May 1999 Questions

1999 Digger Odell Publications

I have all your books. I collect old books on bottles as well. My reference library is huge. Still run into stuff I've never seen. Have you ever seen an amber Chase's Cherry Bitters or Morning Glory Brooklyn, New York? Dug one a couple years ago and have been unable to even find it listed in any book. Thanks for helping to feed my addiction. You know there really should be a group for people like me. Bottleholics anon. Rob Mooers


Rob
, Believe it or not there are two Morning Glory bitters ones listed, and neither may be related to yours. The first is "Morning Glory Bitters" trademark registered by Frank W. Goodwin, Saxonville, Mass. 1884. The second one is a product of Wills, Draper & Co. Sole proprietors and manufacturers, Detroit, Mich. the bottle is label only, 9 3/4", square, amber bitters..."Powerful nervine and tonic...." I could find no listing for the Chase's. Proprietorship changed hands often however and other brands just didn't make it. Yours must be extremely rare. Digger


I found a green Bacardi bottle recently and I have had a hard time pricing it, maybe you can help.   It is 7 in. tall, 1 3/4 in. thick, crescent-shaped, with a screw top. The bottle has "Bacardi" embossed diagonally across the front, "federal law forbids re-use..." embossed on the front as well. On the base "Bacardi Corp. of America, San Juan P.R." is embossed. The color is sort-of unusual, it almost seems to be a light olive, but also looks like a light "sprite bottle" green. The bottle was found in a creek bed here in south Dallas, so it does have some sediment wear on it. The bottle has a satin finish to it, but I can't tell if it was made like that or if the creek did this to it.  


Alcohol was made illegal by the 18th amendment and nobody was allowed to own, or sell it from 1920 to 1933. The words "Federal Law Forbids Sale or re-use of this bottle,"
tell us that the bottle is from the post prohibition period. Yours is probably considerable newer than that, possibly from the 1950-1960 period. the finish is probably original and not a result of exposure. It takes many decades for permanent stain to discolor a bottle and the effect is usually irregular and not like "satin glass", which is often achieved by an acid bath or sand blasting technique. I would think your bottle would be worth only $1-2.


This is a jar I found in my 4 generation family home's attic. Markings are as follows: 1)  A  "1" & "0"  are just at the end of the thread on the jar rim. 2)  It has an "Atlas" zinc screw top. 3)  The bottom (althought mainly round), has a squarish mark (with rounded corners) with what appears to be the characters  "B"  "1"  "2" with an "L" below the 2. Any ideas? Thanks, John D. Wyckoff

John, You have me stumped on this one. Maybe one of my readers can help?? Seems with a Mason type lid, it would be a food product jar. Digger

 


Dear Digger, Thanks for offering to help. I'm attaching several pictures of this soda bottle because even after reading your dating hints, I'm a little confused. This clear glass soda bottle is 9.5" tall and has a blob lip that I think is hand finished because I don't see any concentric rings below the lip. (see pict) There are no mold seams at all on the bottle. So now I'm thinking this is a really early bottle, but the base looks very finished and possibly owens rings?(see pict) As you will see from the pictures, the bottle has the label Black Hawk Gingerale which I was told dates it to the 30's. I must be doing something wrong. The lip dates it pre 1910, the base dates it post 1910, the label dates it 1930's, and there are no mold seams anywhere. Appreciate any help with this. Thank you! Best Regards, Linda

Linda, And well you should be confused because the two do not belong together. In my book Indian Bottles & Brands I have listings for numerous bottles from this company. All have Applied Colored Labels (ACLs) and I believe that the earliest one only dates into the 1940s. The bottle you show in the picture, is as you suggest about the turn of the century and the reason you do not see any mold seams on the bottle is because it was made in a "paste mold". In this procedure the bottle was blown into a mold and then the bottle was twisted inside the mold, which was lubricated with some substance (I do not know what) and this not only erased the mold seams, but supposedly gave the glass a sheen. The lip of your bottle was applied and then tooled with a lipping tool, a handmade step. This treatment is often found on green wines or mineral water bottles that look very similar to the one you pictured. At one time, I had about ten or fifteen of the labels, like the one pasted to your bottle. I have several different ones pictured in my book. I believe that the company used the paper label later or not at all and that many were found after the company went out of business sometime in the 1960s. It is not uncommon for some unscrupulous dealers to put labels on bottles. I have seen many such things over the years. I suggest you look for any signs that the bottle was dug..that is a dead give away when a bottle has stain and a label. I hope you didn't pay too much for the piece. If possible return it to the dealer for a refund.


