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Object Record

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Catalog Number 1999.048.404
Description Burnett Bottle Recovered from City Centre Plaza c.1847-1920. Bottle is rectangular in shape with flat corners along the vertical edges. The rim has prescription finish which is narrow (vertically) and the outside surface distinctly tapers in from the top surface of the finish to bottom. The front side of bottle is embossed vertically "BURNETT / BOSTON". The base is shaped like rectangular. The bottle shows evidence of hand-blown manufacture.
Object Name Bottle, Medicine
Collection 3D - Medical & Psychological Tools & Equipment
Title Burnett Bottle Recovered from City Centre Plaza c.1847-1920.
Date c.1847-1920
Creator Burnett of Boston company
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "BURNETT / BOSTON" ( embossed vertically on each side of bottle)
Provenance 20 boxes of archaeological material excavated from the City Centre Plaza site at 950 Main at Middlefield in Redwood City. Excavation for development, done by Basin Research Associates.
Notes "Rectangular in cross-section mouth-blown druggist/prescription bottles were another common shape used by druggists between the late 1870s and 1920s, with and without proprietary embossing although embossed lettering was common. Machine-made rectangular druggist bottles were also commonly used from the mid to late 1910s and later though machine-made examples virtually never have proprietary embossing, i.e., they are labeled only. It also appears that as the 20th century progressed, bottles with at least one rounded side seem to have become more popular than these flat sided styles."
[ Druggists08/16/2016]

Burnett of Boston company name were very likely one of the many flavoring extracts produced by Joseph Burnett's 19th-century firm. The host of extracts the Burnett company promoted included lemon, vanilla, almond, rose, nutmeg, peach, celery, cinnamon, cloves, nectarine, ginger and orange. Period advertisements claimed Burnett's flavoring contained all the delicacy of the fruits from which they are prepared, and are less expensive" and "are entirely free from poisonous oils and acids."

"Burnett's most popular extract may in fact have been his vanilla, which was the first product to be developed by his company in 1847. At the time, the prominent wife of a wealthy Boston manufacturer who had lived some years in France entered the druggist/chemist's Tremont Row store anxious to procure a vanilla flavor for her creams, sauces and desserts, such as she had been getting in Paris. A man ahead of his time, Burnett believed in supplying what his customers needed. In New York he bought a pound of the very best vanilla beans and soon busied himself in his laboratory, extracting the bean's rare, delicate flavor. Following careful experiments, when he was satisfied with its quality, Burnett made the first vanilla extract that was ever sold in this country. Its success prompted Burnett to produce others flavorings as well, and soon his products were sold not only in the United States but all over the world."

Dimensions H-4.375 W-1.75 D-1.125 inches
Search Terms Apothecary
City Center Plaza
Subjects Archaeology
Redwood City