Share your favorites on Show & Tell

C. 1854 Arsenic Poison Bottle, Labeled, Some Contents

In Bottles > Poison Bottles > Show & Tell and Bottles > Pontiled Bottles > Show & Tell.
Poison Bottles3 of 42We found this poison bottleCobalt blue poison bottle
Love it
Like it

SunneroSunnero loves this.
AnnaBAnnaB loves this.
MALKEYMALKEY loves this.
mikelv85mikelv85 loves this.
Ms.CrystalShipMs.CrystalShip loves this.
Vynil33rpmVynil33rpm loves this.
elanskielanski loves this.
iggyiggy loves this.
PhonoboyPhonoboy loves this.
BrunswickBrunswick loves this.
bottle-budbottle-bud loves this.
valentino97valentino97 loves this.
blunderbuss2blunderbuss2 loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
See 13 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 3 years ago

    (813 items)

    Here is a mid-1800s arsenic bottle that still contains some of its toxic and white metallic product. We are quite sure the label is about as old as the bottle, for it shows signs of much natural wear on the high-points of the panels of the glass and could be easily removed with a thin blade.

    Assuming that this bottle was made after the standardisation of basic requirements for poison bottle labels (by the American Pharmaceutical Association (APA), though it is quite possible that it could date prior to that), this bottle dates to circa 1854-1860. The 1854 ruling by the APA was as follows:
    "All packages or bottles [of poisonous substances] shall be distinctly labeled with the word “Poison” or a death’s head symbol, conspicuously printed."

    This bottle has both the "death's head" (AKA Pirate flag, by today's humor) and "POISON" clearly printed upon it in a tealy blue ink.
    This is the smallest labeled pontiled bottle I have ever seen, so I'm unsure of for whom this product was meant to be held by. The size suggests it was meant to be bought by a public customer, but the label has no druggist information, which would suggest a shop bottle. It is possible that this was a standard bottle sent to druggists by a manufacturer (or refiner) of arsenic, or a bottle to be sold in stores other than just drug-houses.

    The bottle features a wonderful deep open pontil, suggesting 1840s make. Upon closer inspection, though, there appears to be ever so faint a line cutting clear across the pontil: which suggests that a hinge-mold was also involved in the manufacturing process, thus usually bumping the bottle up into the 1850s, which fits perfectly with the expected date. This bottle has older manufacturing characteristics, but that may be because of its abnormally small (see other typical 1840s-1850s bottles for comparison) size (6.8 cm, or 2.7 in.).

    The bottle has a piece of thin, cheap fabric helping to seal it other than the typical cork. I have used baby oil to moisturise and petroleum jelly to seal in the moisture of the cork, as well as clear hard glue, to permanently seal the still-powdered contents and to prevent spillage from a dry, shrinking cork. While some people would like to safely dispose of such dangerous contents (arsenic never expires), I prefer bottles to still have their original products.

    I have now run out of room to display the bottles neatly in my display (sealed by pressure in a somewhat environmentally controlled glass box (temperature fluctuates throughout the day, but humidity remains constant)).

    Not bad for what is really (as of 2018) a 164-year-old piece of old garbage (I like bottles for the fact that they weren't meant to outlive their users!)

    Poison Bottles
    See all
    Superb Gilt Label Chloroform Apothecary Jar + 3 Cobalt Anesthesia Drip Bottles
    Superb Gilt Label Chloroform Apothe...
    Antique Victorian Cobalt Blue Poison Bottle Embossed POISON.
    Antique Victorian Cobalt Blue Poiso...
    RARE SMALL Cobalt Blue POISON Skull/Crossbones Tinct Iodine Bottle
    RARE SMALL Cobalt Blue POISON Skull...
    Superb Gilt Label Chloroform Apothecary Jar + 3 Cobalt Anesthesia Drip Bottles
    Superb Gilt Label Chloroform Apothe...
    See all


    1. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      I cannot add things to collections anymore?
    2. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      Hey Spirit - I couldn't add things to collections either. I thought it was just my issue. Hmm, CW?
    3. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Hello, Valentino. I really do wish they'd go back to the old C.W.
    4. valentino97 valentino97, 3 years ago
      Or at least talk with us. If they are tired of our posts - hell, just say so!
    5. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      I emailed a few days ago-- asking them to give us an update, or at least me, on various problems with the new site that did not exist on the old. I'm hoping for a response on Monday.
      Sadly, it will probably be like the forum I'm on, and on another site I was on before coming here: The forum was bought out and we lost many users because no one could figure out the new format (I still don't understand it, as it's primitive and inefficient and not a single person likes it). The other site I was on modernised, but in so doing it became efficient only to phone-users-- on a laptop, it was terrible. So, I expect CW to do the same if they keep modifying it.
      "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Business folks get so caught up in trying to keep up with the times that they forget to keep up with what their users actually like.
    6. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 3 years ago
      As I believe I mentioned before my Mother dug for bottles. She loved it.
      These are very impressive, to say the least, to still have their literature affixed after so many years. Wonderful collection...
      As far as C W changes...I wish they would let well enough be!
    7. Ms.CrystalShip Ms.CrystalShip, 3 years ago
      Oh, and the caterpillar seems impressed also :)
    8. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Ms.CrystalShip, the thrill of digging is always a joy even in adverse conditions (if you find something neat). A few days ago, I dug up most of an antique crock.
      The Caterpillar is now in a green and speckled chrysalis. Our front yard is a haven for Monarch Butterflies-- the only one in the neighbourhood.
    9. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Welp, they've not sent a reply. We shall only be left wondering, Valentino.
    10. MALKEY MALKEY, 3 years ago
      fab posting & item spiritbear my jolly good friend
      all the very best malkey
      god bless
    11. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Thank you, Malkey.

      I assume that everybody is still not getting emails about comments?
    12. AnnaB AnnaB, 3 years ago
      Awesome bottles, Spirit! No, I'm not getting emails about comments.
    13. SpiritBear, 3 years ago
      Thank you, Anna.

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.