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Old medicine bottle

old medicine bottle

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The first recorded use of molded proprietary embossing on an American made bottle body was around on a Dr. Robertson's Family Medicine bottle McKearin This category is primarily based on age as reflected by the bottles exhibiting the manufacturing related features typical of bottles made in the U. The few shapes and styles briefly discussed here are just a small sampling of the shapes produced and are not usually exclusive to this period; bottles of very similar shapes were also made after the Civil War when the diversity of shapes was many times richer.

This early medicinal bottles section is essentially an overview of the diagnostic features that typify bottles made during the first half of the 19th century; see the Mouth-blown Bottle Dating page for more information. All pontil types are possible on early medicinal bottles, though blowpipe and iron pontil scars are the most frequently observed. See the Bottle Finishes page for more information on bottle finishing techniques.

Of course, many of these imperfections can be observed on later mouth-blown bottles and even some machine-made bottles in the 20th century. However, the earliest bottles will have a higher number of these traits present on the same bottle and usually the trait is more distinct, i. The early, dark olive green almost black glass medicine bottle pictured above left is embossed on four sides with C. This product was advertised between and as a cure for consumption tuberculosis , liver complaint, asthma, colds, coughs, and pains in the side and chest Odell This bottle has a crudely applied short oil finish, was blown in a two-piece "hinge" mold as indicated by the mold seam crossing diagonally across the entire base , has a sand pontil scar , and of course, no evidence of mold air venting as this bottle pre-dates the widespread use of that technology by many decades.

The dark olive green color as well as the overall crudeness of manufacturing is very indicative of an early manufacturing date. Click on the following links for more images of this bottle: base view showing the fairly distinct sand pontil scar; side view ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. The last two pictures show some of the body crudeness typical of earlier mouth-blown bottles of all types.

The large, dark olive green black glass square medicinal bottle pictured to the right most likely dates from the s or early s and is covered in the "Sarsaparilla" section later on this page. It is a bottle shape that was relatively commonly used for medicinal as well as other products particularly liquor during this early era.

Medium to dark olive green or olive amber glass was a common color for the earliest types of bottles, including medicine bottles as this and the prior bottle Brinkerhoff's indicate. This bottle is rectangular with arched and indented panels on the three sides with embossing and a flat, non-indented panel on the reverse for the label which is often called the "label panel" on paneled bottles. The body is also several times taller than the neck height.

These features rectangular with beveled corners and one or more indented panels are a very commonly repeated pattern of conformation for medicine bottles made between the s and the s, the latter period which would include machine-made bottles. Click the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view showing the very distinct and large red iron pontil scar which is scored into the glass; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish.

What was "searched" for in the blood is lost to history but does reflect the boundless creativity that patent medicine producers found in describing their products. It was advertised in the Hollidaysburg Register in as good for cancer, scrofula, scald head, liver complaint, low spirits, paralysis, syphilitic diseases, and other maladies Odell Sounds like it was high in alcohol which was very common. The yellowish green rectangular medicine bottle pictured to the right is not body embossed but is typical of a generic, "label only" medicine bottle of the era.

It has a crudely applied patent or extract finish, blowpipe pontil scar, was blown in a hinge mold as indicated by the mold seam crossing diagonally across the entire base , and has no evidence of mold air venting. Click on the following links to see more images of this bottle: base view showing the blowpipe pontil scar; shoulder, neck, and finish showing the crudely applied patent or extract finish.

The grouping of small 3" [8 cm] to 5" [13 cm] aqua bottles pictured to the left are an assortment of very typical pontil scarred "utility" type bottles that date from the s to mid s all were excavated in the West , have no embossing, and were most commonly used for medicinal products. All of these small bottles exhibit the characteristics noted earlier: pontil scarred bases all blowpipe style , "true" two-piece molded "hinge" molds, though one bottle is not molded , and various early style finishes rolled, thinly flared, early applied.

The first from left to right , third laying down , and sixth bottles are sided which was a common configuration for utility medicinal bottles of the era. An example of one of these generic paneled bottles with the original label is described below. Five of the six bottles are molded, with one 5th being free-blown or possibly dip-molded.

All have relatively thin glass which is a typical characteristic of these early type medicinal bottles. In fact, these bottles are most often only found as fragments. A few other images of early medicinal bottles bottles, many of which are used and discussed elsewhere within this website, are available by clicking on the following links. This helps show a bit of the diversity of shape found in these bottles: DR.

Sarsaparilla's are covered specifically below though this particular bottle is a classic example of an early medicinal dating from about, i. OLD D R. An example of the "knock-off" competitor to the Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla. It dates from the same era as the bottle noted above , but was made in a deep emerald green color and has very heavy "whittle marks.

The embossing is all on one side and as follows: DR. It has a crudely rolled finish, crudely "whittled" aqua colored glass, and was made in a two-piece "hinge" mold as evidenced by a diagonal mold seam across the base. It is not pontil scarred though many are. Given these physical features which are very typical of medicinal bottles made during the midth century and the context of where it was found this particular bottle likely dates from about to possibly the early s which would be the later end of the "early" era discussed here.

