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Object Record

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Catalog Number 1999.048.410
Description John Wyeth & Brother Bottle Recovered from City Centre Plaza c. 1860 -1932. This bottle is oval shaped and it has narrowed slightly from shoulder to base. 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. A 625 inch short and narrow neck flares out .375 inches shoulders to a 2.125 inch body. The base is shaped like oval. The bottle is clear and shows evidence of glass machine manufacture.
Object Name Bottle, Medicine
Collection 3D - Medical & Psychological Tools & Equipment
Title Bottle Recovered from City Centre Plaza c. 1860 -1932.
Date c. 1860 -1932
Creator John Wyeth & Brother Inc., Philadelphia
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "JOHN WYETH & BROTHER / PHILA" (embossed vertically on one 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 " the most popular "type" of druggist/prescription bottle styles were the "oval" type bottles. These bottles vary in actual cross-section shape but are always rounded on one or more sides and/or the corners. Beyond that, the shapes vary widely with some being rounded or flattened on both the front and back or even all sides, but with rounded corners as the binding feature if the cross-section shape is somewhat rectangular. The most common oval style druggist bottles with a flattened front panel (for a plate) with the sides and back being rounded together with no obvious break between them (base pictured below) were known by most bottle makers as the "Philadelphia Oval"."
[ Druggists 08/31/2016 ]

"According to Notable Names Database, John Wyeth, founder of the present-day pharmaceutical giant, was the son of a druggist, and studied at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (now the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia). At graduation he took employment at Henry C. Blair’s apothecary store in Philadelphia, and four years later he was made a partner in the shop. In 1860 he quit Blair’s shop and, with his brother Frank Wyeth, opened John Wyeth & Brother, Chemists, at 1410 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. The shop’s key innovation was to mix medicinal compounds in advance, in large batches, allowing the Wyeth Brothers to sell commonly-prescribed drugs at a lower price than competitors. Wyeth’s main success, however, came from a government contract during the American Civil War, to deliver medicines and beef extract to the Union Army.

In 1872, an employee of Wyeth’s, Henry Bower, invented a machine for making tablets from medicinal powders, allowing mass production of pills with pre-measured dosages. After fire destroyed the shop in 1889, the brothers left the retail business and opened a larger manufacturing facility at the corner of 11th & Washington. The company’s products included a wide array of compressed pills, effervescing salts, elixirs, lozenges, suppositories, and bottled cannabis powder (to be taken with hot brandy, according to its label). His son Stuart took over the drug business at John Wyeth’s death in 1907, and at the younger Wyeth’s death in 1929, the company was bequeathed to his alma mater, Harvard University. Harvard sold the company to American Home Products in 1932, and AHP rebranded itself Wyeth in 2002."

[ 09/21/2016 ]
Dimensions H-3 W-1.5 D-1.125 inches
Search Terms Apothecary
City Center Plaza
Redwood City
Subjects Archaeology
Redwood City