I was just cruising your web site and decided to get your opinion on some things.  I started collecting bottles in 1973.  In the early 70's bottles were booming. I lived in New England and weused to go to all the great shows up there like Keen.... I knew the prices of bottles back then.  In 1975 my wife and I adopted two boys, moved to Tennessee.....   For the next fifteen years my bottles were packed away and I thought little of bottle collecting. It is my observation that the economy got stagnant and bottle prices stayed level or dropped during most of the 80s.  Would you agree? My best bottle finds are an O.P. Dr. Skinner's Celebrated 25 Cent
Bitters that I found in an Antique shop for $2.50. I sold it for $50.00 the same day!  What would that bottle be worth now? The reason I am writing is that I have discovered eBay.  Other than the bottle magazine I have very little exposure to bottle prices.  It is my observation that bottles generally sell on eBay for way more than I think they should.  Have the prices gone up that much or is this the nature of the auction beast?   I love the internet for bottle collecting.  It is perfect for me because as mentioned it will be rare for me to be able to attend Shows.  The postage you end up paying is far less than the gas/airfare and motels for a bottle show.  But the bottle prices seem awful high.  What is you feeling about this?  Are bottle prices going crazy again? By the way, I do have a couple of your books.  Until recently, I have mainly stuck with collecting but  now that I have discovered eBay, I am thinking of buying for resale. It doesn't appear you can buy for resale on eBay however. What do you think is the best barometer for bottle prices? Thanks for you time. Regards, Don Sutherland

Price of Skinner's Bitters

Don, About your Skinner's Bitters, there are several different types so I'll assume it was S-115 (Ring's Bitter's Book Numbers). In 1984 Ring's price guide suggested a price of $75, In 1989, one sold for $90, in 1990 for $100, and in 1995 the price was $140. Your bitters falls into the category of "common good stuff". Most of the items that are common, that is generally available, have not increased much more, if as much as, inflation. I would expect, that if I had put $75 into an investment in 1984, that it would have doubled by 1995. Judging from that example, bottles have not been a good place to keep your money. So I hope you invested that $50.

If we look at other types of bottles we see a different picture. It is the exceptional bottles have greatly appreciated in price. Ebay just set a new record, an amber Wellington Pickle bottle sold in excess of $40,000. The last one that sold sometime in the 1990s brought less than $15,000. You could have purchased that bottle in the 1970s for several thousand dollars. Similar increases in prices occurred when the absentee auction format became popular in the late 1980s.

What is happening on Ebay is that cheap and medium priced bottles, those that were selling for $1-20 in the 1970s and are still selling for $1-20 at bottle shows today, are bringing much higher prices than they should for a number of reasons: 1) It is beginning and inexperienced collectors, for the most part, who purchase inexpensive bottles. 2) The dynamics of the Internet provide people who have not otherwise had access, a wide range of places to purchase bottles. 3) The auction atmosphere creates a false sense of scarcity. When I first started listing bottles on Ebay, Hostetter's Bitters bottles were commanding up to $30. Today only a matter of months later a Hostetter's might not even get a bid at $15. Once those buyers have one, unless there is a constant supply of new buyers, the prices will settle back to their normal market levels. In the case of Hostetter's there are many many more available than justifies a price of $30. Market adjustments are happening much more quickly than in the past. On line trends change rapidly. As the Ebay buyers become more sophisticated, you'll see fewer sales at those inflated prices. When dealers heard what great prices people were getting for their bottles they went on line too. Suddenly, there were 20 Hostetter's Bitters for sale. 4) Auctions create an atmosphere conducive to impulse buying. Many purchases are simply made on the spur of the moment and you can't retract that "click". Shopping has replaced baseball as the number one American past time - and you don't even have to walk through the store. 5) Auctions in general tend to make the causal buyer over pay. The seasoned collectors know their values and their limits. Do I think you can make money on Ebay? I sure do. I have cleaned out my garage of all those bottles that have been sitting there since the 1970s and just in the nick of time.