The company did, however, produce several other medicines for clearly internal use including a couple types of sarsaparilla, "Itch Ointment", "Kreosote Toothache Drops", and "Balm of X Thousand Flowers" - some of which could have been contained in this generic type bottle Odell This is another relatively common bottle from the same company as the bottle above but produced in a larger cylindrical shape.

It also dates from the s and is embossed vertically with G. It was produced in a post-bottom mold and exhibits the same general manufacturing characteristics as the example above including a lack of a pontil scar though many of these bottles are pontiled. The cylindrical Merchant's bottle likely date from the s through the s, but seem to have not been produced after that time, though other styles were Odell ; empirical observations.

It also could have held any of the products of this company. Click the following links for additional images of this bottle: base view ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. Although this particular bottle is very uncommon, the oval in cross-section flattened shape is common to medicinal bottles made during the mid 19th century as well as later. This example has a blowpipe pontil scar, was blown in a key base mold, has an applied double ring finish, and the overall crudeness of an earlier mouth-blown bottle.

It likely dates from the s to possibly as late as the mid s Odell Click on the following links for more images of this bottle: base view showing the blowpipe pontil scar and oval shape in cross-section; side view ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. These big early cylinder medicinal bottles are relatively commonly found on midth century historic sites on the Eastern Seaboard and occasionally elsewhere.

Earlier bottles are typically various shades of medium to dark green like the pictured example which is from the late s or s with later similar shaped ones later s and early s being shades of aqua. The pictured example is not pontil scarred but many are with both sand and iron pontil marks. Swaim's Celebrated Panacea claimed to cure many diseases, including those induced by the ingestion of too much mercury.

However, the product was later found to actually contain sublimate - a mercury containing compound! Click on the following links to view more images of this early medicinal bottle: base view ; reverse view ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. It is just over 6" tall, has a blowpipe pontil scar click side and base view , an early style thin flared aka wide prescription finish, and was blown in a non-air vented mold.

These type aqua paneled bottles in various sizes are commonly encountered on historic sites from the noted period, though rarely encountered as pontiled bottles on post-Civil War sites. This bottle likely dates from a bit later than that time though could possibly date as early as Photos courtesy of www. Some of same shaped bottles carried over from the "early" period well into the decades after the Civil War; the Swaim's Panacea noted above is a good example of a bottle that straddles both eras.

During this transition many or most of the manufacturing based diagnostic features apparent on the bottles would change with the times. Overall, the dating of these type bottles follows quite well the guidelines presented throughout this website and summarized on the Bottle Dating page; see that page for more information. At the time of writing, this book was still available from the author; see the References page for Odell's website address.

In addition, Hume's book "A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America" has some good early history and illustrations with dates of early pharmaceutical and patent medicine bottles. Return to the top of this page. The general group of patent and proprietary medicine bottles certainly includes the largest number of different shapes within the massive group of bottles covered by this webpage.

Very few 19th and early 20th century medicines were actually formally patented; thus, the use of the term "proprietary" as most of these products were simply the proprietary product of a particular individual or company AMA Although technically incorrect, the generic term "patent medicine" was and continues to be the most commonly used name applied to remedial agents sold without prescription and the term is still associated with this group of bottles Munsey ; Fike Incidentally, the first patent issued for a medicinal product in the U.

Dozens of "categories" that could be covered separately are not simply because there are too many. Fike used over 40 categories in his classic medicinal book! Other references, like those noted above and on the References page, must be consulted to get a more complete picture of the scope of this group of bottles and the history behind them.

During the period from the s through the first several decades of the 20th century, "bitters" and "tonics" were very common medicinal products that usually contained alcohol, very often in a high proportion. Click Hostetter's label to view an original label noting the alcohol content of that product and the "reasons" why it was that high. Bitters and the related "tonics" were presumably originated during the 18th century in England as way to avoid the heavy taxes on liquor by adding various harsh tasting herbs to gin, claiming medicinal qualities, and calling it "bitters.

The popularity of these products in the U. As that author noted - "The celebrated claims of a specific remedy and cure were always more enjoyed when one experienced a reassuring warm glow. Also, for many years women as well as men regarded whiskey as essential for health. The use of the word "tonic" in the name of these products was likely an enhanced attempt to imply medicinal qualities to basically the same product.

Many used both terms in their name e. One example was the midth century product named Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic which came in an attractive ringed "barrel" shaped bottle. By the s and beyond, driven by the increasing regulations prompted by the Pure Food and Drugs Act, bitters as a medicinal product diminished and the product became more of a flavoring for mixed drinks which is the primary use today e.

A few tonics continue as medicines to this day, though they are not common empirical observations. The cabin shaped bottles pictured above and to the right were also a very popular product during the s, s, and s. It was made in an attractive log cabin shape early marketing savvy and is embossed on the different levels of the roof with S.

