Tag Archives: bottle

Bottled History


Before 1858 most bottles were made the same way using a punty rod that held the bottle over a fire and when the bottle was formed the punty rod was snapped off leaving a mark on the bottom of the bottle of the bottle.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century private molds were used. Many different molds were ordered from glass factories by medicine manufactures, soda, mineral water, and other household items. The goal was to make the product stand out and be recognized against it’s competitors. Soon not only were different shape bottles made but also embossing became very popular with unusual designs.

In the late 1930’s and into the 1950’s painted label bottle became popular.

When the American Medical Association formed one of it’s goals was to not only educate doctors but also the public to many dangerous and habit forming drugs.

Most of of these drugs were hidden in what was called “miracle drugs” which was used for just about everything. Some of them contained alcohol, opium (morphine and codeine), cocaine, chloral, and cannabis (marijuana). During the time that these drugs were popular there was an outcry because of numerous children’s deaths were reported resulting from overdoses of soothing medicines.

The word “Cure” appeared on many of these bottles prior the the Civil War until it was replaced by “Remedy”.

In later years other laws and organization have been formed to control what exactly is in the medicine you are about to take.


Picture of Three In One Oil Bottle

Vintage Perfume Bottles

These bottles were found in the 1960s when the expressway came through the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. The site was a city dump many years before. When building began they dug down about 20 feet and unearthed many bottles that were thrown away years ago. This picture is taken from my private bottle collection.

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Bromo-Seltzer Bottles

In 1888, behind the prescription counter of a small drugstore near Charles in Baltimore, Isaac E. Emerson first conceived the idea of the headache remedy. This led to the development of a granular salt he named “Bromo-Seltzer.”

He organized the Emerson Drug Company, in Maryland in 1891. Bromo-Seltzer was first sold in blue glass bottles that were manufactured by the Cumberland Glass Company, of Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Because of the demand for Bromo-Seltzer grew, Cumberland Glass was unable to meet the demand for the bottles. Captain Emerson then asked his vice-president in charge of manufacturing, to organize a glass factory to make the bottles. Acin light or dark blue glass. It is believed some were given to drugstores as freebies for ordering Bromo-Seltzer. Others were gifts to visitors who had a tour of the plant for thirty cents.

Maryland Glass continued to expand and, by 1964 it employed seven hundred people who worked around the clock. They were turning out approximately one million glass bottles and jars each day. The company became the leading producer of blue glassware in the world.

The Bromo-Seltzer Tower Building

Bromo- Seltzer Tower Building

The Bromo-Seltzer Tower Building has been a landmark in Baltimore since the early part of this century.

The tower was fourteen stories high. The top story was numbered fifteen because there is no floor numbered thirteen because of superstition. There was a flashing light on the huge revolving Bromo-Seltzer bottle atop the tower.

In 1935 the bottle was taken down, after twenty-five years.The base upon which it stood was disintegrating. The framework sold as twenty tons of scrap metal.


Scientists working with chemical formulas similar to “Bromo Seltzer” thought that a fruit flavored drink could be developed the same way. After long hard work, they finally figured out how to combine the right combinations of fruit flavoring, sweetener, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (a substance that is much like baking soda) into a tablet that when dropped into water. This turned the water into an instant sparkling fruit drink.

By 1962 Fizzies were available in every state but in 1968 one of the ingredients called Cyclamates, and artificial sweetner, was banned in the United States. This affected not only Fizzies but hundreds of other products. Scientist decided to voluntarily take Frizzies off the market.

By 1995 scientist finally found that NUTRASWEET was the perfect replacement for Cyclamates.

Make your own Fizzies
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup grape juice
Pour water into a tall glass. Stir in the baking soda. Pour in the grape juice
Emerson realized the importance of advertising. At the time of his death in 1931, he had accumulated an estate of $20 million, owning the controlling stock in four corporations: Emerson’s Bromo-Seltzer, Inc.; the Emerson Drug Corporation; the Maryland Glass Corporation and the Emerson Hotel.

Vintage Bromo Seltzer Bottle

This bottle was found in the 1960s when the expressway came through the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. The site was a city dump many years before. When building began they dug down about 20 feet and unearthed many bottles that were thrown away years ago. This picture is taken from my private bottle collection.

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Poison Bottles

Poison Bottles

A Brief History

For centuries chemist dispensed toxic substances in bottles with corks. They were used in very small quantities as ingredients in medicine to serve as stimulants or relaxants.

In Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries they were used for very different purposes. There was a great demand for poisons from people who wanted to do away with enemies, rid themselves of an unwanted spouse, or collect an inheritance. Underground scientist worked to perfect special poisons. These were odorless, tasteless, and difficult to detect by autopsy. The favorite poisons for murder were “slow poisons”. This would be given daily in small doses and over a long period of time would cause the death of the unsuspected victim.

Because of the abuse of the substances their sale was restricted or prohibited in the 18th and 19th centuries. There was also much concern that the product would fall into children’s hands.

Society had a need for these preparations such as in cleaning fluids and to prohibit the availability of at this time was unfair to the public. Ways of drawing attention to the container then took preference to prevent accidental consumption.

(Picture of Bottles from Private Collection)

In 1853 the American Pharmaceutical Association recommended national laws to identify poison bottles. In 1872 a suggestion was made that the containers be identified by a rough surface on one side the word “poison” on the other. At this time no law was passed and it was left up to manufactures to identify their products.

The skull and crossbones became the traditional symbol of poisonous substances. Sometimes a coffin and long bones also was a used as a symbol. Containers would also have ribbed surfaces to further distinguish them from other products. The ribbed surfaces also served as a warning in poor light rooms or for the blind.

As early as 1886 John Howell designed the first safety closures. At this time the shape of the poison bottle was sufficient and the need for such a device was not needed.
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