top of page


I found these bottles at my front door, placed there by, I believe, a dear friend – thank you V!

With a bit of research, my three bottles tell their stories of origin which allow one to then imagine who used the bottles, why did they use them and why/how did they get discarded only to be later discovered. My biggest bottle is square and was made for Dr Peter Fahrney & Sons out of Chicago. Started in 1869 in Maryland, the company moved to Chicago in 1870, the site the bottle is associated with. Dr Fahrney and sons had a laboratory from which they made different medicines. This bottle was for Dr Peter’s Kuriko, whatever that was. It’s presumed their medicines were distributed across the country and ended up on a store shelf in Spokane, where a customer needed some Kuriko to cure an ailment. One wonders once the ailment was cured, did the consumer, because of the square shape, use the bottle for other means. The mystery remains hidden behind its glass walls. As my name is Peter, I have an affinity towards this particular bottle. Another bottle was from the Schade Brewery for soda. The brewery was the largest in Spokane for a time, housed in the iconic Schade Brewery Building to the east of downtown Spokane. The brewery couldn’t survive prohibition and closed around 1922. As a soda bottle, I imagine the beverage was enjoyed by a youngster, who then kept the bottle, filling it with found treasure and such. The last bottle, from Pacific Bottling Works of Spokane, WA, is a mystery with no references to the company of use. It does have a rusted metal clasp in it that looks as old as the bottle, but offers no hint as to use. I’m going to conjecture that it once had laudanum in it and was owned by a well-to-do Spokanite to cure their ills and then some. In a laudanum induced euphoria, the owner slipped the metal clasp into the bottle where it’s been ever since.

Artifacts all illicit a story, it's history. Old bottles hold a variety of stories, from its origin, their use, then the story of how it came to its resting place where they are eventually discovered. The bottles are definitely treasures. The stories they unveiled are a lot non-fiction, with some creative fiction thrown in for frivolity.

P Sanburn


bottom of page