Anyone here have some iridescent Benicia Mud Flats bottles?
I have been searching for images of the famed Benicia, CA bottles online for a while but have had little luck. I have seen a few in books or at shows but that was years ago and it would be awesome to refresh the ole' memory if some of you are willing to post pictures of the iridescent bottles you own or have access to.
After reading RIbottleguy's post on bottles that shouldn't be cleaned it reminded me of an exquisite Lea & Perrins sauce bottle that looked like the Benicia mud flats material, that is, before my father accidentally broke it when I was about 11. It was the most beautiful bottle I have ever owned; absolutely saturated with the most complex interwoven spectrum of greens, purples, yellows, reds and blues i've had the pleasure of handling. It looked like a gem opal on crystal meth. I got it for a buck a short while before, and after it got knocked off my shelf I am pretty sure I shed a few silent tears. [:(] Dad said he would replace it, but alas, a similar piece has eluded us. I still have the shards, actually, but lord knows where they are.
Anyway, post your iridescent bottles, or if there is a similar thread please link me. Myself and many others would probably appreciate it quite a bit!
RE: Anyone here have some iridescent Benicia Mud Flats bottles?
Your friend has a beautiful shelf of bottles! I would kill to be able to dig local stuff that looks like that. The applied top strapside-looking amber flask just right of the middle, and the med behind it are incredible! The flask has a killer globby top on a crooked neck which only adds to the immense appeal. Damn those are attractive! The master ink is a gem too, as well as the yellowish-green Wakelee's pharm on the far right. So many colors you never see made by man! Your bromo finds look pretty good too, for being bromos. [:)] Was it a wet dumpsite? Remember what kind of soil was around the area?
Aside from the swirly med behind the flask, your Hostetter's beats them all in terms of the range of color variation, and certainly has a monopoly on the red hues. I am glad that you mentioned that it was from a dry privy, which is interesting. Perhaps whatever water did pass through the area over time slowly leached out the chems necessary to create that effect? Was there ash in the pit, or other mineral or acid-bearing material? Can you remember which side was facing up when you found it (i may be asking a bit much, sorry). The iridescence on the hostetters certainly has a different nature than the SF bottles.
I wonder if there is a way to chemically mimic such an effect? Is there i way to pepper a bottle with different metal oxides or salts and then bake it like carnival glass, or some other way to speed up the process? Perhaps I should talk to some local glassblowing potheads and inquire about their methods? I would imagine that the technique is not outside the abilities of most people given the proper resources.
That doesn't mean that it would have the same feel, though. I am under the impression (and may well be wrong) that the naturally formed iridescence is caused by a film of hydrated silica (opal, essentially) with different levels of hydration in different spots with different degrees of natural chemical etching, thus varying the percieved color of the light reflected. Is there some way to chemically speed up the process so that a more natural-looking bottle can be formed? Perhaps treating it in hydrofluoroic acid for a few months to etch it and bring out the striations (like the med behind the flask in dabeel's photograph), then treat it with metallic salts and heat slowly?