Click on close-up view for an image of the upper half of the above bottle and the embossing. These bottles were always mouth-blown in post-bottom molds, have applied finishes tooled finishes are possible but never observed by the author , and have no evidence of mold air venting - all consistent with the era of popularity. Probably several hundred different molds were used to produce very subtly different versions of these bottles in an array of colors, though by far the most common glass colors are various shades of amber.

The product was produced until at least Fike , though the cabin shaped bottles appear to not have been used after the s. The image to the right shows the two primary mold variations of the Plantation Bitters : the "6-log" left which is the earlier and more common type s and s and the "4-log" right which is the later, slightly narrower body style which dates from the late s into the mids empirical observations. The number of logs is the number above the label panel on the front of the bottle.

There were probably upwards or over of a hundred different molds used to produce the "6-log" variety and at least some dozens of molds for the "4-log" variation. Note: There is also an "5-log" mold version that is rarely encountered. The gentleman pictured in the ca. Dozens of cases were found on the Bertrand and the Republic , which were both steamships that sank in in widely separate areas of the country Switzer ; Gerth Bottle labels from that same period noted the following: "Composed of pure St.

A Most effectual Tonic, beneficial Appetizer and wholesome Stimulant; imparting tone to the stomach and strength to the system Plantation Bitters are a very commonly found bottle on historic sites active during the era noted and also very commonly seen today in perfect condition since many of these bottles like most figural bitters were not discarded, but instead kept as decorative items for a window or china cabinet.

It is relatively representative of the earlier style bitters bottles though there was a fair amount of variety even then to the shapes. This bottle has an applied rounded "bead" finish, was blown in a two-piece hinge mold, has a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, and lacks evidence of mold air venting. Note the large air bubble in the picture. This product was first produced at least as early as and continued as late as , though most embossed bottles appear to date from the late s into the early to mids shades of olive green, amber, and aqua; virtually always pontiled through at least the s to early s.

As a side note, having embossing on four sides is relatively unusual the label was most likely applied right over some of the embossing but is somewhat more commonly seen on "earlier" medicinal bottles, i. Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view showing the blowpipe style pontil scar; reverse large side ; one narrow side ; the other narrow side ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish.

It has a general shape and color that was very commonly used for packaging bitters and tonics - square with a long body and relatively short neck and amber in color. The base is also embossed with P. These particular bottles date from the first decade or so of that date range, i. These bottles are mouth-blown in a cup-bottom mold with a tooled finish with air venting marks on each shoulder.

It was a product of T. Lash Sacramento, CA. The "typical" square bitters bottle in black glass very dark forest green pictured to the left is embossed vertically with DR. The product was first produced in Odell with embossed bottles used by at least as embossed black glass examples were found on the S.

This particular bottle is a very crude earlier example having been blown in a key base mold true two piece mold without a pontil scar, a very crudely applied oil finish, and lacks any evidence of air venting which in hand with the color indicate the noted date range Switzer However, a very large majority of embossed Hostetter's Bitters were made in shades of amber glass from the s into the s and beyond in apparently other types of bottles.

Click Hostetter's Bitters to see a typical amber example made about tooled finish, multiple air venting, cup-bottom mold produced which has the original labels noting "The Food and Drugs Act of June 30th, " which gives an earliest possible date terminus post quem or TPQ for this bottle. Click Hostetter's label to see one labeled side; click second Hostetter's label to see the other label.

The high alcohol content of this product undoubtedly contributed to it being one of the most popular bitters in the U. Note: this bottle is also used as a dating example on the Examples page. The long neck, olive green bottle almost "black glass" pictured to the right is what was called by bottle makers a "boker bitters" style or just "bitters" bottle and appears to be uniquely American in origin Hagerty Bros. These distinctively shaped, cylindrical rarely with multi-paneled bodies bottles feature a long, bulging neck which is typically close to the length of - and sometimes longer - the body and shoulder in combination; the bottle pictured here is typical of the style.

The pictured example was blown in a three-piece mold with no evidence of air venting, has a crudely applied "champagne" style finish, and a sand pontil scar on the base indicating likely manufacture in the s as sand pontils were quite unusual after that time.

Sand pontils are very commonly encountered on bottles made from the early to mid 18th through midth centuries. These pontils are particularly ubiquitous on English-made bottles from that era, though also are seen on American-made bottles - like Jones Click on base view to see such showing vaguely the sand pontil. The name "boker bitters" for this style of bottle almost certainly originated from the popular " Boker's Stomach Bitters " which was bottled in this bottle type by J.

Boker of New York in the midth century. According to a period recipe for "Boker's Bitters," besides water the basic ingredient for the product was - not surprisingly - whiskey along with " These ladies leg style bottles in all kinds of colors - though typically amber or olive green - are very commonly encountered often broken at the junction of the neck and shoulder - a weak spot on historic sites throughout the U. The style seemed most popular from the s until s though were made as mouth-blown bottles until at least Illinois Glass Co.

This style is strongly identified with "bitters" although may have been used for other alcoholic products at times Wilson A few other images of bitters and tonic bottles, many of which are used elsewhere within this website, are available by clicking on the following links. Bottle is cylindrical, 9. Click Lacour's Patent to see this bottle patent. Bottle is rectangular, 8. It was a very popular - and undoubtedly high alcohol - product during the s and s. They date from the early to mids and were likely made and used in San Francisco, CA.

