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Other Bottles: Ink, Poison, Cosmetic

The ink bottle with a large base and small neck is a nineteenth-century shape. In general, the shape of an ink bottle will tell its age. Cone and umbrella shapes were used from the early 1800s to the beginning of the twentieth century. Hexagonal and octagonal bottles were preferred from about 1835 to 1865. Igloo […]

Food Containers

Commercial bottles for food were common by the second half of the nineteenth century. Special shapes were popular by the 1860s. The gothic-panel bottle favored by pepper sauce makers is one of the special designs. Paper-labeled jars for foods like pickles or preserves, as well as for brand names like Heinz, are popular with collectors. […]

Flasks And Other Whiskey Bottles

“The first American bottles to gain favor with collectors and museums were whiskey flasks made between 1750 and 1860. Most of them were pint-size and were made by a pattern or mold-blown method. They had impressed or raised decorations on the glass. Blown bottles varied in size and consumers worried they might be getting less […]

Figural Bottles

It is impossible to list the hundreds of types of “figural” bottles. Any bottle that is shaped like a recognizable person or object is a figural bottle. Some large whiskey flasks—either ceramic or glass—and decorative bottles that held pancake syrup, mustard, ink, or any of the many products sold in fancy bottles, are included. Bottles […]

Canning Jars

Canning jars or fruit jars are popular with collectors in all parts of the country. The most famous is the Mason jar with the words “Mason 1858.” The “1858” is the date of the original patent, not the date the jar was made. Variations of the Mason jar were made long after the original jar, […]

Bitters Bottles

Bitters, the medicine of the last half of the nineteenth century, were mixtures of herbs, roots, spices, and barks that were blended with alcohol. Some ingredients, like opium or marijuana, are considered dangerous and illegal today. Bitters were taken by the spoonful—or the full bottle—and they were considered the wonder drugs of their times. According […]

Terms And Abbreviations Used To Describe Bottles

Applied lip.  A lip that is handmade and applied to the bottle after the bottle is formed. Automatic bottle machine, or ABM. A machine-made bottle. BIMAL. The abbreviation for Blown In Mold, Applied Lip. Black glass. Black glass is not black. It is very dark olive green or olive amber and appears black unless seen […]

Shapes of Bottles – Picture Dictionary

Collectors and bottle makers have often given shape-inspired nicknames to their bottles. FLASKS The calabash flask is shaped like the calabash gourd, a vegetable that was often hollowed out to hold water. The chestnut flask is almost round and is named for the well-known nut from the chestnut trees that grow in Europe and the […]

Patented Closures

Soda, mineral water, and beer bottles have closures that kept the gas in the bottle until opened. Codd bottles closed with a glass ball that was held in place by the gas, so the bottles had to be filled upside down. Soda pop was nicknamed for the “pop” sound that accompanied the removal of the […]

How To Judge The Value Of An Unknown Bottle

Early bottles (before 1800), historic flasks, free-blown bottles, and early-nineteenth-century decorative decanters can be judged by the same standards as any fine early glass. Age, rarity, quality, condition, and appearance are the important factors. Commercial bottles of the nineteenth century can have great value, even if the bottles originally held pickles, catsup, or beer. Even […]

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