45K1765/P9-13; Who used this medicinal bottle in (aprox) 1892?


Sitting on the cold, analytical table of our lab, stands (not too tall) a little glass bottle named ” 45K1765/P9-13″. It’s body mostly whole, it’s colorless but opaque glass showing the signs of having been dumped and sealed under mud for years near the waterfront…

Some could argue that bolder and more “alcoholic looking bottles” would be more interesting to look at, but in the midst of all these beer and wine containers that were found on what used to be a massive dump for local businesses at 6th ave S, which was sealed in 1929, I find bottles destined for different purposes than being drunk at the end of a long day.

Because as we’ve learned throughout this class (especially through feminist archaeology) is that regarding the whole story other than the mere stereotype is essential for holding knowledge as a constructed , shared value.

And where am I going with all of this, you might ask? Well, have heard of how Seattle “was like” at the sea line in “the olden days”… If I close my eyes,  I can see muddy streets, underground tunnels with gambling and prostitution, bars and hotels filled with people still on their way to the Yukon to test their luck, and mostly a lot of drinking and passing out happening.

This might be true, but can also attribute a single face to those working class people who would inhabit those neighborhoods. That is why, through the Lag analyze I did on the bottles of my group, and the specific study of this particular bottle, I will try to discern what it was used for (if it was medicinal at all) and who might have used it.

  • What type of bottle is it and what did it contain?

This is a small cylindrical bottle, with colorless and slightly opaque glass, machine made with wide mouth which we believe may have been of medicinal use or in other generations, of miscellaneous use. It most likely held medicine or medicinal plants/pharmaceutical elementary material, but we are not a 100% sure! that is why it is interesting to look at.

  • When and where was the item manufactured?

We believe it was manufactured between the 1880’s and 1930’s, which would give it a mean production date of 1905. We are not sure where it was manufactured since there were no specific signs that could give us a clue.

  • Can you find any information concerning how the product was marketed and/or consumed? 

There is a valve mark, and the opening of the bottle shows signs of having had a tap that would be screwed on (like a little jam bottle). The wide opening of the bottle with no neck visible, gives us the idea that it might not have been used for drinking directly from the bottle, but it must have used to store the content, and then pour it somewhere else.

  • Who might have used the bottle and what contexts of use would you expect 

I believe this bottle could have been used in any local business, (ranging from a bar to a pharmacy or a hotel.) Because we are not a 100% sure if it was medicinal or used for other household needs such as holding food, we could imagine that it might have belonged to a business that required a kitchen and perhaps hosting people over, with more equipment than a simple bar. I can’t imagine a single individual carrying it around, it must have been used in a more “touristy” setting!





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