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Mystery Bottle


This afternoon, I found this bottle out in a woods that, 60 year’s ago, was an apple orchard. It’s about one and a half inches tall, and has a pink foam seal at the top, indicating that it once contained a liquid that was extracted with a syringe. On the bottom, in a within a rectangle, is the number 30. There is also a number 10 on the bottom.

Does anyone have any idea what substance would have been held within? Can the bottle be dated, given the information provided?

4 thoughts on “Mystery Bottle”

  1. Bill says:

    Yep, that’s a septum vial, and indeed the most common use for them is to contain sterile injectable drugs (there are other uses too, but much less common and mostly in laboratories, not in open fields). Your description of the septum material (“pink foam”) leads me to suspect it is a plastic, not natural rubber, which would likely date your vial no earlier than maybe the 1940s or 50s. The metal collar isn’t rusted, so I assume it is aluminum, which definitely dates your vial post-1880s (since prior to that time aluminum was more valuable than gold, and thus not widely used). I imagine that sometime sixty or seventy years ago someone in that apple orchard…either a person or a horse…needed a doctor or a veterinarian stat. My guess would be a horse, since you find a lot more veterinarians working outdoors on farms than you do MDs. Poor thing probably hurt itself pulling a great creaking wagon-load of apples.

    1. ITimes says:

      Amazing, Bill! How did you come by that knowledge? Archaeology? History of medicine?

      1. Bill says:

        The accretion of mostly useless factoids over a lifetime in biomedical science.

  2. Tom says:

    Good job Bill!

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