Monday 15 October 2012

My Pharmaceutical Collection

I've finally got my pharmaceutical collection into some form of order. At least the best stuff is all displayed together with the overflow stored in my stationary cupboard close by. I'm using the display stand that I made for my recent club show to house all my dispensing bottles (and a bit more). It's always nice to see a collection come together in a display.

Large Pink Drug Jar
I was very fortunate to be able to pick up three very nice items for my pharmaceutical collection at our Morayfield show three weeks ago. The first one I bought from my friends stall on the Friday night when we were setting everything up. It is a very large pink ceramic drug jar (about 27cm tall and 17cm in diameter).

The jar is in excellent condition with only some crazing to the glaze as can be expected on a ceramic item of its age (probably c.1900 or maybe earlier). Most of these jars have quite a few chips around the rims and have damaged handles to the lid. The only thing that would have made this jar more desirable would have been an appropriate pharmaceutical label. I was told that my friend used to keep cat food in this jar. Originally it would most likely have been used to store pharmaceutical ingredients used in the preparation of medicines. The large size and bright colour of this jar could also indicate that it was intended for display purposes in the pharmacy window. Pharmacists would often have a colourful display of large containers in their windows to attract customers and to make it obvious that it was a pharmacy.
The large pink drug jar shown beside the my largest dispensing bottle. 

The next item from the show was another drug jar bought from the same friend on the Saturday of the show. This one is a little more modest in colour, design and size. It is white and only about 15cm tall and 9cm in diameter but it does have a good paper label. The label reads "Oleum Anisi" which is Oil of Anise. You can read about Oil of Anise here. This jar is also in excellent condition.

White Drug Jar

Unknown manufacturers mark (possibly German) on the base of the white drug jar.
The number 2 probably refers to the size of the jar.

The third item that I bought from the show for my pharmaceutical collection was a Sloan's Liniment bottle with its original box.

This bottle is not particularly old (probably from the 1940s) but does have great graphics and lots of cool information on the box and label. It also has a strongly embossed star pattern on the rear of the bottle. These patterns were to warn the handler that they had picked up a bottle that contained poison. So when you got up late at night to get something for the headache you had, you would immediately know you had picked up the wrong bottle. It also has the AGM mark embossed on the base. The particular mark on this bottle was used by the company 'Australian Glass Manufacturers' from 1934 to 1948. You can read more about Dr. Earl Sawer Sloan here.

Another recent addition to my pharmaceutical collection is this cedar test tube stand pictured below. I found this in a local antique shop a few months ago. It is constructed entirely of Australian Red Cedar and I just love it. It has a few stains (actually some look like burn marks) but these just add character. This stand may or may not have been used in a pharmacy but looks right at home with my collection. If it didn't actually come from a pharmacy, it may have been used in a chemist's laboratory or even a school laboratory. I don't have any test tubes for it yet but they shouldn't be too hard to find. Anyone out there have a few they want to get rid of? The bottles didn't come with it either but it just so happened that I had a few that kind of look OK.

The stand is very well made. Who ever made it even took care to set the brass screws (align all the screw slots). This is always a sign of a good craftsman. The green felt is rather worn in places but looks original.

 I wonder what else is waiting out there for me to discover and add to my collection?

Saturday 13 October 2012

My Shed Decor

Lately I have been collecting all sorts of rusty stuff and other old things to decorate the outside of my beloved shed. I have been scouring fairs and markets all year for anything that would look interesting. Below are some photos of some of my finds.

Just some stuff that I've had for sometime now
The extension ladder was my Dad's. He used it a lot when he was building homes with my Grandfather. Their building company was called "Ron Stevens & Son". I wish I still had one of their tin signs that they would put up on their building sites. The last time I remember seeing them was when Dad and I cut some up to make trays for the bottom of my birdcages when I was probably about 12 or 13. Would love to have one to display on my shed. Might have to make up a dummy one.

The red tub also came from my childhood. I painted it red to protect it from rusting when I sunk it into the ground to provide a pond for my pet tortoise, 'Plonky". I named him Plonky after a similar tortoise we met while visiting friends in Adelaide on our first big family road trip. This was way back in December 1965. I've still got my diary from the trip. Oh, and they named their tortoise Plonky because this was the noise he made when he walked down their hallway. Plonk, plonk, plonk....

My mystery item.
I wonder if anyone knows what this large rusty thing is? It was also used by my Dad & Grandfather while building houses. It is a floor clamp. You used it to clamp onto the floor joist and then push the floor boards up tight while nailing them down. If this doesn't make a lot of sense, come and visit and I will give you a demonstration. The sieve was another thing they used.

The rabbit trap above doesn't work but still looks the part and didn't cost much. But I do have some others that are in full working condition. Apparently, so I'm told, rabbit traps can be classified or identified by the different marks on the trigger plate. I have a trap with a spade on it and another with what looks like a trowel. Don't know if this makes them special or not. I just like the look of them hanging on my shed. The two working rabbit traps were found at the last Collectorama fair at Nambour.

Spade mark on one of my rabbit traps
Trowel rabbit trap
Close up of trowel mark
Large rusty hook and chain
The large rusty hook was a Caboolture Market find. I love this hook. I think the chain came from Nana's (my Mother-in-law) place and is probably an old anchor chain. Come and see me if you need to work on your car and lift the motor out.

Horse gear.
This is my small collection of horse bits and pieces (bits literally). The horse hames were found at the last Collectorama at Nambour. They don't actually match but look OK together. Horse hames are part of a draft horse harness and are used in conjunction with the horse collar . The stirrups are another Caboolture Market find. They are not brilliant as they are both (I think) for the right foot but they look OK. I really like the horse bit. It is a blacksmith forged piece and was found a few weeks ago at my club's show at Morayfield.
"EMU" brand on horse hame
Blacksmith forged horse bit
Some of my number plates
Now for my number plates. I have discovered that you can buy genuine American number plates (or license plates as they call them) quite cheaply on the internet. So this is where most of my number plates have come from. They make a great display. The American plates also have some amazing graphics. Much more interesting than our Australian plates although I do like to have a good mix of both. The top Victorian and Queensland plates came from Karen's Auntie Hazel's garage in Melbourne. The lower Victorian plate came off Karen's car from our time of living in Melbourne.

This NON-MOTOR VEHICLE plate came off an Amish buggy from LA GRANGE COUNTY, INDIANA.
(I believe that Indiana is the only US state that requires the Amish to display number plates on their buggies.)
Karen's Victorian number plate from her Hyundai Excel.
Some more of my number plates.
The top Victorian and Queensland plates also came from Auntie Hazel's garage while the lower Victorian plate came off my Holden Berlina when we were living in Melbourne. I love the Kentucky plate as our house was built by the company called Kentucky Log Cabins. It is also the Bluegrass State and I do love my bluegrass music.
Kentucky Bluegrass State plate and others.
Nice Texas plate showing the space shuttle and my Victorian plate
I still have plenty of room for lots more number plates and other rusty junk. Maybe you might have something that you don't want that would look good on my shed. Who knows, I just might be willing to take it off your hands for you (if the price is right). Please let me know if you do.

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