Dating old medicine bottles

dating old medicine bottles

How to date patent/proprietary medicine bottles?

Dating summary/notes: Due to the immense diversity of shapes, the dating of patent/proprietary medicine bottles can not be done based on shape alone since just about any shape is possible over long time spans. Instead dating must be approached based on manufacturing based diagnostic features or through research of the historical record.

Are druggist bottles still good for dating?

Since a variety of different round, square, rectangular, and oval druggist bottles were used for such a long period of time, there are generally limited dating opportunities available based on just the specific shape itself. There are some trends however. One example noted above were the square druggist bottles with beveled corners.

What happened to the old bottles of Medicine?

When the company closed its facilities in Santa Rosa in the late 1940s, the bottles were given to a small private local museum that featured historical items about medicine. Eventually, that museum also closed and the bottles were donated to another museum...which eventually de-accessioned these properties .

When was the first medicine bottle made?

Dating summary/notes: The bottles noted above are just a sampling of the thousands of different medicine bottles produced during the early era from about 1810 through the Civil War.

When were patent medicines created?

The earliest patent medicines were created in the 17th century. They were most popular from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, before the advent of consumer protection laws and evidence-based medicine. Despite the name, patent medicines were usually trademarked but not actually patented, in order to keep their formulas secret.

What is a “proprietary” medicine?

Proprietary (aka patent) medicines were (and are) remedial agents available without prescription (aka across the counter medications) and ...generally protected by secrecy, copyright, or patent against free competition by name, product, composition, or manufacturing process (Fike 1987).

How many different types of medicine bottles?

As noted previously, the breadth of variety within the medicinal bottle category was indicated by Fike (1987) dividing his classic medicine bottle book (The Bottle Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicine Bottles) into over 40 different product chapters!

What is the history of pharmacy bottles?

Druggist bottles, of course, go back much farther in time - as far back as the ancient Egyptian era. The first identifiable pharmacy bottles were Venetian bottles in the 16th century with applied enamel labeling identifying them as such (Munsey 1970).

When did they start embossing on medicine bottles?

The first recorded use of molded proprietary embossing on an American made bottle body was around 1809 on a Dr. Robertsons Family Medicine bottle (McKearin 1970). As with all the medicine bottle categories, this one is also quite diverse and not really separate from the large category covered next - Patent/Proprietary Medicinal bottles.

When were medicine bottles first used in England?

Early Medicinal bottle styles (Civil War & before) The first use of product or other proprietary embossing on any bottle bodies was on medicine bottles and likely began in England about 1750 with the small Turlington Balsam of Life bottles (Griffenhagen & Young 1959; Richardson 2003).

What is the best book on the history of medicine bottles?

One of the best books on early medicinal bottles is John Odells Digger Odells Pontil Medicine Encyclopedia: A Look at Americas Pre-Civil War Medicine Bottles which includes hundreds of different medicine bottles with photographs and extensive company histories (Odell 2000).

What is the history of Pharmaceutical Medicine?

The first modern, pharmaceutical medicine was invented in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, a German scientist. He extracted the main active chemical from opium in his laboratory and named it morphine, after the Greek god of sleep. Doctors used morphine to treat severe pain, and we still use it for that purpose in hospitals today.

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