Brown glass and WWII

Brown glass and WWII

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I've seen numerous articles claiming that WWII affected the beer bottling industry which caused a change (reversion) from it being sold in brown glass bottles to green.

Sometimes the articles, such as here, say that brown glass was needed during the war which caused the shift. Sometimes, such as here, the claim is that after the war there was a shortage of brown glass and that is when the change was made.

My question first of all is which of these is true? Was the change made during or after the war?

Second of all, unassuming the change was made during the war, why would brown glass be needed during the war leaving the private industry with only green? And on the flip side, if the change was made post war, why was there only a shortage of brown glass?

From Wikipedia's article on glass color:

  • Green glass of the sort used in bottles is produced by adding iron(II) oxide to glass.
  • Brown (technically, amber) glass is produced by adding sulfur, carbon, and iron salts to glass.

Sulfur is a critical industrial and military substance, and as such, "frivolous" uses such as coloring beer bottles would have been restricted during World War II. Iron(II) oxide, on the other hand, has few uses other than as a pigment. Sure, you can smelt it to produce steel, but the steel industry mostly used hematite and magnetite.


Bakelite ( / ˈ b eɪ k əl aɪ t / BAY -kə-lyte sometimes spelled Baekelite) or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride was the first plastic made from synthetic components. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907.

Bakelite was patented on December 7, 1909. The creation of a synthetic plastic was revolutionary for its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children's toys, and firearms.

In recent years the "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible. [3]

Bakelite was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark on November 9, 1993, by the American Chemical Society in recognition of its significance as the world's first synthetic plastic. [4]


Romano-Celtic Britain Edit

Brewing in Britain was probably well established when the Romans arrived in 54 BC, [1] and certainly continued under them.

In the 1980s archaeologists found the evidence that Rome's soldiers in Britain sustained themselves on Celtic ale. A series of domestic and military accounts written on wooden tablets were dug up at the Roman fort of Vindolanda, at Chesterholm in modern Northumberland, dating to between AD90 and AD130. They reveal the garrison at Vindolanda buying ceruese, or beer, as the legions doubtless did throughout the rest of Roman Britain, almost certainly from brewers in the local area.

One list of accounts from Vindolanda mentions Atrectus the brewer (Atrectus cervesarius), the first named brewer in British history, as well as the first known professional brewer in Britain. The accounts also show purchases of bracis or braces, that is, emmer wheat (or malt), doubtless for brewing. Quite possibly the garrison bought the malt, and hired a local brewer to make beer from it for the troops.

In Roman Britain, brewing, both domestic and retail, must have been widespread: remains indicating the existence of Roman-era malting or brewing operations have been found from Somerset to Northumberland, and South Wales to Colchester. In the third and fourth centuries AD Roman hypocaust technology, for supplying central heating to homes, was adapted in Britain to build permanent corn dryers/maltings, and the remains of these double-floored buildings, with underground flues, are found in Roman towns as well as on Roman farms. [2]

British brewing is generally thought to have been part of a wider Celtic tradition. Since this was well before the introduction of hops, other flavourings such as honey, meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) may have been used. [3]

Middle Ages: Ale-wands, ale-wives and ale-conners Edit

Beer was one of the most common drinks during the Middle Ages. [5] It was consumed daily by all social classes in the northern and eastern parts of Europe where grape cultivation was difficult or impossible. [ citation needed ] Beer provided a considerable amount of the daily calories in the northern regions. In England, the per capita consumption was 275–300 liters (60–66 gallons) a year by the Late Middle Ages, and beer was drunk with every meal. [ citation needed ]

In the Middle Ages, ale would have been brewed on the premises from which it was sold. Alewives would put out an ale-wand to show when their beer was ready. The mediaeval authorities were more interested in ensuring adequate quality and strength of the beer than discouraging drinking. Gradually men became involved in brewing and organized themselves into guilds such as the Brewers Guild in London of 1342 and the Edinburgh Society of Brewers in 1598. As brewing became more organized and reliable many inns and taverns ceased brewing for themselves and bought beer from these early commercial breweries. [6]

An ale-conner, sometimes "aleconner", was an officer appointed yearly at the court-leet of ancient English communities to ensure the goodness and wholesomeness of bread, ale, and beer. [7] There were many different names for this position, which varied from place to place: "ale-tasters," gustatores cervisiae, "ale-founders," and "ale-conners". Ale-conners were often trusted to ensure that the beer was sold at a fair price. Historically, four ale-conners were chosen annually by the Common Hall of the City.

