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When visiting an estate saleshoppers are often intrigued by antique bottles. The best place to start is with knowledge of production techniques and strategic markings. When determining the approximate age of antique bottles, the first thing to know is how the glass bottle was produced. However, in the midth century, automation took over the glass bottle industry. In the s, glass blowing was a necessary profession. The skilled glassblower carefully blew molten glass into a wood Dating old beer bottles iron mold. Once the hot compound cooled, the artisan applied the finishing touches, including crafting the bottle lip.
Bottle-making was a labor-intensive craft in the s. Inthe bottle-making game completely changed with the invention of the semi-automatic bottle machine. Thus, there was no longer a need to hand-finish the bottles. Although the machine-made bottles are more uniform in appearance, collectors find them much less interesting than earlier hand-blown glass bottles. On average, the machine-made bottles are worth considerably less than their hand-blown counterparts.
The antique glass bottle universe contains bottles of many shapes, sizes, and colors. The embossing may be located on any part of the bottle. Multiple types of embossing effects may appear on a single bottle. In addition, if a company embossed its name on bottles for many decades, you can determine the time period during which the company produced that type of bottle. However, antique bottle color can give hints to the approximate age of the bottle.
The following are notable glass colors and the eras in which they were most popular:. Colorless or clear glass bottles had limited circulation before the s. The bottles gradually became more prevalent during the last three decades of the 19th century.
Most antique bottle styles and shapes were tied to a certain type of product. For example, beer bottles, soda bottles, and mineral water bottles were associated with specific bottle shapes. During the midth century, private bottle molds came into vogue.
Medicine bottle manufacturers and household goods suppliers ordered specially molded glass bottles. Soda and mineral water companies also jumped on the private mold bandwagon. Whether the manufacturer wanted a uniquely deed bottle or desired embossing embellishments, every glass company was happy to oblige. In fact, it was around this time that embossed bottles became very popular.
Different types of bottles were used for different items and made in different eras. Note that medicine, bitters, liquor, and spirit bottles varied in their base styles. Wine bottles often feature this common bottle base style. This enables undesirable wine sediment to collect in a ridge around the bottle base. The push-up base originated in England in the s, when a push-up base mold part became part of the bottle-making process.
Dark green glass wine bottles were the first to incorporate the push-up base. Bottle makers in numerous countries eventually adopted the push-up base for use with most bottle types. Glassblowers used an iron punty rod to hold the bottle. They would secure the punty rod to the bottom of the bottle. When they finished creating the bottle, they would snap the punty rod off of the bottle, creating the pontil mark. The iron pontil bottle also has an open pontil scar. However, instead of the mark being colorless, the iron pontil bottle displays a reddish or brownish residue at the break-off point.
The color is likely due to the color of the iron punty rod. Most iron pontil bottles were produced from through the mids. However, there is evidence that these bottles may date from the s until about From tokey mold bottle bases became relatively common. Bottle bases with key molds feature a semi-circle crafted into the bottom of the bottle. Some key mold bottles display smooth bases, while those made before display a pontil scar. The first machine-produced bottles displayed the Owens ring. This feature was named after the Owens Glass Company, creator of the automatic bottle machine.
The Owens ring was symmetrical and did not leave a jagged mark like the earlier punty rod. Bottles with Owens rings first appeared around Bythe Owens automatic bottle machine figured in production of half of the U. The hand-blown bottle era ended during the mids when machinery took over all bottle production. If the bottle was produced on the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine, it also exhibits a suction scar on its base. The scar often has a feathering effect that from a dull mold blade or a poorly fitting or worn mold. For reference, the Owens rings bottles were first produced about The Owens bottles with suction scars and feathering effects did not appear untiland were mostly seen Dating old beer bottles Examine older bottles for any evidence of the glass manufacturer.
Search for the company initials, a single Dating old beer bottles, emblem, or trademark. In some cases, antique bottles only contain a numeric sequence. Bottles that display letters and s on their bases were likely made anywhere from the late 19th century to the modern era. In most cases, one- or two-digit s are actually mold s that indicate the specific bottle mold or section in an automatic bottle machine. If numerous molds were identical, each one received its own. Base s also indicate bottle styles or shapes, manufacturing dates, or factory location codes.
These s were codes for a certain bottle de, regardless of the bottle color or soda brand. Bottles for whiskey and other spirits often show liquor bottle permit s on their bases to comply with federal law. Other antique bottles lack this telltale identifier. You may also see mold lines or machine marks.
These marks may be useful in learning how old the bottle is. Much of the time, the mold seam height indicates how old the bottle is. Machine-produced bottles from through the s displayed higher, thicker mold seams compared to later machine-made bottles. However, entire bottle classes stand as exceptions to this rule. For example, mid- to lateth century fruit jars and sheared top bottles have their own mold seam des. You can determine the approximate age of an old bottle just based on its lip.
Next, he crafted the applied lip into the correct shape. Pre bottle lips have a crude finish, while those made after have more uniformity, due to the creation of a lipping tool. This development set the stage for mass bottle production. The following are the types of applied lips used in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Use this lip guide to help you determine the approximate age of any old bottles you find. Old bottle manufacturers finished their bottles with three general types of tops or closures. Viewing bottle tops may be useful in your bottle dating work. A cork top, in use since the 18th century, functioned as a stopper. Failure to do that often resulted in carbonation leaking and even popping the cork prior to beverage consumption. When consumers remove cork tops, the tops have a tendency to break and crumble, making it difficult to remove the cork in one piece. This continues to be an issue with the sheared top wine bottles in use today.
To remedy this issue, inventors have developed non-destructive cork-removing implements.Dating old beer bottles
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How To Tell The Age Of A Glass Bottle (Identify Old Bottles)