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Bottle Typing (Typology)
& Diagnostic Shapes

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Bottle group showing a variety of bottle shapes; click to enlarge.

HOME: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes

Click here to move directly to this pages "Organization & Structure" summary.

This Bottle Typing (Typology) & Diagnostic Shapes section is comprised of a complex of many - often very long - pages with a hoped for completion in a few years.  This Bottle Typing section is the last incomplete section of the Historic Bottle Website though it (Bottle Typing) is currently about 95%+ complete and quite usable.

NOTE: This page may be slow loading due to hundreds of incorporated images; it may take 20-30+ seconds even with a high speed connection.

INTRODUCTION

The shape of an historic bottle is usually indicative of what the bottle was most likely used for, i.e., what it contained.  What a bottle was used for is referred to on this website as a "bottle type" or "type of bottle", i.e., liquor, mineral water, druggist, food, etc.  The process of ascertaining what a bottle was used for is termed typology or simply "typing" and is the subject of this webpage and connected sub-pages.  Since it was the contents of a bottle that guided the consumer in making a selection, not the bottle itself, contents are the most important consideration in establishing categories for bottle classification (Herskovitz 1978).  The following is from Reher & Wedel (1990):

Glass containers are engineered along very specific design principles.  Container size, orifice diameter, neck length, and other attributes as well as the rations between such morphological characteristics are determined largely by such basic principles as frequency of access, amount of contents removed with each access, and the type of content (bulk solid, liquid, semi-liquid, etc.). 

Most bottle shapes were closely associated and identified with a certain product or products as "form follows function" to a large degree in bottle shapes and styles.  Soda/mineral water and beer are prime examples of products very closely identified with certain distinct bottle shapes that were rarely used for other products.  However, there were many exceptions and different "standard" bottle styles have varying degrees of fidelity to type with some shapes less connected to a specific product than soda and beer bottles.  For example during the 19th and early 20th centuries small (one pint or less), flat liquor flasks were also used to contain medicine (often including alcohol however), Jamaica ginger (also high alcohol), vanilla extract, and other liquid products, though 90%+ of these flasks were likely used for liquor (empirical observation/estimate).

Close-up view of the round bottomed base of a "disinfector" bottle from the 1890's; click to enlarge.Of course, there will always be a few wild exceptions that leave one scratching their head as to why that shape was used for that product.  For example, the early 1890's amber bottle pictured to the right is embossed Aromatic / Disinfector / Pat. / Sept. 9, 1890 (which research on the internet indicates was a company located in at least Philadelphia and New York) and is very similar in shape and size to a round bottom soda bottle, but in fact, held a poisonous disinfectant!  The embossing is also upside down relative to the bottle base because the bottle was inserted upside down into to a metal dispenser for use (Rochester Midland Co. 2005).  Oddities like this abound in the historic bottle world and one just needs to be aware that there are always exceptions to any general statement or "rule" with the dating and typing of bottles.

Berge (1980:37) notes the following in his milestone BLM historic cultural resources report entitled "Simpson Springs Station - Historical Archaeology in Western Utah": 

"A drawback of functional classifications is that many unlabeled or unmarked bottles are assumed to have been used for one purpose when in reality they may have been used for something quite different.  A small, square bottle could have been used for shoe polish, oil, pills, dental powder, or a number of other purposes.  Classifying a shoe-polish bottle several times as a pill bottle would obviously lead one to erroneous conclusions about the users.  It is not suggested that functional interpretations be eliminated; rather they may play a part in description as possible uses, and in site interpretations.  The functions of many bottles with traditional shapes are well known." 

Berge also noted that "...analysis of remnants of the contents left in the bottle may lead to precise identification; however, this would give the last use only, and bottles are often used for secondary purposes..." and "...possibly the only positive method of identifying primary content is by the original label."

As indicated above, there are no guarantees in regards to typing otherwise unmarked or unlabeled bottles, but as Berge noted "...the functions of many bottles with traditional shapes are well known."  Similar to the manufacturing related dating features discussed elsewhere on this site, typing is based on the relative probability of determining what the bottle was used for, i.e., the probability that the determined use is correct.  Though the relative probabilities noted here are not and can not be specifically - or statistically - quantified, the relative probability predictions are based on the information gleaned from hundreds of references and bottle maker catalogs as well as the authors observations over many decades.  Critical to predicting the likelihood of a certain bottle shape being closely associated with a particular type of contents are bottles with the original labels still intact and embossed bottles, where the original contents are obvious.
 


A note about embossing:

Embossed Western American bourbon bottle; click to enlarge.What a bottle was used for (what "type" of bottle it was) can often be easily ascertained if there is embossing on the bottle.  As an example, if one considers the tall, amber cylinder bottle pictured to the left which is embossed Teakettle (teakettle trade mark) / Old Bourbon / Shea, Bocqueraz & McKee / Agents / San Francisco a person already knows its a liquor bottle from California, because it says so.  It could well have been reused for other products, but one can be sure that it was originally used for a proprietary brand of bourbon.

But from when does this bottle date?  That is the other primary question most people have about a given bottle besides what it was used for.  If this bottle is run through the questions on the Bottle Dating pages, one is able to narrow the manufacturing date of this bottle to between the mid-1860's and early 1880's based on key manufacturing based diagnostic features, i.e., lack of a pontil scar (Question #4),  applied finish (Question #5 ), lack of mold air venting (Question #7), and a post-mold base type (Question #6). 

This "Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" series of pages would also help a user narrow down the date range of this commonly shaped Western liquor bottle to between the mid 1870's and early 1880's.  Additionally, the Reference Sources page lists several excellent reference books on Western American liquor bottles which would help flesh out out the story of the Teakettle Old Bourbon bottle and confirm the date range of this bottle as that listed above (Wilson & Wilson 1968; Thomas 1977 & 2002).  The point here is that the dual process of both dating a bottle and determining what it was used for (typing) provides mutually complementary information in that the typing often gives clues about the age and the manufacturing related diagnostic features can sometimes provide clues about the bottle type.  Consulting other website pages (e.g., "Bottle Bases", "Bottle Body Characteristics & Molds Seams", "Bottle Finishes", etc.) also helps round out the general "story" of a given bottle.

One-fifth size liquor bottle in old amber color; click to enlarge.Back to bottle bottle body embossing....
Unfortunately, embossing was not generally common on utilitarian bottles until after the Civil War, and even by the 1890's, embossed bottles still probably remained less than 40% of total production though the percentage varied significantly by bottle type (Fike 1987;  Fowler pers. comm. 2006). To quote McKearin & Wilson (1978:89) in reference to mid-19th century bottle production - "For the most part, the output of one (bottle maker) was similar to that of another - unmarked and anonymous."  Given this, it is certainly true that the majority of bottles produced during the period covered by this website (1800 to the 1950's) are either not embossed, or if embossing, it does not provide any information as to the date and/or use (type) of the bottle.  Conversely, users will note that a lot of the bottles pictured on this website will have embossing because an embossed bottle provides the potential for additional information about a particular bottle style or shape which is directly applicable to its non-embossed - but similarly shaped - counterpart. 