It is sometimes said that:

The Ale Conner was a type of early tax-man whose job it was to test the quality and strength of beer, not by quaffing, but by sitting in a puddle of it! They travelled from pub to pub clad in sturdy leather britches. Beer was poured on a wooden bench and the Conner sat in it. Depending on how sticky they felt it to be when they stood up, they were able to assess its alcoholic strength and impose the appropriate duty. [8]

However, the accuracy of the colourful legend is doubtful. [9]

1400–1699: Rise of hopped beer Edit

The use of hops in beer was written of as early as 822 by a Carolingian Abbot. Flavouring beer with hops was known at least since the 9th century, but was only gradually adopted because of difficulties in establishing the right proportions of ingredients. Before that, a mix of various herbs called gruit had been used, but did not have the same conserving properties as hops.

In The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery dictates her story to a scribe, and reports that in the early 15th century she attempted to brew beer in Bishop's Lynn, Norfolk, and makes other references to bottles of beer.

In the 15th century, an unhopped beer would have been known as an ale, while the use of hops would make it a beer. Hopped beer was imported to England from the Netherlands as early as 1400 in Winchester, and hops were being planted on the island by 1428. At the time, ale and beer brewing were carried out separately, no brewer being allowed to produce both. The Brewers Company of London stated "no hops, herbs, or other like thing be put into any ale or liquore wherof ale shall be made – but only liquor (water), malt, and yeast." This comment is sometimes misquoted as a prohibition on hopped beer. [10] However, hopped beer was opposed by some, e.g.

Ale is made of malte and water and they the which do put any other thynge to ale than is rehersed, except yest, barme, or goddesgood [three words for yeast], doth sophysticat there ale. Ale for an Englysshe man is a naturall drinke. Ale muste haue these properties, it muste be fresshe and cleare, it muste not be ropy, nor smoky, nor it must haue no wefte nor tayle. Ale shulde not be dronke vnder.v.[5] dayes olde . Barly malte maketh better ale than Oten malte or any other corne doth . Beere is made of malte, of hoppes, and water it is a naturall drynke for a doche [Dutch] man, and nowe of late dayes [recently] it is moche vsed in Englande to the detryment of many Englysshe men . for the drynke is a colde drynke. Yet it doth make a man fatte, and doth inflate the bely, as it doth appere by the doche mennes faces and belyes. [11]

A survey in 1577 of drinking establishment in England and Wales for taxation purposes [12] recorded 14,202 alehouses, 1,631 inns, and 329 taverns, representing one pub for every 187 people. [13]

1700–1899: Industry and empire Edit

The early 18th century saw the development of a popular new style of dark beer in London: porter. Before 1700, London brewers sent out their beer very young and any aging was either performed by the publican or a dealer. Porter was the first beer to be aged at the brewery and despatched in a condition fit to be drunk immediately. It was the first beer that could be made on any large scale, and the London porter brewers, such as Whitbread, Truman, Parsons and Thrale, achieved great success financially.

The large London porter breweries pioneered many technological advances, such as the construction of large storage vats, the use of the thermometer (about 1760), the hydrometer (1770), and attemperators (about 1780).

The 18th century also saw the development of India pale ale. Among the earliest known named brewers whose beers were exported to India was George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery,

The late 18th century saw a system of progressive taxation based on the strength of beer in terms of cost of ingredients, leading to three distinct gradations: "table", "small" and "strong" beer. [14] Mixing these types was used as a way of achieving variation, and sometimes avoiding taxation, and remained popular for more than a century afterwards.

