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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.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.Thus, the allure of patent or proprietary medicines (Young 1961).The picture at the top of the page shows just a tiny bit of medicinal bottle diversity which is frankly staggering in depth and variety as virtually any shape imaginable was used at some point.
Within each chapter is a listing of hundreds of different embossed bottles with many times more embossed ones not addressed by Fike's book.
It required that products containing any of those substances be labeled with the substance and quantity on the label.
Use of the word "cure" for most medicines was nominally prohibited, though there were little teeth in the law and enforcement was rare.
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.