American made pattern molded bottles and flasks like those discussed here would not likely date after the s and typically would date from the s into the s. Because of the early production of these type bottles, pattern molded bottles and flasks are rarely found on historic sites in the West, but would be commonly encountered in the East and Midwest.
See the References page. Molded shape related features. Full sized bottle molds could be made to create just about any body shape for a bottle that could be imagined including animals, human figures, vegetables, purely decorative designs, as well as a myriad of more mundane and purely functional shapes. The photo to the left shows a variety of molded body shapes that does not even begin to represent the variety found in bottles made during the era covered by this website - the s to mid 20th century. Two illustrations of full sized molds are shown in this section below.
Molds were created to produce either standard shaped bottles that were used by various purchasers wanting standard, product identifiable shapes or were custom made to reflect the specific desires of a bottle buyer. Individual molds were produced by custom mold shops or, at larger glass companies, by the company itself in on site machine shops. Relative to the latter point regarding custom made molds, the following is quoted from the Illinois Glass Company's Illustrated Catalogue and Price List: Moulds for Special Shapes - Many Bottle users prefer shapes and designs of their own.
For all such we are thoroughly equipped in our own extensive Machine Shop to make at short notice moulds for any practicable bottle, and at the lowest possible cost for first-class work. In ordering a special shape, an exact model of same should be furnished. In cases where this is impracticable, our own artist will produce a wooden model of the desired bottle if furnished with the idea by a drawing or otherwise. If we make the moulds no expense will attach for models; otherwise a charge for the actual cost of producing same will be necessary.
Special Moulds should always be made in pairs for each size and shape, for economy's sake. Where large quantities of bottles are desired this is indispensable. Better and more uniform bottles are always secured when moulds are worked in pairs. The cut herewith shows a mould for an oval prescription bottle. The mould is made of the best grade of gray iron, and weighs about 80 lbs. The noted mold illustration i.
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This illustration shows a very typical side-hinged mold conformation for a mouth-blown bottle that appears to be a cup-mold which dominated mold types by the early 20th century. The skills needed to form a bottle with a mold - though considerable - were less than the skills needed to form a bottle free-blown.
Even a master glassblower gaffer was limited in what could be produced free-blown as the shapes were limited by the techniques that could done via the glassblower lungs, movement of the blowpipe, use of a marver a flat surface and block hollowed out surface , and other hand tools Kendrick Click molding a mouth-blown bottle to see an illustration of a bottle being blown in a two-piece mold.
The use of full sized molds also allowed for a dramatic increase in the speed of production. Free blowing likely only allowed for a production of a few hundred bottles per day likely hour days per glassblower, who was assisted by at least one other person - the servitor. Tooley noted the following 24 hour production amounts between shops using hand production using a mold - gross taking people to produce - and modern machine production of gross with one person running the machine.
These ranges covered bottles from 3 to 32 oz. The body, shoulder, and or neck of a bottle can be molded into a variety of shapes. A common molding feature is the paneled body. Panels are generally flat indentations into the body formed by the mold and usually perpendicular to the base. Click Hall's Balsam for the Lungs to view a picture of two bottle which have sunken or indented panels on all four sides of the bottle.
Panels can come in all types of shapes including arched or gothic like large blue-aqua pickle bottle in the group picture above , chamfered like the Hall's Balsam bottles , tapered, rectangular, round, square, and others Berge Bottle shapes during the mouth-blown era were incredibly varied and done for a variety of reasons no particular order: The illustration and photo to the above right shows a ca.
With the exception of one-piece dip molds and turn-mold bottles covered later , all bottle molds potentially leave evidence of the joints where the mold pieces came together, i. Mold seams can be virtually impossible to see on bottles where the parts of the mold fit together very tightly unusual even with modern machine molds or the body of the bottle received post-molding fire polishing which usually erases the evidence of mold seams. On this website the term "mold seam" is used to refer to the seams on the bottle where two parts came together and the interface or joints between mold sections that result in the bottle seams, depending on context.
Fortunately, on a large majority of full sized mold blown bottles all or a major portion of the side mold seams are quite evident. Bottles blown in loose fitting molds can result in glass being forced or extruded into the mold seams. This is evidenced on a bottle by distinctly thickened mold seams or mold seams that project distinctly outward from the body of the bottle. Extreme examples of these glass extrusions usually broke off with handling leaving a rough edge to the mold seam. This feature is observed typically near the base on the lower sides of a bottle or at the junction area between the shoulder and neck.
Bottles with this feature are virtually always mouth-blown and not machine-made. The picture to the right shows this mold seam feature at the junction of the neck and shoulder on a ca. Click link to view a picture of the entire flask. The pictured example has some of extrusion glass remaining with the remainder gap between flap of glass and shoulder having been broken off at some time in the past - possibly when removing the bottle from the mold.
