Welcome to our bottle FAQ page.
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Q: How long have glass bottles been around?
A: The glass bottle has been around for about 3,000 years. In the late 1st century
B.C., the Romans began making glass vials that doctors and pharmacists
used to dispense pills, healing powders, and other potions. The vials were 3
to 4 inches long, very narrow, and a small stone rolled in tar was used as a
stopper. During the 2nd century B.C., Roman glass was free-blown with metal
blowpipes and shaped with tongs or formed using molds.
Q: When did glass manufacturing start in America?
A: In 1608 the London Company constructed a glass house at Jamestown in the
Colony of Virginia which failed. A second attempt was made in 1621 which
resulted in failure. Caspar Wistar established the first successful American
glass house in 1739 In Salem County, New Jersey.
Q: How can you identify the age of an antique bottle?
A: There are three common methods: Mold Seams, Bottle Base- Pontil marks or
Smooth, and Color variations.
Q: What are the factors in determining the value of an antique bottle?
A: There are five criteria that should be reviewed:
Color – The most valuable bottles are Green, Amber, Puce,
Purple (Amethyst) and Cobalt Blue. Note: There are many
variations of these colors that can affect the value of the bottle.
Age, condition, and historical appeal.
Rarity, supply, and demand
Embossing, labeling, and design
Pontil Marks, whittle marks, imperfections, and slug plates
Q: Are there any other methods of identification?
A: FAQ – Trademarks which usually appear on the bottom of the bottle and sometimes
on the label, or at the front base of the bottle.
Q: What is Sick Glass?
A: Glass showing a superficial decay or deterioration that takes on a grayish
Tinge caused by erratic firing.
Q: What are Whittle Marks?
A: Marks found on bottles formed from carved wood molds. Similar marks
were also formed on hot glass poured early in the morning in cold molds.
The cold molds created ?goose pimples? on the surface of the glass and as
the molds warmed, the bottles became smoother.
Q: Where can I find old bottles?
A: Digging in pre-1900 Ghost Town dumps, Outhouses, Ravines, abandoned
mines (Be extremely careful), beneath old houses and porches, near old
railroad tracks, Antique & Bottle Shows, Auctions, Estate Sales, Antique
shops, Cisterns, Wells, Flea Markets, Second Hand stores, and the Internet.
Q. Any special rules when digging for bottles?
A. 1. Always be responsible, respectful, and ask for permission to dig.
2. When the digging is completed, always leave the site looking better than
when you started.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, go digging alone. My recommendation
is to go with no fewer that three people, and be sure to tell someone
exactly where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone.
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