For example, one would expect an unembossed bottle of the same shape as the Teakettle sharing similar manufacturing related diagnostic features (applied finish, no air venting, post-mold base) to likely be a liquor bottle that dates from the 1870's or early 1880's.  The unembossed cylinder "fifth" liquor bottle pictured to the right has virtually all the same diagnostic features of the Teakettle except that it was blown in a four-piece instead of a two-piece mold ( a feature which does not affect the estimated dating range - see the mold type discussions on the Bottle Body Characteristics & Mold Seams page).  Because it has the same shape and shares the same primary manufacturing characteristics, it is reasonable to conclude that this bottle almost certainly dates from the same era as the Teakettle, i.e., approximately 1875 to 1885 and held some type of spirits.

In summary, form follows function most of the time and is the best one can do from this juncture in time unless the unembossed bottle in question has the original label.  Even then, as Berge (1980) noted above, this only tells one what the last use of the bottle was, if indeed the bottle was reused.
 

NOTE:  Attached to this complex of pages is one that is an ongoing pictorial coverage of all types of bottles with their original labels.  This page allows users to see specifically what many different shapes of bottles were used for as the original labels are still intact.  Click Labeled bottles to move to that section of this page.

 


Click here to move straight to the "Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" section below.
For the first time user of this site it is recommended that
 the following information be read prior to moving to the Bottle Typing section.

 

First this cautionary note Like bottle dating, bottle "typing" (typology) is not a precise science.

Depending solely on the shape of a bottle to conclude what its contents originally were is not absolute, but the best one can often do.  There are a couple primary reasons for this:

1. The same type or style of bottle may have been used for distinctly different products.

Milk bottle used for maple syrup; click to enlarge.Numerous examples abound of this phenomena - A soda style used for patent medicine, a "fifth" whiskey shape used for bitters or tonic, a liquor flask shape used for Jamaica ginger (medicine), a milk bottle used for maple syrup (image to the right from eBay), and so forth.  It was entirely the decision and sometimes whim of the purchaser/user (filler) of the bottle as to what went into it.   As noted by Berge (1980), "Although (bottle) manufacturers had specific names and uses in mind for their bottles, the purchaser may have actually used them for something quite different."

However, consumers of the time - just like today - looked for certain products in certain shaped packages.  Because of this most users of bottles used some accepted or standard shape for a given product.  A square, short necked bottle like that pictured below was very commonly used for medicinal products and in particular "bitters" which was a very popular type of  usually high alcohol medicinal product during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  This general shape was also used for "schnapps" - another high alcohol nominally medicinal product.  In fact, early bottle makers called this shape either a "bitters" or a "schnapps" (Illinois Glass Co. 1903-04, Alther 1909).   If the bottle is embossed (or labeled) with the product name or type, then one knows for sure what it originally contained.  If the bottle is not embossed or labeled, then the shape can still be very indicative of what the contents most likely were.

2. Any given bottle could have been recycled and reused many times for totally unrelated products. 

Lashes Bitters embossing; click to enlarge.Lashes Bitters with ammonia label; click to enlarge.As an example, the bottle pictured to the left obviously began its life as a bitters container for  Lashes Bitters.  This  product originated in Sacramento, CA. though in the 20th century its popularity justified offices in Chicago and New York (Wichmann 1999).  However, as indicated by the label on the reverse, this particular bottle finished its useful life as an ammonia container - a decidedly poisonous substance - from a Cleveland, OH. concern.  Click label close-up to view more label details.   Medicinal and bitters bottles were commonly reused for bluing and ammonia (Busch 1987).  This machine-made bottle dates from between the mid 1910's and mid 1920's; when it was used for ammonia is unknown, but likely the during the same era.

An early reference to bottle re-use...

The following is from the book  "Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico - The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin 1846-1847" (Drumm 1926) and indicates the high value of used bottles on the Western American Frontier:

"Our resting place is on the river bank opposite to an Indian village on the other side, and the warriors and squaws are coming over in flocks to see the wonderful objects of curiosity.  They bring things to sell - eggs, sandias (watermelons), tortillas, grapes and the like.  They wish to trade for bottles instead of money.  They readily give four bits a piece for an empty bottle, making a fine profit for the owners.  We can buy in the States the filled bottles for three or four dollars a dozen, drink the liquor, and then sell the empty bottles for six dollars per dozen..."

Throughout the country at that time used bottles were considered of value and typically not discarded unless broken and unusable (Busch 1987).

Another very early example of how a given type of bottle can be used or re-used for a non-type typical product, click on the following links: sunburst with label; close-up of the label.  This shows an example of an 1820s or 1830s era "sunburst" flask that was almost certainly re-used for "SPTS. CAMPHOR" by a Pennsylvanian druggist.  Spirits of camphor was used internally (an expectorant) and still is used externally (muscle aches and pains) though it is now considered to be a more or less hazardous substance if ingested; it is definitely not considered a liquor!  Even on a non-commercial level, bottles were very often reused.  Below is an image of an early 20th century family picnicking with the children using three reused liquor bottles and one reused medicine bottle (likely a Moxie Nerve Food bottle) as containers for milk and other presumably softer beverages; click to enlarge.  (Picture courtesy of Dan Herzog.)

Early 20th century family re-using bottles on a picnic; click to enlarge.This certainly shows that bottle recycling was not just a modern phenomena, as it was widely practiced in throughout the 19th (and before) through early 20th centuries when bottles were relatively more expensive to produce than today.  According to the Wilson's book Spirits Bottles of the Old West, an amber 1/5 gallon (i.e., "fifth" size) whiskey bottle - like the Tea Kettle Old Bourbon bottle pictured earlier on this page - cost an expensive 25 to 30 cents each to produce in the 1870's (Wilson & Wilson 1968).  That would be equivalent to at least $4.00 today (USGPO 1975).  Bottle re-use was common since the container itself was often more expensive to produce than the contents.   (Note: Probably the best overview on the subject of bottle reuse is found in Jane Busch's article "Second Time Around: A Look at Bottle Reuse" (Busch 1987).  This article is now available as a pdf file via the Society for Historical Archaeology website by doing a search at this URL:  http://www.sha.org/publications/publicationsOnline/pubExplorer.cfm


Regardless of the above points, there is still a high correlation between the shape of a bottle and the primary and/or original use of the bottle.  These Bottle Typing pages (and website in general) deal with the fact that a given shape (or manufacturing related attribute) was dominant during a certain period of time and/or for a certain product.  This information is also premised on that fact that the probability is high - but not absolute - that any given bottle with a similar shape was likely used for the same type of product.  For example an unembossed tall, amber glass, cylinder bottle similar to the Tea Kettle Old Bourbon bottle pictured above is highly likely to have also been used for some type of noncarbonated alcoholic beverage.

Summary Note: The more datable diagnostic characteristics that can be used in conjunction with the bottle typing information found on these Bottle Typing pages, the closer the probable date range for an item can be narrowed and the more confidence one can have with that estimate.
 

