In the 18th Century, most domestic households were using considerable quantities of salt to preserve beef, pork and ham. “Salting down” was carried out in capacious vessels that could accommodate the large joints of meat. Around the middle of the century, the market for these large containers was taken over by the potteries from the coopers; they could supply a more diverse range of forms to the farmhouses, for the salting process. In addition to “the range” the potters of the period, developed a smaller container for storing salt for immediate use in the kitchen. In the Northern counties this distinctive form is known as a salt “kit.” (“kit” derives from the original wooden vessels made by the coopers for the same purpose) Although the form is open it succeeds in keeping its contents clean and dry.
The atmosphere in a kitchen is characterized by the presence of steam and condensation. In the 1700’s there would have been the added hazard of smuts from a smoking chimney.