The are covered in more depth as examples on the Bottle Finishes page. The bottle is rectangular with the narrower sides rounded, 8. This product was made by the Jas. Ross Company of Indianapolis, IN. This bottle dates from the s or more likely the early 20th century as it has a tooled double ring finish, blown in a cup-bottom mold, and has numerous air venting marks. It has also turned a dark amethyst indicating the glass was decolorized with manganese which was common with mouth-blown colorless glass bottles made in the era.

This is a label only tonic bottle from Portland, OR. It is a malt i. The embossing is DR. Bottle is rectangular and 8. It likely dates from the to era based on these diagnostics features. Dating of these type bottles follows quite well the guidelines presented throughout this website and summarized on the Bottle Dating page; see that page for more information.

Sarsaparillas Sarsaparilla was a very common category or "type" of medicine sold in the 19th century and continuing well into the 20th. The main ingredients for making sarsaparilla were the roots from an assortment of plant species of the genus Smilax which are found throughout the world. The specific species primarily used for making the medicinal product were native to the Western Hemisphere, including the U. Mexican, Honduras, and Jamaican sarsaparilla roots were very commonly used and sold under those names as were East Indian products Frederick Stearns Sarsaparilla root extracts the "active" ingredients were extracted with alcohol , which were often mixed with the extracts from other plants of reputed medicinal value, were recognized as of value for blood related diseases and for blood "purification" - as well as a host of other ailments including syphilis - during the 19th century.

Sarsaparilla medicines were so popular during the midth century that a period treatise on pharmacy noted that druggists called the era of the s when the dark olive green Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla pictured below right was at its zenith of popularity the "sarsaparilla era. By the early 20th century sarsaparilla was more well known as a soda water flavor than medicine, though many or most sarsaparilla beverages did not actually contain any sarsaparilla root extract.

Instead, the flavoring was provided by a mixture of oil of sassafras, methyl salicylate or oil of wintergreen or sweet birch Shimko Like with most of the types of patent medicines covered on this page, sarsaparilla bottle shapes were very diverse and few shapes are strongly identified with this product. One that is identified fairly strongly with sarsaparilla is represented by the first two bottles pictured here though this shape was also used occasionally for other medicinal products including tonics, bitters, and various other cures and remedies.

Glassmakers catalogs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries did often call this type rectangular bottle with indented panels and variably sloping shoulders a "sarsaparilla" bottle Illinois Glass Co. A few examples are discussed below. The sarsaparilla bottle pictured to the left above contained one of the most popular sarsaparilla brands produced during the last quarter of the 19th through the first half of the 20th century.

This bottle most likely dates between late s to early s as it has a tooled double ring finish and multiple mold air venting marks on the beveled edges opposite the mold seams, though it was produced in a post-bottom mold - an attribute that is somewhat commonly seen on larger medicinal bottles up until the very early s. Later examples mid to late s into the s are identical to the pictured example but machine-made, with a cork accepting double ring and later external screw thread finishes Shimko ; DeGrafft This product was first produced in the mids and continued until at least Fike The distinctive look to the bottle with the separate horizontal and curved indented panels was imitated by other patent medicine producers including the much less popular Brown's Sarsaparilla.

Click on the following links to view more images of the Hood's Sarsaparilla : base view which is embossed with "30" a mold number of no meaning now ; view of the "C. Hood's Sarsaparilla competed fiercely with the older cross-town rival Ayer's Sarsaparilla originated in produced by the J.

Holcombe Ayer's Sarsaparilla - which was bottled in a similar shape and size bottle - was also a very popular product from the midth century some Ayer's bottles come with pontil scars to at least the midth century Fike Both companies were pioneering - and prolific - advertisers which may help explain their popularity DeGrafft The Ayers company boasted that their advertising almanac was second only to the bible in circulation Heetderks They also imply in the s trade card pictured to the right that the discovery of their product was on a par with Columbus discovering the New World.

The sarsaparilla bottle pictured to the left is similarly shaped to the Hood's and a relatively popular brand during the same era. It has the original label and contents, which look unappetizing to say the least. It was blown in a cup-bottom mold, has a tooled double ring finish, and single mold air venting marks on each of the shoulders opposite the mold seams.

These features in combination indicate an approximate production range from the s to possibly the early s. Research indicates that the company was founded in with the product produced at least as late as Shimko ; Fike Given the above, we can reasonably conclude that this bottle dates between and This bottle also illustrates some of the problems with categorization of the different medicinal bottles as it is both a sarsaparilla and a tonic bottle.

In a wide open, "anything goes" age with no required standards for much of anything, one would not expect standardization of medicine naming. It is common for medicines to have a mixture of naming classes for the same product, e. The dark olive green "black glass" bottle to the right is embossed with DR. It was blown in a two-piece hinge mold, has a crudely applied variation of an oil finish, is very crude in the body lacking any evidence of mold air venting, and has a sand pontil scar on the base.

