Sunday, November 16, 2008

Identifying glass bottles

Dating and Identifying Glass Bottles

The history of glass is at least as old as the Egyptian civilzation, their craftsmen created beautiful objects to adorn the tombs of their Kings and they used sand, soda and lime, just as we still do today. The Romans imported glass to Britain, however, relatively little was produced here until the 16th centuary, when glass making became a major industry. It is believed that by 1696 there were around 40 glassworks in England and they produced approximately 3,000,000 bottles per year.

The earliest glass bottles tend to be small pale green glass bottles, with rough sheared necks, used for medicines. Wine was sold in glass botlles from around 1650 and the bottles had a moulded lip and round bottoms, with the rod mark on the base, making them difficult to stand up, so they were inserted into baskets. By the middle of the 18th centuary, wine merchants put their seals on tthe bottle, this practise became defunct in the early 1900s when embossing became prevelent. From around 1700 wine bottles changed from being round, to being cylindrical, with necks as long as the body, from 1790 the neck of the wine bottle began to shorten.

Beer bottles were first produced during the 19th centuary and these were cylindrical and usually in dark green or brown glass, with fully fashioned lips. From around 1872 the beer bottle was closed using the internal screw closure, so the bottles often have an embossed screw thread inside the top of the neck.

Embossing product or maufacturer details into the glass of the bottle became common practise in the mid to late 1800's. The marble bottles or Codds bottles (named after their inventor) were produced from 1870s to the 1930s, they were produced to hold mineral water, and the pressure from the gas held the marble up in the top of the bottle neck against a cork seal. These marble bottles are increasingly rare, as generations of school boys have smashed them to retrieve the marble from within!

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