Note on Base Profiles/Cross-section shapesOne bottle shape related feature which is not broadly addressed on this website is the base profile or shape.  This is typically the shape of the bottle base when viewed straight on.  It is also usually the cross-section shape of the bottle body, though there are exceptions to the latter, e.g., "mug-based" soda bottles have an octagonal base but a round body cross-section shape.  (Click Mt. Hood Soda Water to see an example of a mug-based Hutchinson soda bottle from Portland, OR.)  Base profiles and/or the body cross-section shape are a distinct feature of a bottle that has utility when describing a bottle and is addressed here on a bottle specific basis.  Base profiles are not addressed broadly because there is little specific dating or typing information to be gleaned from simply knowing the base profile, though the profile can assist at times with the typing of a bottle on a case-by-case basis. 

The best readily available source for classifying bottle base profiles is the "Bottle Base Profiles" webpage illustration that is included in the IMACS (Intermountain Antiquities Computer System) guide.  It is found at the following URL:  http://www.anthro.utah.edu/IMACs/472-Bottlesbase.jpg (U. of U. 1992).  This illustration is from Fike's 1987 book on historic medicine bottles - The Bottle Book: A Guide to Historic Medicine Bottles.  A combination of the IMACS and intuitive shape names are used when describing base profiles on this "Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" page, the connected sub-pages, and on other site pages.



BOTTLE TYPING/DIAGNOSTIC SHAPES

Bottle typing is not particularly conducive to the use of a questions based "key" like was used on the Bottle Dating pages.  A key to identify bottle types based on different physical characteristics would be either impossible to effectively create due to the incredible diversity of bottle shapes, or if created, too ponderous to use. 

Instead, this page and the attached sub-pages are structured so that a user can peruse a large assortment of pictures of different bottles to find the shape/type they are interested in.  The major bottle type categories used here are based on an amalgam of dozens of references, most notably including Munsey (1970), Ketchum (1975), Herskovitz (1978), McKearin & Wilson (1978), Berge (1980), Fike (1987), Jones & Sullivan (1989), numerous glass makers catalogs, and the IMACS Users Guide (Univ. of Utah 1992) but does not align precisely with any one of these references.  Scores of other references were also consulted for the preparation of these pages and are noted where appropriate.

Some users of this site will inevitably disagree with what bottle types were included - or not included - in the broad categories used.  For instance some authors place cosmetic bottles (including perfume and cologne) into the "Medical and Chemical" bottle category whereas this website places them within the "Household bottles (non-food)" category (IMACS Univ. of Utah 1992).  Others place canning/fruit jars and milk bottles into the "Household Bottles" and "Non-alcoholic Beverages" categories, respectively, whereas this website includes both in a category entitled "Food Bottles & Canning Jars" which is intended to cover bottles and jars which contained non-alcoholic food products (Berge 1980).  The point behind these typology pages is not to establish a hierarchal classification system for bottle types but instead to help users identify what the most likely function or use was made of the specific bottle shape or type they are interested in determining such for.

In essence, this Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes complex of webpages is an on-line "type collection" of the major types and styles of bottles made during the period from the 19th through mid-20th centuries.

 

"Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" Related Pages -
Organization & Structure

IMPORTANT:  Please read the information in this box.

Bottle group showing a variety of bottle shapes; click to enlarge.Eight broad categories of bottle types - plus one additional page for images of labeled examples of all types not otherwise pictured - are addressed and given short overviews on this page in the order listed below (no significance to the order):

If a user does not know what type of bottle he or she has, or simply wants to browse, one may scroll through the page below and do a visual search for the bottle type/shape for which they have interest or a need to obtain information.

If a user already knows what general bottle type they have or are interested in, they may click on the specific bottle type page links below to open a separate browser window of that particular page:

Each of the eight bottle type categories are described in general in the boxes (with the same background color as this box) listed below.  Following a general discussion relative to that category are dozens of thumbnail pictures of different bottle shapes and types within that category.  All eight categories have immense variation in potential shapes and overlap with other categories.  Because of this, there is no other practical way to approach the subject without using a lot of images and old glass company catalog illustrations.  Each thumbnail image may be clicked on to view a larger version of that image.

Once an individual finds a specific bottle or type category of interest, they may click on the link at the end of each section below to move to the bottle type specific webpage that expands upon the brief discussions here.  These webpages also include detailed bottle type specific information and dating tips that help describe and reinforce the process one must go through to date (or otherwise describe) the subject bottle(s).  Each bottle type page contains and has links to a plethora of images of bottles within that category, including the bottles pictured in thumbnail images on this page.  Each of these bottle type specific webpages also attempts to sample the breadth of different bottles possible within that particular category for the period covered by this website, i.e., early 1800's through the 1950's. 

The information found on these pages is based on scores of different references in hand with the experience and observations made by the author over the past 4+ decades.  As with virtually everything related to historic bottles, there are periodic exceptions to be found with virtually all the estimated dating ranges and other information noted for all the bottle types.  These exceptions are noted where possible and useful.  Regardless of the ever present exceptions, the information found should be reliable for a large majority of bottles within each bottle type and subtype.
 

This complex of "Bottle Typing (Typology)/Diagnostic Shapes" pages will always be a "work-in-progress" for the author as the diversity of bottle types & shapes is almost endless.  Thus, these pages will never be considered "complete" and are, in fact, designed to be added to continuously over time.  If you do not see the bottle type or shape you are interested in, contact the author (email address accessible via a link at the bottom of each main website page) and make a suggestion for its inclusion, where it should be included, and why.

This is all a formidable task indeed and one that can not ever be totally complete given the diversity of bottles during the covered era.  However, it's a start so lets get started...
 

NOTE:  Also attached to this grouping of pages are complete scanned copies (jpegs) of several never before re-printed bottle makers illustrated catalogs.  Click on the following links to access these catalogs:
1906 Illinois Glass Co. bottle catalog
1916-1917 Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Co. catalog
1920 Illinois Glass Co. bottle catalog

1926 Illinois Glass Co. bottle catalog


 

Liquor/Spirits bottles

Group of liquor bottles; click to enlarge.Liquor of all types - bourbon, rye, gin, scotch whisky, brandy, etc. - was bottled in a wide variety of bottle shapes and sizes ranging from small flasks that held a few ounces to demijohns and carboys that held gallons.  As with many of the bottle type categories to follow, liquor bottle diversity is staggering in depth and variety.  The image to the left shows a grouping of liquor bottles that were manufactured over a one hundred year period (1820-1920), though just a tiny bit of the variety produced during that time span.  Still, there are definitive trends in shapes that mark a bottle as very likely to have been used primarily or originally as a container for high alcohol spirits intended for internal consumption during a specific time range of popularity. 

Alcohol was an important ingredient in many other products also, ranging from of course wine, champagne, beer, ale and porter (all covered in the next two sections) to most patent and proprietary medicines, bitters, and tonics to even preserved ("brandied") fruits.  However, this section of the "Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" complex of pages just covers liquor bottles where the contained product was high in alcohol (20%+) and the intended use was not primarily medicinal - or at least the acknowledged medicinal utility was of secondary importance.

