Poison bottles have an interesting history.  Over the centuries as man has explored the chemical and medical nature of poisonous substances thousand have died by accidentally ingesting the contents of an unmarked bottle.  In Greek times, Methridates VI, King of Pontus from about 120 to 63 B.C. was said to have been one of the first to raise the art poisoning  and counteracting poisons to a high level.  Throughout the ages poisoning members of the royal court was a common practice.  Eventually apothecaries and druggists began marking bottles by labeling them as poisonous, but the presence of so many dangerous chemicals in households in the 19th century gave rise to a new practice of creating distinctive bottles in which to store poisons.  Most involved the use of raised ridges, dots, diamonds or other design to alert the unwary to the potential danger simply by feel.  The use of the skull and crossbones is a rather recent occurrence and is not found on bottles until about the 1880-1890 period. Increasingly, states passed laws concerning the sale distribution of poisonous substances.  The Design Patents below show some of the bottles which today are eagerly sought after by poison bottle collectors.

Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.  Note some may take a while to load.

poisond93.gif (69046 bytes)

1893 Design Patent

poison94.gif (36903 bytes)

English 1894

poison01.gif (92096 bytes)

1901

poisonbee02.gif (78523 bytes)

1902 Bee Design

poisonlilly06.gif (76698 bytes)

1906 Lilly

poisonb08.gif (100741 bytes)

1908 Rattlesnake

poison08.gif (95596 bytes)

1908

poisonb09.gif (90358 bytes)

1909

design3.jpg (17342 bytes)

1917

design4.jpg (13807 bytes)

1917

wpeC.jpg (145681 bytes)

Whithall Tatum and United Drug Company