The beer engine (a simple lift-pump), a device for manually pumping beer from a container in a pub's basement or cellar, was invented by Joseph Bramah in 1797. The bar-mounted pump handle, with its changeable pump clip indicating the beer on offer remains a familiar and characteristic sight in most English pubs. Before the beer engine, beer was generally poured into jugs in the cellar or tap room and carried into the serving area.

The Beerhouse Act 1830 enabled anyone to brew and sell beer, ale or cider, whether from a public house or their own homes, upon obtaining a moderately priced licence of just under £2 for beer and ale and £1 for cider, [15] without recourse to obtaining them from justices of the peace, as was previously required. [16] The result was the opening of hundreds of new pubs throughout England, and the reduction of the influence of the large breweries. [17] One of the motivations of the Act was to reduce the abusive over-consumption of gin.

Demand for the export style of pale ale, which had become known as "India pale ale" (IPA), developed in England around 1840. IPA became a popular product in England. [18] Some brewers dropped the term "India" in the late 19th century, but records indicated that these "pale ales" retained the features of earlier IPA. [19]

A pale and well hopped style of beer was developed in Burton-on-Trent in parallel with the development of India pale ale elsewhere. Previously, Englishmen had drunk mainly stout and porter, but bitter (a development of pale ale) came to predominate. Beers from Burton were considered of a particularly high quality due to synergy between the malt and hops in use and local water chemistry, especially the presence of gypsum. This extensively hopped, lighter beer was easier to store and transport, and so favoured the growth of larger breweries. The switch from pewter tankards to glassware also led drinkers to prefer lighter beers. The development of rail links to Liverpool enabled brewers to export their beer throughout the British Empire. Burton retained absolute dominance in pale ale brewing: at its height one quarter of all beer sold in Britain was produced there [20] until a chemist, C. W. Vincent discovered the process of Burtonisation to reproduce the chemical composition of the water from Burton-upon-Trent, thus giving any brewery the capability to brew pale ale.

In 1880 prime minister William Gladstone's government used the Inland Revenue Act 1880 to replace the longstanding malt tax with a duty on the finished product – beer. As a side effect, homebrewers that produced their own beer for ‘domestic use’ were subject to registration, regulation and inspection, and were required to pay a licence fee. Home brewing was greatly reduced. [21]

In the 19th century a typical brewery produced three or four mild ales, usually designated by a number of X's, the weakest being X, the strongest XXXX. They were considerably stronger than the milds of today, with the gravity ranging from around 1.055 to 1.072 (about 5.5% to 7% ABV). Gravities dropped throughout the late 19th century and by 1914 the weakest milds were down to about 1.045, still considerably stronger than modern versions. [22]

Continental lagers began to be offered in pubs in the late 19th century, but remained a small part of the market for many decades.

1900 to 1949: Temperance and war Edit

The temperance movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in combination with First World War emergency measures, introduced a number of changes, such as higher taxation on beer, lower strengths, a ban on "buying a round" and restricted opening hours. Most were gradually repealed over subsequent decades. [23]

The First World War measures had a particularly dramatic effect upon mild ale. As the biggest-selling beer, it suffered the largest cut in gravity when breweries had to limit the average OG of their beer to 1.030. In order to be able to produce some stronger beer – which was exempt from price controls and thus more profitable – mild was reduced to 1.025 or lower. [24]

Less strict restrictions were applied in Ireland, allowing Irish brewers such as Guinness to continue to brew beers closer to pre-war strengths. English breweries continued to brew a range of bottled, and sometimes draught, stouts until the Second World War and beyond. They were considerably weaker than the pre-war versions (down from 1.055–1.060 to 1.040–1.042) and around the strength that porter had been in 1914. The drinking of porter, with its strength slot now occupied by single stout, steadily declined, and production ceased in the early 1950s. [25] However, Irish-brewed stouts, particularly Guinness, remained firmly popular.

