Apothecary Bottle

This blown and molded square-shaped bottle has a narrow neck and a flared lip. The white baked enamel shield is framed by stylized blue leaves with yellow and red flowers. A yellow crown sits atop the shield. The jar is labeled with the alchemical symbol for Spirit, Tartar, and the letters RI in black. Tartar, also known as cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate is a by product of the winemaking process, crystallizing from the must (juice, pulp, and skin of grapes) in the fermenting barrel. Tartar was used as a diuretic and as a cathartic.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
18th century
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 14.2 cm x 7 cm x 6.5 cm; 5 9/16 in x 2 3/4 in x 2 9/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 226
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Collection
Related Publication
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection

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