Liquor/spirits bottles were, as noted, bottled in a very wide array of different types or styles of bottles.  Today some of the basic general shapes that originated in the 19th century are still in use, e.g., the "Dandy" flask and cylinder "fifth", though of course produced with modern machines and (usually) utilizing more modern closures.  Many or most other liquor bottle styles are not used today.  Because of the immense diversity of shapes used over time, the Liquor/Spirits Bottle typing webpage (linked below) is quite large.  As with all historic bottle types and shapes, there is a wide variation of subtle differences to be found within the various diagnostic shape classes which are covered in this section; thus, don't dwell to closely on minor nuances. 

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the liquor bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Liquor/Spirits Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of liquor bottles commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This  page covers the following general, and somewhat arbitrary, shapes of liquor bottles which may be clicked on to move directly to that section of the page.  (These are further divided on the Liquor/Spirits Bottles page.):


The following thumbnail images of different liquor or spirits bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A very large but separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Liquor/Spirits Bottles.  As noted earlier, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of liquor/spirits bottles is as extensive as any class of bottles and those pictured below are but a sampling of that variety, though does represent commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Liquor/Spirits Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

Pint scroll flask; click to enlarge. Pint scroll flask in yellow green; click to enlarge. Sunburst flask; click to enlarge. Keene sunburst pint; click to enlarge. Cornucopia pint flask; click to enlarge. Pint masonic-eagle flask; click to enlarge. Zanesville Masonic-eagle pint flask; click to enlarge. Washington-Eagle flask reverse; click to enlarge. Willington eagle pint flask; click to enlarge. Double eagle flask with ribbed edges; click to enlarge. Washington-Eagle pint flask; click to enlarge. General Taylor on a Washington-Taylor flask; click to enlarge. Calabash bottle from the 1850s. Clasped Hands & Shield calabash; click to enlarge. Success to the Railroad flask; click to enlarge. Corn for the World flask; click to enlarge. Pikes Peak pint flask; click to enlarge. Cunninghams & Ihmsen flask; click to enlarge. Early 19th century liquor bottle; click to enlarge. New England Glass Bottle Company bottle in black glass; click to enlarge.  Mid to late 17th century English onion bottle; click to enlarge. Mid to late 18th century "mallet" style bottle; click to enlarge. Image of a mid-19th century spirits/ale bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century brandy bottle; click to enlarge. Dyottville cylinder fifth; click to enlarge. 1860s era Dyottville cylinder "fifth" brandy bottle; click to enlarge. Weeks & Potter liquor bottle; click to enlarge. One-fifth size liquor bottle in old amber color; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mouth-blown liquor bottle; click to enlarge. Cylinder "Fifth" whiskey; click to enlarge. Cylinder quart with fluted shoulders; click to enlarge. Early 20th century liquor bottle with fluted shoulders; click to enlarge. Squat cylinder spirits bottle; click to enlarge. Ca. 1880 squat rye whiskey bottle; click to enlarge. Early machine-made Duffy Malt Whiskey; click to enlarge. Short cylinder fifth; click to enlarge. Mid 20th century liquor bottle; click to enlarge. Dip molded case gin; click to enlarge. A van Hoboken gin; click to enlarge. Aromatic Schnapps bottle; click to enlarge. High alcohol medicinal tonic; click to enlarge. Early 20th century liquor bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century square liquor with swirled neck; click to enlarge. Early 20th century rye whiskey bottle; click to enlarge. Early American Pitkin flask; click to enlarge. Mid-western "Pitkin" flask; click to enlarge. 1870's oval liquor flask; click to enlarge. Cunninghams & Ihmsen flask; click to enlarge. Knife-edge oval pint flask; click to enlarge. Early 1880's union oval half pint flask; click to enlarge. Early 20th century "full measure" type union oval; click to enlarge. Shoo-fly pint flask; click to enlarge. Pint shoo-fly amber flask; click to enlarge. Pint picnic flask; click to enlarge. SC Dispensary Jo Jo flask; click to enlarge. Picnic embossed half pint flask; click to enlarge. Pint amber picnic flask; click to enlarge. Late 1880s picnic flask; click to enlarge. Machine-made picnic flask from the 1910s; click to enlarge. Two sizes of barrel flasks; click to enlarge. Half pint barrel flask with embossing; click to enlarge. Pint eagle flask; click to enlarge. Pint and half pint eagle flasks; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Olympia flasks; click to enlarge. Washington style half pint flasks; click to enlarge. 1906 illustration of an Olympia flask; click to enlarge. Pint and half pint Baltimore oval flasks; click to enlarge. Taylor & Williams pint Baltimore Oval; click to enlarge. Half pint Dandy flask; click to enlarge. Half pint Dandy with inside threads; click to enlarge. Pint Dandy flask with contents; click to enlarge. 1940's or 1950's screw top Dandy; click to enlarge. Front view of a New England chesnut flask from the early 19th century. Early American "chestnut" flasks; click to enlarge. Benedictine bottle; click to enlarge. Mid to late 20th century benedictine bottle; click to enlarge. Handled whiskey bottle; click to enlarge. Liqueur bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th century handled scotch decanter.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Liquor/Spirits Bottles page.
 

Return to the top of this page.

Wine & Champagne bottles

Group of 18th and 19th century wine bottles; click to enlarge.

Generally speaking, wine and champagne (essentially carbonated or "sparkling" wine) were bottled in a much more limited array of bottle shapes than the spirits/liquor containers discussed above.  In fact, it is one of the least diverse of the broad categories covered on this website.  First off, virtually all wine/champagne bottles are round in cross section; square, rectangular, or other body shapes are unusual, though they do exist to some extent with wine bottles.  Champagne, being carbonated, pretty much had to be contained in round heavy glass bottles (like all carbonated beverages) since round bottles are inherently stronger than other shapes, all other things being equal (e.g., glass thickness, quality).  In addition, a large majority of wine and champagne bottles were (and continue to be) produced in some shade of olive green, olive amber, and sometimes aqua/colorless glass; other colors are unusual but possible (McKearin & Wilson 1978, Van den Bossche 2001).  The grouping pictured here shows some diversity to be sure but does span a time period from about 1750 to the early 20th century.

Wine and champagne bottles today follow closely many of the same basic designs - including closures (i.e., cork) - that were used in the mid-19th century; shapes which were relatively limited in variety.  Because of this fact, the wine/champagne typing webpage is relatively brief.  As with all historic bottle types and shapes, there is a wide variation of subtle differences to be found within the various diagnostic shape classes which are covered in this section; thus, don't dwell to closely on minor nuances. 

