Imported mineral water

The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj includes five nineteenth-century ceramic bottles obtained through the nationalization of the St. George Pharmacy in Cluj and a pharmacy in Carei. The stamps on these bottles confirm their German origin, from Nassau, and their initial contents that was mineral water. One of the ceramic bottles still has its cork stopper in place, thus preserving its original content.
19th-c stoneware bottle for Selters water

The mineral springs in Selters, near Strassbourg, were famous ever since Antiquity for the special properties of their water rich in sodium and alkaline salt. Selters luxury mineral water started to be sold on an international scale from the middle of the eighteenth century and around 3 million bottles were sold in 1850. Read more of the history HERE.
Special pottery bottles were created in order to preserve the properties of these waters. Their neck was very short, in order to eliminate water from the bottle during bottling. Despite their outlook, these containers produced in the area of Westerwald are not glazed, but coated in salt before firing, thus according to the stoneware technique. Unlike glazing, this method was simple and less costly, as no secondary firing was required. Glass bottles became increasingly popular in the end of the nineteenth century and the production of stoneware bottles dropped drastically.
On the basis of the stamps, the containers can be dated to the 1936-66 and 1866-1880 intervals. The stamps employed during the first period consist of a circular medallion with the depiction of a rampart lion and the inscription SELTERS on the shoulder of the bottle and below, horizontally, the inscription HERZOGTHUM NASSAU (the duchy that owned and sold the water, today Hesse). The label was different during the second interval, as the medallion now contained the depiction of a two-headed eagle surrounded by the inscription SELTERS NASSAU.

1866-1880 Selters logo

1936-1966 Selters logo
Selters mineral water was often prescribed during the nineteenth century and doctors recommended up to two liters a day, either as such or mixed with wine, during lunches. 

Selters salt glazed bottles at the History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj

Detail of intact stopper

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