 


Dear Digger,
      My brother is digging the same site  along the Neversink River in New York.  He knows the name of the people who lived in the house in 1860.  He now is down about 7 feet and is finding more bottles.  One bottle is very interesting.  It reads W.P.Nickerbocker Soda Water 164 18th St. N.Y. 1848.  It is cobalt blue ,  roughly 7 inches high with either 8 or 10 panel sides.  If you could give me any information or value of the bottle it would be a great help.  He also found a Stickmen & Co. umbrella ink well and  a George Russell Aromatic Ginger Ale.     Thanks for your help.  Great site.  I hope to order a few of your price guides in the near future.
Thanks a lot, Steve Arkenbout

Steve, The Knickerbocker Soda is a nice bottle to dig. They look very similar to the sodas shown at the right. (Courtesy of Jim Hagenbach, Glass Works Auctions) The Knickerbockers come in a variety of colors of blue. I have had a few of these over the years and they usually bring $100+, depending upon condition, and color. Of all of the sided cobalt sodas, they are one of the most common.


Good afternoon.  My name is Susan and I have a question on an old bitters bottle.  It's amber, seam does not go to top, words are H, then after some space, a trademark and W 71. Below is says "Ball and Claw", with "Bitters" underneath.  On the bottom it says "Wheaton, N.J. with 2 more trademarks below.  It's hard to describe shape the design, shaped like a courvasier bottle - Narrow at top and ballooning at the bottom, but more subtly changing from narrow to wide.  Also has raised triangular pieces going from close to top of bottle to midway down the fat part.  In perfect condition.  Would you happen to know anything about the piece - when made, $ value, etc.  I greatly appreciate this service.  I have 60 bottles and am trying to learn about them.!   Thank you very much,   Susan in Atlanta
I recently read on a web site that you would answer questions about glass bottles. I would appreciated it and will be brief. The bottom of the blue bottles read Wheaton NJ and also edition 111 and a c. What I could find on the Internet is that there is a reproduction of Wheaton but they are suppose to say Wheaton Village . Do I have an original??? If You could supply me with some knowledge or a good book to reference I would appreciate it.

Thank-You
Christina
Susan and Christina, You both have well known reproductions. The Wheaton Village reproduced a whole series of bottles loosely based on actual old bottles. They were never meant to try to fool anyone, but were made for decoration. These bottles are plentiful. You see them for sale regularly at flea markets, antique shops, malls, and on line. They often can be purchased for only a few dollars. Digger

I have a bottle that is shaped like a fish. There is a metal screw top. The color is amber to dark brown. The bottle was designed to stand vertical or on it's side to look like the fish. There is very much detail sculpted on the glass. I was wondering if my assumption that it was a bottle that may have contained cod liver oil, correct and if there was any collector value. It is in very good condition. Thanks in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide. John
Good guess, I'd say there was a good chance that this was the case. I have seen slightly older bottles with a cork top, I think may have been Cod Liver Oil as well. The screw top makes me think Cod Liver Oil as well. There is a Fish Bitter's bottle, shaped like a fish with a cork top from the 1870s, and numerous types and sizes of clear figural wines in the shapes of fish (mostly of modern European origin, possibly Italian). There are also reproductions of fish bottles some put out by Wheaton Village, others by foreign outfits. If you bottle is authentic, then it probably has a value of about $15-20.

