of a famous politician, John Wilkes, on its cover.