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Figured Cologne Bottle

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Artifact Description

Included among the few cologne bottles recovered from the wreck site, was one mold-blown, clear glass example, possibly made from a higher quality flint (lead) glass. It is unknown whether this sole example represents the remains of a larger cargo, ship’s stores, or perhaps even the personal property of an individual crew.

The bottle’s long neck exhibits a “wide prescription” finish, also referred to by a number of other terms including a “flared” finish, a “flat top” finish or “flanged” finish.’ It features an especially thin version of this particular style of finish which is commonly found on medicinal and druggist type bottles and vials that date between 1800 and 1870, though the style is said to date back to antiquity. It is also seen on some early to mid-19th century liquor decanters as well as utilitarian and ink bottles. The bottle features a “blowpipe” pontil scar, also called an “open” pontil, seen on a number of the other “Blue China” examples.

This particular specimen dates from the 1830s to 1865, its central plume motif typical of the designs presented on figured cologne bottles of this era. Like most commercial cologne bottles, it was originally sealed with a simple cork stopper. A fancy label may have also been adhered to the top of the cork. Some of the more ornamental perfume bottles typically featured a more decorative glass stopper.

Eau de Cologne was first manufactured commercially in the early 18th century and soon became an unparalleled success. By the following century, Eau de Cologne had become such an important staple that no perfumer and very few apothecaries could be found who did not endeavor to make it. This was especially so in the United States where each manufacturer attempted to improve upon the original recipe, creating in effect a diversity of sweet-smelling toilet waters, all called “cologne” and all offered to the American consumer. The enormous popularity of these many fragrances provided for a steady stream of cologne bottles produced by a number of American glass makers.


Other Details

H. 13cm