Shop Bottles: Another Mirror of the Practice of Pharmacy

Shop Bottles: Another Mirror of the Practice of Pharmacy

Author: John K. Crellin and Mary O. Bogard
Publisher: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy
Year Published: 1984, 2010
Slides: 20
AIHP#: ST70
Price: $20.00 ($12.00 for members)

Summary: Shop bottles in 19th-century American pharmacy.

Abstract: Shop bottles are generally among the most commonplace of all pharmacy glassware. That may be why they have received little discussion despite being collected widely and having a conspicuous place in pharmacy museums. But the bottles, humble as they are, have much to tell us. Shop bottles, or “rounds” (so designated because of their shape), came into general use in 18th-century America. They were mostly imported from England. It’s not certain when uniform rows of glass “rounds” became a widespread feature of pharmacies, either in Britain or in her colonies. Certainly, the limited number of shop bottles surviving from the 18th-century show a high order of elegance and were, perhaps, custom-made. In the early 19th century the growing popularity of glass containers was partly at the expense of pottery containers and shop drawers. Theophilus Redwood stated in 1848 that in “some old establishments a much larger number of drawers were used than is generally the case in the present day. The pharmaceutist now uses with advantage, a larger number of bottles, and not so many drawers.” Certainly in America by the 1840s, shop rounds had become commonplace.

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