"Admiralty Arrow Antique Glass Bottles"

Medicinal or Apothecary Bottles of the British Military

ship's doctor's medicine chest

A ship's doctor would store his medicines in a wooden partitioned box, each bottle with a number indicating it's contents.

Since these bottles would be refilled each time the ship returned to port, the bottles are scarce.   This example is not an actual military chest, but is included to give an idea how the bottles might be stored in the surgeons quarters.

SQUARE Apothecary or Medicine Bottles marked with the Admiralty Arrow:

Square Clear medicine bottles with admiralty arrow

aqua medicines


 Colourless medicinal type vial with "WD"

(War Department?)

Diameter: 2.5 cm.    Height: 9.0 cm.

medicine with "D" and arrow.

#501024:  Description: Round solarized (purple) medicinal type bottle, pre 1914.

With D in a circle. This bottle would have been clear to start.

Diameter: 5.3 cm.     Height: 17.0 cm.

Closeup of "D" and arrow mark

vial has an anchor embossed under the arrow

This vial has an anchor embossed under the arrow.

This bottle was found in Atlantic Canada.




This small vial is marked with an F over the arrow.

This photo was taken with permission in the Naden Naval Museum, Esquimalt, B.C.

This was one of my original collection that I donated to the Museum and had been acquired from divers who claim it had been found in Esquimalt Harbour.

vial with "E" over the arrow

This small vial is marked with an E over the arrow.

Recovered in Bermuda.

The E on this bottle may stand for Engineering and possibly contained something like a fine lubricating oil.



arrow bottle with pontil mark on base

This photo was provided by a collector from Atlantic Canada.

Although dimensions were  were not provided the vial appears to be quite small. The contributor stated the bottle has a pontil mark on the bottle which would date it to some time prior to 1850.


Chloroform vial and case

Chloroform vial in a case, marked with the admiralty arrow, circa 1910

Royal Navy Hospital


Siphon bottle from Royal Navy Hospital Haslar, England.  Manufactured by Barnett & Foster, London. 

The base has an offset Owen's ring and the base was also ground flat to stand properly.  It has 12 fluted sides. The bottle likely dates to prior to or during the Second World War.  Although it may have originally had a metal top, nylon was extensively used during WWII to free up metal for the war effort.

Height: 30 cm                           Diameter 9.5 cm.

OTHER Marked items

sauce bottle with WD and arrow

#401025:  Aqua Apothecary or Sauce bottle - unusual with the marking on the base with WD arrow reversed as if a mirror image.  All of the bottles I have seen of this sort have turned up near Esquimalt. 

Diameter: 4.6 diameter     Height: 21.5 cm.

sauce bottle with WD and arrow

feeder with admiralty mark


Invalid Feeder found in Esquimalt estate sale. 

H and Arrow on base

Royal Navy Hospital button

Royal Navy Hospital (R.N.H.) tunic button. Recovered by Wess Thompson in Kingston Ontario during an addition to Queens University.  The button dates to the early 19th century and may well be contemporary with the war of 1812. It is the only button from the Royal Navy that has the broad arrow and is a close match the glass seal found at the British Naval Hospital, English Harbour, on the island of Antigua . The glass seal also dates to the early 19th century. In this case the broad arrow seems to denote more than just government property and is being worn by medical staff themselves.


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