This is the patent medicine bottle that inspired The Blue Portal series. Well… sort of…. the original bottle disappeared during our house fire. I’d already started the story and I was devastated when it was lost.
The original was a Yardley bottle my husband and I found when we dug up our front lawn to plant a garden. It inspired me to write the story as well as the title, Tendrils. I wondered about who had owned it and how it had ended up buried in our front lawn. So I went in search of another one.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to find a second Yardley bottle. But I did find something even better – a patent medicine bottle. It naturally led to so many questions, not only about the person who used it, but I ended up researching about old bottles and patent medicines (which I will address in future blogs). Who knew old bottles could be so interesting? And patent medicines led to a whole other piece of research about the suffragette movement.
Anyway, back to the bottle… I asked a local antique dealer whether he had any old bottles. He smiled and bent down behind his counter. I heard things clink and rattle as he dragged out an old, dusty milk crate. It was full bottles from the Victorian era. So much for them being a rare find. There was actually a piece of masking tape for the price tag of $5.00, which only emphasized how easy they are to find.
To my delight I carried home the bottle pictured above. There was so much backstory around patent medicines that I didn’t have to invent very much for Tendrils, except the ghost.