Another interesting bottle with a similar use is the Cod Liver Oil Shown at the right. This bottle was a product of McKesson & Robbins Inc. It was patented in 1929. The Mckesson & Robbins Company, a large wholesale pharmaceutical firm was located on Fulton St. in New York City around the turn of the century. The firm was established in New York in 1833, and continued in business in New York under the name McKesson & Robbins until it was incorporated in 1917. In that year, the business was operated by John McKesson, Jr., Herbert D. Robbins, George C. McKesson, Irving McKesson, Donald McKesson and Saunders Norvell. Sometime after incorporation it apparently moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company was still in business as of 1984. Your bottle is collectible and has a value of about $15-20. Digger

 


I have two medicine bottles that I cannot find in any of the general price guides and am hoping you recognize them or could give me an idea of their general value. this should actually be the second email you get from me...I sent another regarding your publications. Anyway the first bottle I have is:approx. 9.25 inch tall aqua bim rectangular in shape w/ seven planes embossing: front plane inset: T.A. SLOCUM CO / MANF G CHEMISTS / NEW YORK-LONDON  it has a circular trademark with an anchor in the middle and the words HOPE IS THE ANCHOR OF THE SOUL encircling it. left (side) plane: PSYCHINE right (side) plane:  FOR CONSUMPTIONS AND LUNG TROUBLES The second bottle is: approx. 8.5 inch tall aqua bim blob top round embossing: JOHN C. BAKER / CITRATE / OF / MAGNESIA Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Rob Kirkman

Rob, Your first bottle is a product of the T.A. Slocum Company located at 548 Pearl St. in New York. the label read: Pyschine, An infallible Remedy for Consumption and all Disorders of the Throat, Lungs and Heart. Branch Offices in London, Paris, Karlsbad, Montreal, Havana, Rome, Madrid, City of Mexico..." In 1888, He was listed as Dr. T.A. Slocum and was selling four other products: Slocum's Plasters, Slocum's Coltsfoot Expectorant, Slocum's Oxygenated Cod Liver Oil and Psychine. Around 1880, Thomas Slocum formulated his most popular medicine, Ozomulsion.a flesh forming food.The sales of this medicine peaked about the turn of the century. In 1948 the company was still in business at the Pearl St. Address. The Psychine sells for $10-15.
Your second bottle is a product of John C. Baker & Co. Druggists's 100 N. 8th St Philadelphia. He is liosted at several other addresses in that city as well. He was in business as early as 1858. Producing both the citrate and several types of cod liver oil bottle as well. He was still listed in business as John C. Baker Company, at 10th and Cherry Sts. Philadelphia in 1915. It is likely that the company changed hands a number of times over the years. If your bottle is one of the earlier ones, it might be pontiled and would be worth more than a later oen. I'd estimate the value to be in the $10-20 range. Digger


Do you have any reference to this bottle?  I found this in a privy that produced broken historical flasks, a "Lindsey's Blood Searcher" and a lot of early broken china-this small cobalt bottle was intact. It is rather "wide mouthed" for it's relatively short height and is very deep cobalt in color.  The crudeness of the lettering I think, with all else considered, puts it into the 1860's or mid 1870's.  My question is: Do you think this is a poison and have you any reference to this company? Thanks digger and keep up the great work on your web pages and excellent books. Don  Neiman


Don, your bottle is almost certainly a pill bottle for one of the hundred or so preparations put up by this Philadelphia company. The advertisement shown above dates to the 1870s. The ad indicates that they had been in business for 13 years. The time span fits well with the other artifacts you have listed. The Lindsay's Blood Searcher was advertised from the late 1850s through the late 1860s. Your bottle is probably in the 1860-1870 range like you indicated. The reason the bottle is shaped the way it is, with the wide mouth, is explained by the contents, pills. The articles this company sold in pill form include: Anti-dyspeptic pills, anti-malarialpills, cannabis indica pills, digitalis pills, gonorrhoeae (sic)pills, Hooper's Female Pills, ipecac pills, morphia pills, neuralgic pills, rheumatic pills, strychniae pills, syphilitic pills, and many others. These were sold in bottles of 100 or 500 pills. I would say yours held the 100 count. I do not think your bottle was a poison, but they may have had different color bottles to protect the contents, especially for those substances sensative to spoilage from exposure to light. Digger


