There are no mold seams. I think this might be what you call a dip mold. There is a raised ridge around the middle I think you can see in this pic. You can see how crudely the body of the bottle is formed.
The story the lady told me was that her dad found this bottle 60 feet below the ground surface when he was working on construction of the Hemisfair tower in San Antonio in the 1960's. So the battle of the Alamo was in 1836, did Davey Crockett or Santa Anna drink from this bottle, or is is a discard from the civil war?
Please help, my knowledge of this era is lacking.
First off, Mike, you hit on some very good points when taking into consideration the fact that German immigrant glassblowers carried their trade with them when coming to this country in the early days of American glass manufacture. Obviously, if Bob is playing spades in Germany one month and is still playing spades in America 12 months hence, chances are you wouldn't know one game from the other. In other words, early glassblowers brought their skills along with them, and it is usually impossible to tell which side of the pond many early bottles originated from. Especially so into the evolutionary stages of the cylinder shapes, there were no doubt American glassblowers duplicating very closely the wares coming over from England. Also, since there were usually no identifying markings such as the embossing that took hold on toward the first half of the 19th century on much of the "commercialized advertising" glass when dealing with the earlier black glass types, it is virtually impossible to say that one particular bottle was blown in Germany, Holland, England, or the Americas. I think it's generally safe to say that there were no large, major commercial glassblowing operations in this country until probably the third or fourth quarters of the 18th century, although there were surely attempts at such start-up concerns in earlier years. You mention Germantown and Wistarburgh as two of the early operations involving German immigrant glassblowers who simply moved their operations (and talents) to this country and continued much of what they had been doing back in the homeland.
One of the few and relatively accepted instances of a certain production of black glass bottles that have been identified as originating from here in America were some of the so-called "Baltimore Squats", identified primarily by finish characteristics and tell-tale vertical markings down near the shoulder of the base, apparently left by the dip molds these were blown in. These are later cylinder types in the black glass chronology and date sometime between around 1780 and 1820, which was also the general time period of the eastern glass houses production of American Chestnut flasks, which also are usually referenced as one of the earlier "mass produced" glass bottles in this country. Through the years, I have seen many different types of obviously early bottles, flasks, urns, pitchers, etc. which appeared to be made with the same general colors and texture types as used in production of the Chestnuts. The piece in your pictures, from what I can tell in the photos on my computer, closely resembles this same type of glass, and the finish tooling on your piece, along with the pontil, rolled under lip, pushed-up base and overall general work first strikes me as possibly something from this same period, 1780-1820. I would guess there are probably a number of noticeable potstones within the glass also, correct ? Hard to say without a hands on look, but that was my first impression. In any event, it's a very nice looking piece.
As far as really nailing down specific origins within glass types that have no other identifying characteristics than the glass and workmanship itself, this is unfortunately another one of those "rule of thumb" situations where you can only make generalizations based on what history of the different material IS actually known. A good analogy might be trying to tell the difference between a modern glass coke bottle made in Los Angeles from one made in New York using identical dies or molds as well as apparently identical glass. There is a point where we hit the wall of the unknown, and just have to do the best we can as we continue to dig up new information. And dig up is virtually what it takes to make such discoveries as the characteristic vertical shoulder marks on those Baltimore bottles. Most of that information was derived from archaeological digs at locations of known glass houses and the quantity of the "same characteristic" shards and whole vessels pretty much nailed down the probability (thought not the certainty) that those very same bottles were actually in production at that particular site.
If you would go to the bottleden.com website, there is a pair of articles that covers much of the known information on those Baltimore bottles written by Wil Martindale. Those two articles, or parts one and two of the primary subject matter, will give you a good feel for the processes used to come to the conclusions on the origin of those particular bottles. It's some interesting reading.
Also, while I'm thinking of it, Willie Van Den Bossche published what I like to refer to as "The Black Glass Bible" back in 2001 which is still widely available (but pricey) today, entitled "Antique Glass Bottles - Their History and Evolution 1500-1850" which basically covers the entire history of Black Glass bottle production except for the last two or three decades. These are generally selling for $250 or so on Amazon, but I recently found a like new used copy to replace my old worn out one for under $50 on eBay. Even at the higher price tag, it is still probably the best reference work ever done on Black Glass.
Jay, your piece looks to be a post 1860 or so dip molded wine bottle from the overall general design, finish, and lack of any obvious pontil scars as best I can tell from the photos. There does appear to be some pressure cracks at the base, probably created in the production process when the still plastic bottle was removed from the dip mold and the base "pushed up" slightly to insure the formation of the resting rim. If you look close at the sides, there appears to be a post mold seam slightly visible just near the point where the shoulder curves inward toward the neck, and also a slight bulge at the central portion of the body which also indicates that the glass was still very soft when removed from the dip mold. As far as the finish goes, on most black glass with applied finishes, you can gauge the vertical width of the upper part of the finish from short to medium to tall and get a good idea as to the date range. The shorter the top section of the finish (lip) is, the earlier it will generally date. Yours looks to fall into the mid to late date range which also indicates a date somewhere around 1850-1865 or so. Again, the lack of a base pontil tends to confirm it as post Civil War, or after 1860-65. As far as origin, probably either English or American as wine, ale, and liquor bottles dating to that range were still commonly imported on a regular basis. Strangely enough, the wine bottles seem to have been blown in dip molds after most of the ale and liquor bottles were well into two and three piece mold production techniques. Once you get into the different mold types after Ricketts, you start to run into some strange combinations that are not always easy to place a date on. One example is a bottle that I was given by my dad that was dug on the former property of Judge Issac Parker, the famous "Hanging Judge" in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It's generally a short, squat beer or ale bottle with a later style finish, but was blown in a true two-piece key mold and shows signs of an obvious iron pontil scar within the "keyed" section of the mold halves at the base. The bottle, from it's characteristics, "should" date both before AND after the Civil War. I'm still working on that one.
Jay, I also wanted to mention on your bottle, those base cracks are simply contraction cracks caused either from the slight pushing-up of the base to make the heel more level around the circumference of the base, or more likely, simply cooling contractions from stresses in the glass at the base which is usually thicker toward the middle than at the outer edge. This caused the thinner glass to cool faster, slightly stretching the still plastic or soft glass at the center, causing the contraction cracks. Like you say, this is commonly seen on early mouth-blown black glass where pontil scars do not cover them over or even prevent them from occuring.
Welcome to the forum Dalton,good information we have similar collecting traits.
The two bottles shown I have posted at the forum before.They were purchased at
an auction in Mass.The family that owned them stated they were products from the
Germantown glassworks in Braintree Mass.The mallet has the transitional look to it no doubt.
The green bottle is a smaller chestnut type and is in the form of New England type chestnuts
seen also at Pitkins works.Again welcome to the forum and if you dont mind asking where is home to you.
The mallet bottle is very dark olive green,light has difficulty passing through it.
Even while using an intense lighting source the bottle is virtually inpenatrable.
The mallet has also been pieced back together but is now whole.
Looked closer at the cap and it looks like a palm tree. SC is the palmetto state so maybe it's related but don't know if that's common. Also on the outside threads of the screw cap it reads "10577 SC...