I collect antique poison bottles.

Most date from the 1870s to 1930s, a time when illiteracy and an increase in inexpensive, mass production of household chemicals resulted in a rise in accidental poisonings. Consequently, manufacturers modified the packaging of their products to incorporate bright colors and unusual shapes to differentiate them from food or medicine bottles.

Their brilliant colors made them easier to visually distinguish your iodine from your eye drops; ridges and prunts, quilted patterns and hobnails or other strong embossing also made it easier to avoid confusion, especially for the visually impaired, or when stumbling to your medicine chest in the middle of the night.

My collection isn't very large, and I have only one or two examples of bottles which might possibly be considered rare, but I think they're beautiful--like polished gems catching the light. I acquire new pieces only if they appeal to me aestheically (or humorously; my current favorite is my "YAPOO!" ammonia bottle not only becuase it's a pretty bottle, but, well, it says "YAPOO!" on it).

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