The author of this site has never seen a machine-made bottle with this feature, though such could theoretically exist since all molds have seam joints. However, a person could be quite confident that a bottle fragment with this feature would surely be from a mouth-blown bottle. The portion of a bottle where it is usually the easiest to observe mold seams is on the shoulder and lower portion of the neck.
On round in cross section bottles, the body is also usually an easy place to observe the seams. On non-round bottles e. As a general rule with exceptions of course as with virtually all bottle diagnostic features mouth-blown bottles will have more distinct thicker, higher body mold seams than machine-made bottles, which tend to have very fine hair thin, little protuberance mold lines as well as other attributes covered later.
The following discussion just covers mouth-blown bottles; machine-made bottles are covered later on this page. One of the best sources for information on mold seams is in Dr. Faster loading "jpg" scans of this milestone work are available by clicking on the following links - 2 magazine pages per scan, 20 magazine pages in total.
The page numbers listed here coincide with the pages of the original articles. Articles reproduced courtesy of Dr. Part II - pages , pages , pages , pages , pages A better quality version of the entire article, which is more suitable for printing, is available by clicking on the following link: One of the longest running "myths" in the world of bottle dating is that the side mold seam can be read like a thermometer to determine the age of a bottle.
The concept is that the higher the side mold seam on the bottle the later it was made - at least in the era from the early to mid 19th century until the first few decades of the 20th century. Mold Seams of Bottles" chart Figure 9. Kendrick explains in the text pages that It is true that the mold seams can be used like a thermometer to determine the approximate age of a bottle. The closer to the top of the bottle the seams extend, the more recent was the production of the bottle.
The chart accompanying this statement notes that bottles made before have a side mold seam ending on the shoulder or low on the neck, between and the seam ends just below the finish, between and the seam ends within the finish just below the top lip surface, and those made after have mold seams ending right at the top surface of the finish, i.
Although there are examples of bottles having mold seams that fit these date ranges properly, the issue of dating bottles is vastly more complicated than the simple reading of side mold seams. If it were that simple much of this website would be unnecessary!
For example, the process that produces a tooled finish frequently erases traces of the side mold seam an inch or more below the base of the finish whereas the typical applied finish has the seam ending higher - right at the base of the finish. The reason this is noted here is that the concept keeps popping up in the literature of bottle dating and identification ranging from Sellari's books Sellari For a broader discussion of this subject see Lockhart, et al.
Mouth-blown bottle body mold seams. Bottles produced in a simple two-piece mold with no separate base part have a mold seam which bisects the entire base. These are often referred to as hinge mold or snap case bottles. Two-piece mold body seams: Two-piece molded bottles have 2 opposite body mold seams running from the heel of the bottle to a termination point somewhere on the upper neck or finish. Two-piece molds are by far the most common orientation of molds, though these molds typically were made of at least three separate pieces when one includes the base plate.
Plates for embossing were also commonly incorporated into two-piece molds giving at least four sections to the mold. However, the pervasive use of the term "two-piece" mold for all bottles with two mold seams on opposite sides of the bottle is not going to change even though it is semantically incorrect Toulouse b. Due to the universal use, we continue that convention on this website.
The figured flask base pictured to the right is a true two-piece hinge mold as there was no separate base plate - each half of the base was included with that half of the body mold. As there are no unique diagnostic features associated with the fact that a bottle body has two opposing mold seams, the user is directed to review the discussion of the varying related base mold markings on the Bottle Bases page. Three-piece mold body seams: In conjunction with the true two-piece mold, one of the earliest mold types to be used in the U. Although earlier versions of a three-piece mold may pre-date the Rickett's mold it is not certain.
If so, they would have been essentially a dip mold with two shoulder mold sections added. Rickett's patent added several other features, including hinged shoulder parts and foot controls for opening and closing the mold, both of which were significant improvements in efficiency Jones Most true Rickett's produced bottles are embossed on the base with H.
Click on the picture of a light amethyst liquor bottle below to view a close-up of the very distinct mold seams on the shoulder and neck of this later mouth-blown, three-piece mold liquor bottle dating from the early 20th century Consider the location of the mold seams in the picture with the conformation of the three-piece mold in the illustration above. Three-piece mold liquor bottles were a popular style and manufacturing method into the early 20th century and are shown in catalogs dating until at least Illinois Glass Co.
The vertical body side seams on earlier to about three-piece mold bottles disappear right at the junction of the shoulder and neck Jones This is typical of the early Ricketts' bottles which were not molded above this point; the neck instead being formed by glassblower manipulation. The olive green bottle pictured to the right is an early sand pontiled Ricketts' liquor bottle which is blob sealed and dated This bottle is also embossed H.
The horizontal shoulder seam is faint but in evidence as well as the vertical shoulder seams, which both terminate right at the neck-shoulder junction indicating that the neck and finish were both hand formed. It should be noted that similar though usually a bit taller and smaller in diameter three-piece molded cylindrical bottles with PATENT embossed on the shoulder were widely made and used for spirits in the U.