Samuel Townsend first introduced his product in and it appears to have been among the most popular sarsaparillas of the pre-Civil War era. At least several dozen different molds were used to produce these common early bottles up until embossed bottles were discontinued in the s; the product was apparently paper labeled after that time and produced until at least Fike This bottle is another example of the "early medicinal bottles" covered earlier on this page and is at least 50 years older than the two sarsaparilla bottles discussed above.

More images of sarsaparilla bottles, many of which are used elsewhere within this website, are available by clicking on the following links: DR. Another olive green example of a Dr. An example of the knock-off competitor to the Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla with the "OLD" added to differentiate and presumably make it sound like the originator Shimko It dates from the same era as the bottles noted above , but was made in a deep emerald green color and has very heavy whittle marks.

This is an example of a classic "blob" style soda water bottle that was used for the type of sarsaparilla that was more beverage than medicine. It is embossed with E. Picture courtesy of Glass Works Auctions. This is a large 9. It has a crudely applied "oil" finish, blown in a post-base mold, no mold air venting evidence and lacks a pontil scar although these have been observed with both blowpipe and improved iron pontil scars within the indented base.

This product was produced in by John D. Park in Cincinnati, OH. The B. This bottle is from the s portion of that time range as it is not pontiled. Park also had connections during the noted time frame in San Francisco, CA. The best source of information on this class of medicinal bottles is in Phyllis Shimko's book entitled "Sarsaparilla Bottle Encyclopedia" which includes extensive histories on hundreds of different sarsaparilla bottles produced throughout the U.

That book is quite hard to come by these days but useful amount of the information was quoted in Richard Fike's "The Bottle Book - A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicine Bottles" published in and, I believe, still available from another publisher or as a used book online.

Add in the larger number of these products that were identified by label only and the number of proprietary cures, remedies and related medicinal compounds produced during the noted era was staggering. As noted in the introduction to this page, the Pure Food and Drugs Act was the beginning of the end for the worst excesses of the quackery that was rampant throughout the 19th century.

That Act required that products containing any of a list of potentially dangerous or addicting substances be labeled as to the substance and its quantity Use of the word "cure" for most medicines was nominally prohibited unless it could be scientifically proved though there were little teeth in the law and enforcement was rare AMA However, the word "cure" began to be replaced by "remedy" and other more vague terms about this time, though "cure" was still used to some degree at least up to the passage of the Sherley Amendment in Fike Practically speaking, medicine bottles using the word "cure" in the embossing or on the label date prior to empirical observations.

The aqua and aqua was by far the most common glass color for mouth-blown medicinals during the 19th and early 20th centuries patent medicine pictured above contained a medicinal product very popular during the mid to late 19th century continuing well into the 20th century. The product was first introduced in as the initial offering from the J. Ayer Company of Lowell, Mass. The s era trade card for the product pictured to the right notes on the reverse side that it "rapidly cures Colds, Coughs, Sore Throat Whooping Cough and Consumption The pictured bottle dates from approximately to and has an applied double ring finish, blown in a post-bottom mold, and shows no evidence of mold air venting.

Identical examples are found with pontil scars dating back to at least the s and tooled finish examples that date as late as the s; similar machine-made examples have not been noted. Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view showing the post-bottom mold conformation; view of the CHERRY side ; view of the PECTORAL side ; view of the reverse side of the bottle ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish.

The basic features of this general style are that it is narrowly rectangular in cross-section with indented panels on two to all four sides; thus the "panel" type names. One or both of the two larger paneled sides were used to contain a label identifying the contents and makers.

These bottles also have body heights that are distinctly taller than the shoulder, neck, and finish in combination though there are inevitably exceptions and necks and finishes that are narrow in diameter. This conformation of bottle is fairly strongly identified with a wide array of medicinal products as well as castor oil a medicinal product , flavoring extracts though those often had a ring molded on the neck , and any liquid product that was sold in relatively small quantities; the pictured bottle only holds a couple ounces.

Dating of various examples would follow the guidelines found elsewhere on this website; see the Bottle Dating pages. Bottles of this shape are commonly found with embossing identifying them as medicinal products see next bottle , though a majority are unembossed like the pictured example. This bottle is very early for the style as it exhibits more "primitive" manufacturing based diagnostic features including a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, crudely applied oil finish, blown in the two-piece hinge mold, and lacks any evidence of any mold air venting.

It almost certainly dates from the mids to mids era based on these features as well as the context of where it was excavated with a large number of almost totally pontil scarred bottles. Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view showing the round blowpipe pontil scar which is close to the diameter of the neck; side view ; close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish.

The deep cobalt blue bottle pictured to the right is another example of a "straight neck panel" bottle similar to the one described above in shape, though with a patent instead of an oil finish, three indented panels instead of four, and of course in a more brilliant color.

The wider sides of the bottle, of which one is indented shown in picture and one not, are not embossed. It was for the treatment of "acute, uhronic, and ulcerative catarrh" according to the label; click original Sanford's label to see such. This particular bottle most likely pre-dates that renaming since bottles that are obviously later produced i.

