Historical Archaeology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 78–98 | Cite as

Searching for nineteenth-century Florida water bottles

  • Catherine Sullivan


Florida Water is a perfumed spirit that became to 19th-century North Americans what Lavender Water and eau-de-cologne were to Europeans. Nowadays, perfumed spirits are known as colognes or toilet waters, and are used mainly as fragrances. But from the Middle Ages right into the 19th century, perfumed spirits were thought to possess miraculous healing properties and to prevent infection. Florida Water is a late arrival to that tradition. Developed in the United States, Florida Water was already a generic product by the 1830s. During the last three decades of the 19th century, many North American druggists and pharmaceutical houses produced their own Florida waters, and also sold Murray and Lanman’s Florida Water, the most popular of the brand-name Florida waters. Two standard bottle shapes were used for Florida Water in the late 19th century. One of these forms is no longer remembered as a Florida Water bottle; without paper labels, examples of this shape are not easily identifiable as Florida Water bottles, and have not yet been studied. Consequently, this article is a request for information on these bottles, and presents preliminary research on Florida Water.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Sullivan
    • 1
  1. 1.Parks CanadaOttawaCanada

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