Jar (vessel)

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Jars in various sizes

The jar (actually Low German for jug ) is a storage or dispensing vessel of the pharmacist , which is mainly used for semi-solid preparations such as ointments , pastes and creams , but also for solid substances (not for liquids). Nevertheless, a forerunner of the hot water bottle is also known as a jar. This was usually an oval copper container with a screw cap into which about 2 liters of hot water was filled. The heat was then given off via the copper.


It has the shape of a cylinder with a cover that used to be mostly just placed on top, nowadays screwable. The classic type of jar is primarily characterized by the fact that it has no narrowing at the opening. The ointment can be completely removed from the vessel with the spatula .


In the past, these semi-solid preparations were always mixed by hand in the so-called Fanta bowl, a mortar made of melamine plastic , with a pestle and then filled into the jar. Closed systems are used whenever possible. Active ingredients and ointment base are weighed directly into the jar as a dispensing vessel. An automatic ointment mixer (Topitec (R), Unguator (R)), with which the time and speed can be set, creates a homogeneous preparation.

With modern jars, the contents are no longer removed by hand or spatula, but more according to the principle of a tube . In the jar there is a sliding base (Unguator (R)) or a screw mechanism that screws up a second base inside the jar when turning the jar base (Topitec (R)) and so the contents through a small opening in the lid of the Pushing out the jar. This type of removal means that the risk of contamination of the contents with microorganisms (e.g. bacteria or fungi ) (e.g. on fingers or spatulas ) is significantly lower than with classic jars.


Historic jars were made of porcelain or earthenware , today mostly plastic is used. The lettering on the historical standing (storage) vessels was burned in. For pharmacies this was done in Latin , for druggists in German. The color of the lettering provided information on how to deal with the content:

  • Black letters on a white background: content to be stored normally ( indifferentia )
  • Red letters on a white background: content to be stored separately and carefully ( Separanda )
  • White lettering on a black background: poisons, to be kept in a locked poison cabinet ( veins )

Use as a swear word

In the Low German area, from which the word comes, Kruke is also used as a derogatory expression for an eccentric, in Berlin, for example, in the phrase olle Kruke ; In an attempt at a Bremen-Lower Saxony dictionary (1767) the comparison “He sut utt, as ene Stifts-Kruke” is recorded, explained as: “He looks angry and dark”. The analogy probably related to the bulbous shape of the ia earthen bottle, which is called a jar in Low German, transferred to the strange body stature of the offended person.

Web links

Wiktionary: Kruke  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gerhard Augst: Lexikon zur Wortbildung Vol. 2: Morpheminventar HR , Verlag Gunter Narr, Tübingen 1975. S. 5888, sv Krug.
  2. Hans Georg Meyer: The right Berliner in words and phrases. HS Hermann, Berlin 1882. p. 56.
  3. Attempt of a Bremen-Lower Saxony dictionary in which not only the peculiar dialect used in and around Bremen, but also in almost all of Lower Saxony, along with the already outdated words and idioms in Bremen's laws, certificates and diplomas, collected, at the same time also after careful linguistic research, and by comparing old and new related dialects, are explained. Vol. 2, GK. Bremen German Society, Bremen 1767. p. 884.
  4. Heinz Küpper: Dictionary of German colloquial language. 1st edition, 6th reprint. Klett, Stuttgart, Munich, Düsseldorf, Leipzig 1997. pp. 465f.