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the wine/champagne bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Wine & Champagne Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of wine and champagne bottles commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the following two major categories of bottles based on their specific contents which may be clicked on to move directly to those sections.  (These are further divided on the Wine & Champagne Bottles page.):


The following thumbnail images of different wine and champagne bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Wine & Champagne Bottles.  As with most of the bottle types covered here, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of wine and champagne bottles is more extensive than those pictured below, which hopefully represent the most commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Wine & Champagne Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

  18th century "onion" wine/spirits botte; click to enlarge. Front view of a New England chesnut flask from the early 19th century. New England Glass Bottle Company bottle in black glass; click to enlarge. Image of a mid-19th century spirits/ale bottle; click to enlarge. Mid to late 17th century English onion bottle; click to enlarge. Bordeaux shape wine bottle; click to enlarge. Mid 19th century Bordeaux wine bottle; click to enlarge. Civil War era Bordeaux wine bottles; click to enlarge. Burgundy style of bottle of modern manufacture; click to enlarge. Modern Burgundy style bottle used for sake; click to enlarge. Late 19th century hock wines; click to enlarge. Early 20th century small hock wines; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Virginia Dare wine bottle; click to enlarge. Prohibition era "wine tonic"; click to enlarge. Jules Pernod pastis bottle; click to enlarge. Early to mid-20th century chianti wine bottles; click to enlarge. Champagne bottle from about 1900; click to enlarge. Champagne bottle used for wine; click to enlarge.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Wine & Champagne Bottles page.
 

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Beer & Ale bottles

Group of beer bottles from between 1860 and the 1950's; click to enlarge.

Similar to wine and champagne bottles, beer and related products (ale, porter, stout) were bottled in a relatively limited array of bottle shapes, though probably somewhat more diverse.  The grouping to the left - dating from the 1860s to 1950s - shows some of the moderate diversity found in this category.  One common feature is that essentially all beer/ale bottles are round in cross section; square, rectangular, or other body shapes are almost unknown.  Beer and ale, being carbonated, pretty much had to be contained in round heavy glass bottles since round bottles are inherently stronger than other shapes - all other things being equal (e.g., glass thickness and quality).  There were some notable exceptions which are discussed on the Beer & Ale Bottles typing page (linked below). 

Beer bottles today follow some of the same designs that were used during the late 19th century, though the finish and closures are often different than that era but very similar to those common during the first third of the 20th century (crown cap, external screw threads).  Because of this relative uniformity over time, the beer/ale typing webpage is moderate in length.  It does cover more information than the previously discussed wine/champagne bottle page; there is just more to say (and been said) about beer bottles and a category probably more commonly encountered on American historic sites than wine/champagne bottles (though the latter category is still quite common).  As with all historic bottle types and shapes, there is a wide variation of subtle differences to be found within the various diagnostic shape classes which are covered in this section; thus, don't dwell to closely on minor nuances. 

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the beer/ale bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Beer & Ale Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of beer and ale bottles commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of beer and ale bottles as follows which may be clicked on to move directly to those sections of the page. (These are further divided on the Beer & Ale Bottles page.):


The following thumbnail images of different beer and ale bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Beer & Ale Bottles.  As with most of the bottle types covered here, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of beer and ale bottles is more extensive than those pictured below, which hopefully represent the most commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Beer & Ale Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

  Dip molded ale bottle; click to enlarge. Early 19th century ale bottle; click to enlarge. Mid 1850s porter bottle; click to enlarge. Mid 19th century ale or mineral water bottle; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century stout bottle; click to enlarge. Tall stout or ale bottle from 1870-1880; click to enlarge. 1860s stout bottle; click to enlarge. Export style "quart" beer bottle; click to enlarge. Turn mold beer bottle in an unusual color; click to enlarge. Original Budweisers export style beers; click to enlarge. Export style "pint beer from 1941; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mouth-blown export beer; click to enlarge. Union Brewing champagne style "quart"; click to enlarge. Small champagne style beer bottle; click to enlarge. Champagne style "quart" beer bottle from Chicago; click to enlarge. Champagne style "pint" beer from 1930; click to enlarge. 1890 to 1910 German made California beer bottle; click to enlarge. Malt extract or tonic style; click to enlarge. Extract of Malt bottle; click to enlarge. Cla-Wood Malt Tonic; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Wyeth's Malt Extract; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Hoff's Malt Extract bottle with label. Late 19th century weiss beer bottle from Cleveland; click to enlarge. Columbia weiss beer; click to enlarge. Early 20th century weiss beer bottle; click to enlarge. Lager beer in a "soda" shape; click to enlarge. Hutchinson soda bottle used by a brewing company; click to enlarge. Apollinaris bottle from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Stubby beer bottle from 1953; click to enlarge. 1949 Schlitz quart beer bottle in ruby red; click to enlarge. Stubby type beer bottle dated 1938; click to enlarge. "Stubby" quart beer dated 1952; click to enlarge.  

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Beer & Ale Bottles page.
 

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Soda & Mineral Water bottles

Grouping of soda & mineral water bottles; click to enlarge.Soda and mineral water (often lumped together and referred to as "soda water" unless a distinction is necessary) was bottled in a moderately diverse array of bottle styles as indicated by the grouping pictured to the left - a grouping that dates from the 1850s to 1950s.  However, like with the beer/ale bottles covered above, the (usually) carbonated nature of soda water narrowed the possible bottle variety in several ways.  The bottles had to be made of relatively heavy/thick glass in order to withstand the rigors of repeated bottling and handling - re-use being the norm until well into the 20th century - as well as the gaseous pressures of the product itself.  Being carbonated, soda water pretty much had to be contained in round bottles since round bottles are inherently stronger than other shapes - all other things being equal (e.g., glass thickness and quality).  Like with beer/ale bottles, there were a few notable exceptions to the round shape which are discussed on the Soda & Mineral Water Bottles typing page (linked below). 

Unlike some of the liquor, beer and wine/champagne bottles covered above, none of the soda water styles covered still see much widespread use in the U.S. where soda is primarily sold in plastic (though still round) bottles.  Worldwide, however, a few of the more modern styles discussed are still being used.

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the soda/mineral water bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Soda & Mineral Water Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of soda and mineral water bottles commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of soda and mineral water bottles as follows which may be clicked on to move directly to that section of the page. (These are divided further on the Soda & Mineral Water Bottles page.):


The following thumbnail images of different soda/mineral water bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Soda & Mineral Water Bottles.  As with most of the bottle types covered here, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of soda & mineral water bottles is more extensive than those pictured below, which hopefully represent the most commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Soda & Mineral Water Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

