A Late 19thC Glass Apothecary Bottle with Cut Glass Stopper for Aqua Chloroform


Origin: English
Period: Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Circumference: 12 inches
Height: 10 inches

A substantial example in sound condition, having an ornate cut glass faceted stopper. Original label reads AQUA CHLOROFOR: in black lettering set upon a white ground, surrounded by a red stripe, then a gold outer border with black pinstripe.Crafted in high quality flint glass, possibly by the York Glass Co., the vessel is square bodied with a pronounced frosted neck terminating in the original cut glass stopper.

Once containing Chloroform water, which, at normal temperature and pressures, is a highly volatile, clear, colourless, heavy, highly refractive, non-flammable liquid. It was discovered in July 1831 by American physician Samuel Guthrie (1782-1848). Chloroform was named and chemically characterised in 1834 by Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800-84).Chloroform is a more effective anaesthetic than nitrous oxide. Chloroform has modest "abuse potential" (we have certainly not abused!). Its vapours were inhaled by some of the greatest names in 19th century medical history. Horace wells, pioneer of nitrous oxide anaesthesia, died tragically by his own hand after becoming deranged from chloroform use: his intensive self-experimentation with alternative agents to nitrous oxide had degenerated into a week-long chloroform binge.

Royal accoucheur Dr John Snow administered chloroform - in prudently sub-anaesthetic doses - to Queen Victoria for the birth of Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice, thereby further socially legitimating its use.Thus, in 1864, the Report of Chloroform Committee of Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society endorsed chloroform as Britain's favourite anaesthetic.