Click Tall, moderately slender bodied, straight neck "Patent" style spirits cylinder midth century for more information on these bottles. Later vertical side mold seams end immediately below the base of the applied finish about through the s.
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The latest three-piece mold bottles s into the s have tooled finishes with the vertical side mold seams ending on the upper portion of the neck or in the finish itself, i. The liquor bottle pictured to the left has the side mold seams ending within the finish if one looks closely. Most bottles which are commonly referred to as three-piece molds were actually made in a mold that had a fourth base plate piece, like noted above for the Rickett's bottles. Use of a separate base piece probably made construction of the mold easier. To suggest changing the name would be confusing and unproductive since most people understand what is being referred to Toulouse b.
The four-piece mold is a variation of the three-piece mold with two body halves instead of one; this mold type is discussed in the box below. An unusual, though minor, variation of the standard three-piece mold conformation is as discussed and pictured at the following link: This is evidenced by the squared off mold seam discontinuity that disrupts the horizontal shoulder seam on each side of these bottles - one in the middle of each of the two upper mold parts - with a corresponding "lock" portion on the immediately opposing upper surface of the lower mold part.
These type bottles are rarely encountered and seem to date only from the pre-Civil War period, i. See the image and discussion at the above link for more information. Three part mold with three body-mold leaves: This mold type is a distinct variation of the above described three-piece mold with a very different orientation to the mold portions. One of the mold pieces was typically attached permanently to the base plate, with the other two hinged so that they could open to insert a gather and to extract the blown item.
This type mold is referred to as a three-piece "leaf" mold on this website. This early method of molding was used primarily to produce what is termed "blown three mold glass" and other highly decorative type bottles. A typical example of an item produced in a three-piece "leaf" mold is the late 19th century salt shaker pictured above right. Dori Miles, pattern glass expert pers. Although the glassmaker name included Flint Glass Co.
The pictured item has three vertical mold seams from the heel to the roughly cracked-off lip surface, and a cup mold base. One vertical seam can be seen in the middle of the bottle; the other two vertical seams are not visible but in the vicinity of where the lines point to in the picture. As this picture shows, the mold engraved pattern is quite elaborate and integrates well around the mold seams. Some highly decorative "specialty" bottles e. The heavily embossed bottle pictured to the above left is a much earlier three-piece 'leaf' molded bottle or decanter.
The three vertical mold seams on this bottle are well disguised by the elaborate body pattern and are only obvious where a horizontal or diagonal line intersects the mold seam. The side mold seams end just below the constricted area just below the flared finish. Since typical three-piece mold bottles were made for close to a century through the s other diagnostic features unrelated to the body seams must usually be used.
One exception, as noted above, is that the earliest three-piece mold bottles to about will have the vertical side mold seams ending at the base of the neck since the neck was not molded Jones The vast majority of these earlier three-piece mold bottles are olive green, olive amber, black glass, or similar colors. Three-part "leaf" molded bottles can date from as early as the s into the early portions of the 20th century, ending as mouth-blown manufacture disappeared.
Specific bottle dating would have to use a variety of other diagnostic features to narrow the manufacturing date range. For additional information, see the discussion of three-piece molds on the Bottle Bases page. Virtually all four-piece molds also had a fifth base plate portion which could have the conformation of either a "post-bottom" or a "cup-bottom" design. Review the descriptions for the post0-base mold and cup-bottom mold bases on the Bottle Bases page for more information.
If one is dealing with just a fragment of the lower body and base of a four-piece mold bottle utilizing either base plate type it would be impossible to tell the difference between a four-piece and a two-piece molded bottle; one needs the shoulder intact to differentiate. The utility of four mold sections was to allow for the changing of various mold portions to either add embossing to the body of the bottle or to change the capacity of the bottle without the need for creating an entirely new mold.
This type mold is called a "sectional plate mold" for that reason. A four-piece mold Hutchinson soda bottle from the early s is pictured further down this page at the beginning of the "Embossing" section. The turn-mold is more of a process than a mold and could be produced in about any full height cylindrical bottle producing mold. All turn-mold bottles also called a "paste mold" are round in cross section since no other shape could be turned or twisted in the mold to produce the seamless body distinctive of these bottles.
The inside surface of a turn-mold usually iron was coated with a "paste" of organic fiber composed of resins and linseed oil boiled down to a gummy consistency. This was brushed onto the hot mold, then dusted with fine sawdust sometimes even flour! These molds were also wetted between each blowing to extend the life of the coating. Upon contact with the very hot glass on the end of the blowpipe some of the water turned to steam. The steam formed a cushion that the bottle "rode" on while the parison was expanded and rotated by the glassblower Scholes The following is from Skrabec and a brief description of the materials and process: Paste molding used thin cast-iron molds with a carbonaceous paste baked into the surface.