In the early 20th century, serving draught beer from pressurised containers began. Artificial carbonation was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1936, with Watney's experimental pasteurised beer Red Barrel, although this method of serving beer did not take hold in the UK until the late 1960s.

1950 to 1999: Megabreweries and microbreweries Edit

In 1960 almost 40 per cent of beer drunk nationally was sold in bottled form, although the figure was 60 per cent in the South of England, falling to 20 per cent in the North of England. [26] Pale ale had replaced mild as the beer of choice for the majority of drinkers.

Home brewing without a licence was legalised in 1963, and was to become a fairly popular hobby, with homebrewing equipment shops on many high streets. Lager rapidly rose in popularity from the 1970s, increasing from only 2% of the market in 1965 to 20% in 1975, [27] with English brewers producing their own brands or brewing under licence. Canned beer was also introduced about this time.

A consumer organisation, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was founded, in 1971, to protect unpressurised beer. The group devised the term real ale to differentiate between beer served from the cask and beer served under pressure and to differentiate both from lager. "Ale" now meant a top-fermented beer, not an unhopped beer. CAMRA was to become an influential force, with a membership of over 170,000. [28]

At the time, brewing was dominated by the "big six" breweries: Whitbread, Scottish and Newcastle, Bass Charrington, Allied Breweries, Courage Imperial and Watneys. [29]

There were also dozens of regional breweries, although the number was dwindling as a result of takeovers, and the microbrewery sector consisted of just four longstanding brewpubs. Most pubs were owned by breweries, and only allowed to offer the owning brewery's beers ("the tie"). CAMRA also campaigned against the tendency of smaller brewers to be bought up by larger ones, against short measures, for the preservation of historically significant pubs, and for increased choice and longer opening hours for pubs. CAMRA also produced a Good Beer Guide and campaigned for the preservation of mild ale, which was now seen as an endangered style. [30]

British drinkers became more interested in imported beers during the 1970s and 1980s, partly as a result of increased foreign travel, and partly because of promotion of the subject by beer writers such as Michael Jackson, with his 1977 The World Guide to Beer. Newly popular foreign brands included Beck's from Germany, Heineken and Grolsch from the Netherlands, Leffe and Hoegaarden from Belgium, Peroni from Italy, San Miguel from the Philippines, Budweiser and Sierra Nevada from the US, and Corona Extra from Mexico. [31] A number of bars specialise in imported beer, with food and decor to match, Belgian and Bavarian themes being the most common.

In 1972 Martin Sykes established Selby Brewery as the first new independent brewing company for 50 years. "I foresaw the revival in real ale, and got in early", he said. By the end of the decade he was joined by over 25 new microbreweries, a trend which would only increase in the 1980s. [32] In 1979, Tim Martin opened the first Wetherspoons pub, in Muswell Hill, north London. [33] This was the basis of a national chain of pubs, (over 900 as of 2016) which were to prove influential on the British beer scene, because of their low prices, large premises, and championing of cask ale. [34] Also in 1979 David Bruce established the first "Firkin" brewpub. The Firkin chain consisted of pubs offering cask ale brewed on the premises, or at another brewpub in the chain. The chain expanded to over 100 pubs over its twenty-year history, considerably adding to the number of brewpubs in England. After a number of changes of ownership, brewing operations were wound up in 2001. [35]

Two pieces of legislation, known as The Beer Orders, were introduced in December 1989, partly in response to CAMRA campaigning. The Orders restricted the number of tied pubs that could be owned by large brewery groups in the United Kingdom to 2,000, and required large brewer landlords to allow a guest ale to be sourced by tenants from someone other than their landlord. The industry responded by spinning off purely pub-owning companies ("pubcos"), such as Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns, from the older brewing-and-owning companies, notably Allied Lyons, Bass, and Scottish & Newcastle. The Beer Orders were revoked in January 2003, by which time the industry had been transformed.