  Early 19th century ale bottle; click to enlarge. Mid 19th century ale or mineral water bottle; click to enlarge. Saratoga style mineral water bottle from the 1840's; click to enlarge. Mid 19th century quart mineral water bottle; click to enlarge. Congress & Empire Spring mineral water in an emerald green color; click to enlarge. 1875 to 1885 Saratoga style pint bottle; click to enlarge. 1870s Western American "Saratoga" style bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th to early 20th century Saratoga style bottle; click to enlarge. Early plate mold mineral water bottle; click to enlarge. Blob top soda bottle from the 1870s; click to enlarge. 8-sided mineral water bottle from the 1850's; click to enlarge. Late 19th century blob soda bottle; click to enlarge. Cottle & Post, Portland, Oregon soda bottle in deep blue green; click to enlarge. Ca. 1880 cider bottle; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century Pennsylvania blob soda; click to enlarge. Soda water bottle from Canada (probably) from the 1860s or 1870s; click to enlarge. Gravitating soda bottle; click to enlarge.  Gravitating stopper soda bottle; click to enlarge. Hutchinson soda bottle with heavy embossing; click to enlarge. Hutchinson soda with applied finish from 1880's; click to enlarge. Typical turn of the century Hutchinson soda; click to enlarge. A pair of Pacific Soda Works bottles; click to enlarge. Quart Hutchinson soda bottle; click to enlarge. 1880s Roorbach closure soda bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mouth-blown crown soda; click to enlarge. A pair of different style sodas from the same company; click to enlarge. Early 20th century crown top soda bottle; click to enlarge. Crown top soda bottle from 1932; click to enlarge. Mission Dry bottle from 1930; click to enlarge. Coca-Cola bottles dating 50 years apart; click to enlarge. Soda bottle from the 1950's; click to enlarge. Mission Beverages soda bottle from the 1940's, 1945 Pepsi-Cola bottle; click to enlarge. Round bottom soda bottle from Boston, MA.; click to enlarge. 1870s era torpedo soda bottle from England; click to enlarge. Late 19th century round bottom soda; click to enlarge. Early 20th century round bottom soda with an applied crown finish. Late 19th century English codd bottle; click to enlarge. Apollinaris bottle from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Bythinia Water; click to enlarge. 1920s machine-made mineral water; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mineral water bottle; click to enlarge. Siphon bottle with etched lettering; click to enlarge. Crystal Soda Water bottle in a medium sapphire blue color; click to enlarge. 1890-1910 Bitterquelle bottle; click to enlarge.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Soda & Mineral Water Bottles page.
 

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Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist bottles

Group of Medicinal bottles dating from the 1860s to 1920s; click to enlarge.

The category of medicinal (and related) bottles is probably the largest and most diverse group produced during the era covered by this website (19th through mid 20th centuries) and in particular, between the 1850s and 1920s.  The grouping pictured to the left - which covers a period from the 1850s to 1930s - shows but a tiny sampling of medicinal bottle diversity which is frankly staggering in depth and variety with virtually any shape imaginable used at some point.  In fact, many types of bottles that are usually strongly identified with other distinct bottle types (e.g., blob top sodas, liquor flasks, even beer bottles) were used (or re-used) by someone at some time for medicines. 

Though intimidating in its immense diversity (and for the author of this website!), there are some useful trends in shapes that mark a bottle as very likely to have been used primarily or originally as a container for a some type of medicinal product.  Very few of the basic medicinal bottle shapes from the past see any use today as most medicinal products and prescriptions are "bottled" in plastic containers of all sorts, utilizing modern closures.  Because of the immense diversity of shapes used in the past, the Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottle typing webpage (linked below) is quite large.  As with all historic bottle types and shapes, there is a wide variation of subtle differences to be found within the various diagnostic shape classes which are covered in this section; thus, don't dwell to closely on minor nuances. 

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the medicinal/chemical/druggist bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of medicinal, chemical, and druggist bottles commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of these bottles as follows (these are divided further on the Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles page):


The following thumbnail images of different medicinal/chemical/druggist bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles.  As noted earlier, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of medicinal bottles is probably more extensive than any other class of bottles and those pictured below are but a sampling of that variety, though does represent commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

1840s medicinal bottle from New York; click to enlarge. Lindsey's Blood Searcher bottle from 1855-1865; click to enlarge. Generic medicine bottle from 1850s; click to enlarge. Grouping of 1850s era generic medicine bottes; click to enlarge. 12-sided pontiled medicine bottle from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Drakes Plantation Bitters from the 1870s; click to enlarge. Cabin shaped bitters from the 1870s and 1880s; click to enlarge. Bitters bottle from the 1850s or early 1860s; click to enlarge. Early 20th century tonic bottle; click to enlarge. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters in black glass color; click to enlarge. Ladies leg bitters bottle from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Two Peruvian Bitters blown in the same mold with different finishes types; click to enlarge. Ross's Tonic with straw marks; click to enlarge. Johnson's Chill Tonic bottle in deep amethyst color; click to enlarge. Dalton's Sarsaparilla and Nerve Tonic; click to enlarge. Townsends Sarsaparilla ca. 1840s; click to enlarge. Ayer's Cherry Pectoral; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century paneled medicinal bottle; click to enlarge. 1880 era Sanfords Cure; click to enlarge. Radams Microbe Killer; click to enlarge. Full view of a pair of Hall's Balsam for the Lungs bottles. Folger Essence of Jamaica Ginger; click to enlarge. Mrs. Winslows Soothing Syrup from about 1870; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Bromo-Seltzer; click to enlarge.   Lydia Pinkham's medicine from 1933; click to enlarge. Round druggist bottle from the 1870s; click to enlarge. 1880s druggist packing bottle; click to enlarge. Early 1855-1865 square druggist bottle; click to enlarge. Square 1880s druggist bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century rounded square druggist bottle; click to enlarge. Rectangular druggist bottle from about 1900; click to enlarge. 1888-1889 Blake style druggist bottle; click to enlarge. Philadelphia Oval prescription bottle; click to enlarge. Late 1870's druggist bottle from Portland, Oregon; click to enlarge. Gogings Tonic union oval shape; click to enlarge. Machine-made druggist bottles; click to enlarge. Early 20th century shop furniture; click to enlarge. Early 20th century example of shop furniture bottles; click to view the entire glass catalog page. Click to view a larger version of these early 20th century vials. Early 20th century mouth-blown poison bottle; click to enlarge. Lattice embossed poison bottle; click to enlarge. Owl Poison bottle from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Merchant's Chemist bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century poison mouth-blown poison bottle; click to enlarge. Citrate of Magnesia ca. 1920; click to enlarge. Citrate of Magnesia from around 1880; click to enlarge. Citrate from 1925-1930; click to enlarge. Early 20th century proprietary citrate bottle; click to enlarge. Civil War era citrate of magnesia; click to enlarge. Vasoline bottle from the 1910s or 1920s. Ointment jar with a ground rim - ca. 1880s.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles page.
 

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Food bottles & Canning jars

Group of food bottles; click to enlarge.

The category of food bottles - including fruit/canning jars - is another immense group of bottles and jars with a very high degree of diversity of shapes and sizes.  As with most of the previous categories discussed above, the examples pictured and described in this section are but a superficial sampling of the variety that was produced during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through the middle of the 20th century.  One prominent observer noted that "...bottles made for foods are quite numerous and, in fact, constitute a large portion of bottles made..." (Munsey 1970).  This is likely true in regards to the numbers of items produced which if included with medicinal bottles (previous category) would likely make up the majority of bottles produced since the early 19th century.  In general, food bottles have not inspired as much interest from collectors (the source of the majority of bottle reference books) as other categories; thus, foods have received a relatively limited amount of research in comparison to the noted commonness of the type.  The one very significant exception to this would be the fruit/canning jar category which has generated high interest over the years.

