Museum Homepage

The San Mateo County Historical Association
Online Collections Database

The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
of the cultural and natural history of San Mateo County.

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2016.011.002
Description Camphorized Oil from Gilcrest's Pharmacy in Half Moon Bay, c. 1940-1950. This oil is in a clear glass bottle with a black plastic top. The oil is yellowish. There appears to be a plastic white round oval object siphoning inside the yellowish oil. There is a faded brown paper wrapped around the front of the bottle with some text that says "NET CONTENTS____FLUID OUNCES / CAMPHORIZED OIL / FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY". The text "NET CONTENTS____FLUID OUNCES is typed, in regular lettering. The "N" in the word "NET", "C" in the word "CONTENTS", "F" in the word "FLUID" and "O" in the word "OUNCES" are upper cased while the rest of the words in the phrase above are lower cased. In between the "___", written in black pen is the number "2". The text "CAMPHORATED OIL / FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY" is typed, upper cased and in bold lettering, but the text "FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY" is smaller than the text above. Below "FOR EXTERNAL USE", in between two line breaks, the text reads in typed, "USED AS AN ANODYNE EMBROCATION IN SPRAINS, BRUISES, / RHEUMATIC AFFECTIONS OF THE JOINTS, AND / FOR CHAPPED OR SORE NIPPLES." This phrase is in typed and tiny lettering. The "U" in the word "USED", "S" in the words "SPRAINS" and "SORE, "B" in the word "BRUISES", "R" in the word "RHEUMATIC", "A" in the word "AFFECTIONS", "J" in the word "JOINTS", "C" in the word "CHAPPED", and "N" in the word "NIPPLES" are typed, upper cased, and the rest of the words in the phrase above are in lower case. Below the second line break, typed in bold lettering, and upper cased, the text says "GILCREST'S PHARMACY". Below the words "GILCREST'S PHARMACY"in bold lettering and upper cased, the words "HALF MOON BAY / CALIFORNIA". On the back of the bottle, engraved and in cursive, the word appears to say "3ii". On the left side on the bottom of the back of the bottle, there is three small lines intersecting with a perpendicular line with the number "1" is above the second line. The number "1" is in small lettering. Below the third line, engraved and in cursive, the word appears to say "3". On the right side of the back of the bottle also engraved, there are twelve small lines parallel to one other as they intersect with a line perpendicular to them. This line on the right hand side is parallel to the line on the left hand side, but the length of the lines on the left hand side are spaced wider than the right side. The pattern is two small lines, followed by a number, and then two small lines. The numbers start on the bottom with the number "10", then two lines then the number "20", two lines, the number "30", two lines, the number "40" and last two lines. On the bottom of the back of the bottle, the words say "DURAALAS". "DURAALAS" is engraved on the back of the bottle in cursive lettering. On the far bottom of the bottle, there is another set of text that is engraved that says "WRN". The word "WRN" is in bold.
Object Name Bottle, Medicine
Collection 3D - Medical & Psychological Tools & Equipment
Title Camphorized Oil from Gilcrest's Pharmacy in Half Moon Bay, c. 1940-1950.
Date c. 1940-1950
Creator Unknown
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "NET CONTENTS____FLUID OUNCES / CAMPHORIZED OIL / FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY" & "USED AS AN ANODYNE EMBROCATION IN SPRAINS, BRUISES, / RHEUMATIC AFFECTIONS OF THE JOINTS, AND / FOR CHAPPED OR SORE NIPPLES." & "GILCREST'S PHARMACY" & "HALF MOON BAY / CALIFORNIA" (typed on a small brownish paper wrapped around the front of the bottle)
Provenance From Gilcrest's Pharmacy in Half Moon Bay.
Notes Camphorated oil is a solution of about 20 percent camphor in cottonseed oil used as a counterirritant- called also camphor liniment [http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/camphorated%20oil-10/24/2016]

