06 January 2010

Weeping bottles / Tear jars

Tear bottles were common in the first few centuries AD. Small tear shaped bottles were placed as a tribute at the base of a tomb. Sometimes professional mourners were hired to supplement the bereaved family’s tears and extra compensation was paid to those who cried the most and were loudest! Tear bottles reappeared in the 19th century and are strongly associated with Queen Victoria. Some women used tear jars in the customary way, crying into them after the death of a loved one whilst others used them to cry into after their loved one left for the Civil War. A tear bottle known also known as a tear vial, tear catcher or lachrymatory are very collectable items nowadays. This one is from St Pancras and Islington cemetery in London.


  1. Wow can't say I've seen a tear bottle out this way. Pretty interesting stuff.

  2. None that I have seen in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. I was telling a friend about your post several weeks back....the veiled angel. Good stuff.

  3. Dear readers,
    Fascinating article, as always. :)
    I am searching for Victorian glass tear catcher bottles. If anyone knows where I can find these, please contact me. Thanks!!


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