A vinaigrette is a small ornamental box containing smelling salts or aromatic vinegar soaked in an absorbent wad. They were used by both men and women at a time when the sewage system was not as effective as it is today! Deoderants were also non existant!
Antique silver vinaigrettes should always have a gilded interior and grill, thus preventing vinegar and the like from reacting with the silver. Opening the box will reveal a decorated grill which invariable has a right hand hinge. The wad would have been inside the box beneath the grill.
by John C Moore of Tiffany & Co., New York 1870-1875.