It wasn't until I began selling vintage that I even knew what these were. Then I came across one as part of a set when closing out a relatives house and felt really clever that I knew what it was for!
Saving hair, that's what life was like back in the day. You saved everything because you never knew if it could be used for something in the future.
They can be beautifully ornate and look like a piece of art or have a plain and simple design .... here are some great images....
Here is the definition:
A hair receiver is a small pot, with a hole in the lid, kept on the dressing table in the Victorian era to store hair removed from brushes and combs. The hair was recycled in a number of ways—notably for stuffing small bags, called ratts, used to bulk out women's hairstyles.
Human hair was also used for stuffing pincushions and small furnishing cushions.
It was often paired with a matching trinket box or a powder jar or as part of a dressing table set, made mainly from porcelain, though glass, metal, and celluloid were also used.