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.

How do you age a bottle?

Perhaps the most obvious key to age is the mouth of the bottle. As a general rule, screw top bottles (except canning jars) were made after 1910 or so. Cork top bottles generally vanished at the turn of this century.

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 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).

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).

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!

Are antique medicine bottles worth anything?

Especially medicine bottles that aren’t made in the stereotypical design of medicine bottles. These special-looking old medicine bottles seen today catch the attention of collectors and they are worth much. Before buying or collecting an antique medicine bottle you should do thorough research.

Why are medicine bottles made of glass?

These bottles are part of the historic factors that fueled the development of the glass field. They created a sort of competition between medicine manufacturers to produce very transparent bottles with contents to cure diseases.

How can you tell the age of an old medicine glass bottle?

As much as the color, design, shape, and branding of an old medicine glass bottle can tell you the origin and the age, the bottle marking is one feature that supplies these answers more accurately. The bottle markings are usually on the body of the bottle or at the base. Many bottles have markings that show the company’s initials or trademarks.

What are some of the oldest bottles in the world?

Early 1900s Chapman & Son Royal Cattle Oils, Grimsby Bottle. Antique bottle. Vintage Cow oil bottle. Antique aqua glass medicine bottle, Owbridges Lung Tonic, Hull. Antique cough mixture cure all bottle, collectable old bottles, quack cure 3 vintage triangular glass bottles three sided with metal tops and glass stoppers in fitted metal case.

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