Tooth Powder Box with 1749 Halfpenny

Tooth Powder Box with 1749 Halfpenny

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The Copp family of Stonington, Connecticut used this small wooden box of vegetable tooth powder during the early 19th century. Vegetable tooth powder was an abrasive used for dental cleaning during the 18th and 19th century. Vegetable powders were mainly composed of powdered cereals mixed with potassium chloride, and sweetened with saccharine or mint. The vegetable powder was useful for its abrasive effects, but the starch from the cereals were detrimental to overall oral health.
The Copp Collection contains a variety of household objects that the Copp family of Connecticut used from around 1700 until the mid-1800s. Part of the Puritan Great Migration from England to Boston, the family eventually made their home in New London County, Connecticut, where their textiles, clothes, utensils, ceramics, books, bibles, and letters provide a vivid picture of daily life. More of the collection from the Division of Home and Community Life can be viewed by searching accession number 28810.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date box made
1825 - 1850
date coin minted
Copp Family
place box made
United Kingdom: Grand Bretagne
place coin minted
United Kingdom: England, London
place used
United States: Connecticut, Stonington
Physical Description
sycamore (box material)
paper (label material)
ink (label material)
copper (coin material)
overall: 1 1/4 in x 2 in; 3.175 cm x 5.08 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of John Brenton Copp
Dental Products
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Copp Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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