Welcome to our Antique Bottles Community

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Antique Bottle Community on the Web.

Register Log in

English Black Glass or Dutch ?

daltonbottles

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2010
54
0
Thanks Jim.

Steve, I retired last year from 29 years in Law Enforcement, bought a nice ranch house in the foothills of the Boston Mountains in Northwestern Arkansas, and generally spend my time loafing, hunting old bottles (moreso on the internet than digging holes anymore) and try to learn a little more about them every day. My passion, obviously, is black glass. Just something about it that feels truly "historical" when you consider that when holding an onion bottle or early variation, transitional, or mallet, all of the history that really did occur around the existence of that piece of glass in your hands. I still pick up an occasional blob soda, hutch, and even a nice early crown now and then, but the black glass and early American blown bottles are always on the top shelf. I still dream of the day I will hit one of the local antique shops or flea markets and find a nice intact shaft and globe for the ungodly sum of five or ten dollars.

Thanks for the pics, nice looking pieces.
 

whiskeyman

Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2005
2,305
0
DALTON...welcome to the Forum.[:)]
Being as this thread has much well researched info, I am considering either pinning it to the top of this topic...or moving it to the Historical Bottles topic > any preferences/opinions?
 

daltonbottles

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2010
54
0
Whiskeyman, thanks for the welcome. I hope I can help pass along some good history and information that I have gathered over the years surrounding black glass.

Feel free to move or pin the thread as you see fit. Whatever is easiest for you or most helpful to others.

Thanks again,

DB
 

earlyglass

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2004
1,053
0
Love the family and the relaxation, but I was also very anxious to get back to this thread!

Thank you for your response Dalton. Yes, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between the various origins of black glass... that is why I am so intrigued by the thread and the hope for some enlightenment. Embossed bottles and flasks are quite easy to identify, and numerous references have described and catalogued most bottles. Generally speaking... Color, character and condition separate one from another. However, early freeblown wares and black glass require interpretation and many assumptions based upon the feel of the glass, techniques, and frankly, a "gut feeling". In other words, the collector needs to read the glass rather than the embossing.

I collect mostly New England glass... bottles and flasks, etc. but I have a dozen or so pieces of black glass. One that comes to mind is an English looking wine bottle, which I assume was produced in the US. It is embossed "ILM Smith / Wine Merchant / Baltimore". I haven't taken the time to research it, however, I am sure that some Baltimore collectors will chime in. Which glasshouse produced it? Without the seal, would it have been passed off as English?

I have read Van De Bossche's book, which I found very imformative, however, I would like to see more credit given to the early US glass factories that created identical glass which is always credited or passed off as being foreign. I understand that the idea is that these "styles" are attributed to a particular country, however, new collectors may simply attributed ALL examples rather than making judgement calls. We hear it all the time at shows or forums... "this is a French jar" or "these are Dutch gins". I guess this comes with the territory, since most of this glass is over 200 years old and of very similar styles. Any thoughts?

Thanks again... I really enjoy the insight.

Mike



 

Attachments

baltbottles

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2002
2,392
0
Baltimore Maryland
DB so far this has been a interesting thread. And I agree like you, much black Glass attribution is more speculation then real evidence. For instance The Baltimore cylinders with the Notches on the base edge of the bottle. I have seen examples with 2, 3, and 4 of these notches. I know some of these have been Dug in Baltimore. Also you have the Dip molded porters embossed BGW on the side (these have been found in Baltimore but also in other cities). All of these I have seen look to be from the 1800-1830 era and fit in well with Baltimore having an operational Glass House. I however have also Dug a broken cylinder from a circa 1780s-90s context privy embossed IV on the side. So all of these marked dip molded bottles can't be clumped together and attributed to Baltimore. Wil Martindale has done some interesting speculation but there is very little hard evidence in attributing the base notched cylinders and the BGW porters to Baltimore. No archaeology was done at the Federal Hill Glassworks and the site was likely destroyed when Key Highway was built. However I Do have a BGW porter in my collection and believe its likely Baltimore and I am sure its an American made bottle. Simply because by 1800-1810 there were enough Glass houses in operation in this country to meet most of the domestic need for bottles. So imported bottles would have declined greatly. Its far easier to ship liquids in large casks then in thousands of glass bottles. Heres a picture of my BGW porter

Mike, I have always liked the ILM Smith bottles I will have to get one sooner or later. what is your guess on the age of the bottle?

Chris


 

Attachments

daltonbottles

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2010
54
0
Good points Chris. Sometimes our "speculation" and assumptions can get the best of us, and we start to eventually believe what we WANT to be true as opposed to sticking with hard evidence. Dating bottles is one of those areas where we sometimes want something to be older than it really is, and it's easy to overlook the facts in favor of writing the fairy tale. Attribution as to place of origin is the same way it seems. Sometimes we "want" a bottle to be American, so we try to convince outselves that it is in fact American. Still, without the hard evidence, it all boils back down to speculation and conjecture.

