Add in the fact that most bottles were not embossed with product or company names (probably less than 40% as late as 1890) and one can understand how this website can not cover but a sampling of the medicinal bottles one could find.

This section also includes druggist bottles (aka pharmacy, drugstore, or prescription bottles) due to their close connection to the other types of medicinal bottles.

historic artifacts dating-13

This variety is not too surprising since one's health was (and still is) probably the most important personal issue of all time, made even more important during the era of primitive medical knowledge and practices and universal ignorance about hygiene and even the causes of disease.

As noted in the opening line of Odell (2000), "Medicine is as old as man, no doubt born of necessity and wrought by trial and error." Self-medication was often all that could be had by most people and the ability of doctors to help a person - if they were even available - was very limited and their training and/or backgrounds often suspect.

If interested, users are directed to consult some of the various publications noted below or check some of the references mentioned throughout this page.

However, a few notable early 20th century historical events have some relevance to the dating and typing of medicinal bottles, as follows: Not all medicine products came in glass bottles, of course.

That is a diagnostic feature that can be useful in bottle fragment identification at times.

Most medicinal bottles also had a narrow neck and mouth (aka bore or throat) since this conformation was most useful for pouring out the typically liquid contents.The breadth of variety within the medicinal bottle category is indicated by Fike (1987) dividing his classic book (The Bottle Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicine Bottles) into over 40 different "product" chapters, ranging from "bitters" to "cures" to "purifiers" and many more.Within each chapter is a listing of hundreds of different embossed bottles with many times more embossed ones not addressed by Fike's book.Medicinal bottles were similar to liquor bottles (another very diverse category) in that bottle design was not inherently constrained by some quality of the contained product, i.e., the contents were not typically carbonated which demanded heavier glass and typically a round body shape.(One exception was citrate of magnesia which was usually carbonated and bottled in heavier almost soda-like bottles.) Generally speaking the glass thickness of medicinal bottles is distinctly less than for soda/mineral water, beer, champagne, and most wine bottles.The added strength inherent in a round (cross section) body was rarely an issue with medicinals so the limitations on overall shape were much reduced and the possible variety multiplied many fold.