Poison Jars. circa 1882
Creator: Constantine Von Kickering (b) 1855-1900 (Reign) 1877-1900
The legend goes something like this:
Constantine Von Kickering was apparently quite meticulous and demanding when it came to organization. He insisted that all household poisons be kept in the pantry with other sundries instead of in the “kill chest”. A common fixture in many homes in the 1800’s, a “kill chest” was a large wooden trunk used to store poisons, firearms, and exotic stabbing knifes. In his diary Constantine had wrote, “What good does a kill chest serve a man? If I were to invite one of my numerous enemies to dinner, with the intention of poisoning him, He would surely know something was afoot when I opened the kill chest to retrieve “exotic spices”. No, I should say poisons belong in the pantry as to not arouse suspicion”. It was this belief that lead to the accidental poisoning and subsequent death of his wife Beatrice in 1881. Beatrice had mistaken arsenic for the sugar that typically accompanied her morning cup of beef broth. Constantine mourned the death of his wife for 6 long hours. In what he called a “selfless act of humanity”, he spent the next week inventing the poison jar. The jars were meant to make the identification of poisons a simple task. Nine months later, Constantine unveiled his spice jar collection that was identical to the poison jars in every way. It is still unknown how many suffered due to his recklessness.
You can purchase reproductions of Constantine’s poison jars at the Munkey Shop on Etsy. In addition to the jar seen above, one may also purchase the arsenic bottle and opium jar.