Mike, you said "....early freeblown wares and black glass require interpretation and many assumptions based upon the feel of the glass, techniques, and frankly, a "gut feeling". In other words, the collector needs to read the glass rather than the embossing." You are exactly right. In the case of early black glass, it's a combination of all of the manufacturing characteristics, including the components of the glass production itself. It would be interesting to come up with some kind of spectro-analysis of different glass examples around the world to see if there is anything specific that can be attributed to specific locations and differences in glass component materials. But like you say, sometimes that "gut feeling" based on alot of glass handling can be more accurate than even the best intentioned S.W.A.G. theories (scientific wild-assed guessing).

As far as wholesale attribution of certain styles of glass being placed with a certain country, alot of that comes moreso from the study of the presence (or lack thereof) of glass blowing operations during the time period in which specific styles were being produced. With the onion bottles for example, it is unlikely that there were many, if any, major glass operations in the new world during the period that most of these were being made. There was some speculation at one time of many of the onion bottles being blown in South American port settlements, such as those around the Essequibo reigon of Guyana, but again, that has been written off as speculation until there is some solid evidence discovered indicating that such operations were even in existance in that area at the time. But with the quantities of onion bottles being recovered from the area, the obvious question comes to mind........ where did it all come from ? There was of course alot of trade activity in the area of Fort Island which may help attribute the number of such bottles found there, and much of what has been recovered there tends to weigh on the side of the Dutch-Belgian styles, while a smaller percentage of "English" glass seems to be involved. But how many of these Dutch-Belgian bottles coming on the market today are indeed Essequibo recoveries, and how many are simply lumped into the group while originating elsewhere ? Again, these are questions, speculations that can probably never be answered with any degree of certainty.

With sealed bottles, of course we are talking an entirely different ballgame. These seals are akin to having "Made in China" plainly stamped on the bottom of the wholesale junk sold at the local Wal Mart establishment as far as identification and locale attribution are concerned. Our problem with much of the mid-18th century and later unmarked glass is that we have a jumble of made in China, made in Japan, made in Tiawan, and made in Singapore all mixed together with no identifying markings other than that very basic group of production and material characteristics. The best we can do, and as some have very simply done, is to use the sealed bottles as a basis of judging the others with no identifying marks. You take the "knowns" and apply their characteristics to the "unknowns", and at least there is a basis for opinions offered from the point of educated guessing. And in many cases, that is the best we can ever hope for until something much more scientific is put into play, such as the possibility of some type of spectro-analysis that can confidently tell us what is what.
 

whiskeyman

Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2005
2,305
0
DALTON..I think it's more befitting and appropriate to have moved it to the Historic Bottle topic...Hope you agree.
 

Steve/sewell

Well-Known Member
Jan 23, 2010
6,108
0
Dalton,Chris,Mike and Jeff here are some quick to read web pages that will help in determining American made glass.
This is a great post by the way Dalton.I have been to Wistarburgh (1739 to 1782) I have plenty of shards from the works.
I have glass from the Stangers Glass works in Glassboro 1775 to 1783 then it became Carpenter and Tonkins with Solomon Stanger still owning a small percentage Solomon then sold his rights to Colonel Thomas Heston in 1786 thus the plant was called Heston and Carpenter.It then became the Olive glass works in 1802 when Colonel Heston passed away and Thomas Carpenter retired Carpenters son Edward took his half of the business and soon widow Bathsheba Heston sold her remaining half also to Edward Carpenter.The Glassboro site should have been studied better then it has because of the length of operation stradling over 125 years.I have seen quite a bit of early South Jeresey glass in my lifetime within a 30 mile radius of my current home the following glass works existed.Wistarburgh (1739 to 1780),Stanger 1775 to 1783 Heston and Carpenter 1783 to 1789 Eagle Glass Works, at Port Elizabeth 1799, Cape May County glassworks at Marshallville in 1814.The Eagle and Marshallville glass works were set up and built by the Stanger brothers.Quite a bit of glass was manfactured here in colonial times and is in countless museums and private collections.Here are three web sites with some good information gentlemen.
http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/AbstractTemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjes&volume=41&year=2004&issue=6&msno=e04-006

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/sia/31.2/owen.html

http://www.oldsouthjerseyglass.com/short%20articles.htm

http://www.oldsouthjerseyglass.com/more%20articles.htm Look at the pictures of the string lips found at the site.
Enough have been found and ways have been established to to tell the difference between simple cullet and actual manufacture at the site

It is absolutley possible to make solid attributions to particular glass works by studying glass batch mixtures.
Studying Wistarburgh shards and visiting the site is almost like a CSI investigator piecing bits of information together
to solve a murder mystery.Its like anything in life spend the time do the research show some passion for your particular likes and you will be sucessfull Remember the glass house workers used tried and true methods and will not stray very far from time tested ways of their particular way of manufacture.
I hope this is helpfull and lets keep talking about this subject there are some good minds at work here.
 

Latest posts

Members online

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
74,787
Messages
683,966
Members
16,108
Latest member
97Carol
Top