Considering these facts together with the primary manufacturing related diagnostic features applied finish, no evidence of mold air venting, post-bottom mold conformation , this bottle can quite reliably be estimated to have been made between and The medium amber bottle pictured to the right is one of the most notorious quack medicines of the early 20th century in that it was one of the medicines singled out by Samuel Hopkins Adams in his Collier's Weekly articles entitled the "Great American Fraud" which help lead to the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in Click Radam's Trade Mark illustration to view an image of the trade mark as illustrated on the company's billheads.

According to company information, the product was "composed of pure water charged with the Gases Generated" from a handful of chemicals including sandalwood and "flowers of sulphur" using a "secret process" that Mr. Radam perfected in his greenhouse in the s Radam These ingredients were intended to kill the relatively recently discovered "microbes" that Radam and others thought responsible for all diseases. Chemical analysis published by the American Medical Association in noted that "Radam's Microbe Killer' is a mixture of sulphuric acid and sulphurous acid dissolved in ordinary hydrant water" Regardless of the lack of efficacy, the product was popular judging from the number of bottles and gallon sized ceramic jugs which it was commonly packaged in; image to the right above in evidence today.

The pictured bottle was blown in a cup-bottom mold with ample mold air venting - including on the base - and has a tooled straight finish that appears similar to the sheared or cracked-off finishes of bottles that are typically half a century older. These bottles appear to date primarily from the late s into the s. Click here for a close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. The lighter aqua example on the right is also embossed on the two narrow side panels both indented also with A.

These particular and common bottles are discussed in more depth as "Example 3" on the "Examples of Dating Historic Bottles" page which is a sub-page to the Bottle Dating page and available by clicking the following link: Hall's Balsam - Example 3. These two bottles date between about and Balsams were singled out for comprehensive treatment in Betty Blasi's excellent book "A Bit About Balsams - A Chapter in the History of 19th Century Medicine" which includes an extensive section on the wide variety and history of the Hall's Balsam bottles.

Scores of different embossed examples are known, though it was likely that most producers bottled them in unembossed labeled bottles empirical observations. Abusers of this medicine type, which was particularly popular during National Prohibition and in "dry" areas of the nation, were prone to physical problems known as "Jake leg" which was a type of paralysis induced by the excessive use of Jamaica Ginger Moss ; Munsey The pictured example is a typical size and shape for the majority of Jamaica Gingers produced during the period from the midth century some Eastern brands had bottles with pontil scars into the first few decades of the 20th century a few machine-made bottles of this shape have been observed by the author.

It is embossed within a plate with J. This particular bottle likely dates from the early to mid s having a tooled oil type finish and was blown in a cup-bottom mold, though has no evidence of mold air venting which contributes to the crudeness of the glass. Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view ; side view showing the compressed cross-section of these bottles; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish showing the relatively crude tooled finish.

It is embossed around the bottle vertically with MRS. The famous trade card to the right shows mother coyly dangling the product just beyond the frantic reach so one can imagine of the baby opium addict. Similar to many of the most popular patent medicines of the early 20th century, the Soothing Syrup continued to be sold well into the 20th century at least though with more subdued medical claims Fike The pictured example dates - based on manufacturing based diagnostic characteristics and the context of where it was found - from the between to as it has a crudely rolled in finish see close-up at link below , is very crude in the body with no evidence of mold air venting, and was produced in a post-bottom mold.

Click on the following links to see more images of this bottle: base view ; view of the embossing on the reverse side ; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish. The small cobalt blue bottle pictured to the left contained one of the most popular medicines sold in the 20th century - Bromo-Seltzer - which continues to be popular today as a headache and stomach medicine.

The product came in many different sizes of similar shaped bottles which were mouth-blown in the earlier years s to about , machine-made in identically shaped cork stoppered bottles beginning about , and most likely completely machine-made by about Between and it appears that the bottles were both mouth-blown and machine-made.

The cork as a closure began to disappear by with total disappearance by when the bottles were sealed by a metal seal or cap; the finish for the metal seal looked about the same as the cork bead finish. The bottles switched to external screw thread finishes in and went to plastic bottles in Easton ; Fike Click midth century Bromo to see a later s example with a lug type external screw thread finish that is embossed with the brand name on the heel.

Bromo-Seltzer was first formulated in Eastin and trademarked in by Isaac E. From on the bottles were produced by the Maryland Glass Corporation Baltimore, MD , which was essentially created to produce these bottles for and owned by the Emerson Drug Company.

Mouth-blown and likely machine-made examples with the makers mark "M" on the base date from to about which was also when Owens Automatic Bottle Machines were installed to work alongside the semi-automatic machines first installed in about Bottles with an "M" in a circle on the base date from and after.

Toulouse ; Fike The pictured example was mouth-blown in a cup-bottom mold and has mold air venting marks; it likely dates from about to since it there is no "M" marking on the base. Click on Bromo-Seltzer base to view the base of this bottle which only has a numerical mold number.

