Tag Archives: vintage

Some Quick Things To Look At To Date Bottles

Side Seams:

None: bottle may be free blown and uneven shape dating before 1860 or the bottle may have an even shape but spun in the mold to smoth out the seams- a common practice around 1900-1920.

BIM: side seams run from base and end below the top of lip. This is a result of Bowing In Mold (BIM). The lip is usually applied by hand later.

3PM: (3 piece mold) Bottom half (from base to shoulder) has no seams then there are seams near the shoulder that runs completely around the bottle. Two side seams run up the neck and end below the top of the lip. This was used from 1840-70. The lip was also applied by hand later.

ABM: if the side seams run through the top of the lip then it made this way. AMB stands for Automatic Bottle Machine. This type of bottle making started appearing in 1905 and by 1920 most bottles were made like this.

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Vintage Postcard Views of Louisville KY

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Vintage Postcard Views of the Ohio River

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Beer Bottles


Beer Bottles

Beer is of ancient origins. At the beginning it was restricted exclusively to the upper classes. Poor people would drank a beverage called mulsum- made from the leavings of grapes and other fruits, after the juice had been extracted for wine.

Beer was (supposedly) been taken on the Mayflower with the pilgrims in 1620. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both did their own home brewing as well as many early prominent early Americans.

Not until 1850 did beer bottles exist. All beer at that time was either made in the home or drank at taverns from which it was dispensed from wooden barrels.

Taverns tried to stop the bottling of beer for fear it would hurt their trade. By 1870 beer was made available in most parts of the country. Tavern owners offered specials like a free lunch with the purchase of beer.

The average beer bottle in 1870 was made of glass, contained a quart of beer and had a cork stopper. Breweries didn’t emboss their names and emblems on the bottles until early 1870.

Corks were replaced as stoppers on bottles by “crown cork closure”. These were tight-fitting metal caps with a thin slice of cork inside. This was an invention by William Painter in 1891.
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Poison Bottles



Poison Bottles

A Brief History

For centuries chemist dispensed toxic substances in bottles with corks. They were used in very small quantities as ingredients in medicine to serve as stimulants or relaxants.

In Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries they were used for very different purposes. There was a great demand for poisons from people who wanted to do away with enemies, rid themselves of an unwanted spouse, or collect an inheritance. Underground scientist worked to perfect special poisons. These were odorless, tasteless, and difficult to detect by autopsy. The favorite poisons for murder were “slow poisons”. This would be given daily in small doses and over a long period of time would cause the death of the unsuspected victim.

Because of the abuse of the substances their sale was restricted or prohibited in the 18th and 19th centuries. There was also much concern that the product would fall into children’s hands.

Society had a need for these preparations such as in cleaning fluids and to prohibit the availability of at this time was unfair to the public. Ways of drawing attention to the container then took preference to prevent accidental consumption.

(Picture of Bottles from Private Collection)

In 1853 the American Pharmaceutical Association recommended national laws to identify poison bottles. In 1872 a suggestion was made that the containers be identified by a rough surface on one side the word “poison” on the other. At this time no law was passed and it was left up to manufactures to identify their products.

The skull and crossbones became the traditional symbol of poisonous substances. Sometimes a coffin and long bones also was a used as a symbol. Containers would also have ribbed surfaces to further distinguish them from other products. The ribbed surfaces also served as a warning in poor light rooms or for the blind.

As early as 1886 John Howell designed the first safety closures. At this time the shape of the poison bottle was sufficient and the need for such a device was not needed.
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