MORE ABOUT POISON BOTTLES

You'll find hundreds of poisons bottles and apothecary bottles in Digger's Volume 10, Poison Apothecary & Drugstore Bottles. A picture of every bottle listed as well as accurate descriptions and up-to-date prices.

Poison bottles are identified by having some type of raised design on the surface so it could be determined, even in the dark, that the contents of these bottles should not be taken In addition the bottles were often of unusal shape. These have had good appeal to collectors for many years because the bottles are frequently found in cobalt and amber. American poisons in any other color are rare. English poisons common in cobalt and green, but rare in amber, have been imported in large quantities over the last dozen years.

Childhood poisonings were wide-spread in the 19th century and often the subject newspaper articles and debates. The drug industry responded by making the bottles highly colored, ribbed, knobbed, or odd shaped. Many poison bottles contained antiseptic tablets such as Mercury Bichloride. The pills, often stamped with a skull and crossbones or in a coffin shape were to be dissolved in water to make an antiseptic solution. "Triloids" which is a very common low priced poison bottle contained bichloride tablets comprised of corrosive sublimate and Ammonium Chloride. The brand was manufactured shortly before and after the turn of the century by the Wm. R. Warner Company of New York and St. Louis.

Other poison bottles contained chloroform, formaldehyde, arsenic trioxide, strychnine, arsenate of lead, cocaine hydrochloride, belladonna, insect poisons, tincture of iodine, carbolic acid and even emblaming fluid. All of these substances could be purchased at the local drugstore. most collectible poison bottles were manufactured primarily during the late 19th and early 20th century. Government regulation of the sale of dangerous substances eventually ended the poison bottle era.

The cobalt figural skull is the quintessential bottle in this category, although not necessarily the rarest or most expensive. Collectors prefer the rare large size bottles, those made in a coffin shapes or those having a skull and crossbones embossed, odd colors, shapes, and bottles with original labels and contents are also sought after. There are many common poisons bottles which bring only a few dollars. The Poison Bottle Workbook, by Rudy Kuhn and Poison Bottles, by Roger Durflinger are good sources, but both are out of print and difficult to obtain.

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