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Welcome to all who


are interested in 


collecting antique


advertising medicine


measuring glasses!


Teal colored glass advertising dose glass, medicine glass measure, druggist's dosage measuring glass,  pharmacy shot glass

Dose Glass Types...





Used to accurately measure the dose of a liquid medication, "Medicine [dose] glasses for domestic use date back to early 19th century, and by the middle of the century they were a common item. The Whitall Tatum Company and others supplied medicine glasses embossed with the store name or any other advertising ordered by the druggist. Patent (proprietary) medicine companies also distributed dose glasses with advertising embossed or engraved on them. Most were made of flint glass, but some colored ones were also made." Quoted from THE PILL ROLLERS: Apothecary Antiques and Drug Store Collectibles by Charles G. and Lillian C. Richardson. 

It seems that Whitall Tatum & Company (glass factory in Millville, NJ) was the most prolific manufacturer of lettered plate embossed dose glasses. As I randomly go through 25 dose glasses in my collection, 18 (72%) show a Whitall Tatum makers mark on the bottom. Most of the others either have no manufacturer mark or have the letter "C" or "E" or "M" embossed on the bottom. These markings may merely be a mold letter instead of an indication of a specific maker. Custom lettered medicine glasses also appear in catalogs by the John M. Maris & Co. (of Philadelphia, PA) and the Cambridge Glass Co. (of Cambridge, OH). See photos of these catalog ads in the "Glass Catalogs" section of this website. Any information on other manufacturers of dose glasses would be greatly appreciated. Additional information is needed on the origin of glasses (like several found in N.Z., Australia and Canada) which are embossed with 'M & CO / NY' inside a keystone shaped border. 

Some glass manufacturers had very industrious sales departments that sold their products worldwide. You can see that the 1897 Whitall Catalog states, "No. 7 Tumblers also furnished with Lettering in Spanish or Portuguese." Examples are found advertising drug stores in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Cuba (see photo album). Several Australian examples boast "Made in U.S.A." embossed front and center on the glass (not on the bottom where you would expect). In fact, in 1905 Whitall Tatum Company had opened a branch office in Sydney, Australia. By 1916, they had a sales office in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 





Most advertising dose glasses are commonly found in one of three shapes: tumbler shaped, conical shaped, or spoon shaped. First, the tumbler shaped glass looks like a shot glass with advertising embossed, usually in a round or oval slug plate (from a lettered mold), on the outside front of the glass. "Embossed" means that the lettering is molded into the glass in such a way that it is raised from the surface of the glass itself. These tumbler shaped glasses are usually found in one of two different sizes -- a small, approx. 1 and 7/8 inch size (measures up to 1 tablespoonful - Whitall Tatum's Medicine Glass No. 7) or a large, approx. 2 and 1/4 inch size (measures up to 2 tablespoonfuls - Whitall Tatum's No. 12). The next shape frequently found is the conical shaped. The advertising on these inverted cone shaped glasses is embossed in reverse on the bottom in order to be seen through the top of the glass' base. These are approx. 2 and 3/4 inches tall and measure up to 2 tablespoonfuls or 8 teaspoonfuls (Whitall Tatum's No. 18 medicine glass). Lastly, there are the spoon shaped advertising dose glasses (Whitall Tatum's No. 40 Graduated Medicine Spoon). The advertising on these are embossed in reverse on the bottom to be viewed through the bowl of the spoon. The spoons are approx. 3 and 1/2 inches long with a glass loop handle. Common to these different shaped dose glasses are the teaspoon and tablespoon graduations (on the tumblers it is on the opposite side of the glass from the advertising). Some also have a dessertspoonful measurement. 

There are other less common shapes and sizes of embossed dose glasses. For example, Uncle Sam's Herbs is in the shape of a druggist's measuring graduate, Eclectic Medical Company of Richmond, VA is a spouted tumbler, Dr. Petzolds German Bitters is on a stemmed base like a cordial glass, and Pura Blood Purifier is a big 4 tablespoonful jumbo sized tumbler. 