The paste could be a simple mix of wax resin and sawdust. The mold was then saturated with water prior to blowing the glass. The blower then gathered molten glass to be blown. Once the gather was put in the mold, it was closed by the mold boy.
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The blower blew into the mold as he twirled the blowpipe. The wet surface contacting the hot glass formed a vapor layer steam cushion , allowing the piece to be twirled and eliminating the mold line at the part. It is known that some turn-molds were made of apple or cherry wood at the Whitney Glass Works Glassboro, NJ as late as the early 20th century Atwater ; Lohmann Wooden molds would also be more likely to have uneven inside surfaces due to the effects of the extreme heat of blowing bottles and had a limited lifespan resulting in iron molds being the standard for most all bottle production Scholes The picture to the above left is of a turn-of-the-century 19th to 20th that is "hock" wine bottle that shows these rings, which are usually - but not always - apparent on turn-mold bottles.
Because of the rotation of the bottle in the mold and the wetted paste coating, whittle marks discussed earlier are rarely if ever seen on turn-mold bottles Toulouse b; Munsey The brilliant blue bottle below right is a turn-mold beer bottle with an applied mineral finish dating from approximately Because of the rotation of the bottle in the mold not the opposite as the name "turn- mold " would suggest embossing on the body of the bottle was impossible; labeling or the occasional blob seal covered later on this page was the only way to notify the product purchaser of what product the bottle contained Toulouse a.
A very large majority of turn-mold bottles also have no embossing on the base, though some base embossed examples are occasionally observed. In fact, William F. The following is quoted from that patent: It is old to turn bottles in molds for polishing purposes, and it is old to imprint characters on the bottom of bottles which are not turned in the mold; but I claim to be the first one to employ a rotary bottom in the mold.
To view the entire patent click on the following link: Toulouse noted in his write-up for Streator that " In any event, base embossed turn-mold bottles are very uncommon and only one basic type - German made turn-mold beer bottles base embossed variably with H. Click on the following links to see images of an H. These German produced bottles are quite commonly encountered in the American West and probably throughout North America empirical observations. It is probable that many of the turn-mold bottles sold by American glass makers and listed in their catalogs were imported and not actually made in the U.
May Jones, in the first volume of her nine volume bottle history booklets called collectively the The Bottle Trail , quotes a Owens-Illinois Glass Company provided history that notes that their predecessor Illinois Glass Company imported the turn-mold bottles they sold and that " However, it is known that the Whitney Glass Works Glassboro, NJ - a large producer of bottles - did manufacture turn-mold bottles with wooden molds as late as the early 20th century Lohmann Toulouse b notes that patents were granted in the U.
So it certain that turn-mold bottles were produced in the U. Wherever produced, turn-mold bottles are ubiquitous on U. However, the bottle could possibly pre-date the label and have been reused or recycled for this product since the method of manufacture turn-mold, tooled finish was being used at least as early as the s.
It is likely the bottle was made at the time the label was made mids though there is no sure way to tell for certain at this point. American-made turn-mold bottles with embossing on the base likely date after the noted patent. All turn-mold bottles are mouth-blown. Be aware that dip mold produced bottles will often be mistaken for turn-molded bottles and vice versa. The key to differentiation is that a turn-mold bottle will almost always have numerous, perfectly horizontal though faint striations on the glass surface in many places on the body, shoulder and neck.
In addition, dip molded bottles are very likely to exhibit some type of pontil scar whereas turn-molded bottles would be very rarely pontil scarred even then usually on just two types of specialty bottles - druggist's "shop furniture" and fancy "barber bottles. Surprisingly far and few between. Mistakes did occur on occasion with the most commonly observed engraving errors being the letters "N" and "S" reversed empirical observations.
Very rarely is an engraving error encountered that is as obvious as the small 3. Even then, the "N" - which is actually correct on the finished bottle - was engraved backwards on the mold surface; the rest of the lettering was engraved "correct" on the inside mold surface resulting in it being backwards on the bottle itself. Maybe the mold engraver called in sick that day and his new apprentice had to do the work? It could have contained many of the Tilden's different liquid, powdered, or granular medicinal products.
Embossing on a bottle was formed by the engraving or cutting of the lettering or designs reversed into the inside working surface of the mold by a die maker using various hand tools e. Purchasers of bottles had the glassmaker add requested embossing to the mold or mold plate next subject in order to individualize or personalize the final bottle. This is somewhat of an art as too deep a cut would create sharp edges and the glass would have trouble releasing.
This would result in stress in the glass around that letter and possible delayed breakage on the customers filling line or later in their warehouse. If the cuts were too shallow, the lettering will not be easily visible as the hot glass will tend to blend it out. The use of product or other proprietary mold induced embossing on bottle bodies goes back at least to the earliest portions of the period covered by this website and likely beginning in England about with the small Turlington Balsam of Life bottles Richardson The first recorded use of mold induced proprietary embossing on an American made bottle body was around on a Dr.
