Three Late 19thC Cobalt Glass Apothecary Bottles one for Mawson & Swan, Newcastle


Origin: English
Period: Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885
The Largest:
Circumference: 6.5 inches
Height: 6 inches
The Two Smaller:
Circumference: 6 inches
Height: 5 inches

The first, and largest, in a lighter attractive ice blue cobalt hue, with original frosted square-cut glass stopper. To find any blue glass bottle embossed with a product or owners name is unusual and in this case the neck bears the embossed text of MAWSON & SWAN NEWCASTLE.

Joseph Swan was a chemist, physicist, and inventor, who is most famous for his important role in the development of electric lighting. In 1860 Swan developed a carbon-filament incandescent lamp (some twenty years before Edison!!) and in 1878, produced an all-glass hermetically sealed bulb. He also invented a dry photographic process. This invention lead to a huge improvement in photography and progress toward the development of modern photographic film. A particularly inquisitive child interested in creative endeavors, he began an apprenticeship with a pharmacist when he was 13. He served six years as an apprentice to a Sunderland firm of druggists, Hudson and Osbaldiston. However, both partners died, and Swan joined John Mawson, who had founded a pharmaceutical business in Newcastle upon Tyne in the year that Swan was born. This company existed as Mawson Swan and Morgan until recently.

The smaller bottles are of a rich deep cobalt colour with one bearing a wider neck and protruding lip whilst the other is more orthodox in its design. Both bear their original stoppers and are in superb condition. Cobalt bottles, if not used in apothecary, would have most likely contained poison, snuff or magnesia.All three bottles would make charming and welcome additions to those looking for a rather lurid and unusual decorative effect or alternatively for the serious collector.