Some of the basic food bottle shapes continued in production well into the late 20th century (particularly fruit jars), though most did not.  Similar to the medicinal products covered above, food products are largely contained in plastic containers of all sorts in recent decades though there are various glass bottles and jars in use today that do exhibit some of their historical heritage.  Because of the wide diversity of shapes used in the past, the Food Bottles & Canning jars Bottle typing webpage (linked below) is relatively large.  As with all historic bottle types and shapes, there is a wide variation of subtle differences to be found within the various diagnostic shape classes which are covered in this section; thus, don't dwell to closely on minor nuances. 

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the food bottle or fruit/canning type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Food Bottles & Canning Jars to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of food and food related bottles/jars commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of these bottles as follows (these are divided further a bit on the Food Bottles & Canning Jars page):

*Note:  Some authors classify milk bottles within the "beverage" category and not as a "food" bottle.  This website does not use a specific "beverage bottle" category, but instead divides what would be sub-classes under beverages (liquor, beer, soda, etc.) into their own specific types due to the breadth of variety and examples within those categories.  Given this structure, milk bottles could either be a separate category, or being widely considered as a food (and surely as a base for other food products like cheese), included within the food bottle group...which is what has been done.  This very large category and webpage will most likely need divided further in the future.  More specifically, the canning/fruit jars section and possibly milk bottles may be made into their own separate webpages.


The following thumbnail images of different food bottles & canning jars may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Food Bottles & Canning Jars.  As noted earlier, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of food bottles and canning jars is very extensive and those pictured below are but a sampling of that variety, though does represent commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Food Bottles & Canning Jars page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

 Mid-19th century sauce bottle; click to enlarge. Gothic peppersauce bottle from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Gothic or cathedral peppersauce from about 1880; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century hexagonal gothic peppersauce bottles; click to enlarge. 1890s peppersauce with original label; click to enlarge. 1860s fluted peppersauce bottle made in Kentucky; click to enlarge. Well, Miller & Provost sauce bottle; click to enlarge. Beehive sauce bottle from the 1880s; click to enlarge. Peppersauce bottle from the late 1910s or 1920s; click to enlarge. Late 19th century peppersauce bottles; click to enlarge. Early 20th century peppersauce; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century sauce bottle used for medicine; click to enlarge. Late 19th century fluted pepper sauce bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mouth-blown catsup; click to enlarge. Fluted shoulder sauce or ketchup bottle; click to enlarge. Heinz catsup bottle from the 1920s; click to enlarge. Click to view a larger version of this image. Early machine-made Lea & Perrins; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century Lea & Perrins sacue bottle; click to enlarge. Halford Leicestershire Sauce bottle from the 1870s; click to enlarge. Barrel mustard from 1890-1900 era; click to enlarge. French mustard bottle from the 1860s; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century St. Louis mustard bottle; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century barrel mustard; click to enlarge. Williams mustard bottle from the 1920s; click to enlarge. Early 20th century Gulden mustard; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century sauce bottle; click to enlarge. New England horseradish bottle Horseradish bottle from around 1900; click to enlarge. Horseradish bottle from Denver, CO.; click to enlarge. 1865 gothic pickle bottles; click to enlarge. Early gothic pickle from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Cathedral or gothic pickle from the 1860s; click to enlarge. Cathedral pickle bottle in aqua colored glass; click to enlarge. Hexagonal pickle bottle from the 1880s or 1890s; click to enlarge. Late 19th century olive bottle or jar; click to enlarge. Early 19th century food bottle or jar; click to enlarge. Early to mid-19th century wide mouth "food" jar; click to enlarge. Ca. 1900 tall mouth-blown olive bottle; click to enlarge. 1920s olive bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century pickle jar; click to enlarge. Early 20th century English food bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th or early 20th century pickle bottles; click to enlarge. Early 20th century pickle bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th century pickle bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century pickle bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th century small pickle bottle; click to enlarge. Wax seal fruit jar from the 1870-1890 era; click to enlarge. San Francisco Glass Works wax seal jar; click to enlarge. Hemingray patent jar; click to enlarge. Early 20th century machine-made Mason's 1858 jar; click to enlarge. Atlas Strong Shoulder Mason from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Ball Perfect Mason jar from the 1920s or 1930s; click to enlarge. Ca. 1870 Western made Victory jar; click to enlarge. Lightning half gallon canning jar; click to enlarge. Mouth-blown Lightning pint jar; click to enlarge. Ball Ideal pint jar with lightning type closure; click to enlarge. Late 19th century Atmospheric Fruit Jar; click to enlarge. Globe fruit jar in a light yellow amber color; click to enlarge. Kerr Economy fruit jar with closure and clip; click to enlarge. 1860s era fruit jar; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century free-blown olive oil; click to enlarge. Early 20th century olive oil from Oregon; click to enlarge. Olive oil from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Mid-20th century salad dressing jar; click to enlarge. Early 20th century salad oil bottle; click to enlarge. Salad Dressing bottle from the early 20th century; click to enlarge. Quart milk bottle from the 1925-1935 era; click to enlarge. Thatcher "Milk Protector" bottle; click to enlarge. Early 20th century mouth-blown half-pint milk bottle; click to enlarge. 1920s to 1940s era milk bottles; click to enlarge. 1940s ACL milk or cream bottle; click to enlarge. Cream top milk bottles; click to enlarge. 1940s and 1950s ACL cream top milk bottles; click to enlarge. Milk bottle used for maple syrup; click to enlarge. Blake-Hart square milk bottle from the 1920s; click to enlarge. 1952 square quart milk bottle; click to enlarge. Spice bottle from the 1870s; click to enlarge. Late 19th or early 20th century capers bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th century capers bottle; click to enlarge. Ca. 1900 infant food bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th century nursing bottle; click to enlarge. Early 19th century probable nursing bottle; click to enlarge. Flavoring extract bottle from the 1880s; click to enlarge. Group of late 19th century extract bottles; click to enlarge. Machine-made extract bottles; click to enlarge. Coffee extract bottle from the last quarter of the 19th century; click to enlarge.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Food Bottles & Canning Jars page.
 

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Household bottles (non-food related)

This page is currently a work in progress!

Group of household bottles dating from the 1840s to 1920s.

This non-food related Household bottles page is one of two typology pages (in addition to the Miscellaneous & Foreign bottles page which follows) which comprise the "catch-all" sections for bottle types not otherwise covered by the other major bottle type categories.  Specifically, this page addresses non-food products clearly used in households across the United States and Canada.  These products were also used, of course, by businesses, schools, government offices, and other non-household entities. 

