Deodorising apparatus, European, c 1860-1925.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Brass deodorising apparatus consisting of an ovoid vessel with tall flaring spouts and a floral surmount supported on an openwork stand. Throughout much of the 19th century, it was commonly thought that diseases could spread through poisonous vapours, so-called miasmas. These were believed to be characterised by their foul smells. The use of equipment such as this to counteract such bad odours with sweet smelling perfumes has a centuries-long history.