Leech Pots and Other Household Glass

Leech Pots

I would like to explore what is and is not a leech pot. I don't have all the answers, just posing the questions. These small pots are the same size as the classic leech pots but have a "fancier" feel, eg ribbing and better colours. (Now that I am processing them on my pc I see the photos are much too dark.) Better ones will be added shortly. Are they posies rather than leech pots? What would such a small posy really be useful for? What flowers would really work in them? If they are posies, why the flat rim? So far I've been buying them as leech pots for my collection but now just thinking about them. Feel free to discuss (julie at gardenwithindoors.org.uk).

ribbed leech pots

I bought some clear pots recently which pose more questions. They have larger openings and are slightly shorter, are they leech pots as well? The larger openings would certainly make fishing a leech out easier. They still have flat rims to tie a cover on but have the fancier ribbing and they have well-polished pontils showing some quality. Even though the pic is a little dark it shows the front row of clear pots are shorter.

from above the openings of the clear pots larger than the others in the back row

fancier ribbed pots

bases of the ribbed fancier pots

fancier pots base

I do love uranium glass, esp in the form of a leech pot. Under UV light:

uranium leech pots

Until I recently bought the pot bottom right which is mould-blown, all the leech pots I owned were free-blown. In normal light:

uranium leech pots

Group of uranium pots in size comparison with cobalt blue and clear pots:

leech pots

All the pots are roughly the same size, 5.5 to 6.5 cm.

That green pot above looks like a leech pot without the flat rim. I wonder if it started life as a leech pot and got converted to a little posy bowl.

close-up of one of the pots above:

uranium leech pot

uranium leech pot

uv-reactive leech pots

pair of UV-reactive leech pots under UV light

uranium leech pots

the UV reactive pots under normal light

I thought this wonky leech pot (below) might react under UV light but it doesn't.

leech pot

I'm fascinated by ordinary household glass from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as lamps, leech pots and vases. Most reference books about glass seem to ignore these categories in favour of fancy expensive drinking glasses.

Even functional household glass was decorated to be a pleasant addition to the home. The distinctive flat rims allowing a cover to be tied on (to prevent the leeches escaping) and the scratches on the inside of the bowl from use.

These fern-engraved leech pots on pedestals vary in height from just under 8 cm tall to just over 8.5 cm.

fern-engraved leech pots

fern-engraved leech pots bases

Leech pots engraved with the popular Victorian fern design.

These are two of them close-up.

fern-engraved leech pots

The fern-engraved pedestal pot on the left is quite different from the one on the right (and the others of that type above). It's heavy and has a heavy base. The rim is not flat but slanted up to allow a cover to be tied on. The engraving is much higher quality.

fern-engraved leech pots

those fern-engraved leech pots bases

fern-engraved leech pots

18th century leech pots, larger than the other "small" ones, are 10 and 9.5 cm tall

18th century leech pot

18th century leech pots bases with snapped off pontil marks

18th century leech pots

The size range of glass leech pots, from left below, large probably for a chemist shop, an 18th century handblown pot, last two, small for the home.

glass leech pots

All the following small leech pots are about the same size, ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 cm tall

clear leech pots

clear leech pots

bases of the clear leech pots, all with rough pontil marks except the star base in the middle

clear leech pots

This clear leech pot is a bit larger. It's 8 cm tall and has  polished pontil mark on the base (will add photo).

larger clear leech pot

uranium leech pot, sadly badly water-stained, in ordinary light, just over 6 cm tall, the same leech pot glowing under UV light, right

 uranium leech poturanium leech pot under UV light





Cranberry was obviously a popular colour for leech pots. these range from 5.5 cm tall to 6.5 cm tall

cranberry leech pots

These are all hand-blown with snapped off pontil marks, except the one on the far left whose pontil mark has been polished.

cranberry leech pots bases

This amber leech pot has a delightfully handmade look - well they all do! but this one isn't even properly round. 5.5 cm tall

amber leech pot

Cobalt Blue Leech Pots (includes one shown above), both about 6 cm

blue leech pots

blue leech pots bases

Teal Leech Pots, both just over 6 cm

teal leech pots

teal leech pots bases, rough snapped off pontil marks

teal leech pots bases

this greenish leech pot has an unusually large rim

greenish leech pot base

Ribbed Leech Pots

Blue ribbed leech pot, just over 6 cm tall

blue ribbed leech pot

blue ribbed leech pot base

although this blue leech pot looks like the rim and just under it should glow under UV light it  does not

base of the above leech pot with a rough pontil mark

blue leech pot

pink opalescent leech pot, just over 6 cm tall

pink oplaescent leech pot base with rough pontil mark

pink opalescent leech pot

purple leech pot

purple leech pot

Purple leech pot showing that distinctive flat rim of glass leech pots.

purple leech pot

polished pontil mark on base of purple leech pot

polished base of purple leech pot

dark amber leech pot

dark amber leech pot

base of the dark amber leech pot

dark amber leech pot

The Old Operating Theatre museum at St Thomas' Hospital has some leech jars/pots in its collection:

leech pots at the Old Operating Theatre

This leech pot is from Guy Gaboriau's book, Outils de la sante et medecine d'autrefois, a great book about medical antiques.

leech pot

a funny vintage cartoon from Punch

leeches on the omnibus

uranium leech pot


Fly/Wasp Traps

cobalt blue fly or wasp trap

base of the wasp trap

cobalt fly or wasp trap base

cobalt blue salt liners

cobalt blue salt liners

polished bases of some of the liners

cobalt blue salt liners with polished bases

Pounce Pot

cranberry glass and EPNS top

pounce (or sand) could be sprinkled on a letter to help dry the ink

(all my pics look better with a cat! in this case, Socks)


glass pounce pot

pounce pot top

beautiful faceted glass, sadly with some chips around the base

glass pounce pot base

glass pounce pot

glass pounce pot

glass pounce pot


OTHER items

tobacco jars

tobacco jar

tobacco jar lid

ethiopian cats tobacco jar

one is slightly smaller than the other and also slightly darker in colour

ethiopian cats tobacco jars size comparison

this pic I know is way too dark, will add another shortly

ethiopian tobacco jars comparison

tobacco jar

tobacco jar

tobacco jar

tobacco jar