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Medicinal bottles are probably the largest and most diverse group of bottles produced during the era covered by this website - the 19th through mid 20th centuries.

To quote Fike (1987) on medicine bottles - "Literally hundreds of thousands of brands and variations of vessels were manufactured..." during the noted era.



The various Prohibition and anti-alcohol laws (local, state, and federal) - and the temperance movement which drove that cause - "forced" many alcoholic beverages into becoming products "for medicinal use only." However, the subject of Prohibition and liquor, beer, and wine masquerading as medicinal products is covered on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Liquor/Spirits Bottles, Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Wine & Champagne Bottles, and Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Beer & Ale Bottles pages.Most of the many thousands of local druggists during the 19th and early 20th century typically concocted their own medicinal compounds to sell from their stores utilizing proprietary druggist or prescription bottles, i.e., bottles with the druggist or store name, address, city/state, and/or other information or a graphic feature (Feldhaus 1987).There were likely ten's of thousands of different druggist bottles made between the 1870s and 1920s - the heyday of the proprietary druggist bottle.A narrow neck and bore likely limited evaporation through or around the cork also.


(Note: Various medicines were made in ointment form for external use so these type bottles had wide mouths for accessing the contents.) Beyond the glass thickness and neck attributes - which are of course not medicinal group unique characteristics - there is little else that physically differentiates the extremely diverse medicinal bottle group from other groups.

Thus, the allure of patent or proprietary medicines (Young 1961).


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