From holding herbs in medieval times to containing fresh smelling soaps, apothecary jars have transcended their original purpose over the years. Nowadays, you can put two or three pots on your living room table as a simple but attractive center piece.
These containers came from the traditional vases used by people as far back as a thousand years ago in Europe. Back then, medical professionals known as apothecaries used them to store ointments, herbs and medicines. While they are now comparable to the modern pharmacists, they were much more than that as they were chemists and doctors who diagnosed and treated all kinds of ailments.
The earliest variants were made from earthen materials like clay, and then progressed to include brass and other metallic materials. Over time, glass was used by most doctors. This allowed the person to clearly see the contents of the jar, and at the same time it prevented the substance inside from being contaminated or affected by the material of the jar. Glass although a bit more expensive during those days was the perfect material for doctors.
The most common pots were medium sized, able to carry a quart of liquid or herbs. Smaller ones allowed for a few pieces of medicine, while the largest ones, able to carry in excess of a gallon, were used for the most commonly sought after materials.
The shape of the jar was especially important. While most jars had wide necks to allow easy retrieval of the stored medicines, some were especially made with thinner necks to prevent theft and better preserve the liquids inside.