This square shaped glass bottle is marked AQ TARAXAC. It would have held the root and leaves of the dandelion which were used as a tonic and diuretic.
There are 347 glass drug containers in the Bristol Myers Squibb Collection. The labels and ornamentation applied to the surface of the glass are of two types, baked enamel and cold painted decoration. The more permanent of the two techniques, baked enamel, uses pigments composed of finely ground glass. The decoration is then fired into the surface of the vessel. Cold paint decoration is far more fragile. The paint is applied to the glass and is protected by a thin wash of varnish. The paint is easily scratched, and over time can begin to flake.
Most of the BMS collection is decorated with baked enamel baroque shields framed with ribbons and capped with crowns and the flora and fauna of the rococo style. The glass containers in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Collection were produced in the glass houses of the German forests. Windows, drinking vessels, beads and laboratory apparatus are among the products the glass houses turned out. Apothecary containers, utilitarian utensils were second rate goods, made by craftsmen, not artisans.
Many glass houses sold their products directly to the consumer, and specialized styles and labels could be made for a particular apothecary. Gaffers, or glass blowers, created the containers. Enamellers, many of whom were itinerant workers, traveled throughout Europe from one glass house to another, painting the labels and decoration onto the glass. The provenance of a glass jar or a particular glass house can be difficult to determine. Although individual glass houses, gaffers and enamellers are difficult to identify, it is sometimes possible to recognize an apothecary by its crest or by a particular decorative motif incorporated into the design. Glass drug containers were standard in 17th and 18th century German apothecaries, but are rare today because of their inherent fragility.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
18th century
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
paint (overall material)
white (overall color)
blue (overall color)
black (overall color)
red (overall color)
yellow (overall color)
blown (overall production method/technique)
rococo (overall style)
overall: 18 cm x 8.2 cm x 8.1 cm; 7 1/16 in x 3 1/4 in x 3 3/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
collector/donor number
SAP 28
European Apothecary
Health & Medicine
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Related Publication
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection
Margaret B. Freeman. Herbs for the Mediaeval Household

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.