2000 to present: hops and hipsters Edit

A change to beer taxation, Progressive Beer Duty was introduced by Gordon Brown in 2002. It was a reduction in beer duty based on a brewery's total production and aimed at helping smaller breweries. [36] The legislation had been campaigned for by the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba). In 2009, the combined sales of Siba's 420-plus members increased by 4% compared with 2008. By 2011 the breweries in the UK, were recording an average growth in beer sales of 3% to 7% per annum. [36]

By 2004, the term real ale had been expanded to include bottle-conditioned beer, while the term cask ale had become the accepted global term to indicate a beer not served under pressure.

Interest in imported beer continued to rise, with an influx of Eastern European workers making Lech and Tyskie particularly popular, [37] alongside Staropramen, Budvar and Kozel.

A piece of legislation popularly known as the "twenty four-hour drinking", officially the Licensing Act 2003 came into force in 2005. This removed the previous national restrictions on opening hours, allowing pubs and licensed premises to open for any or all of a twenty four-hour period, subject to agreement with the local licensing authorities. In practice, most pubs made only minor changes to their opening hours.

Although its founding father, Michael Jackson, died in 2007, modern British beer writing was burgeoning, with beer columns appearing alongside wine columns in the quality press. Beer writing was to evolve into beer blogging, leaders in both fields including Martyn Cornell, [38] Pete Brown, Roger Protz and Melissa Cole. [39]

In July 2007, a law was introduced to forbid smoking in all enclosed public places in England, including pubs. [40]

The popularity of lager fell from 74.5% in 2008 to 74.3% and the Observer publication suggested that British beer drinkers' "love affair with carbonated beers may finally have peaked". The 2010 edition of the Good Beer Guide showed that there were more than 700 real ale brewers in the UK at the time of publication—the highest number since the Second World War and four times as many since the founding of Camra. Iain Loe, a spokesman for Camra, explained a preference for moderate alcohol levels and a perception that real ale was healthier as responsible for the shift. [41]

Although the choice available to English beer drinkers in the mid 2010s is perhaps unparalleled, [42] there are concerns about the future of pubs, with about 30 closing per week. [46] Bucking the trend somewhat are craft beer outlets, the Wetherspoons chain, [47] and the micropub movement

The Wetherspoons chain has expanded to nearly 900 outlets over its 25-year history, most of them being former shops, banks and so on, rather than traditional pub premises. [48] Describing themselves as freehouses, its branches offer a wider range of cask ales than other pubcos, and they have recently begun offering craft beer. [49] Micropubs are small community pubs with limited opening hours, and focusing strongly on local cask ale. [50]

With cask ale having a secure future, the Campaign for Real Ale has (as of March 2016 [update] ) been reconsidering its aims, with the options including focusing on the preservation of pubs. [51]

Bitter Edit

Bitter is the broad term applied to a well-hopped pale ale, from about 3.5% to 7% in strength and pale gold to dark mahogany in colour. British brewers have several loose names for variations in beer strength, such as best bitter, special bitter, extra special bitter, and premium bitter. There is no agreed and defined difference between an ordinary and a best bitter other than one particular brewery's best bitter will usually be stronger than its ordinary. Two groups of drinkers may mark differently the point at which a best bitter then becomes a premium bitter. Hop levels will vary within each sub group, though there is a tendency for the hops in the session bitter group to be more noticeable. Bitter is dispensed in most formats — hand-pulled from the cask, on draught from the keg, smoothflow or bottled. [52] Drinkers tend to loosely group the beers into:

