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Understanding/identifying what a pontil scar is.

Bottle 2 Rocks

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2021
179
63
There seems to be a lot of new collectors who are confused what a pontil scar looks like or is. They seem to know its on the base of the bottle but after that they get a bit confused sometimes.
Lets start with the open pontil which is probably the most common of pontil marks. The still in making bottle is put on the pontil rod with a blob of glass to hold it while the top is being made/tooled by the glassmaker, when done this rod is broken away leaving a sharp edged scar that would likely cut you if you ran your finger across it. Most dates point to 1845-1860 and some earlier for the use of this type, it is even still used today on blown art glass but some polishing often takes place on these newer vessels.
The iron or graphite pontil is the easiest to distinguish because it looks like an imprint of a black or rusty doughnut, these were in use 1850's-1860's.
There are other pontil marks but these are the ones most will see.
Machine made bottles-those with the mold lines all the way to the top made after 1905 do not use or have pontil marks. You may see scars of excess glass on the bases of machine made bottles but it isn't a pontil mark and neither is a kick up base you see on wine bottles.
Well that's a start but I'm sure others could add to this topic to help out a new collector's understanding of the pontil mark.
 

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GRACE ABOUND

Well-Known Member
Dec 24, 2020
150
43
Hello Bottle 2 Rocks I Want To Thank You For Your Simple Explanation Of Pontil Mark . I Can Understand Your Concept Clearly . And Why It Was What It Was For . Thanks Again .
 

UncleBruce

BEER DUDE
Aug 22, 2012
1,072
113
Show Me State (Missouri)
The early automated bottle making machines would put a kind of a circular mark on the base of bottles. See the photo below. This circular mark happens on many machine made bottles and is cause by vacuum that the machines would use to control the handling of the bottle. These marks are often confused with pontil scars, but are not the same. Milk, soda and food products are some of the bottle types that will have these marks. I'm sure there are more. The photo below is from the base of an embossed milk.
scar.jpg
 
Last edited:

Bottle 2 Rocks

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2021
179
63
The early automated bottle making machines would put a kind of a circular mark on the base of the bottles it made. See the photo below. This circular mark happens on many machine made bottles and is cause by vacuum that the machines would use to control the handling of the bottle. These marks are often confused with pontil scars, but are not the same. Milk, soda and food products are some of the bottle types that will have these marks. I'm sure there are more. The photo below is from the base of an embossed milk.
View attachment 220679
Excellent addition to this thread, I would say/add any bottle that has embossed writing on the base would not have a genuine pontil scar.
 

Csa

Well-Known Member
Oct 21, 2020
116
43
This is a helpful thread for us newbies. I know I haven’t found any pontil base bottles at all. I have lots of the suction type marks that Bruce describes, and also many rougher irregular scars which I think are Owens scars from early Owens ABM machine. Can you all explain that Owens mark/process and the likely dates, I’m sure a lot of folks finding those rough bottom marks think they are pontil marks. Thanks again
 

Bottle 2 Rocks

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2021
179
63
This is a helpful thread for us newbies. I know I haven’t found any pontil base bottles at all. I have lots of the suction type marks that Bruce describes, and also many rougher irregular scars which I think are Owens scars from early Owens ABM machine. Can you all explain that Owens mark/process and the likely dates, I’m sure a lot of folks finding those rough bottom marks think they are pontil marks. Thanks again
I think the Owens marks/scars are a totally different topic to be discussed on another thread. Lets just say the word pontil and owens are not related in any way. Unless of course Uncle Owen was the dude that held the pontil rod at the factory, lol.
Everyday bottles used for products that were consumed that were made with the use of a pontil rod generally ended about 1870. Of course blown art glass is the exception. Owens came along way after 1870 and was mostly automatic bottle machine production which never had use for pontil rods. I am talking about bottles made in the USA and not over seas factories. Their methods overseas may differ.
Check out glassbottlemarks.com for info on Owens and later Owen Illinois bottles.
 

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