Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Drug Jar

Drug Jar

Usage conditions apply
Drug jars often came with blank shields or cartouches. When the contents of the jars were refilled with different ingredients the apothecary wrote the name of the new formula on the medallion.
George Urdang author of The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy attributes the containers 1991.0664.0760 through 1991.0664.0825 to the town of Hanau in the late 18th century based on the blue and purple floral design surrounding the white medallion and the initials HN on the bottom of many of the jars in the series. However, in a letter to museum curators dated August 1983, the pharmaceutical historian Wolfgang-Hagen Hein wrote that the containers without initials and those marked FH were made in Florsheim in the German state of Hesse just twenty-three miles southwest of Hanau.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Date made
1775 - 1799
place made
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 16.3 cm x 10.5 cm; 6 7/16 in x 4 1/8 in
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 749
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of American Pharmaceutical Association and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object