  • Session or ordinary bitter have strength up to 4.1% ABV. The majority of British beers with the name IPA will be found in this group, such as Greene King IPA, Flowers IPA, Wadworth Henrys Original IPA, etc. These session bitters are not as strong and hoppy as the 18th and 19th century IPAs (or as an India Pale Ale would be in the USA) although IPAs with modest gravities (below 1.040) have been brewed in Britain since at least the 1920s. [53] This is the most common strength of bitter sold in British pubs. It accounts for 16.9% of pub sales. [54]
  • Best bitter have strength between 3.8% and 4.7% ABV. In the United Kingdom, Bitter above 4.2% ABV accounts for just 2.9% of pub sales. [54] The disappearance of weaker bitters from some brewer's rosters means "best" bitter is actually the weakest in the range.
  • Premium bitter have strength of 4.8% ABV and over. Also known as extra special bitter, for instance Fuller's ESB.
  • Golden ale or summer ales were developed in the late 20th century by breweries to compete with the pale lager market. A typical golden ale has an appearance and profile similar to that of a pale lager. Malt character is subdued and the hop profile ranges from spicy to citrus common hop additions include Styrian Golding and Cascade. Alcohol is in the 4% to 5% range ABV. The style was marketed in 1989 by John Gilbert, a former brewer at Watney in Mortlake, London, who had opened his own operation, the Hop Back Brewery, in Salisbury, England. His aim was to develop a pale ale that could be as refreshing as lager. The result was a drier and hoppier pale ale he called "Summer Lightning", after a novel by PG Wodehouse it won several awards and inspired numerous imitators. [55]
  • India Pale Ale – although it is often said that India Pale Ale, a strong and well-hopped beer, was designed to "survive the sea voyage to India", modern authorities consider this to be a myth. [56] Twentieth century IPAs were equivalent to a typical bitter, although there has been a tendency to return to 18th century strengths (5.5% upwards), hop rates, e.g. Thornbridge Brewery's Jaipur IPA and Fuller, Smith and Turner's Bengal Lancer, and to emphasise the Indian connection in their branding.

Brown ale Edit

English brown ales range from beers such as Manns Original Brown Ale, [57] which is quite sweet and low in alcohol, to North Eastern brown ale such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Double Maxim and Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.

Mild Edit

Mild in modern times is generally considered to be a low-gravity beer with a low hop rate and predominantly malty palate. Historically, mild ales were of standard strength for the time (and rather strong by modern standards). Modern mild ales are mainly dark coloured with an abv of 3% to 3.6%, though there are lighter hued examples, as well as stronger more traditional examples reaching 6% abv and higher. The term 'mild' originally had nothing to do with strength or level of hop bitterness, but rather as a label for beers that were not "vatted" (aged) and hence did not have some of the tart and even slightly sour flavour of ales that were subject to long aging, which was considered a desirable attribute of premium ales. The dark colour characteristic of modern-day milds can come from either the use of roast malt or caramelised sugars, or more commonly, both. These ingredients lead to differences in flavour characteristics.

Mild is often thought to be partly a survival of the older style of hop-less brewing (hops were introduced in the 16th century), partly as a cheaper alternative to bitter (for a long time mild was a penny a pot, and bitter beer tuppence), and partly a sustaining but relatively unintoxicating beverage suitable for lunchtime drinking by manual workers. But in reality, mild was probably not hopped differently from other beers of the day, since the term 'mild' referred primarily to a lack of the sour tang contributed by age, and not a lack of hop character or alcoholic strength,

Once sold in every pub, mild experienced a catastrophic fall in popularity after the 1960s and was in danger of completely disappearing from many parts of the United Kingdom. However, in recent years the explosion of microbreweries has led to a partial recovery, and an increasing number of mild (sometimes labelled 'Dark') brands are now being brewed. Most of these are in the more modern interpretation of 'mild'. a sweeter brew with lower alcoholic strength.

Light mild is generally similar, but pale in colour, for instance Harveys Brewery Knots of May. There is some overlap between the weakest styles of bitter and light mild, with the term AK being used to refer to both. [58] The designation of such beers as "bitter" or "mild" has tended to change with fashion. A good example is McMullen's AK, which was re-badged as a bitter after decades as a light mild. AK (a very common beer name in the 19th century) was often referred to as a "mild bitter beer" interpreting "mild" as "unaged".

