We have recently sourced a collection of antique eye baths or cups and love the history behind them. Eyecups were created in more materials than glass and porcelain. Silver cups were used in Europe and date back to the 16th century and even the Egyptians were thought to have used them.
The maker which keen collectors hunt for is John Bull. The cup shape was patented in 1916, in England. It is distinguished by the rim, which is rolled inward. Bull produced many colours to choose from in the petite stemmed glass cup design.
These stunning green examples are made by The Wood's Bottle Works of Scotland. They have a wonderful vibrant colour don't you think?
Eyecups are used to clean the eyes with a medicated solution or ointment. The oval cup has a rim that conforms to the eye are used for irrigation using water.
The cobalt blue colour of some eye wash cups means they are fabulous to stage in an interior. Again these examples are made by The Wood's Bottle works and are fully embossed by the maker.
One of the most famous brands of Optical medication is Optrex. The brand was first registered in France and England in1931. Optrex is a British company which still makes a selection of liquids for various eye problems today.
These English eye baths were made by United Glass in St Helens, Lancashire until about 1965 when they were replaced with plastic. The eye baths were made to fit, inverted, over the top of Optrex eye wash bottles.
Antique glass versions are the most sought after and are stunning in different colours, displayed on a shelf or window ledge.
We think the porcelain examples, especially with timeworn surface crazing are the most over looked. These make perfect miniature vases or to store cotton wool buds in a bathroom.
Its amazing how undervalued these lovely glass cups are. If you are new to vintage and antiques, these are the perfect piece to start with.
Many can be found on visits around flea markets, charity shops or car boots. Keep your eyes peeled and happy hunting!