View Full Version : Iron pontil?

09-25-2009, 12:17 PM
I just bought a Townsends bottle with an iron pontil.The bottle doesn`t seem to be tumbled, but the iron pontil mark is clear.I was wondering why some iron pontil marks are clear, while some are very black or grey.Also. does a darker pontil mark make a bottle more valuable?.I understand that some cleaned or tumbled bottles would have less residue, but I`m talking about untumbled bottles.I`ll post a couple examples I have.The example on the right is what I`m calling "clear".


09-25-2009, 12:21 PM


09-25-2009, 12:23 PM
Black or Gray.


09-25-2009, 01:19 PM
The "clear" ones just have no residue from the pontil device left on them. You are just seeing where they roughed up the glass. It may have eroded off while buried.
The residue from the empontilling tool may be black , gray, red, etc. The color comes from the various oxides of metal from the tool surface when it is snapped off.
There is still controversy over whether graphite was used as a high temperature release agent on the tools. I have seen references to it but nothing definative at this point.

09-25-2009, 01:54 PM
Thanks Matt, In your opinion, are the clear ones less desireable, or do you think it doesn`t mater.If you like the bottle, who cares. A pontil is a pontil.

09-25-2009, 02:35 PM
From what I have seen over the years it appears people prefer an iron pontil mark with all the residue and will pay slightly higher for them.

RED Matthews
09-25-2009, 03:29 PM
Hi to both of you, Matt and bottle_head9; I have a blog that I have been working on for a couple years to give some explanation of the different pontil marks that have been left on glass. There has been some good coverage in some early glass books and many of them include pictures of the main ones. Willey van Den Bossche's book for example shows some early ones.

I have made some mention of them in places in my homepage blogs. What I am trying to assemble is as much information as I can cover to be helpful to bottle collectors. There just hasn't been enough information put into written explanation.

For example when they started using iron punte rods, we know they were laid on a side shelf by the glory hole to keep the working ends hot enough to not shock the glass being attached. This heat also helped them accomplish sticking. We also know that some disc punte rods were only coated on the round outside edge. This coating was done with a sticky substance applied to the edge and then chipped glass dust was picked up on that edge and stuck to the containers pushed up dome in such a way that it left a glass chipped circular pontil mark on the glass. The stickey substances that I have had reference to were graphite paste, red lead paste and white lead paste. The contace media powdered materials have been iron powder particles from pulverized particles of iron from the mold shops. Some have been sand and some powdered glass. All of the information I have put together so far - I have tried to confirm in different early glass making books and articles of information. It has been a long term coverage. I have bottles with just plain white lead showing on the pontil, some with red lead being used and some with what was obviously just graphite and/or sand.

I am always watching for Forum showings likd yours to aid in my collection of illustration and comment. I still feel that the value is up to what the collector is looking for. I personally have the greatest in the blowpipe or open tube pontil marks that were left when the blow pipe was severed form the previous blow-pipe used by the bottle maker. These were reheated and applied to the next botle in the production seaquence.
Thanks for your postings. RED Matthews

09-27-2009, 12:21 AM
I agree that pontilled is pontilled but I admit to being a sucker for a strong Iron pontil. Being a digger I can tell you that alot of the residue is gone when some IP sodas,meds,etc. are dug. I don't know if it is from the ground or didn't have much to start with..

09-27-2009, 12:58 AM
if it from the ground or didn't have much to start with..

Never really thought about it too much but it seems like the attic iron pontil marked bottles I can remember all had a good layer of residue on them.

RED Matthews
09-27-2009, 11:04 AM
Hello again. You are certainly correct Matt, regarding the attic bottles. We have to realize that any iron object does go away with time and I assume oxidation.

It is an interesting study never the less.

RED Matthews

09-28-2009, 10:33 AM
it's interesting that alot of the Eastern sodas found in California typically have more iron deposit left than sodas dug in the east. Ground action is different perhaps less acidity in the soil.