OLD BOTTLE IDENTIFICATION AND DATING GUIDE

This webpage is intended to help novice collectors and non-collectors
better identify, describe, and date the bottles they encounter.
Bottle dating is approximate and just intended to give a
relative placement in bottle making history.


BOTTLE LIP STYLES
PHOTO DESCRIPTION PERIOD
 COMMONLY SEEN
- - -
sheared top with applied ring
wine or ale
black glass or dark amber
1720s - 1800s
sheared top with applied lip
wine
1740s - 1800s
sheared top tooled
common to snuff bottles and food bottles
1800s -1850s
sheared lip
bottle cut from blow pipe 
fire polished smooth
common on hand blown flasks
 1700s - 1860s
inward rolled lip
glass folded inward, crude, uneven
1700s - 1870s
outward rolled lip
glass folded out and down, crude, uneven
 1700s - 1870s
applied tapered lip
crude shape and drippy bottom
seam stops below lip
common on early medicines
1830s-1870s
applied single collar lip
hand formed, crude, drippy bottom
1850s-1870s
applied blob top
seam ends below lip, crude shape
common on sodas, beers, and mineral waters
1840s -1880s
gravitating stopper
patented by John Matthews New York Oct 11 1864
found on soda bottles
1865 - 1880s
codd bottle
patented in 1872
uses a marble and rubber stopper to seal
mostly used in Great Britain
image supplied by Harry Pristis
1873 - 1910s
Baltimore loop
looks like blob top on outside
inside of mouth has an ring shaped depression
seam ends below lip
used on beer and soda bottles
1885 - 1900s
Hutchinson stopper
seam stops at lip
found on Hutchinson type sodas
used a spring loaded wire and rubber seal
1879 - 1910s
tooled tapered lip with collar
seam stops below lip
top formed with a tool that had profile of lip
common on whisky bottles
1880s - 1910s
flat applied lip
seam runs up and under the applied lip glass but is
     sometimes obscured during the application
often have drippy bottom
later versions are more uniform
common on patent medicines
a small separation seam can be felt inside neck where dissimilar glass was added
1840s - 1880s
sheared top with tooled ring
lip fire polished
seam stops below lip
common on wines and flasks
image supplied by Harry Pristis
1850s - 1890s

burst top
no finished lip 
bottle broken off blow pipe, rough and sharp
often mistaken for a sheared top or a broken bottle
most common on English Victorian inks
1860s - 1900

Flat Tooled
uniform shape, no drippy bottom
seam stops part way up neck
circular tool marks often seen around neck
inside of neck is smooth
1880s-1910s

Tooled Ring
uniform shape, no drippy bottom
seam stops part way up neck
circular tool marks often seen around neck
 
1890s-1910s
tooled tapered lip
uniform shape, no drippy bottom
seam stops part way up neck
common on medicines
1880s - 1910s
early threaded cap
bottle used a screw cap (probably zinc)
a neck ring and threads were part of the mold
the seam stops just above the threads
the top was sheared and fire polished
common on early catsup, sauce, and food bottles
1880s - 1910s
tooled crown top
patented in 1892 by W. Painter
seam stops below lip
common on sodas and beers
image supplied by Harry Pristis
1892 -1910s
machine made crown top
seam runs to top of bottle
common on sodas and beers
1903 - Preset
machine made metal cap top
seam runs to top
used a metal cap with twisted wire seal
common on medicines
1930s - 1950s


 
 

BOTTLE BOTTOM STYLES
- - -
iron or graphite pontil
pontil mark with residue
graphite was used as a release agent
iron residue from end of iron pontil tool
1840s - 1870s
hinge mold with open pontil mark
diagonal mold line, rough pontil scar
1840s -1860s
hinge mold
diagonal mold mark
1860s -1880s


 
 

BOTTLE MOLD TYPES
3 piece mold
circle around shoulder with seam extending up from that point.
no seam below shoulder.
(seam darkened in photo for better visibility) 
1850s - 1880s
free blown bottle
no mold used, no seams on bottle
shape not quite symmetrical
normally rounded or cylindrical shapes
  100 BC - 1850s