Among the SS Republic’s enormous shipment of goods were thousands of bottles, over 6,000 glass and stoneware containers representing more than 175 types that had been stored in the ship’s aft and forward cargo holds.
Their various shapes and sizes boasted a potpourri of products including bitters and inks, preserves and perfumes and a plethora of patent medicines claiming extravagant healing qualities each reflecting a rich and diverse heritage of bottled goods popular in post-Civil War America.
Many of the bottles were removed from the remains of wooden packing crates, which after years of saltwater exposure, abrasion from the strong Gulf Stream currents, and attacks by wood-boring shipworms were too deteriorated to recover.
The combined volume and variety of bottled goods seem to represent the largest and possibly most diverse collection ever recovered from any shipwreck site. The subsequent study and analysis has provided a rare insight into prevailing social and economic conditions in New Orleans following the Civil War.
Detailed information about the many varieties of bottles recovered from the Republic is available in "Bottles From The Deep", a 112-page book filled with pictures and historical descriptions.
See bottle details in the Virtual Museum.
Select bottles from the site are available to collectors in the Shipwreck Store.