Unidentified bottle?

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gdog68

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Bought this bottle for a dollar at an antique store. Cork top, no visible seam. Blobs of glass overflowing on the cork top. Uneven lopsided stem and top to this bottle with a floral abrasive like etching. Don't know the age range of this bottle seams to look old with the the shoddy way it was made. Any ideas of the age range or what this could be?
 
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CanadianBottles

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Nice find! We get a lot of liquor bottles like this in Canada that were imported from the UK, generally they date to around the turn of the 20th century, give or take a couple decades. The etching is interesting, it could be someone's recent craft project but I think I've seen similar etching before. I can't remember the details though. Etching like that was sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to embossing, but usually it would be the company's name rather than decoration like yours has.
 

gdog68

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Thank you for the reply. The etching is quiet interesting. I believe this bottle was hand blown without a mold because it has no seems. It could be someone's craft. Let me know if you ever find any bottles with a similar floral etching.
 

willong

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Thank you for the reply. The etching is quiet interesting. I believe this bottle was hand blown without a mold because it has no seems. It could be someone's craft. Let me know if you ever find any bottles with a similar floral etching.
Nice bottle, but not free-blown. Commonly called a turn-mold bottle, the glass was rotated in the mold while still plastic. Rotating the bottle, facilitated by coating the mold interior with a special paste prior to introducing the glass, erased the mold seam marks and produced a high gloss finish. Some examples exhibit annular striations over portions of, or entire surface of the bottle cylinder, though yours appears more like the intended, over-all, glossy finish. Look at the base and you'll see more evidence of the turning: it's those concentric rings that look faintly like the grooves of a phonograph record (if your old enough to relate to that reference :D).

I have a similar etched example that I dug over fifty years ago. The original etching was typically done with acid by the bottle manufacturers as an additional embellishment. Whether the glossy finish and etching actually signified premium products (liquors and wines), or merely purported such, I can't say.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that acid etching was quite common on seltzer bottles. Google the term "etched seltzer bottle" and then click on "images" for many examples.

I suspect that the reason etching was particularly common on seltzer bottles during 19th Century was it facilitated a cost effective means of producing low-number production runs of "branded" containers--dispensers actually--intended for multiple refills and reuse. A bar, hotel or restaurant that wanted a couple custom-labeled seltzer bottles, or even a few dozen of them, could hardly justify custom mold fabrication cost; but could afford etched embellishment. Seems to me that the etched branding, while not nearly as expensive as a custom mold, would be much preferred to paper labeling on a product subjected to the handling, washing and repeated reuse that a seltzer bottle would see over its service life.

As I understand the process, acid etching was done by coating the glass with a wax resist through which an artist scratched the intended design. Hydrofluoric acid applied to the surface then dissolved some of the exposed glass surface, producing the matte finish, but did not penetrate the wax-covered portions.

Having matted glass via sandblasting, I'm curious if that technology was ever used historically to etch glass in a manner similar to spray-painting a stencil design. If anyone has read accounts of glass etching by sandblasting in the 19th century, I'd be interested in links or references to literature.

WL
 
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CanadianBottles

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Nice bottle, but not free-blown. Commonly called a turn-mold bottle, the glass was rotated in the mold while still plastic. Rotating the bottle, facilitated by coating the mold interior with a special paste prior to introducing the glass, erased the mold seam marks and produced a high gloss finish. Some examples exhibit annular striations over portions of, or entire surface of the bottle cylinder, though yours appears more like the intended, over-all, glossy finish. Look at the base and you'll see more evidence of the turning: it's those concentric rings that look faintly like the grooves of a phonograph record (if your old enough to relate to that reference :D).

I have a similar etched example that I dug over fifty years ago. The original etching was typically done with acid by the bottle manufacturers as an additional embellishment. Whether the glossy finish and etching actually signified premium products (liquors and wines), or merely purported such, I can't say.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that acid etching was quite common on seltzer bottles. Google the term "etched seltzer bottle" and then click on "images" for many examples.

I suspect that the reason etching was particularly common on seltzer bottles during 19th Century was it facilitated a cost effective means of producing low-number production runs of "branded" containers--dispensers actually--intended for multiple refills and reuse. A bar, hotel or restaurant that wanted a couple custom-labeled seltzer bottles, or even a few dozen of them, could hardly justify custom mold fabrication cost; but could afford etched embellishment. Seems to me that the etched branding, while not nearly as expensive as a custom mold, would be much preferred to paper labeling on a product subjected to the handling, washing and repeated reuse that a seltzer bottle would see over its service life.

As I understand the process, acid etching was done by coating the glass with a wax resist through which an artist scratched the intended design. Hydrofluoric acid applied to the surface then dissolved some of the exposed glass surface, producing the matte finish, but did not penetrate the wax-covered portions.

Having matted glass via sandblasting, I'm curious if that technology was ever used historically to etch glass in a manner similar to spray-painting a stencil design. If anyone has read accounts of glass etching by sandblasting in the 19th century, I'd be interested in links or references to literature.

