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Thread: Glossary

  1. #1

    Question Glossary

    Is there a glossary on the site explaining what the letters associated with bottles and their manufacture mean, (ie) ACL, ABM, etc. I know what these two are but there seem to be many that I do not know their meaning. - Thanks - James

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bottle Master Spirit Bear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Muskegon, Michigan
    This American website is useful for dating bottles by diagnostics and learning about how they were made:

    This website is sorted alphabetically by manufacture so you can possibly date bottles by glass-maker marks:

    This site will tell you many soft-drink, mineral water, and alcohol bottle shapes; it also has a section on different tops:

    ACL = Applied Coloured Label. They start in the 1930s in milk bottles. They became popular for soft-drinks in the late 1930s and continue to this day. Some call them painted labels, but they're actually baked on. Each colour is baked on separately like a decal. Many milk collectors call these pyros, as the original term was 'pyroglaze'.

    ABM = Automatic Bottle Machine. These come out in the early 1900s. Here is one in action:

    To determine if a bottle is made by an ABM, you look at the seams (lines going up the bottle suggesting the connection of mould and plates (interchangeable 'plates' which are engraved to produce glass lettering on bottles).
    If the seams continue all the way to the top of the bottle, or if any seams are present on the lip, or if a seam is present as a perfect ring just below the lip, the bottle is fully ABM-made except in the case of milks and perhaps some jars, where the mouth is finished by other means. Tooled tops to be explained shortly.
    Usually there are only 2 seams (opposite sides of bottles. But you can get more than that. Here is a 3-part mould seam.

    A hand-tooled (tooled) bottle takes any bottle blown into a mould (BIM) by a gaffer (blower) and uses what almost looks like calipers and a compass drawing tool combined to finish off the mouth. This usually happens in a 'shop' of 3 or 4 men and boys to make one bottle.

    An applied top is where a blob of glass has been applied separately to a bottle, rather than working with what is already there. This is usually found on older American bottles (pre-1890) though the South and many countries were slower to change to hand-tooled only. You can usually feel the separation inside the mouth or see the 'drippy lip' or sloppy application on many cheaply produced bottles.Usually you see the seam being covered up by the applied glass. Laid on rings look like a wedding band over the normal finish. A collared finish is best described in pictures, also showing a applied top.

    Screw-tops (outside thread) are what we see on modern 2-litre soft-drink bottles. These tops became popular in the 1920s, though use in ketchup bottles was known in the 1890s to now. Internal threaded screw bottles are generally older and have the threads inside the mouth. Typical of British glass.

    A crown-top takes the modern crown cork, typical of modern beers. These don't take off till the early 1900s.

    A blob takes a cork or other type of stopper, such as a wire swing bail, to close.

    Ground-lips are typical on early jars and lampshades where the edge had to be ground down from rough to somewhat smooth, leaving a frosted appearance.

    Priof closures are best explained by picture, but they always say Priof on them.

    Burst or sheared tops are very old forms of lip where it's just broken or cut from the blowing rod.

    Flared lips are like trumpets, flaring outward. Rolled lips are rolled inward or outward. Picture below left to right: Rolled lip, broken flared lip, and applied top:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A punty rod holds a bottle for finishing when a pontil is present, which is usually iron residue or a scar on the base of pontiled bottles. Scars form when the rod is broken off the base as the bottle has been finished. Some ABMs leave an ejection scar that some people mistake for a pontil. This is mostly seen on early 1900s milks.
    In the hyper-linked picture, you see two pontils. One dates to most likely after 1845 due to that line cutting across (snap-case) and one is typical of the 1840s (open pontil only).

    A kick-up is not a pontil, but is typical in wine bottles (supposedly to separate contents?)

    Milk terminology is still beyond me, such as with TREQ. I get the Round Embossed Quart abbreviation, but the T still alludes me. Tall???

    Whittle is the odd texture you get that looks like waves or whittled (carved) wood in glass and is caused by a cold mould (hadn't heated up sufficiently when glass was poured/blown in).

    Vent holes are little tiny raised dots found on many later 1800s and early 1900s bottles (often at the shoulder area) to allow air to escape so the embossing can be more pronounced.

    A peen-out is when engraving is obliterated from a mould so that all that forms when glass is poured is little patches of more textured glass-- you can rarely still read the former letters/numbers.

    A 'slick' is a term used by diggers (privy hunters-- privies being old outhouses, different from trash-pits, where many people disposed of household and human waste only to be dug up many decades later when all organic matter has deteriorated) for a bottle that is not embossed. Label-only also means a bottle isn't embossed, when a label is present.

    A 'crier' is a bottle in which a digger finds broken (or breaks) and is unhappy because it was a good bottle to have intact.

    I'm sure you know that repro means reproduction or fake.

    A Cure bottle is a bottle that says Cure on it and, in America, these are usually seen before 1907 (Food and Drug Act, or FDA, of 1906 changed product labeling. You had to prove your description matches the results before you could label it as such). Remedy takes place of Cure after the FDA goes into effect, though you see both on either side of 1906.

    Pre-pro means Pre-Prohibition, used mostly by collectors of alcohol bottles. The term isn't super specific, as National Prohibition takes effect in 1920, but it took out many before then. Certain states enacted Prohibition sooner, like 1918 and 1916.

    Generally, 'rare' means less than 10 examples known. While this doesn't apply to national bottles (originally sold all over the U.S. or sections of it), since the hobbyists have not agreed on standardised definitions for everything, the general idea stands. If you see a couple online, chances are it's not rare as only a percentage of surviving examples of embossed bottles are online. Even less with more plain bottles. Scarce is supposed to be 10-99 examples. Common is 100+ (at least, according to Coca-Cola collectors.)

    An open bubble is a form of damage that could happen anywhere between the glass solidifying at the shop and being dug up 100 years later, as a thin layer of glass over an air bubble has become damaged.

    A flash, check, or score is an internal fissure in glass that forms when set down too hard or when the glass is subject to sudden temperature change. A bruise is the wider form that looks like a rainbow chip inside the bottle. A 'flea bite' is a tiny chip or ding.

    Sick glass, staining, mineralisation, or cloudiness is typical of glass decomposition underground or in the water, where certain compounds leach out of and into/onto the glass. This can only be removed by taking away the surface layer of the glass, often by tumbling, which uses cutting and polishing compounds and, generally, copper pellets to take it away. This is frowned on by some collectors, though others cannot stand staining.

    Patination is a form of staining leading to Benicia Glass, or iridescence, and is the only desired kind of staining. It looks like rainbow oil on the glass. Typical of very old glass that has been underground for 2 centuries. Sadly, it's often fragile and can be wiped away with a finger in some cases.

    As you can see, there is a lot to know. If you have any questions, please present them to us with clear pictures of what you're describing. We're glad to help.
    Last edited by Spirit Bear; 12-08-2017 at 04:42 PM.
    Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

    Joshua chapter 1, verse 9.

  3. #3
    THANK YOU SIR!! This is extremely helpful. I'm positive that other bottle enthusiasts, especially "newbies" such as myself, will benefit greatly from this information. My learning curve continues to grow. - James

  4. #4
    Yes thank you from another newb.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bottle Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    well dun . from a newbie just a few years ago to an expert . this is how to pursue a hobby.


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