It is interesting to note that these dose glasses indicate that 1 tablespoon equals 4 teaspoonfuls. In pharmacy school (UGA class of 1987), we were taught that 1 tablespoonful was 15ml or THREE teaspoonfuls. I don't know when this change occurred. I have an original box for a "No. 60 Rigo Graduated Medicine Glass Thin Blown" (this would be similar to the etched glass advertising medicine measures that are also popular collectibles). On the side of this box is listed the following equivalents: 


60 drops = 1 teaspoon 
1 teaspoonful = 1 dram 
2 teaspoonfuls = 1 dessertspoon 
4 teaspoonfuls = 1 tablespoon 
8 teaspoonfuls = 1 ounce 
2 ounces = 1 wine glass 
4 wine glasses = 1 teacup 
8 wine glasses = 1 wine pint 
10 wine glasses = 1 imperial pint




Most dose glasses were made of flint glass. The glass is usually clear or slightly gray in color. However, because of a chemical reaction that can occur with the manganese in the glass (added as a decolorizer between the years of 1880-1915), the glass can take a purple tint or turn an amethyst color in time with exposure to sunlight (takes years and years). The glass can also be irradiated (zapped glass) to achieve this color change (usually to a deep rich purple), but this artificial means of changing the color, although beautiful, is considered undesirable to most collectors. Otherwise, embossed dose glasses may have (although rarely) been manufactured in other colors. One example is an amber brown 1 tbsp tumbler embossed "Sparks Perfect Health for Kidney and Liver Diseases" (non slug plate). Recently, I was given the opportunity to purchase a beautiful teal green example of a dose glass from Paris, IL. Pictures of this and a other colored dose glasses can be seen if you explore this web site. Just to mention, there are a couple of cobalt glass dose measures that were actually the bottle lid or bottle cap to certain powdered medications by Wyeth (to measure a heaping dessertspoonful) and Warner (to measure a heaping teaspoonful). These make a colorful go-with in any collection, but don't qualify, in my opinion, as true lettered plate embossed advertising dose glasses. If someone has any examples of other colored glass dose glasses, please send pictures via email or post in the photo album. I can only hope that there exist examples in the same popular colors that prescription bottles of the time were made. These potential colors would include emerald green, cobalt blue, milk white, etc. 




I have several dose glasses in my collection that have a date (or year) embossed on them. A recently acquired glass is embossed "Class of [monogram] '98." One of my dose spoons is embossed "NYSPA [New York State Pharmaceutical Assoc?] 1900 Compliments of Whitall Tatum & Co." A small tumbler advertises "Monmouth Hospital Carnival Oct. 7th to 11th 1902." One of my conicals is embossed "D.L. Miller Druggist 20th Anniversary 1887 - 1907," indicating that it was made in 1907. A 2 tbsp tumbler says "Souvenir 1917 New Hampshire State Pharmaceutical Convention WTCO [monogram logo] Portsmouth, NH." Mr. Richardson in the above mentioned PILL ROLLERS book, states that in 1901, Whitall Tatum changed their trade mark from W.T.& CO. to W.T.CO. This fact also helps us to date these items. Of the ones in my collection that are made by Whitall Tatum, most are marked with the W.T.& CO.[pre-1901] mark, but some bear the W.T.CO. [post-1901] marking. The earliest glass that I know bears the W.T. & Co. mark and advertises a pharmacy in Tacoma, W.T. (Washington Territory). This territorial example would have been pre-1889, before Washington had become a state. With all of this information and the confirmation of their appearance in the 1887 Whitall, Tatum & Co druggists' trade catalog , I believe that it is safe to say that these lettered plate embossed advertising dose glasses where most popular from themid- to late 1880s to the early to middle 1920s. They do not appear in the W.T. & Co. catalog of 1880. 



Written by...

Tracy Gerken (see more contact info under MY COLLECTION), email

or click the button below to contact me. 



DISCLAIMER:  By choice of the author of this site,  this site mainly deals in EMBOSSED advertising dose glasses.  Although, etched glasses and ACL glasses are mentioned from time to time, you will learn very little about these types of glasses here.  Those intersted in glass other than EMBOSSED glass, may search the internet and find more information elsewhere.  For example, I know that etched glasses are talked about on Pre-Prohibition shot glass websites.  Please see my page of interesting links for possible leads to finding out more. 

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