Shoe Shaped Inks

Old Ink Bottle Companies & Their History

Shoe shaped ink bottles come in a variety of types. Most shoe inks are French but so might be American. Bottle collectors have had a hard time deciding if these shoe shaped bottles are really inks or perfume bottles. Little is known about the history of these figural shoes bottles although a few have been found with labels.

 

A reader recently sent me several pictures of shoe ink bottles. the reader said,

"this shoe shaped bottle which my daughter bought from a lady in Nancy, France where she was staying for a while. She said it was a very old French ink bottle. It has a very fancy design ( see photo )  & measures 4.5 inches long. It is embossed D.R on the side of the toe and the numbers 386 underneath the bottom. The mould seam runs all around the centre of the shoe and there is a pontil scar on the heel about the size of a large pea.


The bottle also originally sported a brass mouth ring, which suggests use at an ink rather than a perfume. Pontiled examples like this shoe ink are less frequently found than their smooth based cousins.

The same reader sent a second picture saying, "The second photo is another shoe which I am fairly sure is an ink because it
has dry red powder inside, It is also 4.5 inches long. The same lady also
sold this bottle to my daughter..."
This second bottle is almost certainly an ink and not a perfume as it still has some of the dried contents in the bottle. Secondly, it has a ground lip and the mouth is more vertically oriented than the first example of the shoe bottle. The upright mouth would make for easy dipping of a quill or steel tipped pen.

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