Leeches were extensively used at one time. They had to be kept in something at home and these little glass pots are convenient with a flat rim to allow a covering to be tied on to prevent the leeches escaping. Comparison of the sizes of glass leech pots, from left to right below, large blue probably for a chemist shop, an 18th century clear handblown pot (10 cm tall), last two small for the home (all the small pots on this page are the same size, 5.5 to 6.5 cm, unless otherwise noted). Scratches on the inside of the bowl from use, fishing the leeches out, can be seen on some of the pots.
small uranium glass leech pots, under UV light:
Until I recently bought the pot bottom right which is mould-blown, all the leech pots I owned were free-blown. Uranium pots in normal light:
Group of uranium pots in size comparison with cobalt blue and clear pots:
That green pot above looks like a leech pot without the flat rim. I wonder if it started life as a leech pot and got converted to a little posy bowl.
one of the uranium leech pots, sadly badly water-stained, in ordinary light, just over 6 cm tall, the same leech pot glowing under UV light, right
close-up of another of the pots from above:
a "pair" (not exactly the same) of UV reactive pots under normal light
under UV light
I thought this wonky leech pot (below) might react under UV light but it doesn't.
Anything in your home you'd want to look at nice as possible, even your pot for leeches. These fern-engraved leech pots on pedestals vary in height from just under 8 cm tall to just over 8.5 cm.
These are two of them close-up.
The fern-engraved pedestal pot on the left is quite different from the one on the right (and the others of that type above). It's heavy and has a heavy base. The rim is not flat but slanted up to allow a cover to be tied on. The engraving is much higher quality. The heavy base has facets cut on it.
those fern-engraved leech pots bases
18th century leech pots, larger than the other "small" ones, are 10 and 9.5 cm tall
the bases have snapped off pontil marks and deep kickups
All the following small leech pots are about the same size, ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 cm tall. The two smaller on the left have folded rims and appear older than the others.
clear leech pots
bases of the clear leech pots, all with rough pontil marks except the star base in the middle
This clear leech pot is a bit larger. It's 8 cm tall and has polished pontil mark on the base (will add photo).
Cranberry was obviously a popular colour for leech pots. these range from 5.5 cm tall to 6.5 cm tall
These are all hand-blown with snapped off pontil marks, except the one on the far left whose pontil mark has been polished.
This amber leech pot has a delightfully handmade look - well they all do! but this one isn't even properly round. 5.5 cm tall
Cobalt Blue Leech Pots (includes one shown above), both about 6 cm
teal leech Pots, both just over 6 cm
teal leech pots bases, sand pontil marks?
this greenish leech pot has an unusually large rim
blue ribbed leech pot, just over 6 cm tall
although this blue leech pot looks like the rim and just under it should glow under UV light it does not
base of the above leech pot with a rough pontil mark
pink opalescent leech pot, just over 6 cm tall
pink oplaescent leech pot base with rough pontil mark
purple leech pot
Purple leech pot showing that distinctive flat rim of glass leech pots.
polished pontil mark on base of purple leech pot
dark amber leech pot
base of the dark amber leech pot
These small pots are the same size as the classic leech pots but have a "fancier" feel, eg ribbing and better colours. (Now that I am processing them on my pc I see the photos are much too dark.) Better ones will be added shortly. Are they posies rather than leech pots? What would such a small posy really be useful for? What flowers would really work in them? If they are posies, why the flat rim? If everyone knew these were leech pots, which I suggest at one time they did, could they be used for something else? I suggest not. I'm reminded of the Exploratorium science museum toilet drinking fountain. It challenges! No one wants to drink from a fountain shaped like a toilet. No one would want to put any foodstuffs or flowers in a leech pot.
I bought some clear pots recently which pose more questions. They have larger openings and are slightly shorter, are they leech pots as well? The larger openings would certainly make fishing a leech out easier. They still have flat rims to tie a cover on but have the fancier ribbing and they have well-polished pontils showing some quality. Even though the pic is a little dark it shows the front row of clear pots are shorter.
from above the openings of the clear pots larger than the others in the back row
bases of the ribbed fancier pots
The Old Operating Theatre museum at St Thomas' Hospital has some leech jars/pots in its collection:
This leech pot is from Guy Gaboriau's book, Outils de la sante et medecine d'autrefois, a great book about medical antiques.
a funny vintage cartoon from Punch
base of the wasp trap
cobalt blue salt liners
polished bases of some of the liners
cranberry glass and EPNS top
pounce (or sand) could be sprinkled on a letter to help dry the ink
(all my pics look better with a cat! in this case, Socks)
beautiful faceted glass, sadly with some chips around the base
Prattware Winged Griffin design tobacco jar
Ethiopian cats tobacco jars
one is slightly smaller than the other and also slightly darker in colour
this pic I know is way too dark, will add another shortly
Prattware tobacco jars
A ceramic vase I use for bulb forcing but don't think it was made for that purpose, marked Britannia Ware S Hancock & Sons Stoke-on-Trent. Shape No 52. It features Charles I on one side.