Origins: The French Square

Origins: The French Square
article writer
by Stephen Post
September 8, 2020, Updated November 1, 2022

A couple years ago, I set out on a journey to uncover the origins of the Boston Round Bottle. During that investigation, my biggest obstacles were my failing sanity, and the vast resources of a globally influential secret society. I'm confident that discovering the origins of the French Square will be more successful, as I doubt they too have a covert organization destined to keep me from the truth.

The French Square is an elegant bottle. As its name implies, the French Square likely originated in France. To learn more, I consulted the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). They keep an extensive repository of knowledge about antique glass bottles.

According to SHA, the French Square became the most common type of square prescription bottle around the year 1880. I'm not quite sure why it became popular, but it gained support by many druggists in the Western world. The French Square was utilized to package tonics, cure-alls and other turn-of-the-century wellness products.

I was unable to discover a definite opinion about why these square bottles with the beveled edges became known as French Squares. However, I have a theory. During the late 19th century, prevailing attitudes, especially in the United States, were that most items of French manufacture were at the cutting edge of science, fashion, and sophistication. This unique square bottle stood out in a world of thick rounded glass. It's likely that because the French Square was distinct from its rounded neighbors, it was perceived to package a higher quality product.

So where does the term French Square originate? Well, I'm not really sure. Am I supposed to accept that? No, I'll bet you there is a secret organization behind this one too. They kept me from learning the origins of the Boston Round and I'm sure there is an Order of the French Square that is also bent on keeping me from knowing exactly what happened! I will not rest until I uncover the truth! Or, at least, until my microwave burrito is finished cooking.

Get French Squares from Container and Packaging

We stock a number of elegant glass French Squares bottles at Container and Packaging.