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 The World of Old Bottle

      Stone-age man used naturally glass (Obsidian) or black volcanic glass, which was crafted into weapons and decorative objects.  The first glass manufactured dates back to 3000BC.  At the beginning of glass making, the production of glass bottles and jars was slow and costly. With The discovery of a new technique which was "glass blowing" at the end of the 1st century was a revolutionary event in the history of glass making. The glassblowing made glass production easier, faster and cheaper than the old methods of glass making.  This meant that for the first time glass products became available to the ordinary citizens. The tools and techniques of glass blowing had not change much over the next few centuries.

      The America's glass bottle and jar, industry was born in this country in the early 1600th century when settlers in Jamestown built the first glass melting furnace in America.  However, Glass bottles were still expensive for the ordinary citizens and a luxury item that few people could afford for the main reason that the industry was relying on individual glassblowers to make one bottles or jar at a time which was a slow process and at time would require two people to make one bottle or jar.  With the invention of the automatic glass bottle blowing machine in 1903 it now made glass products and glass a commodity that now could be mass produce with uniform height, weight, and capacity at a lower cost than month glassblowing.  In addition the glass blowing machine could make bottles and jars at a rate of 2500 bottles per hour in 1903. Today the highly automated glass machines will produce bottle and jar on a production line at the rate of over 42,000 per hour which is about 168 % increase in production from that of 1903.

     The point is that there was less demand for bottles and jars in the 17th century then in the 21th century.  As time goes by bottles are lost, they are broken, or buried which would drastically reduce the number of old bottles and jar making it to the present day. The old bottles made great targets to shoot at, a lot of the bottles and jars where destroyed in this manner.  So what bottles and jars that did survive and are found can bring a nice price in the antique bottle market.  It is not too hard to determine the month blown bottles or also known as handmade, that was made before 1903 from the bottles that are machine blown .  The first, and biggest clue is the present or lack-of air bubble in the glass bottle or jar.  Some other things that will tell the age is pontil marks, waviness in the glass do to the glass being thicker in some areas then in other areas which gives the illusion of ocean waves as you look through the glass, color, shape and more.

     Below is some good examples of old bottle from the past that was made in the early 20th century.  Keep in mind that even though the automatic bottle blowing machine was invented in 1903 not every glass manufacture stated use it at the same time.  New invention or ideals take time to be accepted by the people.  Also there were glass companies that did not want to stop the produce of month blown bottles and jars.  The glassblower did not like the new invention for the main reason that it would put them out of a job.

Easy Trade VJC Fruit Jar

Here is an 1893 fruit jar that was made by the Easy Trade VJC Company. The JVC on the bottom of the jar stands for Vacuum Fruit Jar and the July 11, 1893 is the date the jar design was patented. It is not the patent number.  

Date:   1893

Made:  Mouth Blown

Mold Type:   Cup-bottom Mold

Apothecary-Pharmacy Bottle

Here is a1900s to 1920s Apothecary-Pharmacy aqua green bottle with a ground top and stopper. The bottle was mouth-blow using a three-piece mold known as a cup-bottom


Date:   1900 - 1910

Made:  Month Blown

Mold Type:  Cup-Bottom Mold

Refillable Purse Perfume Bottle

Age was determined by the bubbles in the glass and other imperfection in the glass. I believe at one time there was a sterling silver top or cap. The shape of the bottle is referred to as “teardrop or raindrop” the pattern or design was used by a number of glass companies from mid-19th century to about the 1930’s.

Date:  about 1900

Made:  Mouth Blown

Mold Type:  Two Part Mold

Williams Brillantine Bottle

This is a hand blown in a mold and the top is hand tooled. The bottle has embossed “Williams Brilliantine” on one side, which was made by the J. B. Williams Co. in Glastonbury, Ct. Brilliantine was to soften men's hair, including beards and mustaches, and give it a glossy, well-groomed appearance.
Date:  about 1900
Made:  Mouth Blown

Mold:  Three Part Mold

You can find this item and more at the BIG store.

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