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, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu