There was some interest in info on Bixby shoe polish bottles, so here starts a series on what I know about them, starting with the first ones covered by Bixby`s March 6, 1883 patent, which covered the bulbous shoulder. In the patent, the applicator sponge would squeeze out any excess blacking at the expanded shoulder so it wouldn`t make a mess on the outside of the bottle when removing the applicator.
The first bottles under this are only embossed "Patent / Applied For" on the base with "Bixby" in the center. These come with sheared lips and for colors I`ve found them in aqua, light green, and teal blue. They date to before the patent was actually granted to Bixby, so they would date to about 1880 to March 1883.
Next in line is a Bixby mold that is very hard to find. The bottles are identical to the previous ones but when the patent was granted, instead of waiting for a new mold to be made, they had "Patented / March 6, 83" cut into the side of the mold for the "Patent Applied For" bottles. The side embossing is very crude and large compared to the later ones. The lip style started to change with these, with the rounded tooled lip being the only style these were found with. These I have in clear, aqua, and light green, and probably date to March 1883 to 1885.
The third style is a fairly common Bixby bottle. It is the last of the tall style, are embossed "Bixby" on the base with "Patented" in an arch over "Mch. 6, 83" on the side. The lips are found as sheared, sheared and tapered, and round tooled lip. The colors are aqua, teal, light greens, dark yellow-olive, citron, and cobalt blue. Here`s a picture of the aquas, teal, and cobalt examples.
Here are the 3 basic lip treatments that are found on most Bixby shoe polish bottles. The flat sheared is earliest, then the sheared and tapered lip and the round tooled lip, both of which were used at about the same time, probably depending on the glassworks that made the bottle.
Here`s the next style in the evolution of Bixby bottles. These are basically the same as the previous ones, round with Bixby on the base and the patent date on the side, but these are much shorter and squattier looking. These are the nomn-amber ones, with the cobalt blue one being the hardest to find.