What did this bottle have inside? Honey? Oil?

historic-antiques

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Hi Everyone,

I picked this bottle up in an antique store for $5, 11 years ago in Lake Geneva, WI. Any idea what it contained? There's an open pontil and crude lip, and the bottle company's initials, but not sure how old it is.

Any info or ideas would be great! Thanks!

Paul
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CanadianBottles

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Interesting bottle, I suspect it came from continental Europe (France would be my best guess) where they still were using pontils for longer than they were over here. The lip and the rest of the bottle does not look like it comes from what I would think of as the pontil era. I'm leaning towards something like olive oil in terms of contents, since it would have to be something that was imported and in those days the number of products which were imported was more limited, with olive oil being one of the more common ones.
 

Harry Pristis

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I like pepper sauce or vinegar for these bottles. I actually found a broken example at an old steamboat landing on the Suwannee. Pepper sauce was hugely popular on the Florida frontier where food quality deteriorated quickly in the heat. Could have been an import, but I've never seen one on French eBay. It strikes me as a fragile bottle and not an efficient use of space for an import.

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historic-antiques

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Interesting bottle, I suspect it came from continental Europe (France would be my best guess) where they still were using pontils for longer than they were over here. The lip and the rest of the bottle does not look like it comes from what I would think of as the pontil era. I'm leaning towards something like olive oil in terms of contents, since it would have to be something that was imported and in those days the number of products which were imported was more limited, with olive oil being one of the more common ones.
Thanks again CanadianBottles! You know a lot to make such analyses! Yes, the mold seam stops about 1 inch from the top, not what you might expect from an open-pontiled U.S. bottle. Now that you mentioned it, it does seem a little "European" or French; more stylistic with gentle, rounded sides. U.S. and maybe Canadian bottles have their own "character" and artistic elements - just like we can detect differences between 19th century Asian and U.S. or Canadian furniture or even firearms. There are these little (and big) stylistic differences that clue us (or shout out!) the possible provenances. Thanks again!!
 

historic-antiques

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I like pepper sauce or vinegar for these bottles. I actually found a broken example at an old steamboat landing on the Suwannee. Pepper sauce was hugely popular on the Florida frontier where food quality deteriorated quickly in the heat. Could have been an import, but I've never seen one on French eBay. It strikes me as a fragile bottle and not an efficient use of space for an import.

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Hi Harry,

Wow!! You have some great images, one of which seems like my bottle! Yes, could have been a pepper sauce bottle. Kind of fancy for that, after being used to seeing many Tabasco and Lea-Perrin's bottles from the 1890s. How old do you think the middle bottle is? That's like mine, though mine has an open pontil. CanadianBottles has some good points, could be an import. What would you say if it's a U.S. bottle, 1850? If it's French? I have no knowledge base to date French bottles. Thanks for your response!!
 

Harry Pristis

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I've already given my opinion that these are not imported bottles. They are clearly old enough to be empontilled in the USA (or in France). That most likely would make them from the 1860s-70s. But, it seems there aren't enough of these beehive bottles in circulation to track down the origin or the original contents -- we can only speculate at this point.
 

hemihampton

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The Bottom looks like 1850's with the Pontil but the rest looks newer to me, more, like 1890's? So maybe what CanadianBottles was saying or implying is Europe or France was still using the Pontil Method of Blowing Glass in the 1890's while the U.S.A. moved past that method 20+ Years earlier. Just my opinion, I'm sure others will vary? LEON.
 

CanadianBottles

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I like pepper sauce or vinegar for these bottles. I actually found a broken example at an old steamboat landing on the Suwannee. Pepper sauce was hugely popular on the Florida frontier where food quality deteriorated quickly in the heat. Could have been an import, but I've never seen one on French eBay. It strikes me as a fragile bottle and not an efficient use of space for an import.

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I like pepper sauce or vinegar for these bottles. I actually found a broken example at an old steamboat landing on the Suwannee. Pepper sauce was hugely popular on the Florida frontier where food quality deteriorated quickly in the heat. Could have been an import, but I've never seen one on French eBay. It strikes me as a fragile bottle and not an efficient use of space for an import.

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Peppersauce is definitely a possibility as well, especially considering that there are similarly shaped bottles which are much more clearly identifiable as peppersauces. As for the import question, you definitely wouldn't think it would make much sense to import such inefficiently-shaped bottles but it does seem to have been done. Imported olive oil was frequently sold in very bottom-heavy bottles such as these, which at least claimed to have been bottled in France (though I have no idea if that's true, does anyone know where the SSP olive oil bottles were made?)

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Interestingly, there was a remarkably similar bottle used decades later for French olive oil by the Old Monk brand, although I have a hard time imagining there could be any direct connection between the two after a half century or so - although maybe inspired by a shape that was previously in use?
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I wouldn't necessarily expect to see bottles of the type used for export showing up on French Ebay because sometimes certain styles of bottle were exclusively or predominantly used for export. I remember encountering a Chinese collector on here a while back and he had never seen the incredibly common Wing Lee Wai beer bottles which are everywhere on the west coast. He was familiar with the brand, but only as a stoneware bottle which I had never seen before - apparently the glass bottles were only for export.
 

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