Condiments and Bottles

Six condiment bottles recovered from the wreck of the Monitor offer a small glimpse into the life of the Monitor's crew. Apparently crewmembers enjoyed mustard and even pickle relish with their food!

Clear Bottle

clear bottle

This clear bottle was recovered from the Monitor in 2001. Image courtesy of The Mariners' Museum.

High resolution available. (1MB, 2384x3000).

Mustard Condiment Bottle

mustard condiment bottle

A mustard condiment bottle recovered from the Monitor. Image courtesy of The Mariners' Museum.

High resolution available. (3.8MB, 1702x3000).

While searching the Monitor's wreck forward of the midship's bulkhead, six condiment bottles were recovered along with a plate fragment. These items were exposed because of severe hull deterioration, most likely due to currents flowing over the hull.

One of the bottles was a "Hartell's Guaranteed Air Tight" storage jar that was filled with pickle relish. Amazingly, the wax seal was still intact and when examined, the relish still looked and smelled relatively fresh! Analysis showed that it was made of cucumbers, onions, cloves, and mushrooms. Scientists found a high concentration of lead in the relish, most likely a result of it being cured in a lead-glazed crock.

  • Location: The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia
  • Recovery: 1995
  • Material: Glass
  • Notable Features: One relish condiment bottle was recovered with an intact wax seal, allowing scientists to determine the ingredients used to make relish in the 1860s

Related Web Sites:

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

National Marine Sanctuary Program

The Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum

Works Consulted:

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. (1994). A look at the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary: Past, Present and Future.

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. (2005). Monitor National Marine Sanctuary factsheet.