Ancient Iodine
November 12, 2017 10:02 PM   Subscribe

I have this extremely vintage-iconic iodine bottle in my bathroom. As far as I can tell my mother gave it to me after her mother gave it to her. How old is it?

Is it worth preserving or sending to a collector, or does it just have a particularly compelling aesthetic of oldness despite being manufactured fairly recently? All I can ascertain is that Drug Trading Company Limited (Toronto, Canada) was incorporated in 1896 and then became I.D.A. Later in the 1930s, and then I.D.A. Guardian in the 1960s.
posted by tehloki to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pictures of a similar bottle on Etsy show marks on the base of the bottle. You can use these to determine when the bottle was manufactured, here's one intro. I haven't been able to find much date-wise on the product (and am under deadline and absolutely should not be here).
posted by Trivia Newton John at 12:12 AM on November 13, 2017

Good god. I was bored on a Sunday evening and this Ask sent me down a deep, deep rabbit hole of glass bottle markings.

This listing on Etsy seems to be the same brand but 0.5 ounce, whereas yours is the 1 ounce bottle. There's a comment on this thread that suggests that iodine bottles in Canada were manufactured by either Dominion Glass or Consumers Glass, but this document and this other website do not have any information on the markings shown on the bottom of the bottle in the Etsy link. This one too. I thought at first the number 8 or the number 3056 on the bottom of that bottle might be mould numbers, but the PDF document I linked to does not show a reference for 8 or 3056 as a mould number.

Does the bottom of your bottle look different than the one in the link? Are there skull and crossbones on it? It looks like the most well-known vintage iodine manufacturer in Canada is Diamond/ Dominion Glass Company, but their bottle has a red stopper rather than the black screw cap yours does. From everything I've read, in the absence of distinct markings (I see a square on the bottom of the bottle but that doesn't jive with any of the markings I've seen on the websites linked), it might be that the bottle is pre-1920. You might have success asking your question on

Okay, bedtime. If you do end up pursuing this, please post any updates! This is pretty interesting!
posted by Everydayville at 12:21 AM on November 13, 2017 [8 favorites]

What material is the cap made of?
posted by rhizome at 1:59 AM on November 13, 2017

I knew there was going to be an angle that I should have photographed that would magically reveal all sorts of information but I missed it, so it goes with this sort of thing

I'll photograph the bottom and inspect the cap more thoroughly when I get home from work
posted by tehloki at 7:06 AM on November 13, 2017

It's not that old. If it has a diamond-D on it, then it is 1928 to early 1970s.

The Etsy listing has a date code (the open square) which tells you the bottle was made in July or August, from 1950-1969. The 5 to the right of the diamond likely means 1955 if we take the label into consideration that they switched to IDA in 1960s.

There's a Diamond-D in the middle, and the 3056 is likely a mold number or bottle form number.

I look forward to seeing the base of your bottle!
posted by ceithern at 10:24 AM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I came back in to say that what I thought was a 0.5, was actually a diamond-D on it - I should have realized it was not a 0 given the 3056. Perils of doing this while sleep! Therefore made by Diamond Glass from 1928-1976. Before 1928, the logo was just a diamond.

The screw cap also means it was late 1920's or after.
posted by Everydayville at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2017

Completely slipped my mind

here's a gallery with various other photos

the raised text on the bottom seems to be impossible to read in its entirety from any one angle, but it appears to be:
D    [i/o in ◇]   .5
There are also photos of the cap and rod (cap seems to be made of bakelite or similar dense, brittle plastic, rings like ceramic when knocked against sink/toilet, makes very sharp sounds compared to other plastic caps on newer bottles in bathroom. rod is glass)

I am looking through the bottle marks website but not having much success, it does appear to be the o/i within a diamond mark used in the center but I can't find any examples of it that actually look like the one on my bottle
posted by tehloki at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2017

Update: the "D within a diamond" logo in this PDF is almost definitely the logo in the center of the base of my bottle

And the mark I have down as "D" on the left side is likely a hollow box □ which is a month code meaning July-August
posted by tehloki at 8:36 AM on November 21, 2017

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