Dating Bottles Based Upon Building History

In examining my bottle, the first inclination was to examine the bottle for a makers mark.

This was somewhat helpful.  From the makers mark, I was able to determine this was a Whitall and Company bottle produced somewhere between 1901 and 1924.  Whittal and Company made this pharmacy bottle for pharmacies across the United States and opperated between 1806-1938 in Millville, New Jersey  The real clue to the bottles age however was the embossing on the side of the bottle.  The side of the bottle reads, “Lee’s Parmacy Alaska Building Seattle Wash.”. Subsequent investigations led me to conclude the Mr. Lee operated his pharmacy from 1889 to 1914.

So that led me to investigate the Alaska Building.  The Alaska Building was Seattle’s first skyscraper.  At the time of it’s construction, it was Seattle’s first steel framed building and opened in the year 1904.  The Alaska Building was constructed around the Seattle boom around the time of the gold rush in Alaska.  The building can be directly tied to the Seattle gold rush, which makes this bottle an important object from this period in time.

Photo by Asahel Curtis of the Alaska Building 1908

Taking this into account, this bottle was then ordered either before the pharmacy’s opening in the Alaska Building… say an early date of 1903, to the closing of the pharmacy in 1914.  I have thus narrowed the dating of the bottle from a 23 year period to an 11 year period taking into account the multiple lines of evidence that this bottle has to offer.



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