Some breweries have revived the traditional high-gravity strong mild, with alcohol content of 6% or so, the classic example being Sarah Hughes Ruby, brewed to a Victorian recipe. [59]

Burton Ale Edit

Burton Ale is a strong ale, produced in Burton on Trent since at least the 16th century, which is darker and sweeter than bitter. [60] It has sometimes been used as a synonym for old ale.

Old ale Edit

Old ale is a term applied to dark, malty beers above 4.5% ABV, also sometimes called Winter Warmers. [61] Many have "old" in the name, such as Theakston's Old Peculier, Marston's Owd Roger, Robinson's Old Tom. Many brewers make high ABV old ales for bottling, some of which are bottle-conditioned and can mature for several years. Some of these stronger versions are known as barley wine. Stock ale is a strong beer which is used for blending with weaker beers at the brewery and not sold directly. The upper limit on strength for this style is about 11%–12% ABV.

Porter and Stout Edit

Porter is a historically significant style developed in 18th century London, which is the ancestor of stout. English Porters and stouts are generally as dark or darker than old ales, and significantly more bitter. They differ from dark milds and old ales in the use of roast grains, which adds to the bitterness, and lends flavours of toast, biscuit or coffee.

Variations on the style include oatmeal stout, oyster stout, the sweet milk stout, and the very strong imperial stout, all of which are generally available in bottles only. These speciality beers have a tiny proportion of the market, but are of interest to connoisseurs worldwide.

London porter differs from stout in having generally lower gravity and lighter body, closer to bitter. Porter as distinct from stout virtually disappeared during the mid-20th century, but has had a modest revival since the 1980s (e.g. Dark Star Original, Fuller's London Porter).

Archaic styles Edit

Small beer was a low-strength beer that was consumed throughout the day by all ages. A later survival of small beer were the low-gravity light ale and boys bitter.

Stingo or spingo was strong or old ale. The name may come from the sharp, or "stinging" flavour of a well-matured beer. [63] The Blue Anchor Inn, Helston calls its beers "spingo". [64] The term "stingo" has associations with Yorkshire.

Three threads and Entire. A much repeated story [65] has it that 18th century London drinkers liked to blend aged (up to 18 months) and fresh beers into a mixture known as three threads, and that a certain Ralph Harwood came up with an "entire" beer that reproduced the taste of the mixture in a single brew, and that this "Entire" was the ancestor of porter and stout. However, modern beer scholars tend to doubt the veracity of the story. [66] Nevertheless, a few latter-day Entires are produced (e.g. Old Swan Brewery and Hop Back Brewery).

Wobble was historically a low-strength ale that was provided on site to workers in particularly heavy and thirst-inducing occupations, such as foundries. However, modern-day beers called Wobble tend to be strong. [67]

Lager Edit

Lager is the term generally used in England for bottom-fermented beer.

Despite the traditional English beer being ale, more than half of the current English market is now lager in the Pilsener and Export styles. These lighter coloured, bottom fermented beers first started gaining real popularity in England in the later part of the 20th century.

Carling, from both British and Canadian origin owned by the American/Canadian brewing giant Molson Coors Brewing Company is the highest selling beer in England and is mainly brewed in Burton upon Trent. Meanwhile, the largest brewery in Britain today, Scottish & Newcastle, which has three main breweries (Manchester, Reading and Tadcaster) brews Britain's second highest selling beer which is the lager Foster's.

Other lagers popular in England include Kronenbourg (which also belongs to Scottish & Newcastle) and Stella Artois (which belongs to the Belgian brewery InBev and in Britain is brewed in South Wales and Samlesbury near Preston).

Indian cuisine is very popular in Britain, and special lagers such as Cobra Beer have been developed to accompany it.

