Ointment Bottle

Broken ointment bottle from the lab

Broken ointment bottle from the lab

One of the most interesting artifacts that I analyzed during the bottle lab is a small medicinal-type of bottle. The bottle is colorless and it has a wide-cylindrical body with threaded lips. The embossing on the surface of the bottle says, “CHESEBROUGH, NEW YORK.” So I decided to do some research on those words and it turns out that “Chesebrough” is the name of the manufacturing company which was created by a person named Robert Augustus Chesebrough in 1872. This bottle contained some type of medicinal ointment (i.e. cream, unguent) used for minor wounds or bruises.

According to the information that I found from the SHA website on glass bottles, Chesebrough company was located in Brooklyn, New York. Many ointment containers were made out of glass but it was also common to see metal and ceramic containers during the 19th century. Many containers include the trademark, “Vaseline” which started to be used in 1877. The product was initially marketed around 1860s as “good for man or beast.”

I also found a website that provides a brief history of the company. According to the information, oil workers initially used the ointment bottles in order to heal cuts or burns. These were widely used by regular people working in extreme cold weather (to prevent dry skin). It is interesting to know that U.S. soldiers also used such bottles during WWI in order to heal their bruises or prevent sunburn.





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