20 Years ago my Mother found a bottle in the Mud, along the shore.  What it actually turned out to be was a Luscombs Smelling Salt Bottle.  The bottle is made out of Green Glass, and has a Salem Witch flying a broom on each side of the top.  The bottle it self has the words, "Luscombs Smelling Salts 1692".  My question I guess is, was there ever a smelling salts company in Salem Mass about this time period that possibly could have made this model?  I have pictures of the bottle if you would like to see one.  I am trying to research some history on
this bottle. Roland W. Carter

Roland, Your mother found a very nice little bottle. You do not mention the stopper but the bottle originally had a very nice and ornate stopper. If you examine the inside of the mouth you'll see it was ground to fit the glass stopper. There is no chance that your bottle was made in 1692. A more likely date would be 1880-1890, judging from the color and style. I have a similar bottle in my collection shown below which is embossed: LUSCOMB'S LAVENDAR SMELLING SALTS. Certainly made by the same company. After doing a bit of search and not finding any information in my American sources, I am suspicious, as I have always been that this is not an American bottle, but a British one. Both the name and style remind me of a an English manufacturer. A bottle similar to your bottle with the witch was auctioned off in an absentee auction in 1990 and brought $120 with the stopper. It is a very pretty and desireable bottle. Send the pictures and well put them on this page. Digger

Hi, I have a couple old bottles  I found and was wondering if you could possibly give me some information  about these. 1. First one is app. 2 1/2 inches tall, and clear. The bottle is an oval shape. It also has a tin cap. On one side it says "The Bayer" on the other it says "Company inc. " 2. Clear with a purple tint to it, rectangle shape and 5" tall. On front to bottle it has WINCHESTER, trademark. 3. A clear greenish color  tint, 5"tall  on side it has NEURALGIC ANODINE, on other side it has TWITCHELL CHAMPLIN 7 CO, on bottom  it has 2 on it. 4. 10" bottle, purplish clear , in the shape of a pop bottle, on front it has Curtice Brothers Co. Preservers, Rochester  NY.  On bottom it has stamped F.
Any info on this would be great! Dianne

1) Your first bottle is a Bayer asprin bottle, probably from the 1920-40 period. The Bayer Medicine Co. has been in business for over 100 years. The bottle probably has little value, except as you found it and that makes it interesting. 2) This is a gun oil bottle. Very collectible worth believe it or not $45-75 dollars. Pretty neat huh? The bottle dates, if not machine made to the 1890s. 3) Twitchell Champlin & Co's Standard Neuralgic Anodyne was a remedy for the cure of neuralgia, headache, rheumatism, colds, sore throat, colic, cramps, dysentery, diarrhoea, sea sickness, bruises, and more..The price was 25 cents. the label indicated it was copyrighted July 17th 1883-Portland Maine. The business, located in Portland, was still advertising in the 1930s. Value $2-4. 4) The bottle is a catsup bottle, it contained "Blue Label Tomato Ketchup. The company was established around 1868 by Samuel G. Curtice and his brother Edgar, in Rochester, NY Your bottle was introduced in about 1894 and was used through the 1920s. In 1929 the Blue Label Ketchup was put out in a wide mouth bottle. Value $3-8, would be much more with the original label. Digger


Digger, I do a lot of bottle hunting,but this one bottle has me stumped!It's a thick brown coca cola bottle.Although the lip of the bottle is broken off,can you tell about the year,so i will know about the time era i will be digging in.I was told buy a bottle collector that it is still worth money because it is rare.Is this true?    THANK YOU VERY MUCH Wayne

Wayne, The bottle you have is an amber coke bottle. They date from around 1900-1914. In 1915 the familiar aqua coke bottle was first produced. Prior to the amber cokes, they company produced a hutchinson soda bottle. As to the bottle's worth, most of the amber Cokes are fairly easily found and sell for between $20-75 dollars. Unless it is one from a very rare city, it probably has very little value with the top knocked off. Digger


I was hoping you could you help me.While myself and a freind were digging we found a bottle that is a Aqua color with the words John F Perry Dr. Warrens Bilious Bitters Boston Mass. on it. I can't seem to find out any information on it.Is there any place I can look.
Thank You
Peggy Morgan
Peggy, Your bottle is listed as scarce. It was produced by John A. Perry, manufacturing chemist in Boston in the 1870-1880 period. Older advertising exists for the bottle including some for "Dr. Warren". Two of the three variants are shown above. A lot of three of these sold in 1990, one of which was labeled for $95.
Digger


