Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vintage Apothecary Labels

While we were antiquing one weekend, I had fun reading the old apothecary bottles, boxes, advertising and labels.

Our friend Sassafras





GEDC8944 GEDC8945

Dandelion Root ( I wish I would have had time to have them open the cases as there were a lot of these type of boxes)




Marshmallow Root


Licorice, Caraway and Fennel

licorice, caraway, fennel


gentian root

And many others such as Peppermint, Arnica, Rosewater ….


Fascinating to find authentic placards that would be hung to place whole households, ships, hospital rooms and other places under quarantine, especially during epidemics. The practice of quarantine, as we know it, began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean 40 days.





I thought they were a little proud of them, due to the price tag.. but then got thinking about it and figured that these signs would probably have the name of the household, street address, etc labeled on them when they were used. They were probably thrown away or put in the incinerator after use. Not exactly something you would want to save for the family album….


These are some apothecary bottles/labels from an old timey pharmacy that closed in our town, Lewis Pharmacy.




The pharmacist who owned the pharmacy was a great collector of antique/vintage pharmaceutical items. His collection included items from as far back as the Civil War!

The best thing about this pharmacy for the grandchildren was the ice cream parlour! Ed Lewis kept the prices unbelievably low until the day he retired. I could take myself and two children there and we could all get a phosphate and ice cream for under $5! Luckily a local business, The Sweet Shoppe, moved into the building after Mr. Lewis retired. The prices might have gone up, but we still enjoy the atmosphere and a sweet treat! This is Dylan with a new toy and a mug of root beer :)


Most of Mr. Lewis’s collection was donated to the Pearson Museum at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. I plan on visiting it next time I am in Springfield visiting my Aunt and will get some more pictures:)

Thinking to send some of the label pictures to be printed and add them to the stillroom book pages!

Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

I knew you were a drugstore in disguise, CC! Very cool post. Thanks for sharing. xxoo LVL

Comfrey Cottages said...

LOL Nancy! I just find it fascinating to read the old labels..botanical medicines are my bag, baby ;^) lol! xoxxoo thanks for visiting!

Desiree said...

Whenever I visit a thrift store or museum I look for old medicinal containers. Have never seen any like the ones in your photos. Thank you for sharing.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Glad to know I am not the only one with this little fascination, Desiree. Glad I could show you some new ones :) xxx Thank you for visiting!

wildcraft diva said...

Amazing!! I have a collection of old green glass poison bottles.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Ooooo green glass poison bottles! That is exciting! Post some pictures sometime, please!!! xxx

Anonymous said...

Do you know which store you took the Wormwood Oil photo? Would love to know! Thanks!