Winchester quart

In Britain, its colonies, and the United States, 18th? and 19th centuries, a unit of capacity in the pharmaceutical trade, nominally 80 imperial fluid ounces, but in practice often 90 and as much as 100 fluid ounces. It is also the name of a particular style of cylindrical, round-shouldered glass bottle having this capacity.

The name is puzzling on two counts: why Winchester, and of what, if anything, is this a quarter? If we assume it was originally 80 fluid oz., then it is a quarter of 2 imperial gallons, not a standard quantity.


Please see the sources quoted in the entry on the corbyn.


Some snippets from vol. 29, (July-December, 1886), of The Druggist and Chemist, a British trade journal.

(page 64) Phoenix tells us about a Winchester holding about 10 lbs. of sulphuric acid, which stood on the top shelf in a warehouse.

(page 96) Place the whole in a Winchester quart bottle along with two drachms of asbestos.

(page 158) Take 19 oz. of lime water, 1 oz. of tincture of quilaia (1 in 5), and 20 oz. of cod-liver oil, and shake well together in a Winchester.

(page 328) I filled Winchesters and 1-gall. stone bottles, and passed chlorine gas through till it was light coloured.


Although the filter can be left without attention, it is always well to bear in mind that syphons are dangerous things, especially when one places a Winchester quart as a receiver and the filter is connected with a vessel containing ten gallons of liquid.

Bulletin of Pharmacy [Detroit, MI], vol. 9, no. 4, page 166 (April, 1895).

Note that this American writer assumes readers will be familiar with the object and its approximate capacity.


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