A Guide to Bone Toothbrushes of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Front Cover
Xlibris, 2009 - Reference - 84 pages
A Guide to Bone Toothbrushes of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries provides a brief, but detailed, discussion of the technological and social histories of toothbrushes, focusing primarily on bone toothbrushes from their origins in England in 1780, to their spread throughout the modern world, to their fading from prominence by the 1940s. The focus is primarily on brushes manufactured in England, France, Japan, and the United States. Based on a detailed analysis of 124 complete bone brushes, dated according to bottles with which they were found, the author has identified 21 types or variations. The resulting typology details the essential attributes of each type and assigns time frames assocated with each one. Shape charts for the attributes will assist in determining likely types when only a fragment of a toothbrush has been recovered. Appendices provide additional helpful information, such as a list of major toothbrush manufacturers and distributors, with key historical dates and trademarks; and an overall timeline of the types. Testing of the typology-derived dates, against dates assigned to brushes with known histories, curated by Alexandria Archaeology in Virginia, shows that the analysis of bone toothbrushes can yield dates within ten years of those derived from the historical record, thus demonstrating that bone toothbrushes are one more valuable dating tool for historical archaeologists. The book is richly illustrated with color prints, historical images, and pen and ink drawings of the types. Though written primarily for archaeologists, this book will also be of interest to social, public health, and business historians; dental health professionals; museum curators; re-enactors; present-day toothbrush manufacturers; and general readers curious about some of the more obscure facets of our past.

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