Bromo-Seltzer, Castoria, and more bottle articles! Bromo-Seltzer in the Cobalt Blue Bottles. In addition to Bromo-Seltzer bottles, two VERY commonly encountered medicine bottle types on historic sites are the Fletcher's Castoria and the related - and competing - Pitcher's Castoria bottles.

These products were also so popular that they were also imitated by many other firms. A comprehensive and entertaining-to-read history of the array of different and overlapping Castoria bottles and imitators is now available on this website at the link below! Rawleigh Co. Like the articles linked above, both of these articles are also well researched and include many images and illustrations about the various bottles used for these ubiquitous products which are still in production.

Lockhart, Bill and Beau Schriever. Another exclusive article published here only; this one on the fascinating history and bottles of another well know product California Fig Syrup that is still in production today. The Bottles of Phillips Milk of Magnesia. Another exclusive article published here only; this one on the fascinating history and bottles of another well know product Phillips Milk of Magnesia that is still in production today.

Another exclusive article published here only; this one on the fascinating history and bottles of a major patent medicine producer W. This company used a wide variety of largely machine-made bottles for their products. The bottle is a deep emerald green, mouth-blown, and just under 2" tall with an externally threaded finish with a ground lip or rim i.

This product was produced by the New York Pharmaceutical Association and dates from the early 20th century. This large distinctive bottle is oval in cross-section and 9. This is another bottle style that is strongly associated with the genre of medicine bottles. It is also closely but not totally - there were imitators associated with the products of the H.

Warner Co. However, they exhibit machine-made characteristics and distinctive base embossing. It is extremely ornate with an embossed canoe and overall imitating a section of a log. This bottle contained a tonic or bitters it went under both monikers at different times and was produced by the same company as the Warner's Safe Cure noted above and was an early example of the packaging selling the product.

Like most of the products of this company, Tippecanoe was very popular and is commonly found on late 19th century historical sites. Millville, NJ as it is embossed with W. It was used by the same druggist noted above and includes the same trade mark baby's face but is more of generic type bottle likely used for an assortment of Pfunder products.

It also dates in the era with the same manufacturing features noted for the Oregon Blood Purifier above. It is almost identical in shape to the cobalt blue Sanford's Radical Cure discussed above, which was a very common shape strongly identified with liquid medicines. Similar shaped bottles with a raised ring on the lower half of the neck were strongly identified with various flavoring extracts.

This is embossed vertically on one side of the bottle which was produced in a two-piece hinge mold and has a crudely rolled inwards finish dating it from around to Examples which were most likely produced in the same mold have been observed by the author with blowpipe pontil scars also. This is an typical example of an earlier midth century proprietary medicine and is typical in shape and color aqua. This is an unembossed, label only , machine-made proprietary medicine from the s. This company earlier produced Swift's Syphilitic Specific - which was bottled in a large cobalt blue bottle image courtesy of Glass Works Auctions - in the s and s which was the origin of the later more genteel product name of simply SSS.

The company was sold in late to C. Another medicinal tonic product. That embossing is found in script lettering on one shoulder of this bottle. This generic, moderately wide mouth, machine-made bottle was likely used for various liquid or granular medicinal products made by the Owl Drug Company which was in business between and Levine This type of bottle also came several sizes and in cobalt blue and colorless glass Jensen This shape is generally typical of various early screw threaded utility type multiple-use medicinal bottles made from the s to s with an almost "art nouveau" look to the overall design.

It also has a "7" to the right of the mark which may or may not be a date code for ; click markers mark to see a close-up of the mark. Click on the following links for more images of this bottle: base view which shows the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine induced suction scar; narrow side view. This ca. It is machine-made with a distinct Owens type suction scar on the base which extends up onto the heel and lower sides of the bottle - a common feature on smaller and earlier Owens Automatic Bottle Machine produced bottles.

It has the original label, contents, and box, the latter item exhibiting the toned down medicinal claims that denote a production date that is almost certainly post post-Sherley Amendment. Medicine bottles in this general rectangular paneled shape were extremely common for at least a century, i. This still familiar brand was first produced in and was only available by prescription until Fike The pictured bottles two sizes - 6. Alton, IL. Click on base view to see such which shows both the Illinois Glass Co.

The Vegetable Compound was first bottled in Fike although the illustrated example is a later bottle made in according the makers mark on the base. Click on the following links for more images of this bottle: base view showing the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Earlier mouth-blown examples typically had a one part patent style finish. Shoo-fly liquor type flask used for Jamaica Ginger - Image to the immediate right. Jamaica Ginger product discussed above was frequently bottled in other shape medicine and even liquor bottles like this small "shoo-fly" flask.

Enosburg Falls, VT. Also, that was a much higher percentage of alcohol than the proof whiskey that shoo-fly flasks were typically used for. This little shoo-fly is mouth-blown, 5" tall, colorless aka "clear" glass, and has a tooled "brandy" finish like most such flasks. The base is boldly embossed with an "O" in a flattened diamond.