Robertson's Family Medicine bottle McKearin From that point onwards, the use of embossing on bottles accelerated as the demand for bottled products increased with the increasing population of the country. In glass makers catalogs, embossed bottles were referred to as "lettered ware" Obear-Nester Co. The four-piece molded, Hutchinson style soda to the above left was engraved particularly boldly, apparently at the request of the purchaser.
The utility of a four-piece mold was that a larger amount of embossing could be engraved on the front of the bottle as versus a regular plate mold but still be cheaper than having an individual mold made just for this purchasers bottle order. Note the uneven glass in the base of the bottle; a typical attribute of molded mouth-blown bottles.
The heavily embossed bottle to the right is a "geometric" decanter produced in a three-piece "leaf" mold discussed earlier by the Keene Marlboro Street Factory , Keene, NH. Elaborate embossing like this greatly enhanced the esthetics and contemporary marketability of a bottle. It also guaranteed that the bottle would not be thrown away until broken, as these type decanters are relatively common today. Common here means that of the relatively small numbers of early American bottles surviving to the present day, these decanters are somewhat more frequently encountered that than other types of the era.
Similar geometric design bottles and other glassware are also commonly found as fragments on early 19th century historic sites. Since embossing was used on bottles for a very long time and is still fairly common today, there are no particular dating refinement opportunities based on the fact that a bottle has embossing or not, though there are some trends noted with utilitarian, American-made bottles: The embossing on mouth-blown bottles produced in molds without air venting tends to be more flattened and rounded with little "sharpness" to the high points of the lettering.
Mouth-blown bottles produced in molds with air venting tend to have sharper and distinct embossing. With experience looking at a variety of embossed mouth-blown bottles these characteristics can sometimes be differentiated. It is of particular use if one only has a fragment of a bottle that includes some embossing. This subject, including information on dating ranges, is covered in more depth below in the "Air Venting" section.
One word of caution with this feature is that sometimes as molds wore out the embossing would become "flatter" and less distinct and was unrelated to whether the mold was vented or not.
Specific reasons for faint embossing on both machine-made and mouth-blown bottles include mold lubricant accumulating in the lettering, a cold mold or cold glass relatively speaking not "stretching" into the lettering properly, thin glass not fully filling the engraving, the wear of cleaning and polishing the inside of the mold, and the natural abrasiveness of glass wearing on the mold surface For the typing of a bottle i. Embossing can also provide the critical piece of information necessary to allow for the acquisition of more information from the historic record.
The embossed proprietor's names provides the opportunity to date the bottle via the Portland business directories, a check of which finds that these two individuals were in partnership in and and were not listed together prior to or after that time. The term plate is used to describe an interchangeable, typically iron or brass picture below , engraved plate which was used in a bottle mold to produce different embossing patterns for bottles blown in the same mold.
By simply taking out one engraved plate and replacing it with another, differently engraved plate, the same mold could produce many different uniquely embossed bottles of the same shape and design. Plate molds were significant in that it made all kinds of proprietary bottles i. On square or rectangular bottles the plates were sometimes called a "panel" or "panels" White Plates and plate molds seem to have originated in England with the Rickett's mold in where the base plate could be exchanged for another and the base embossing changed.
A couple of the earliest plate mold patents the author is aware of are viewable pdf files at the following links; both were issued to one James J. The picture to the right is of a cast iron mold plate dating from between and It was used for producing prescription bottles for a Detroit MI. Engraving is reversed of course so that the embossing will read correctly on the finished bottle. The "look" of the plate is very similar to the look of the bottles made by that company which was probably the biggest supplier of druggist bottles in the U.
Note the air venting holes incorporated into the embossing pattern click to enlarge photo which is an indication of a post heritage. Air venting is covered next. The address of the company indicates that it was in the area destroyed by one of several "great fires" that occurred in San Francisco during the early s; specifically the one on June 22nd, Markota As there were no glass manufacturing facilities in the West prior to , these bottles were blown at a glassworks on the east coast and transported around the horn by sailing ship to San Francisco.
Toulouse ; Hinson Glassmaker Plate Positioning Errors. Like with the mold engraving errors discussed above, mold plate positioning errors were very far and few between, though they did occur. The image shown here is of the upper portion of a "half pint" though scant size flask of about 5 oz. Photo courtesy of Garth Ziegenhagen. This is a very rare example of a plate being inserted into the plate mold upside down.
Click same flask with the plate inserted correctly to view an intact example of the same flask. This example has the exact same plate inserted correctly in the mold for this order or portion of the same order? The bottles pictured to the left are a pair of San Francisco, CA. This is confirmed by a base mold flaw small mold surface line that is present on the base of both bottles in the exact same location with the same precise conformation. The plates were inserted in the mold within the area outlined by the embossed box.
