Smelling Salt Bottle

An intricate silver bottle with swirl handles on either side and scrollwork on the bottom. The bottle is sitting on an ivory table.
A smelling salt bottle from the Eldon House collection

Country of Origin: England
Year: ca. 1855
Materials: Crystal and Silver Filigree 

Smelling salts, also known as ammonia inhalants or sal volatile, are chemical compounds used for arousing consciousness. They were widely used in Victorian times to revive fainting women who were “tight-laced” in their corsets.  During this time, smelling salts were commonly dissolved with perfume in vinegar or alcohol and soaked onto a sponge, which was then carried on the person in a decorative container called a vinaigrette.