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Old 10-21-2016, 04:27 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,570

*J.M. WHITE spittoons/Communal drinking cups*
Steamboating colleagues,
Jim, thanks again for your great photos, intriguing questions eliciting, I hope, another round of discussions. I don't know about some of you, but I vividly recall as a kid seeing both brass and white or blue/white porcelain spittoons on the floor or by the bars of the old German beer bars and gardens here in Cincinnati. The men stood to drink or even eat at the bar with a separate 'retiring area' for the women with tables, chairs. Families could eat in the separate area. That went out pronto with the then new Public Health Laws here in Cincinnati. The 'toons I saw were filled somewhat with water to weight them down. Some even were already weighted with the insert 'toon basin that could be taken out, dumped, washed. Some fancy German bars here had an actual tiled water trough running on the floor in front of the bar with the shiny brass foot rail. I'd opine the 'toons on the WHITE also somewhat weighted down with water. The strong wind factor a goodie. The communal drinking cup leaves no doubt as to the then tranmission of diseases. You either had a strong immune system then or you didn't last long. They did know/understand about tranmission somewhat of cholera, possibly Yellow Feaver and Typhoid. Polio was rampant. Influenza another killer. Records, letters, memoirs comment on the somewhat 'common to crude' people witnessed on steamboats here along with their poor manners at table on steamboats. The English and continental Europeans were apppalled most of all but did like the then 'American Plan' with all steamboat meals included in the fare. European boats/ships held to the 'European Plan' where passengers paid for meals separate a la carte. The DK/DQ held to this same program on the Sacramento River.

All of those 'toons, drinking urns, dishes, crockery, cooking equipment on steamboats handled by the army of 'cabin boys' usually all Black or even some 'chambermaids.' Heck, some of us even remember the traditional white porcelain chamber pots with a lid and handle under the bunks in many of the cabins on the DELTA QUEEN. Human labor and elbow grease the answer then. I often wonder just how sanitary dishes, cutlery, cooking equipment was in those days? Even the grandest of the great sidewheel cotton boats with glorious main cabins were noted to be more than a little dingy, dusty, dirty within a few years. Not all travelers extolled the beauty of the great cabins in the cotton packets. I could go on and on but will mercifully stop at this point. Again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati
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