The lettering inside the box is from the plate, but the box itself was engraved into the mold surface. This is called a "ridge slug plate" in the collector world. Both bottles date right around to based on company historic information Thomas Both have true applied brandy finishes and very small pin-point air vent marks 2 on the shoulders. These bottles date from the end of the applied finish era and are also found with tooled finishes Thomas They also date from the early days of air venting. Plate mold produced bottles were made for a very long time did make the crossover from mouth-blown to machine-made bottles.
Given the wide span of use on mouth-blown bottles s to s there is little general diagnostic dating information to be had from the presence or absence of plate induced embossing. Mold air venting was at least a minor revolutionary progression in bottle making technology during the last quarter of the 19th century. The first or one of the first patents for this technology was granted to Charles D.
Fox in April of Fox's patent , to view this patent. It appears, however, that the technique was not widely applied to bottle making until the very early s Thomas Air venting consists of small holes drilled into the forming part of the mold - often in conjunction with other mold air passage chambers see the Fox patent linked above - which allow for the air inside the mold to escape quicker while the bottle was being blown and expanded.
This resulted in bottles that meshed closer to the inside shape of the mold with less glass distortion and sharper design features and embossing. It also likely increased production since bottle inflation would conceivably go faster with venting. The evidence of air venting is very small marks or bumps that can be found just about anywhere on the surface of a bottle but are most common on the shoulders, body corners, base, mold seams, and sometimes incorporated within the embossing pattern itself as indicated by the embossing plate pictured above.
Air venting occurs on both mouth-blown and machine-made bottles. Machine-made bottle molds will sometimes have the vent holes incorporated into the joints of the mold, or otherwise obscurely located, making them sometimes difficult or impossible to detect. Click "blob" type air venting to view a close-up picture of this unusual venting method on an early to mids Peruvian Bitters bottle San Francisco, CA. According to Thomas , this style is believed to have been used during a narrow time frame of about to for at least Western American made bottles. Air venting was first placed in the shoulder area of bottle molds as this is the last place the bottle "fills" in the mold since bottles inflate or expand from the base upwards when blown and the neck portion of the mold also inflates quickly due to the narrowness and proximity to the end of the blowpipe Kendrick Some researchers believe that air venting holes may have been used much earlier than the s - possibly as early as the s on some early porter bottles.
This is consistent with the tendency of hot glass to extrude under blowing pressure into any opening or indentations in a molds inside surface, including the engraved embossing grooves. At this point in time - years later - it may be impossible to say for sure. Most vent marks are small and hard to photograph - but easy to illustrate. Click on the photo to the left to view an illustration of the same bottle showing where the actual air venting marks are located. The places to look on a bottle in order of likely probability of being present are as follows: Air venting marks can often be found in several or even all of these locations on the same bottle.
The picture below shows distinct venting marks on the shoulder of a three-piece mold liquor bottle that dates between and Two spaced bumps on the shoulder on each mold half are a very common orientation for venting marks on cylindrical bottles. All mold air venting related dating trends relative to bottle manufacturing known to the author are only relevant to mouth-blown bottles.
Air venting began being used significantly by the early to mids on mouth-blown bottles and appears to have been quickly accepted, becoming an industry standard by the early s. Conversely, very few bottles made before will have mold air venting marks with the one speculative exception noted above Thomas ; von Mechow Check the surface of the bottle carefully as air venting marks can be very difficult to see and are sometimes easier to feel. One clue to consider in your search for vent marks is that bottles made in molds with air venting usually have sharper, more distinct embossing and body design features e.
These characteristics are highly variable and can be difficult to discern even to the experienced eye though should be considered in hand with other dateable, manufacturing related, diagnostic features. As a general rule, the more air venting marks present on the surface of a mouth-blown bottle the later the bottle was produced.
The to Mark Hawkins pers. This ample venting helped insure that the embossing - and bottle shape - was as crisp and sharp as possible. There are no reliable mold air venting related dating trends known to the author for machine-made bottles made on semi-automatic or fully automatic machines. Air venting marks may or may not be visually present on machine-made bottles from the earliest 20th century machines to those produced today take a look at the bottles in your pantry. The number and location of air venting marks appear to have no relationship to the age or type of bottle. The following is mostly copied from the Bottle Dating: Machine-made bottles portion of the Dating Key page attached to the "Bottle Dating" page and includes some attributes that are not specifically bottle body related.
However, it is useful to repeat the general characteristics of machine-made bottles together for continuity. General Machine-made Diagnostic Features: Machine-made bottles will exhibit most or all of the diagnostic characteristics explained and illustrated below. Click on the machine-made beer bottle picture above to see an illustration of this bottle showing the major diagnostic characteristics of a typical machine produced bottle. Vertical side mold seams which usually see the Note box below point 3 for an exception run up to the highest point of the finish and often onto the extreme top finish surface i.
