Historical information

The glass medicine bottle is an example of an early 20th-century medicine bottle. Moulton glass was blown into a two-piece mould and a tool with an inscription was used to stamp the base. The mouth was added after the bottle was blown. The bottle has encrustations and residue on the surface of the glass. The cargo of the Falls of Halladale included medicine. It was made by Ayer & Co. and its shape and maker's mark matches one of Ayer's early style bottles that contained J.C. Ayer's Hair Vigor, which was made from about 1868 to 1915.

James C. Ayer, born in Connecticut, US in 1818, was a medicine manufacturer. His first medicine was Cherry Pectoral, for pulmonary illness. His medicine was very popular in the 1850s. Ayer died in 1878. A section of his home town Groton Junction was nameed 'Ayer' in his honour.

The FALLS of HALLADALE 1886 – 1908: -

The sailing ship Falls of Halladale was an iron-hulled, four-masted barque, used as a bulk carrier of general cargo. She left New York in August 1908 bound for Melbourne and Sydney. In her hold was general cargo consisting of roof tiles, barbed wire, stoves, oil, benzene, and many other manufactured items.

After three months at sea and close to her destination, a navigational error caused the Falls of Halladale to be wrecked on a reef off the Peterborough headland on the 15th of November, 1908. The captain and 29 crew members survived, but her cargo was largely lost, despite two salvage attempts in 1908-09 and 1910. The Court of Marine Inquiry in Melbourne ruled that the foundering of the ship was entirely due to Captain David Wood Thomson's navigational error, not too technical failure of the Clyde-built ship.

The Falls of Halladale was built in1886 by Russell & Co., at Greenock shipyards on the River Clyde, Scotland for Wright, Breakenridge & Co of Glasgow. The ship had a sturdy construction built to carry maximum cargo and was able to maintain full sail in heavy gales, one of the last of the 'windjammers' that sailed the Trade Route. She and her sister ship, the Falls of Garry, were the first ships in the world to include fore and aft lifting bridges. The new raised catwalk-type decking allowed the crew to move above the deck in stormy conditions.


The medicine bottle is an example of medicine containers in the late 19th to early 20th century.
It is also significant for its association with the historic cargo ship Falls of Halladale, wrecked in local waters in the early 20th century.
The ship is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, No. S255. It was one of the last ships to sail the Trade Routes and one of the first vessels to have fore and aft lifting bridges. The ship is an example of the design, materials and fittings of a late-19th-century sailing vessel. Its cargo represents several aspects of Victoria’s shipping trade.
The wreck is now protected as a Historic Shipwreck under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

Physical description

Clear glass bottle with a green tinge. The bottle has a rolled applied lip, narrow mouth, slim neck, rounded shoulders and straight rectangular body and an indented base. The body has side seams and irregular thicknesses of glass. Glass has imperfections and bubbles, and one shoulder is missing. An embossed inscription is on the base. The bottle was recovered from the wreck of the Falls of Halladale.

Inscriptions & markings