Cobalt and aqua blue medicine bottles were common from the early 1800s through the 1970s. Bromo-Seltzer was the most common medicine sold in cobalt blue bottles, but other medications, such as sarsaparilla, came in aqua blue bottles. Early medicine bottles were handmade and featured a seam along the side. As the bottles were usually corked, they did not have lids and early bottles were hand-blown, while later bottles were manufactured.
Cobalt blue bottles were popular in the 1880s, and companies such as Whitall Tatum and Co. began offering the bottles with raised bumps on the outside. Businesses manufactured the bottles until the 1920s. Sellers used cobalt blue bottles with raised bumps to store poison, as the bumps allowed for easy identification.
In the early 20th century, businesses also used cobalt blue bottles with a triangular shape and elongated neck to identify poisonous products. Manufacturers produced Bromo-Seltzer bottles until the 1950s or 1960s and produced other blue bottles until the 1970s.
Druggists frequently used aqua-colored bottles to store medicinal rather than poisonous products. For instance, they sold mineral water in hand-blown blue bottles in the 1800s. The size, shape and overall design of the bottle helped to identify the contents inside it.