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EARLIEST "CROWN TOP" SODA BOTTLES 1892 - 1900

SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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I call this Part II of my continuing interest in early soda pop bottles. However, this time I would like to focus on the early-early crown tops from around 1892 through about 1900. I am primarily interested in American made bottles, but all are welcome to post any crown soda bottle from any part of the world if they wish to.

I realize crown "tops" pretty much all look alike, but it's the bottles themselves, and the various brands that I am most interested in seeing. As for myself, I only have a single example of one of these early crown top's, which is the Godfrey Archer bottle from Clevedon, England that I posted a separate thread to earlier today.

Although I have done my homework on this topic, I came up short with finding the images of these types of bottles that I was hoping to. Thus, the reason for this new thread and my invitation for all members to share photos and information on those extremely early and most interesting soda bottles.

I'll start things off with the image and link below regarding William Painter's invention of the first crown top that was applied for in 1890, and received it's patent in 1892. The link itself is for those among us who like details and enjoy reading legal patent jargon. It's about six pages long, and contains everything you ever wanted to know about this particular patent ... and then some.

I hope this thread generates some interest, as I would love to see photos of those rare and treasured "crown top" soda bottles from before the turn of the century.

Thank you in advance for your time and interest in this topic. I'm hoping we will all learn a lot before we're done here.

Patent Link ...
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/0468258.pdf

[/align]Sincerely,

SODAPOPBOB

 

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SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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As a general rule for those not familiar with what might be a pre-1900 crown top, they can more easily be recognized by where the "seam" on the bottle ends. I'm still learning about the specifics on this myself, but have discovered so far that "most" if not all of the early crown seams will stop about an inch or two below the very lip top of the bottle. The photo below is a poor example, but is from my only pre-1900 Godfrey Archer bottle. The seam stops just above the shoulder, and "exactly" two inches below the lip. Another aspect of an early crown is that they are "Embossed" bottles, and not the ACL varieties that came into popularity in the mid 1930s.

SPB

 

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SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
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So as not to turn this into a debate as to the proper method of dating early "crown" soda bottles, which can be extremely complicated and confusing for some, I would like to simplify things by suggesting that "any" crown top soda bottle with a disappearing seam will suffice for out interest here. It will be easier and more fun that way. The dating information and photo below are for general interest purposes only, and not to be confused with any form of prerequsite for posting images.

I guess what I'm really looking for here is, "The earliest crown top soda bottle known to exist." (If such a distinction can even be made). But I hope you will agree that it's worth a try, and I can think of no better place to begin this search that right here on good'old Antique-Bottles.net ... "Where The Experts Live!"

Thanks again,

SPB

Dating Notes: It appears that no crown finish bottles date prior to the 1892 patent date. In fact, virtually all crown finish (soda and beer) bottles date to after ca. 1894-1895, since in 1893 a national depression (the famous "Panic of 1893") made investment capital very scarce for several years deterring the use of new and expensive equipment like that needed to accommodate this new closure (Lief 1965). As an example of the progression in acceptance of this finish/closure style, the crown finish first shows up in the 1896 Illinois Glass Co. (IGCo) catalog with just one soda bottle offering. In 1899 the IGCo. offered several different crown soda bottles, by 1903 21 different soda bottle molds were listed with crown finishes (as well as other similar bottles available for beer), and 37 different molds listed by 1911 (IGCo. 1896, 1899, 1903, 1911).

 

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SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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Last but not least is this full image of my Godfrey Archer bottle from England. (With cool image of a race horse and the famous jockey, Fred Archer). I'm still working on trying to more accurately date it, but I'm confident it is circa ... 1900 (or "possibly" a little earlier). I think some collectors call this a "Bowling Pin" bottle.

SPB

 

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appliedlips

Well-Known Member
Jan 30, 2005
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In these parts, close to Alton,Ill.( home of the Illinios glass co.) alot of our local bottlers were using crowntops by the late 90's opposed to hutches and blobs. I have lived in other parts of the country were hutches were predominate right up to or even a little later than 1910. The early IGCO sodas are more of a squat form than most used in other parts of the country.
 

SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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appliedlips ~

It must be hard to speak with applied lips, but you type really good. Thanks for the insight. Illinois Glass played a huge part in the whole soda making world. You must be surrounded by old soda bottles, (not so here in southern Cal), and I envy you enough to want to move back there and start digg'n around like a gopher. Everytime I hear that familiar "clink" sound at the end of my digging rake, I get the chills from bottle fever.

Send us some pics if you hav'em.

Thanks,

SPB
 

SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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I found the following information to be of interest and thought I would use it to help illustrate some of what was going on during the early soda bottle days of the late 1800s. As you will read, it speaks about one of the "first" Coca Cola bottles ever used ... starting in "1894." If Coca Cola wasn't using crown tops yet, I wonder who was? I believe the reference to the "Root" bottles is speaking of Coca Cola's first crown tops, with a corresponding date of 1901. I'm not sure, but I don't believe Root ever made Hutch-top bottles ... only Crown's!

