cases of opium

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I'm trying to understand the real physical characteristics of a case in this short-story written by Edgar Allan Poe.

"Our vessel was a beautiful ship of about four hundred tons, copper-fastened, and built at Bombay of Malabar teak. She was freighted with cotton-wool and oil, from the Lachadive islands. We had also on board coir, jaggeree, ghee, cocoa-nuts, and a few cases of opium. The stowage was clumsily done, and the vessel consequently crank." Ms. in a Bottle

Is it like a big or small box? Were they usually made of metal? I found these two pictures and they seem to be carried inside glass bottles, like bottles of perfum. Does anyone know where this substance used to be carried?

link 1
Link 2

  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    We can't tell from your link how big the case was or what material it was made of. My first thought is that it was made of wood and contained many of the small bottles you see.

    From your link, although this is about the Titanic and not your story: "Opium seems like a strange item to transport on a ship – especially by the case – but four cases of it were in the hold of the Titanic when it sank. Unlike today, opium was perfectly legal to transport by ship without much regulation. While the manifest onboard the ship does not say how much was in a case, there is no way of knowing how much opium came across."
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