The statement about machine-made bottles may seem contradictory finer but more visually distinct but is a function of the higher machine blowing pressure. Most machine-made bottles have mold seams about the thickness of a hair while most visible mouth-blown mold seams tend to be several times as thick, higher, but more rounded. Mold seam thickness and how high it protrudes [height] is of only moderate use in telling a machine-made bottle from a mouth-blown bottle, though if a bottle fragment has a hair fine mold seam, it is highly likely to be from a machine-made bottle. There are at least two additional finish related mold seams - one at the top of the finish which encircles either the bore or sometimes the outside of the upper lip portion of the finish sometimes both of these seams are present and a horizontal seam immediately below the finish which circles the extreme upper neck called a "neck ring parting line".
Click on the picture to the left to view an illustration which shows both of these seams or click machine-made finish to view an image which shows well the seam below the finish. Both seams are quite diagnostic of machine manufacture and are usually visible, though the seam at the top of the finish can be hard to see on some bottles - especially if the finish was fire polished.
In the glassmaking trade, these seams along with the side mold seams within the finish or just below are referred to as "neck ring" or "neckring" seams since they were formed by the separate neck ring portion of a machine mold Tooley These deviations are discussed on the main Bottle Dating page in a box under Question 2. Click Exceptions to Question 2 to view this discussion.
These are faint, somewhat wandering, hairline seams which if present usually are sporadically visible on the sides of machine-made bottles. The ghost seams are caused by the parison mold parts and if visible enough will be "attached" to the vertical seams in the finish. Click on ghost seam to view a close-up explanatory picture of this attribute. Be aware that bottles and jars made by early to midth century press-and-blow machines do not usually have ghost seams, since the parison mold was usually one-piece, but will typically have a valve mark on the base see 6 below.
A suction scar is present on the base of Owens Automatic Bottle Machine produced bottles. This distinctive base scar is easier to illustrate than describe; click on suction scar for a picture of a typical scar which exhibits the diagnostic "feathering" that surely indicates Owens machine production same image is below left. This mark is distinctive to the suction process which feeds glass into the bottom of an Owens machine's parison mold.
A movie clip showing this process in action is linked at the bottom of this box. Suction scars can not be produced by feed and flow automatic machines i. P ress-and-blow machines usually have a round valve mark on the base but lack either the suction or parison scars. In any event, the suction scar is never found on mouth-blown bottles though suction scars are sometimes referred to as a pontil scar by the unfamiliar.
Onion Bottle | eBay
See the machine-made section of the Bottle Bases page for more information on these scars. It is likely that other types of suction based automatic bottle machines made in Europe in the s - and possibly later - also produced a suction scar on the base of their products [Pearson ].
However, a large majority of bottles in the U. The presence of a circular valve mark on the base of a bottle typically a wide mouth bottle or jar is sure evidence of machine-made manufacture by a press-and-blow machine. Machine-made bottles tend to have few if any bubbles in the glass and the thickness of the glass is usually more uniform throughout the bottle as compared to mouth-blown bottles. This is especially true of later machine made bottles, i. The presence or absence of bubbles in the glass and relatively even distribution of the glass throughout the characteristic is not a primary feature of either machine-made or mouth-blown bottles, though there are strong trends.
Only 2 and 6 allow for any body related dating opportunities and they are somewhat general - thicker mold seams 2 and bubbles in the glass 6 generally means an earlier manufacture pre Post after Molding Body Features. Numerous processes can be effected to the body of the bottle after it is completely molded or free-blown and finished i. One process patination is nature itself in the form of water, minerals, and time weathering the glass surface. The following sections cover these post-molding features i.
A blob seal, which is often simply called a "seal" is typically a round or oval other shapes possible disk of glass on the body, shoulder, or sometimes neck of a bottle. The blob of glass itself was lightly applied to the bottle with some type of tool. The embossing was formed by pressing a small metal or clay seal with an intaglio design onto the applied blob of glass while still hot, much like the traditional process of sealing a letter with hot wax. Blob seals were applied to a bottle after the blowing and finishing was completed.
Blob seals were also called "drop seals" by some glass manufacturers IGCo Although the general process dates back to Roman times, the earliest known impressed glass seal on the European continent is from a German wine glass dating to about From this point, through the 18th century to the early 19th century, blob seals were the primary method of providing physical product or ownership identification on a bottle outside of paper labeling and era when bottles were a valuable possession which was typically not discarded until broken and unusable Toulouse The shoulder sealed bottle pictured above is an early to midth century French free-blown wine bottle that the seal indicates contained MUSCAT - a sweet wine made from the grape of the same name which is one of the oldest grape varieties in the world.
The shoulder of a bottle was the most common location for seals from the midth century on, most likely because it left the body open for a label empirical observations. The body sealed bottle to the right is impressed with I. This English-made bottle was produced in an early Rickett's mold and was addressed earlier on this page under the three-piece mold section.