Howdy,   Just a short note from Australia to say that I enjoyed your web site and info very much.  The site is well put together, interesting and informative.   It was good to compare your types of bottles with ours and to note that you have the same problems and interest in collecting as we do !   Cheers   Mark Semmens Adelaide South Australia.
Thanks for kind words Mark-


Hello,
        My name is Vicki, Ive dug bottles now for about 6 or 7 years.  I used to just sell them by the bucketful to a local antique dealer, but recently I' ve discovered E-bay and I think the antique dealer  made a lot of money off me!  Oh well its something that I love to do whether Im making money or not.  Well, to get to the point, I have 2 bottles that I just found recently and haven't had much luck on finding a value.The first is: Embossed with a picture of an indian maybe? on a horse spearing an alligator or dragon.  Words say TRADE MARK HOLBROOK & Co. it is a round and a light green or aqua color, the bottom says R B 6745.  It stands about 7 1/2 "tall.  It has a skin type bubble burst on the alligators neck defect in the making?  No chips or cracks.The second: Embossing says HEINZ BROS & CO PITTSBURGH PA TRADE MARK It has a shield with a cross in the center.  The bottom says HEINZ BROs & CO 35 .  It is light blue in color.  It stands about 6" tall with kinda a Janesville shape. So happy to find someone to ask about these even if you cant help, I
appreciate your time.                              Thanks again Vicki

Vicki,
Your first bottle is a product bottle of the Holbrooks Limited operating at 203 Asted Row, Birmingham, England around the turn of the century. Of the bottles frequently found made by this compnay, yours is probably the most attractive. They were makers of sauces, pickles, vinegar, curries, custard powders, egg powders, soups, soup tablets, salad oils, and fruit essences. The trademark you describe was first used by the compnay in 1877 and was applied to affixed to the labels or embossed on at least two different bottle, one round and the other square (probably pickles). The most common bottle is a worcestershire sauce bottle, and they were great competitors with Lea & Perrines. The round bottle you have is the rarer of the two and was a chutney or pickle bottle made between 1877-1905. The value, I'd estimate at about $30.
Your second bottle is a product of the F. & J. Heinz Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. Their name trademark was registered in 1878 although the company goes back several years prior to that date. This well known company made a huge variety (57 varieties at one time) of pickles, vinegar, catsups, horse-radish, mustard, preserves, jellies, marmalades and fruit butters and more. By the 1960s they were selling more than 1250 items in more than 150 countries. Henry Heinz began the the first product, horse-radish in his mother's kitchen around 1869. I beleive the No. 35 was also believe it or not tomato chutney! Sounds to me like you have one of the larger chutney collections I have heard about. Value $8-9. Digger

Hi,    I read your "questions I get" concerning the Heinz Brothers and Company.   The Heinz Brothers and Company were not related to H. J. Heinz, the founder of the H. J. Heinz Company and its predecessors, Heinz, Noble and Company and the F&J Heinz Company.  The Heinz Brothers made condiments too, however, but I guess you could call them a "knock-off" company.  Whatever, H. J. Heinz did, they would soon copy, using an exact bottle and similar label, with the same numbering system on the bottom of the glass bottle.  I believe that is one of the reasons the "real" Heinz started to patent his bottles and other non-food creations (i.e. original pickle pin).  I do not know when the Heinz Brothers & Company they went out of business.  In the late 1800's, there was yet another Heinz Company in the midwest not related to the H. J. Heinz Company, too. Heinz at one time manufactured their own glass at their bottling company in Sharpsburg, PA, a few miles north of Pittsburgh and which is also home of the original "House of Heinz" which now resides in Ford's Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI.  I don't know when they got out of the glass business.  (At one time they also made their own wooden cases, cans, etc.)    As you know, old Heinz bottles and even Heinz Brothers bottles with product and ingredients are hard to find.
    Sincerely,   Dan Dunmire    

