Did most saloons have spittoons in them?

Did most saloons have spittoons in them?

Stace Webb
Spokane, Washington

Many of those old time saloons in fledging boom towns had dirt floors rendering spittoons unnecessary.  Spittoons were usually spaced along the brass rails to keep the imbibers from soiling the floors. In those old photographs you’ll also see towels hanging from the bar. These were used to wipe the beer foam from one’s mustache. The germ theory didn’t become reality until 1886 so communicable diseases such as tuberculosis was spread by this unsanitary practice.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.