SPB

BIEDENHARN CANDY CO. VICKSBURG MISS
The Biedenharn Hutchinson-style bottle is accepted as being the first to ever contain Coke after Joe Biedenharn started filling them with Coca-Cola in 1894. The ROOT bottles (i.e. have "ROOT 471 on the foot) were made after Nov 1901 since that is when ROOT Glass Works was first started. The most valuable hutches are embossed with Coca-Cola.


This is the 1894 bottle referred to above ... (remember, the "Crown" was invented in 1892). [8|]




 

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SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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They say there is no search quite like "re-search." And based on my latest research, if we hope to find bonified examples of the first crown closures, it appears I will have to move the dates forward from 1892-1900 to around 1897-1905. The following article will explain why.

~ * ~

Substantial use of the new (crown) closure by soda water bottlers did not get started until about 1897. Mouth-blown, tooled crown finish soda bottles date from possibly as early as 1894, but more likely from about 1897. "Machine-made" crown finish bottles all date after 1905 when the first license for soda and beer bottles was issued for the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine. Machine produced bottles would exhibit suction scars. The semi-automatic machine production of narrow necked bottles was not significant until after about 1910 making machine-made, non-suction scarred crown finish bottles likely to date no earlier than the early 1910s.

~ * ~

The next phase of my research will deal with these so called "suction scars." Once we determine exactly what the heck those suction scars look like, it should make it easier to recognize the early crown-tops we are looking for. I know they are out there somewhere.

I'll be back,

SPB

 

SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
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For those of you who already know all this stuff, please bare with me, as this is a work in progress. I said earlier I didn't want to get into a "mold seam" debate, and yet here I am right in the middle of one with myself. But it appears there is no other way to narrow down those early crowns without first understanding something about seams and scars. Hopefully this next article will be sufficient enough to get us back on track.

Note: For me, the point being made here is that if we have bottles with suction scars, then our bottles are machine made ... thus, made during or sometime after "1905." Which would then confirm the "earliest" crown-top soda bottles as being produced between about 1897 and 1905. Which is close enough for me, and now all we have to do is find photos of those early crown bottles that don't have suction scars on them. Easy-smeasy ... right? Hopefully we'll find out soon. By the way, I just discovered that my Godfrey Archer bottle from England not only doesn't have suction scars, but that it was also made in a 3-piece mold. But I don't know yet when the 3-piece molds were last used. If I can determine that date, (another easy-smeasy) then I should be able to narrow down the date on my bottle even more.

Thanks for hanging in there,

SPB


Owens machine suction scars

A suction scar is the diagnostically distinctive mark most commonly found on the base of earlier bottles produced by the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine. The mark is a result of a mechanical blade or "knife" which cut off the glass being drawn upwards into the blank or parison mold via a suction process once enough glass was drawn to produce the desired bottle. Click Owens machine cycle to see an illustration of a portion of the Owens machine cycle (Stages 2 and 3) which shows schematically how the knife cuts off the glass. Suction scars are a more or less round, very fine line that is can be either incised into (typical) or raised above the glass surface. If the mold blade was dull or the base of the blank/parison mold worn or poorly fitting, the scar gets a "feathered" or "splotchy" edge to it, like shown in the picture above. The feathering is a result of the sliding or "smearing" action of the blade/knife and the rolling of slivers of glass in the narrow clearance between the blade, mold, and the drawn glass. The pictured bottle actually shows some of the smeared glass slivers imbedded into the bottle base adjacent to the suction scar itself. Suction scars are usually not perfectly centered, particularly on square and oval bottles, and will frequently slop over onto the heel and lower sides of non-round bottles. This latter features is particularly pronounced on smaller bottles.
 

SODAPOPBOB

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2010
11,502
0
I was able to determine that 3-piece bottle molds were last used "around" 1908. And even though this does't narrow down the date on my bottle as close as I was hoping it would, at least I know now with a reasonable amount of certainty that it was made sometime between 1897 and 1905. Which, again, is close enough for me.

So now for the fun part ...

First ...

Check out this film clip from the early 1900s" ( pre-1905 ? ), showing how bottles were blown in a mold. I found it totally facinating. (By using the slide bar at the bottom of the film clip, you can start/stop/pause, etc.) Note: The video takes a minute to open, but is worth waiting for. Thanks.

http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/handblownoperation.mpg

Second ...

Now that we "kind of know" what to look for, let's see those photos of your early crown top soda bottles. And if you are still as confused as I am, please just remember the following ... (general guidelines).

1. The mold seam should "disappear" somewhere near the shoulder or neck.
2. There should not be a "suction scar" on the bottom of the bottle.

Other than that, I would say this thread is wide open for any and all who would like to participate and share images of their early crown top soda bottles with the rest of us. And please be sure to show the embossed side so we will know who made it.

Thanks again to one and all who have found this topic worthy of exploring, and especially to those who have something to share.

Sincerely,

SODAPOPBOB ... (Student - Not Teacher).
 

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