I was perusing and admiring "vintage" style apothecary labels in my search for Halloween decor awhile ago, and thought, (in my insatiable need to troll ebay) that buying some actual antique poison bottles would be cool. And they would be if any of them were marked POISON with the skull and crossbones that we have all come to know and... er... love.
It turns out that very few are marked that way, and most are not at all creepy looking! Not only that, but they are crazy tiny! Which, of course, makes sense because who really needs a gallon of poison in their medicine cabinet, right? A couple of drops will usually do it. Many are only two or three inches tall or smaller.
I did discover though, that they come in all colours and designs and are actually rather pretty. Also, they are not as expensive as I thought they would be, even two weeks before Halloween!
One of the things that is visually AND historically interesting about them is that they are all ridged or hobnailed. Apparently, due to the fact that many were in use at the turn of the last century or before, when gas lighting was in use (so reading labels wasn't always an easy task) and when most people's skill at reading was fairly basic, it was a good idea to have a tactile warning on the bottle, so you didn't slip your husband a teaspoon of nasty instead of cough tonic. Huh. Nifty!
The other thing that I think is pretty fab is that there is an entire world of OWL bottles! Being a lover of all things owl, I am particularly impressed with the choice of logo for the Owl Drug Company that started up in San Fransisco in 1892 (look at me all historian-like lately!) and used various depictions of owls embossed on their bottles.
The closest thing I found to scary (the way a drag queen in an onslaught of silver sequins is scary) is so far out of my price range it found its way into my "covet" file. Not because they cost from $2000 to $4000 apiece, but because they come in PURPLE and are shaped like SKULLS! How freaking awesome is that? Now I need one.
Obviously more time and energy is needed in the research department before diving into a collection of poison bottles... but they are definitely going on the list for next Halloween ;)