Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes

 


Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles
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This page is currently a work in progress with scheduled completion in 2015.

This Miscellaneous & Foreign bottles page is one of two typology pages (in addition to the Household bottles [non-food related] page) which comprise the "catch-all" sections for American-made bottles that do not neatly fit in any of the other major typology pages.  This particular page also includes a smattering of foreign bottles which were commonly imported into the U. S. and Canada and likely to be found on U. S. and Canadian historic sites.

This section of the typology pages probably doesn't need any further discussion or introduction; it just contains moderately significant categories that are not otherwise covered anywhere else within this website.  The other typology pages (e.g., "Liquor/Spirits bottles", "Food Bottles & Canning Jars", etc.) have larger introductory sections than this page or the "Household bottles (non-food related)" page.  This is because the "miscellaneous" and "household" categories are much wider ranging in diversity, lacking an overall binding "theme" compared to the other major categories.  Instead, this page will have specific bottle type introductions incorporated into the opening paragraphs within each given section listed.  Given this structural difference, the introduction for this page is considered complete; please scroll down to the "Organization & Structure" section below to begin.


NOTE:  Attached to the "Bottle Types/Diagnostic Shapes" grouping of pages is a complete copy of a never re-printed, 280 page, 1906 Illinois Glass Company bottle catalog scanned at two pages per JPEG file.  Click 1906 IGCo. Catalog to access the page that links to all the scans of this very useful catalog.  Miscellaneous type bottles are listed throughout this catalog.
 


 

Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes:
"Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles" page
Organization & Structure

This Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles page is divided into the following categories and sub-categories based largely on the different contents that each group held, and within those groups, by various dominant shapes or other logical categories.  Additional categories and/or sub-categories will almost certainly be added as future updates to this page.

Barber bottles

Fire Grenades

Carboys & Demijohns

Battery jars

Foreign bottles
 
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Chinese bottles
  -European bottles
  -Other foreign bottles

Reproductions

Other miscellaneous bottles
 -Bird Food bottles
 -Figural bottles (not fitting another category)

 

Each of the pictured bottles has a relatively short description and explanation including estimated dates or date ranges for that type bottle and links to other view pictures of the bottle.  Additional links to images of similar bottles are also frequently included. 

The array of references used to support the conclusions and estimates found here - including the listed dating ranges - are noted.  Additional information and estimates are based on the empirical observations of the author over 40 years of experience; this is often but not always noted.

Various terminology is used in the descriptions that may be unfamiliar if you have not studied other pages on this site.  If a term is unfamiliar, first check the Bottle Glossary page for an explanation or definition.  As an alternative, one can do a search of this website.  To do a word/phrase search one must use the "Search SHA" boxes found on many of the main SHA web pages, including the Research Resources page (upper right side of that page) which links to this site.  The Historic Bottle Website (HBW) has no internal search mechanism so be aware that when running a search one will also get non-HBW response links to other portions of the SHA site.

 


 

Barber bottles

Late 19th to early 20th century barber bottle; click to enlarge.Image of an early 20th century decorative barber bottle.Barber bottles could have been included along with "hair products" on the Household Bottles (non-food related) page, though due to the "specialty bottle" nature of barber bottles.....

 

 

 

 

 

The following barber bottles give some idea as to the variety possible in both shape and colors.  These bottles date from the 1885 to 1920 era and are provided compliments of Glass Works Auctions.

 

    

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Fire Grenades

Late 19th century fire grenade bottle.subject.....

 

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Carboys & Demijohns

subject.....

AB&GC November 2008 has good Odell article on the subject.  McKearin & Wilson also have a section on this (p. 255-259).

 

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Battery jars

Battery jars.....

 

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Foreign bottles

Many types of foreign-made bottles are commonly found on historic sites in the U. S. (and Canada).

 

Chinese bottles

Chinese bottles...  Wegars (2001) a useful source of information...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good reference Felton et al. 1984

A great website for information on and images of Chinese artifacts excavated in Montana is available at the following link:  http://www.cas.umt.edu/germangulch  This website - sponsored by the University of Montana - is based on the German Gulch (a defunct mining camp near Butte, MT.) collection of artifacts being analyzed by Bill Norman at the U. of Montana.  The site primarily covers various ceramic and metal artifacts, though does include some glass items.

 

European bottles

European bottles...

One of the better references on many aspects British Commonwealth bottle manufacture was by Dr. James Boow and entitled "Early Australian Commercial Glass: Manufacturing Processes" (Boow 1991).  This publication is also of utility to students of American glass making.

 

 

Other foreign bottles

bottles...

 

 

 

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Reproductions

This section on reproductions...

WARNER'S SAFE KIDNEY & LIVER CURE - (Left image.)  This bottle is embossed WARNER'S / SAFE / KIDNEY & LIVER / CURE (large embossed safe) / ROCHESTER, N.Y.  This large distinctive bottle is oval in cross-section and 9.4"/24 cm tall.  This is another bottle style that is strongly associated with the genre of medicine bottles.  It is also closely (but not totally - there were imitators) associated with the products of the H. H. Warner Co. who was a prolific advertiser and producer of different patent medicines, most of which are shaped like the pictured bottle (Ojea & Stecher 1998).  NOTE:  These bottles were accurately reproduced by the Crownford China Co. during the 1970s (possibly a bit earlier and/or later) and sold with reproductions of the original label.  However, they exhibit machine-made characteristics and distinctive base embossing.  Click on the following images to view pictures of one of these reproductions which are quite well done:  view of the embossing; view of the label; side view; view of the base showing the telltale embossing CROWNFORD / (C in a circle) / CHINA CO. INC.

 

McKearin & Wilson also have a section on this subject.

 

 

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Other miscellaneous bottles

Other miscellaneous types includes, of course, bottles not covered elsewhere on this page or any of the other typology pages largely because these "types" are of minor importance.  This is the "miscellaneous miscellaneous" section.

 

Bird Food bottles

This is an unusual category that could well have been placed on the "Household" bottles page...

 

 

Figural bottles (not fitting another category within the typology pages)

This is category...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For additional images of various labeled miscellaneous bottles click the following link to view the pertinent section of the Labeled Bottles page.

 


Again it must be stated that the category of bottles covered on this webpage (Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles) is very large and diverse.  Like all of the bottle "typing" (typology) pages connected to the main Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes page, this page just scratched the surface as to the total diversity of these bottle types.  It does, however, cover the primary styles that were most commonly used and encountered within an archaeological context.  This page has also somewhat emphasized mouth-blown bottles since that subject is of more familiarity to the author of this website than later 20th century, machine-made items.  However, though the automated bottle production era also had incredible variety, it was not as diverse as the mouth-blown era since shape standardization and simplification was typical of machine manufacturing.  Also, bottle body embossing became much less frequent on machine-made bottles and a significant amount of the diversity of the mouth-blown production era was the different proprietary embossing on essentially the same shapes of bottles.


1/1/2014

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This website created and managed by:
Bill Lindsey
Bureau of Land Management (retired) -
Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Copyright 2014 Bill Lindsey.  All rights reserved. Viewers are encouraged, for personal or classroom use, to download limited copies of posted material.  No material may be copied for commercial purposes. Author reserves the right to update this information as appropriate.