Digger,   I just returned from the Senator Heinz Regional Historical Center Heinz exhibit.  The exhibit included Heinz bottles manufactured at the Heinz Sharpsburg glass factory and a catsup and an advertisement of the Heinz Brothers.  In fact, it includes a Heinz Brothers and H. J. Heinz catsup bottle side-by-side.   The description states,"In the 1880's and 1890's, the H. J. Heinz company and its Keystone Brand pickles and condiments faced local competition form the Heinz Brothers (no relation), makers of Banner Brand pickles and condiments.  Consumers apparently knew the difference between the two Pittsburgh based Heinz companies.  While H. J. Heinz Company grew and flourished, the Heinz Brothers went out of business in 1895."   Thought you would like to know.   Dan Dunmire


Dear sir , i have a very large collection of rounded bottom bottles. I have been told they were used to store mercury used in hard rock mining. I have never seen any other ones. I was told years ago that they were shipped from England . They are about 10-12 inches tall , very thick milky glass. Any info would be a great help. Also a value ? Karen

I need help identifying a bottle I dug up. It is 9 to 10 inches tall, appears to be BIM with possible Sloping Collar. It is a Torpedo or egg bottom with the numbers 2333 on the bottom. It has side seams that
stop at the bottom of the collar but has no other identifying marks. It was found with some Civil War bullets. Any information you have that would help me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Todd Burdette

Todd and Karen,
I often get questions about these bottles. I just dug the one shown below a few weeks ago. These bottles are round bottom soda bottles. Often they contained ginger-ale. I have heard, although cannot confirm, that by lying on their sides the cork would stay moist and the contents wouldn't leak. They were crated and separated by metal or wooden slates. Many are imported and often have "BELFAST" embossed. others like the one shown below have a number embossed. The one below has the number "124" on the base. They are quite common and sell for $8-10 or less. Embossed they bring $10-20 for the common ones. Colored!!!(not clear or aqua, but deep green, cobalt, yellow, amber) they can bring hundreds of $$$. I cannot testify to the mercury story, but I have my doubts as they were so common for soda water. Round bottoms are often confused with torpedo sodas in which the rounded end comes nearly to a point. Torpedos are more desireable and usually earlier (1840-1860s typically). Digger


Hi, Was curious if you had info on the method used to accelerate the process of amethyst bottles. I have seen these and know that It has been done. Was wondering if it was a special type of light or ??        Any info would be appreciated..Thanks, Mark

Mark, In the 1960s and 1970s when bottle collecting first became a popular hobby, collectors, especially those in the Western states would scour the desert for the desireable purple bottles. These bottles, made prior to World War I, contained a substance, manganese, which acted as a decolorant to change the color of "soda" or "bottle glass," from its natural color, aqua, to clear. This decolorant was not stable and would, when exposed to ultraviolet rays such as those from the sunlight, change from clear to a amethyst. The intensity of the color change depends upon the amount of manganese present. After World War I, selenium, was used to make clear glass. It was more stable and didn't react with the sunlight.
One can recreate this effect by the use of an ultra-violet light (sold as germicidal lights). These can be dangerous to the eye, if viewed directly and must be treated with much caution. I put one in an old trunk with a light switch on the outside of the trunk. After about one week, the bottles had turned a nice light shade of purple. the same end can be accomplished by putting them outside exposed to the sun. It just takes much longer.
Recently, you might have seen very dark colored purpled bottles for sale at shows or in antique shops. The color in these bottles is much more intense. There is one individual in the country, who is putting 19th century bottles into a nuclear reactor and exposing them to high radiation levels. This changes the basic color of clear glass to either a deep deep purple, or sometimes odd shades of amber or even other colors. These bottles are often sold and resold so that their origin is unknown to the buyer. Several people have been "burned" by paying excessive prices for these "odd" colors, especially in the fruit jar and flask fields. A number of bottle clubs and bottle shows have required that these items be identified as radiated, or sometimes they have been out rightly banned. At any rate, both reactions are reversible. The radiated bottles and the purpled bottles can be heated and the color change reversed. My advice, just enjoy them the way they are. After all, picnickers in the late 1800s would cover their bowls and glass to keep them from turning "that horrid purple color." Digger

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