Smelling bottle

Object Number: 
1965.767k
Date: 
1850-1875
Medium: 
Glass, gilt, metal (probably brass)
Dimensions: 
Overall: 3 3/8 x 1 5/8 x 1 1/4 in. ( 8.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 cm )
Marks: 
engraved: maker's mark on inside on inside of cap: "[illeg.] MORDAN & CO. LONDON (around crown)"
Description: 
Translucent red non-lead glass smelling bottle (or pungent) blown in a mold and gilded, with elaborately decorated metal (probably gilded) cap; bottle cut with pattern of arches and oval indentations and polished, and gilded with pattern of flowers, scrolls, and other decoration; cap with raised scene of fountain with birds drinking out of it and with scrolls at bottom; maker's mark under cap.
Gallery Label: 

The main purpose of smelling bottles, or pungents, was to mask unpleasant odors, and thus they usually held smelling salts. They were first stoppered by corks and eventually by screw caps. The capacity of these bottles ranges from fractions of a dram to a little over an ounce.

Credit Line: 
Bequest of Mrs. F. MacDonald Sinclair (Jennie H. Sinclair)
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group