The "household bottles" (aka "personal" bottle) category has been used by archaeologists - and collectors to some degree - for many years although the actual bottle types contained within the category varies significantly (Berge 1980; Univ. of Utah [IMACS] 1982; Felton et al. 1984; Jones & Sullivan 1989).  For example, canning/fruit jars which are included by some authors in the "household" bottles category, are covered within this website on the Food Bottles & Canning Jars page (Berge 1980).  Another example is that chemical and poison type bottles - which could have been covered on this page or the "Miscellaneous bottles" page - were instead discussed on the Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist bottles typology page (Univ. of Utah [IMACS] 1982).  There has never been total agreement on the categorization hierarchy of bottle types and probably never will be.  The point behind these typology pages is not to establish a hierarchal classification system for bottle types but instead to help users identify what the most likely function or use was made of the specific bottle shape or type they are interested in determining such for.  See the "Organization & Structure" section which follows below for the specific bottle types that this website includes in the "household" category.

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the household bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Household Bottles (non-food related) to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of household bottles (non-food related) commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of these bottles as follows (these are divided further on the Household Bottles [non-food related] page):


The following thumbnail images of different household bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Household Bottles (non-food related).  As noted earlier, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of the various categories of "household" bottles is very extensive and those pictured below are but a sampling of that variety, though does represent commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Household Bottles (non-food related) page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

Stoneware ink bottles from the 1860 to 1880 era.  Cone ink from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Early cone ink from the 1850s; click to enlarge.  Late 19th century cone ink bottles; click to enlarge. Late 19th to early 20th century cone ink; click to enlarge.Group of mouth-blown cone ink bottles from about 1900. Early 20th century English ink bottle; click to enlarge. Early crude machine-made ink bottle; click to enlarge. Cylindrical ink bottlel from 1940; click to enlarge. Ca. 1870 cone ink bottle; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century "drape" ink bottle; click to enlarge. Machine-made swirl body cone ink; click to enlarge. Square "school house" ink ca. 1870s; click to enlarge. Late 19th century square ink bottle; click to enlarge. Ink bottle from ca. 1880; click to enlarge. Square Sanford's ink bottle; click to enlarge. Machine-made cobalt blue square ink; click to enlarge. Late 19th century carmine style ink bottle; click to enlarge. Late 19th to early 20th century English "boat" ink; click to enlarge. Group of umbrella inks dating from 1865; click to enlarge. Umbrella ink in dark olive amber color; click to enlarge. Late 19th century umbrella ink; click to enlarge. 12-sided pontiled ink from the 1840-1860 period; click to enlarge. Late 19th to early 20th century English ink bottles; click to enlarge. 1850s era green umbrella ink; click to enlarge. 1850s era umbrella ink; click to enlarge. Harrison's Columbia Ink bottles; click to enlarge. Umbrella ink ca. 1860; click to enlarge. Taller ink bottle from the 1850s; click to enlarge. Octagonal pontiled ink from the 1860s; click to enlarge. Late 19th century "igloo" inks; click to enlarge. Igloo ink from the 1870s; click to enlarge. Barrel ink bottles from the last half of the 19th century; click to enlarge. Bulk ink bottles dating from the 1860s; click to enlarge. Utility or ink bottle from the 1840s or 1850s; click to enlarge. Small utility bottle with pour spout ca. 1870s. Early utility or ink bottles; click to enlarge. Bulk or master ink bottle from the 1880s; click to enlarge. Bulk ink or utility bottle from ca. 1880; click to enlarge. Sanfords bulk ink bottle from the 1910 to 1930 era; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century 12 sided bulk ink. Carters bulk ink from the 1920s or 1930s; click to enlarge. Early American pattern molded inkwell. Early 19th century small free-blown ink bottle. Teakettle ink well from the 1875-1890 era; click to enlarge. Mid-19th century mucilage bottle. Fountain inkwell with 1867 patent date; click to enlarge. Late 19th to early 20th century shoe polish bottle. Four early American blacking bottles - ca 1820s-1840s Bixby shoe polish bottle from the 1880s. Large and small size Florida waters from ca. 1880. Snuff bottle in dark olive green which is almost black; click to enlarge. Early American snuff or utility bottle in yellowish olive green; click to enlarge. Packer utility bottle from the 1920s; click to enlarge. San Francisco ammonia bottle from the 1880s. Clorox bottle from 1929-1930; click to enlarge.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Household Bottles (non-food related) page.
 

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Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles

This page is currently a work in progress!

This and the previous "Household bottles (non-food)" pages are 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.

From this point a user needs to either scan the thumbnail images below to find the miscellaneous bottle type they are interested in or click Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles to move to that page which specifically covers the various types of bottles that both do not fit in any of the other typology section and were commonly produced and used during the era covered by this website - the 19th century through mid 20th century.  This page covers the major form classes or categories of these bottles as follows (these are divided further on the Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles page):


The following thumbnail images of different miscellaneous bottles may be clicked to view a larger version of that picture.  Search through these images to find the bottle type or shape that you are interested in - or one that is close.  A separate webpage containing information about - and additional pictures of - each of these bottles is found at this link: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles.  As noted earlier, be aware that the diversity of shape, size, and color of the various categories of the bottles covered in this section is very extensive and those pictured below are but a sampling of that variety, though does represent commonly encountered types and shapes.  The bottles on the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles page are covered in the order that the bottles are pictured below.

 Late 19th to early 20th century barber bottle; click to enlarge. Image of an early 20th century decorative barber bottle. Late 19th century fire grenade bottle.

Click to move to the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles page.

 

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Labeled Bottles

Group of labeled bottles; click to enlarge.Attached to this complex of "typing" pages is a separate webpage that is an extensive pictorial coverage of bottles of all types with their original product content labeling

The Labeled Bottles page allows users to see what many different shapes or "types" of bottles were precisely used for as the original labels (and often contents) are still intact.  It is hoped that showing a large assortment of bottles, which are often not embossed as to contents, will give users more of a feel for what shapes were used primarily for what products. 

This page is is almost purely a pictorial page with limited descriptive information on the pictured bottles; the labels usually speak for themselves.  Most of the bottles that are pictured are not pictured elsewhere on this website, and in fact, are often images found on the internet or submitted by users.  This page is also divided into the eight major bottle type categories noted on this page: Liquor & Spirits; Wine & Champagne; Beer & Ale; Soda & Mineral Water; Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist; Food & Fruit/Canning Jars; Household (non-food related); and Miscellaneous.

It is expected that additional images of product labeled bottles will be constantly acquired and added indefinitely to this page well into the future.  Stay tuned...Click Labeled Bottles to view the page.

Note: Submissions for addition to the Labeled Bottles page in the form of clear, good quality digital images are most welcome!  Of particular need are good images for the categories that are relatively underrepresented.  If submitting photos, views of the label(s), embossing (if present), at least one side (if not round), and the base would be appreciated though just a picture of the entire bottle showing the label clearly are also acceptable. 

If you would like to contribute to this webpage please contact the author of this website at: 
questions@historicbottles.com

(I ask that people trying to first contact me please use the email address above not call me by searching out my phone number on the internet.)

 


SEARCHING THIS WEBSITE:  To do a word/phrase search of this website 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.

11/10/2014

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This website created and managed by:
Bill Lindsey
Bureau of Land Management (retired) -
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Questions?  See FAQ #21.

Copyright 2015 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.