WL
I wonder if there might have been something to do with the manufacture of seltzer bottles that prevented them from being embossed, because as far as I know, out of the hundreds of seltzer bottlers used in Canada, none of them were ever embossed. Large bottlers would often have huge inventories of seltzer bottles, sometimes in ornate shapes and very unusual, expensive colours, but they would always be acid-etched. There are embossed seltzers from other countries, but I wonder if these might post-date the seltzer bottle era here which ended in the 40s or so. Have you ever come across any embossed seltzers in the US? I found photos of a couple, but I'm not sure how recent they are. I know seltzer bottle use continued for much longer in the US than it did here (I think there's still one remaining company in New York using them, but I don't think anyone has had new bottles made for a while).
 

willong

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I wonder if there might have been something to do with the manufacture of seltzer bottles that prevented them from being embossed, because as far as I know, out of the hundreds of seltzer bottlers used in Canada, none of them were ever embossed. Large bottlers would often have huge inventories of seltzer bottles, sometimes in ornate shapes and very unusual, expensive colours, but they would always be acid-etched. There are embossed seltzers from other countries, but I wonder if these might post-date the seltzer bottle era here which ended in the 40s or so. Have you ever come across any embossed seltzers in the US? I found photos of a couple, but I'm not sure how recent they are. I know seltzer bottle use continued for much longer in the US than it did here (I think there's still one remaining company in New York using them, but I don't think anyone has had new bottles made for a while).
I dug mostly remote or rural dumps and I can't recall ever digging even shards of seltzer bottles in such settings; so no, I never personally encountered embossed seltzer bottles. I have always admired the colors and etched embellishments exhibited by examples I've seen in books. Knowing a little about mold making and acid etching, I simply hypothesized a reason for the relative prevalence of the latter type of embellishment on seltzer bottles--my hypothesis might not be valid.

I wonder how large an order for embossed bottles would have to have been in order to amortize the cost of having a custom mold manufactured? At some point, economy of scale should bring the unit cost of embossed bottles below that of more tediously etched ones--it just strikes me that seltzer water would not have been such a volume business in most markets.

Were the embossed examples you mentioned labeled for the water distributors' businesses?
 

Len

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I believe I have one of these bots as well. If I had to render a guess--wedding/party favor. Maybe "chapponya." :D

Hey, Will, et al, I believe metal workers of the same time period, used a similar approach.-- The "lost wax process" when making the mold for statues, etc.
 
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CanadianBottles

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I dug mostly remote or rural dumps and I can't recall ever digging even shards of seltzer bottles in such settings; so no, I never personally encountered embossed seltzer bottles. I have always admired the colors and etched embellishments exhibited by examples I've seen in books. Knowing a little about mold making and acid etching, I simply hypothesized a reason for the relative prevalence of the latter type of embellishment on seltzer bottles--my hypothesis might not be valid.

I wonder how large an order for embossed bottles would have to have been in order to amortize the cost of having a custom mold manufactured? At some point, economy of scale should bring the unit cost of embossed bottles below that of more tediously etched ones--it just strikes me that seltzer water would not have been such a volume business in most markets.

Were the embossed examples you mentioned labeled for the water distributors' businesses?
Here's an embossed seltzer from the Pittsburgh Seltzer Co:
1666233711098.png

and another from the Rock Creek Ginger Beer Co. in Washington, DC
1666233777162.png


These both seem to be from around the art deco era in the 30s-40s based on their appearances, so after the era of seltzer bottles I'm familiar with. I wonder how many seltzer bottles a large bottler would have had around that time. Some are common enough that I wouldn't be surprised if they were ordering a thousand or so bottles at a time, but maybe that still wouldn't be enough to justify a custom seltzer mold. It could also be that I'm overestimating how many bottles those companies would have had, especially if those particular ones are common because an unusually large number of them were never thrown away, or something.

There were lots of embossed seltzer bottles used in Argentina, no idea what era these would be from though:
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hemihampton

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I don't think I ever seen a embossed Seltzer before. LEON.
 

willong

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Here's an embossed seltzer from the Pittsburgh Seltzer Co:
View attachment 240865
and another from the Rock Creek Ginger Beer Co. in Washington, DC
View attachment 240866

These both seem to be from around the art deco era in the 30s-40s based on their appearances, so after the era of seltzer bottles I'm familiar with. I wonder how many seltzer bottles a large bottler would have had around that time. Some are common enough that I wouldn't be surprised if they were ordering a thousand or so bottles at a time, but maybe that still wouldn't be enough to justify a custom seltzer mold. It could also be that I'm overestimating how many bottles those companies would have had, especially if those particular ones are common because an unusually large number of them were never thrown away, or something.

There were lots of embossed seltzer bottles used in Argentina, no idea what era these would be from though:
View attachment 240874
Thanks for digging those photos up. Attractive bottles all.

I can't read the Argentine labeling, but the two American examples seem to confirm my speculation that embossed seltzer bottles would have been ordered by seltzer water distributors rather than hotels, saloons and such. I suppose if any hotels owned enough locations approaching anything like the numbers owned by today's chains, then one might find seltzer bottles embossed "The Ritz" or something similar; but I'm really not expecting that to be the case. For now, I'm clinging to my theory that it's all about the numbers required to justify the expense of a mold.

Hmm, if I had a nice home bar I would maybe have to violate my "dig or trade only" bottle acquisition policy. Break down and actually buy an antique seltzer bottle--one like the plain, dark green example in the foreground--then horrify purists, altering it by etching my monogram into its surface!
 

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