Click HERE to see a base image. That relatively rarely encountered makers marking is attributed to the Oakman Manufacturing Company Cheshire, Mass. Given the date this bottle was produced s and the date noted on the label it was likely a reuse of a bottle used previously for liquor. The image to the far right above is of two examples of what glass makers called a "ball neck panel", "ball neck extract" or an assortment of various proprietary names for variations on this rectangular, typically paneled bottle style.

All sides are indented with the rear panel not embossed to facilitate applying a label. It has a tooled "patent" finish, was blown in a cup-base mold and has air venting marks at several points on the shoulder indicating manufacture from the s or later. This is bottle is about as large as the style was ever made, i. Interestingly, it has the embossed word CURE removed filled in?

This was, of course, no cure for tuberculosis aka "consumption" at that time. Examples with the word CURE still boldly present have been noted by the author. The back panel is unembossed but indented for the label. This much smaller bottle maybe oz.

The base is quite crude so the mold type is hard to ascertain precisely but appears to be a post-base. Actually the entire bottle is crudely formed and seems to be a product of the s or early s. John C. The high alcohol "medicine" Jamaica Ginger was discussed earlier in this section.

Instead dating must be approached based on manufacturing based diagnostic features or through research of the historical record. As noted previously, the breadth of variety within the medicinal bottle category was indicated by Fike dividing his classic medicine bottle book The Bottle Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicine Bottles into over 40 different "product" chapters!

Druggist, drugstore, apothecary, pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and prescription bottles - all different names used for essentially the same identifiable group of bottles - are variable but do contain some strongly identifiable general shapes, though size will vary greatly Munsey The bottles covered in this section are those that were purchased and used by local druggists and drugstores with typically only city-wide or otherwise limited geographical distribution. For example, the s era Portland, OR.

The bottle was actually excavated a few blocks from the embossed address. It would be very unusual for this bottle to be found in Nebraska, though could conceivably make it there due to the ever increasing reach of the U. This particular bottle is covered in more depth later, including the fact that this pharmacist moved to Phoenix, Arizona Territory within a year or two after this bottle was made and used almost identical bottles for his druggist business there.

One note on terminology is that the term "pharmaceutical bottle" is sometimes used in reference to the bottles used by the big wholesale druggist and pharmaceutical firms from big cities like New York and Chicago whose primary customers were the thousands of local druggists, though these companies also frequently sold straight to consumers.

Many of these pharmaceutical companies established in the 19th century were the precursors to the large multi-national corporations still in business today. The section on "Poison and Chemical" bottles found later on this page briefly touches on the types of generally larger bottles commonly used by these wholesalers.

Munsey divided the universe of medicine bottles into two categories - proprietary or ethical - which may reflect the distinction made in the early 20th century by the American Medical Association AMA Proprietary aka "patent" medicines were and are remedial agents available without prescription aka "across the counter medications" and " Drugs of an ethical nature are those dispensed via a doctor's prescription Munsey ; Fike Druggist or prescription bottles the two terms used on this website are the bottles that contained these "ethical" products, though of course, the ethical nature of such things has changed over time with increasing public concern and government regulation, primarily beginning in the early 20th century.

Druggist bottles, of course, go back much farther in time - as far back as the ancient Egyptian era. Dark conceptual still life. Lab bottle with haunted castle silhouette. Room of medieval doctor in castle. Old pharmacy bottles with latin names. This is where the pharmacist prepared the medicines. Vintage pharmacy in Dallas, Texas. The bottle has an aged paper label on the front printed with the words 'The Mixture' Photograph of a vintage medicine bottle on black background. Chemical laboratory Glassware and flasks for scientific tests.

Pharmacy medicine Medicine vintage Bottles with pyridoxin chemicals at pharmacy shelf. Dark rustic style, natural remed Natural, organic sea-buckthorn berry in bowl and sea buckthorn oil in glass vintage bottle on dark wooden background. Concept of science research, healthcare and laboratory tests. Old style medicine glass bottles. Fresh lavender flowers and bottles essential oil or serum on pastel pink background.

Alternative home medicine. Close-up, vintage style. Natural cosmetics. Isolated vintage medicine bottle with rusty metal cap. Isolated against white background. Top removed. Brown glass vintage medicine bottle with spoon. Magical still life with copy space on a dark background.

Blank potion label. Modern witchcraft concept with a potion bottle, berries, herbs and occult equipment. Cosmetic Bottle among dried flowers, medicinal herbs variety. Natural cosmetic and skincare, herbal miscellany, concrete backgrou Aroma essential oil. Dark rustic style, natural Natural, organic sea-buckthorn berry in linen bag and sea buckthorn oil in glass vintage bottle on dark wooden background. Conceptual image of historical clinical testing, scientific analysis and retro science.

Old fashioned brown glass bottle. Dubious looking contents. Old glass bottle. Modern witchcraft concept with potions, berries, herbs and occult equipment. Blank label on a magic potion bottle. Ayurvedic medicine for eczema and psoriasis.

Esoteric, gothic and occult background with magic objects a Mystic still life with tarot cards, runes, crystal and bottles with elixir on witch table.

Old medicine bottle the christmas wish


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