Bottle for storing grape alcohol, English, 1840-1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made out of amethyst glas. Alcohol has long been used as a medical treatment, both under doctor's supervision and self-help. It has served as a tonic, an aid to digestion, and to manage a huge variety of other complaints. During the prohibition era in the USA (1920-1933), a doctor's prescription was one of the few ways in which distilled spirits could be obtained legally.