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Cologne Bottle

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Artifact Description

Two transparent green unembossed bottles with neck tops broken off were retrieved from the Jacksonville “Blue China” wreck site. Both appear be to the same bottle type and were likely free-blown, with possibly some dip molding to rough out the basic body shape. The bottles feature a “glass-tipped” pontil scar which was formed by the use of a solid iron rod dipped in molten glass and then applied and fused to the base of the bottle. When the rod was broken free of the bottle, a generally round but fragmented scar was left behind on the base of the bottle.

These bottles are identical to examples discovered in a foundation trench in New Orleans’ French Quarter, whose material remains date from the 1830s-1850s. Of the three specimens recovered from the trench site, one bears the embossed name ‘Lundborg’—a prominent 19th-century perfumer with establishments in London and New York City. Period newspapers advertise both Lundborg’s Perfumes and Lundborg’s Rhenish Colognes.

Also documented are six similar bottles sold by the French Perfumer, L.T. Piver of Paris, and dating to c. 1840. The original box and fancy labels still intact, identify the product as “EXTRAIT D’EAU COLOGNE de Jean Maria Farina, a descendant of the Italian perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina (1685-1766). The elder Farina is believed to be the first to commercially manufacture Eau de Cologne (Cologne water), its name derived from the French city of Cologne where he had settled in 1709.

While reasonable to assume the Jacksonville “Blue China” examples once contained a fashionable cologne, perhaps even Farina’s original famous French fragrance, this bottle was apparently also used for a number of other less celebrated products, including balsam, oil, medicines, and liqueur such as Rosolio—hence its original contents remain a mystery.



Other Details

H. 19.1cm