Amber Glass Jars: A History

Amber Glass Jars: A History 

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Ever since we started using plants and herbs to create medicinal potions and remedies, we have needed a safe and reliable way to store those liquids. It wasn’t until the late 1600s, however, that glass jars became popular for this purpose, as before that time, medicines had largely been stored in ceramic vessels. By the late 1700s, glass jars had all but replaced ceramic containers for holding medicines, as they were thought to be more ‘inactive’ than ceramic vessels.

Why Amber Glass Jars?

It was quickly deduced though, that to store medicines effectively in glass jars, the glass needed to be coloured in order to prevent it being affected by light. It was believed that black glass jars would be most effective for this purpose, but this colour had the disadvantage that you could not see the contents through the glass. Blue, green and purple glass jars all became widely used, but research found that red glass was actually the most effective colour for storing liquids. Red glass, however, was and remains very costly to produce, since it involves adding gold to the glass to produce the red colour. By the turn of the 20th century, amber had become the dominant colour for medicinal bottles and jars, as it was inexpensive to produce and gave the best light protection for the contents of the jar or bottle.

The shapes and design of medicinal bottles and jars is as fascinating as their colours. Back in the 1800s, when many people were more or less illiterate, a system was needed that could alert people to the fact that a bottle or jar contained poison. This is why poison was stored in blue jars and bottles, and why, eventually, legislation was introduced to make it compulsory for bottles containing poison also to have a ribbed design.

Amber Glass Jars Today

Today, amber glass bottles and jars are still used for medicines, essential oils and cosmetics. The colour and shape of the container still carries a clear indication of what might be contained inside the bottle or jar. Here at Wares, we stock a comprehensive range of amber glass bottles and jars for use with homemade infused oils, cosmetics and creams. Whether you want to make your own foot balm, face cream or an all-natural herbal cold remedy, using one of our amber jars or bottles will make it really look the part, and will also give you the reassurance that other family members will treat the contents respectfully. Check out our range today, to find the perfect jars and bottles for your next homemade project.

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