Seals located on the bottle body tends to be a more consistently older placement location that seals on the shoulder, though there was a lot of variety through the years. Seals on the body of bottles seem to disappear after about the first third of the 19th century.
Although it is likely that this bottle was made around the date of the seal, seal dates do not always relate to the actual date of the bottles manufacture. The date sometimes would indicate a wine vintage or some other date important to the person having the bottles made. One noted example, which was known to have been made in the midth century, was dated - a date that pertained to the implementation of certain wine production laws Jones ; Van den Bossche Blob seals are most common as a percentage of the bottles produced at the time on 17th through mid 19th century wine and liquor bottles, with some use on olive oil, mineral water, large demijohns, and other bottle types much less frequently.
In fact, blob seals are relatively common on imported bottles made up until the end of the mouth-blown bottle era, i. Many late 19th and early 20th century case gin bottles from Europe will have a shoulder blob seal and body embossing Van den Bossche ; empirical observations.
Van Hoboken case gin to view a late 19th century example of a sealed and embossed Dutch gin. Seals can even still be found on some modern decorative glass decanters. The surface of a glass bottle internal and external will react variably, albeit slowly, to the natural chemical processes of decomposition in both water and the earth.
The term sick glass is descriptive in that the glass is sick - it is slowly dissolving back to its original elements Munsey ; Dumbrell This effect is also called by some "opalized", "iridescence", or "opalescence" Tooley ; Kendrick Patination - Layered crust that is produced by decomposition of the glass weathering and is quite distinct from the unaffected glass itself. Patination should be regarded as a natural process of decomposition of glass buried in the ground or in water and except for unusual circumstances no particular notice should be taken of it.
The presence of patination or its absence is no guarantee of age. Some glass is more prone to decomposition and some environments tend to accelerate the process. In slightly different burial locations different parts of the same bottle may be affected quite differently. As noted, staining is highly variable and unpredictable.
Though glass is seemingly a highly resistant substance and it is it is still subject to the slow corrosion by water and chemicals. Patination is more common in bottles with a high soda and low lime content. Water will gradually dissolve or leach out the soda component of the glass leaving a coating of sodium carbonate and eventually silica behind.
This process continues year after year resulting in a build-up of layers, like the rings of a tree though without the dating opportunity that tree rings allow. T he small 3" tall Roman bottle to the right dating from the Judea Period, i. This large class of variable shaped though typically small bottles are often referred to as "unguentarium bottles" for unguents, i.
The bottle is free-blown, a light greenish color glass, a finish that was flared with some primitive tool and has evidence of a sand type pontil scar on the base. Click the following links to see more images of this ancient bottle: It is heavily patinated with moderate pitting to the glass surface from the chemical reaction with the soil it resided in for almost years - an amazing testament to the resilience of glass! The amber bottle pictured to the left at the top of this section is an early 20th century, machine-made, export style beer bottle used by the A.
The bottle exhibits the colorful type of patination that collectors refer to as opalescence or iridescence. These colors are a result of the way light waves are broken up by the layers of corrosion and reflected to the eye Munsey This patination of this bottle is a result of its unique glass composition unknown and its reaction to the alkaline basic soils in Arizona where this particular bottle was excavated.
It is embossed on the base with W. This bottle, being machine-made non-Owens machine and with National Prohibition beginning in early , would likely date between about and The bottle pictured to the right has a more common type of patination - a milky white, opaque coating - that justifies the term "sick glass. These bottles date from between and Toulouse ; Lockhart pers. This type of staining is very common on the outside and inside surfaces of bottles that have been buried.
Straightsided onion, olivegreen, bubbles and potstone impurities in glass mass, est. Very unusual transitition bottle from a late shaft and globe to onion, light grassgreen, potstones in glassmass, est. Straightsided onion, olivegreen, dirt on inside, est.
Dutch horsehoof onion, dark olivegreen, seafind, remains of barnacles on surface, remains from dirt on inside, est. English cylinder, blackglass, English convict bottle, est. Crude English squat cylinder, rough pontiled base, blackglass, English convict bottle, est. Unusual English Wisterburg type, dark grassgreen, potstones in glassmass, est. Longneck Dutch porter, olivegreen, est. Bottomless, chip to seal. Straight sided cace gin, open pontiled, est. Cosmopoliet, Schiedam, standing man with bottle, case gin, rare type without the wording J.
Perfect except from a burst bubble only open on outside. Close to perfect, very small chip to glaze on lower back side, beautiful natural discoloration. Kickup is deep blue "Glassgalls" best seen in daylight. Original korkstopper still inside bottle. Perfect condition with very high gloss. Unusual crude English squat cylinder.
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Two incised marks looks as roman numbers "II" and "II" on each side of bottle. Rare half-size pig-snout gin, black glass, escavated from Murray River, Victoria, Australia, est. Pig-snout gin, black glass, escavated from Murray River, Victoria, Australia, est.