Camphor used to be made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree. Today, camphor is chemically manufactured from turpentine oil. It is used in products such as Vicks VapoRub…People use camphor topically to relieve pain and reduce itching. It has also been used to treat fungal infections of the toenail, warts, cold sores, hemorrhoids, and osteoarthritis…Camphor is a well-established folk remedy, and is commonly used. Camphorated oil (20% camphor in cottonseed oil) was removed from the U.S. market in the 1980s because of safety concerns. It continues to be available without a prescription in Canada. [http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-709-camphor.aspx?activeingredientid=709&-10/24/2016]

According to Bev Ashcraft, owner of Cunha's Market, for many years, Gilcrest's Pharmacy was located at 432 Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Donor remembers it being there in the late 1960s. According to Ashcraft, Gilcrest's was previously located at 421 Main, built the store at 432 and moved in. Gilcrest's was a classic home town pharmacy common before the age of corporate chains.

[Owens-Illinois Glass Company was the result of the 1929 merger between two glass-making giants of the industry: Owens Bottle Company (Toledo, OH; predecessor Toledo Glass Company began operation in 1896) and Illinois Glass Company (based in Alton, Illinois, glass production dating from 1873).
It consists of a “Diamond and O (oval) entwined, with an I in center” and dates from circa 1929 into the mid and late 1950s. (Latest confirmed date code with this older trademark known on a bottle is 1966). The diamond/oval/i mark may not have been, in actual practice, implemented onto bottle molds until some time in 1930, simply because of the time and effort involved in re-tooling/altering molds already in use.

On very small bottles, the mark may be rather indistinct and the “I” may be virtually invisible, or just a tiny dot. It may be misinterpreted as the number “1”. On the typical bottle, there is usually a number to the left of, to the right of, and below, the trademark.

Typically, the number on the LEFT of the diamond logo is the plant code number, the number on the RIGHT is a year date code, and the number below the logo (if present) indicates the mold number (mold identifying number, “mold cavity number” or serial number).

On many bottles, a single-digit date code along with the diamond/oval/I mark may indicate the 1930s. From information compiled in Bill Lockhart’s article (link below) on Owens-Illinois’ date code markings, it appears that, on containers with this earliest trademark, if a single digit date code (such as “O” or “1” placed to the right of the logo) is followed by a period, the chances are very strong that the bottle in question dates from the 1940s, especially the 1940-1947 period. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule, and single-digit date codes were also used in later decades along with the later “I inside an O” mark (but without a period placed to the right of the code).

Most bottles from the late 1940s into the 1950s and 1960s have two-digit date codes.
The mark “O-I” has also been in use for some time in very recent years (but I’m not sure when it first appeared on containers). The “O-I” mark shown on this page is on the heel of an emerald green ALE81 soda bottle made in 2011.

Other marks include “ILLINOIS” a brand name apparently used for a line of prescription bottles (similar to their bottles marked “OWENS”); “DURAGLAS“, a trademark used after 1940 and which appears embossed on innumerable bottles of many types; and “LOWEX” another brand name which was used for their borosilicate glass forumula employed especially for power line insulators.

Although Owens-Illinois has made containers of many different shades of color over the years, the great majority of glass bottles commonly found (especially older containers that show up often at flea markets, antique malls, yard sales, junk shops, ebay, etc) are made of clear (colorless), green (emerald, forest green or “seven up” green) and amber (“beer bottle brown”) glass.

The diamond/oval/I mark is by far the most common identification mark on glass containers found in trash dump sites in the United States from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. (The second most common mark encountered is probably that of the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company.)]

http://www.glassbottlemarks.com/owens-illinois-glass-company-bottle-container-marks/
Dimensions H-5 W-3 D-2 inches
Search Terms Bottles
Gilcrest's Pharmacy
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay - Businesses
Medicine
Stores
Subjects Bottles
Half Moon Bay
Medicine
Medicines
Stores & shops