View Full Version : Opium Bottle

05-09-2013, 10:53 PM
Here are what the Chinese put their opium in, around my neck of the woods.


05-09-2013, 10:54 PM
The lip.


05-09-2013, 10:55 PM
The bottom.


05-09-2013, 11:01 PM
cool bottle

05-09-2013, 11:01 PM
Just find it lying around?

05-09-2013, 11:16 PM
It is my Uncles. He has 2 more that the necks are broken off of. He dug all 3.


05-10-2013, 12:09 AM
We used to dig quite a few of those years ago in California. Any place that had a gathering of Chinese they will be found. The broken off tops seem to be typical. I still have several I dug in my "Littles" collection. They really aren't worth much but are sure fun and interesting to find. Jim

andy volkerts
05-10-2013, 04:42 AM
Yes they are cool little bottles, we used to dig them by the dozens in old Sacto and Stockton..........

05-10-2013, 09:55 AM
The thickness and all the seed bubbles are cool!

05-10-2013, 10:15 AM
Very neat Renee.

05-10-2013, 03:59 PM

Here are what the Chinese put their opium in, around my neck of the woods.


Hello Renee,

I gotta argue with you and Uncle Ernie about this. I don't know where the story started about these being opium bottles, but I suspect somewhere out West & years ago. I believe it to be a "collector myth," and one that has no basis in fact.

I know that these have been found in many historic Chinese sites throughout the land, but particularly in the West. These had no involvement with the smoking of opium. Perhaps they contained an opium tincture, or elixir, but I highly doubt it. I believe they held a Chinese medicine, and a very small amount of it.


Great photos, and a great bottle, just not an opium. If anyone has a labelled "Opium" example, boy would I like to see it.

Opium, of the smoking variety, was sold and traded in tins or cans, they are often debossed as such. Here's some opium smoking tools. Notice the absence of such a bottle:

http://www.chinesecol.com/layout.jpg From. (http://www.chinesecol.com/treasure6.html)

Opium cans can be seen Right Here @ Opium Cans. (http://www.chinesecol.com/opiumcans.html)


"Sheer top aqua glass medicine bottles of various sizes. These were all found in BC. They were often erroneously called "opium bottles" by bottle diggers. Bottles such as these were commonly available at bottle swap meets." See Here. (http://www.chinesecol.com/treasure9.html)

Opium of the smoking variety was not conducive to being bottled.

http://www.cinarc.org/Opium_tools_Beck_web.jpg From. (http://www.cinarc.org/Opium.html#anchor_56)


"Opium Processing Factory in Taipei" From. (http://www.takaoclub.com/shaochuantou/latterdays.htm)

http://www.cinarc.org/SF_opium_den_Harpers_WEeekly_1888_web.jpg From. (http://www.cinarc.org/Opium.html#anchor_51)

05-10-2013, 04:18 PM
Is opium and hash the same thing????

RED Matthews
05-10-2013, 05:31 PM
Hello all of you. I just described three 12 sided puff med bottles and I think some are also shown here. I don't always relate them to Opium unless it is embossed on them. There were a lot of early puffs mane for holding medications also.

I will go back an review this thread some more. The all fit into a great hobby and provide a story of their creation even if they can't talk. RED Matthews

05-10-2013, 05:58 PM
Having started collecting bottles back in 1964, I will attest to the fact that the early collectors and book authors got a lot of things incorrect. There were a lot of assumptions and best guesses made. Many of them hang on today such as: "Graphite Pontil" & "Whittle Mold". Surf's assertion very well may be correct and I am all for making corrections, albeit typially fruitless. I do have a labeled example of one of this type. I also have a Chinese Granddaughter-in-Law who may be able to decipher the label. I'll ask.
One of the other Jims.

RED Matthews
05-10-2013, 06:33 PM
Bottleguy. Have your read my homepage write up on Cold Mold Ripple? I tried to explain what the term whittle was - instead of trying to think they whittled cast iron molds. I have a blog in process on the pontil marks but there is a lot of work to be done on it. Graphite was used on iron punty rods.
They also dipped the hot punty rods in fine powdered iron from machining the molds and also glass fines and dust even with the graphite on first. The size of the punty depended on the weight of the bottle and the fines used were kept in a multiple cavity long box for the dipping.
It is true that there is a lot of missleading comments passed around.
RED Matthews

05-10-2013, 06:43 PM
Here's 2 drug Ampuls I found still full in a 1950's dump. Found about another 1,000 broken & empty. My buddy found about 20-30 more full ones. Don't know whats in them? Morphine? Heroin? LEON.


RED Matthews
05-10-2013, 06:46 PM
Thanks for showing them. I have never seen one of them before. Neat glass work. How were they filled and sealed ?????? RED Matthews

05-10-2013, 06:54 PM
Red, they just filled a small cylinder then heated the top with a flame. I imagine early ones could have been hand made but the later ones were done with a machine. The narrow part of the neck was sometimes scored so the top could be broken off easily. It was one of the best ways to keep a dose of medicine, vaccine, etc sterile until it needed to be used. They may still be used...I know I remember using some and that was only about 25-30 years ago.
The draw back is they are a one use kind of thing. Once opened you had to use it all or throw the rest away.

05-10-2013, 06:57 PM
those look like morphine bottles that i have seen,i'm not saying they are for sure because they also resemble some perfume bottles and with that many around broken up i would vote for perfume :)

05-10-2013, 07:51 PM
If I remember right I think their may have been other Medical supplies mixed in giving me impression these are Drugs, Not Perfume. LEON.

05-11-2013, 12:00 AM
The sealed bottle with liquid could be water. I had one with full label identified as sterile water or purified water or something like that. I sent it to Guntherhess last year. I have another one, full with label, that is Adrenalin. That liquid is more yellow though.

I've also heard this broken tops are not opium. I have a few of them too. Someone told me that their opium was like a tar and that small bottle just would not work. Neat bottles though. I will try to get pictures up tomorrow. Ron

05-11-2013, 12:16 AM
If these were Water, Wouldn't they freeze & break during the cold Winter months in frozen ground? Curious? LEON.

05-11-2013, 10:49 AM
Red, here is an example of the machine used to make the ampules

RED Matthews
05-11-2013, 05:33 PM
Well this takes a big THANK YOU!!! As an experienced Manufacturing Engineer this is now even more that I imagined. That company link is an outstanding example of tricks that can be put together for computer selling. These machines are more modern than the ones I worked around. On their page if you put the mouse at the top it would change the machine pictured on the top of the page.
The machine world has changed a lot since I retired 19 years ago.

It is hard for a man at my age to keep up with the technology today. I am lucky just to be able to use the computer. Right now I can't get my printer to work. A job for my Grandson.

RED Matthews

05-11-2013, 05:49 PM
Is opium and hash the same thing???? No hash is made from potato and corned beef.[:D]

05-11-2013, 07:25 PM
Yum, Yum!