Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday, March 18 - Rumford Antique Bottles #rumford #antique #bottlecollectors

Two posts in one day - my my my it must be going to snow tomorrow. That was my grandmother's saying and she usually said it during the summer months so it basically meant something that's not going to happen.

So this bottle popped up on my sink today and if I put it up there, I'm really losing it because I don't remember. Although...I was cleaning out the downstairs bathroom cabinet and found another jar down there that I posted about Friday; maybe this was in there too Lord only knows.'s the jar:

It says Rumford across the top and is 4 3/4 inches tall and has a 12 on the bottom. According to what I'm finding out about it, it is a baking powder jar or something similar which is surprising as I would have thought it was an old medicine bottle? It is aqua in color and has a few bubbles on the inside. It was probably made in the late 1800s or early 1900s. What a find.

I found this on the Internet:

Looks just like my jar without the label. So we're talking Rumford Chemical Works from Providence, R.I.

The history behind the company was that an American by the name of Benjamin Thompson of Woburn, Massachusetts escaped from 'political complications' by moving to England in 1754. He joined the English army until 1784 and then entered the service of the Elector of Bavaria. For the next fourteen years, Benjamin was investigating ways of supplying nutritious foods for the state at the lowest costs possible. Because of his contributions, he was knighted 'Count Rumford.' Sometime after 1800, he founded the Rumford Professorship of Chemistry at Harvard University and this is where an Eben N. Horsford served as Rumford Professor from 1847 to 1863. Eben then met George Wilson in 1853 and the two started Rumford Chemical Works in 1856 and incorporated the company in 1859.

Wilson served at business manager and Horsford was in charge of producing the chemicals. Their most popular product was Horsfords Acid Phosphate of which the tonic was patented on March 10 1868, over a hundred years ago. This same product continued being produced well into the 1940s. You would add one teaspoon of product and mix it with a glass of water and some sugar and it would resemble lemon lime drink. This was used for mental and nervous exhaustion.

So in a way it could be a medicine bottle, huh?

The bottles started out a clear glass but when they found out that the content would become calcified when stored for long periods of time, they ended up changing the color of the glass to teal blue in a unique eight sided shape bottle (never seen one of them yet). The rarer of colors came in deep olive, green and aqua (I would say mine was aqua).

By the 1900s the teal blue bottles were eliminated and the machine made bottles were produced in a light green and a brilliant green color. Eventually the embossing disappeared and the company went to paper labels. If you find one that is embossed with the letter W, that would stand for George F. Wilson.

Other products they produced were Rumford's Baking Powder (seems to me I remember this from my grandmother's cabinet but this was in a tin), Rumford's Yeast Powder and Rumford's Phosa. These bottles were unembossed and was just registered on the heel of the bottle (like mine with the 12 on the bottom).

On eBay, they're selling for about $20 on down.

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