Medicine bottles in this general rectangular paneled shape were extremely common for at least a century, i.e., 1850s to mid 20th century, though the manufacturing methods changed dramatically throughout that period.
While alcoholic beverages became legal again after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, liquor was still a heavily regulated commodity. As a result, illegal liquor was still popular, with moonshiners and bathtub gin makers producing an endless supply of untaxed, unregulated booze.
In 1935 in an attempt to curb illegal liquor production, a Federal law was passed making it illegal to reuse liquor bottles for any purpose. The penalty for violating the law was a $1,000 fine. In addition, all liquor bottles in production had to have the phrase “Federal law forbids sale or reuse of this bottle”.
So, did the new law reduce the production of illegal production? Of course not. Moonshiners either used other bottles or simply ignored the law entirely. After all, would someone risking jail time in a Federal prison stop making illegal booze because it was illegal to reuse liquor bottles? The law was repealed in 1964, although production of bottles with the phrase continued well into the 1970′s since bottle companies didn’t want to spend money and take the time to retool their machinery.