Temperature Edit

Beer in the UK is usually served at cellar temperature (between 10–14 °C (50–57 °F)), [ citation needed ] which is often controlled in a modern-day pub, although the temperature can naturally fluctuate with the seasons. Proponents of British beer say that it relies on subtler flavours than that of other nations, and these are brought out by serving it at a temperature that would make other beers seem harsh. Where harsher flavours do exist in beer (most notably in those brewed in Yorkshire), these are traditionally mitigated by serving the beer through a hand pump fitted with a sparkler, a device that mixes air with the beer, oxidising it slightly and softening the flavour. [ citation needed ]

Cask ale and beer Edit

A cask is the traditional method of bulk supply to a pub. The brew is then served from the cask in a cellar via a hand pump or by gravity straight from the cask on stillage wherever the cask is kept. Cask conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, giving it a limited shelf-life. It lacks artificial carbonation, instead dissolved gas is produced by ongoing fermentation, the gas coming out of solution forming bubbles in the glass. These dispense methods are associated with ale, although there is no technical barrier to serving lager or stout the same way. Most pubs use hand pumps ("beer engines") to draw the beer, whereas stillages are commonly employed at beer festivals. Cask ale and bottle conditioned beer are championed by the Campaign for Real Ale under the name real ale. Prior to stainless steel casks, beer was delivered in wooden barrels, which were lowered to the cellar via a trap-door on the footpath using two ropes wound about the barrels midriff (a parbuckle) to lower the barrel gently down the cellar's ramp. They then had to stand on their sides for a few days so the sediment would settle to the bottom of the belly of the barrel, after which they would be 'tapped' by punching the pre-cut centre of the (traditionally cork) bung (at the lower edge of the barrel end) into the barrel by hitting the tapered brass 'tap' with a mallet. One could then attach the pipe connector onto the tap, so that the cellarman could turn the tap on when ready. In a similar manner, one would punch through the centre of a bung on the upper side of the barrel's belly with a hardwood spile (tapered peg). The hardwood spile prevents air access. Once the barrel is in use, the spile is replaced with a 'soft' spile, traditionally made from softwood, but nowadays from bonded-together (woody) fibres. The soft spile prevents a vacuum forming at the upper surface of the beer: it allows sufficient air in for the beer engine to work, but keeps dust, flies and other mischief-makers out.

Keg ale Edit

Keg beer is a term for beer which is served from a keg, under external carbon dioxide pressure. Keg beer is often filtered or pasteurized, both of which are processes that can render the yeast inactive, increasing the shelf life of the product. However, some believe this is at the expense of flavour. [68]

In the early 20th century, draught beer started to be served from pressurised containers. Artificial carbonation was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1936, with Watney's experimental pasteurised beer Red Barrel. By the early 1970s the term "draught beer" almost exclusively referred to beer served under pressure as opposed to the traditional cask or barrel beer.

In Britain, the Campaign for Real Ale was founded in 1971 to protect traditional – unpressurised beer and brewing methods. Keg beer was replacing traditional cask ale in all parts of the UK, primarily because it requires less care to handle. The group devised the term real ale to differentiate between beer served from the cask and beer served under pressure.

Nitrokeg Edit

Nitrokeg dispense is a variation on keg dispense, using a gas mixture emphasising nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is associated with stouts and Irish "red" ales.

Nitrogen is used under high pressure when dispensing dry stouts (such as Guinness) and other creamy beers because it displaces CO2 to (artificially) form a rich tight head and a less carbonated taste. This makes the beer feel smooth on the palate and gives a foamy appearance. Premixed bottled gas for creamy beers is usually 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2. [69] This premixed gas which only works well with creamy beers is often referred to as Guinness Gas, Beer Gas, or Aligal. Using "Beer Gas" with other beer styles can cause the last 5% to 10% of the beer in each keg to taste very flat and lifeless.

Keykeg Edit

Since the 2000s, a number of brewers and outlets have been introducing a variation on keg dispense. Keykegs deliver the product under gas pressure, but it is internally held in plastic bag, rather like a wine box, so that the gas does not affect the beer. [70] Keykeg beer can also be naturally carbonated, and lightly filtered, removing some of the objections to the older keg format. [71] Nonetheless, it retains much of the advantage in terms of shelf life of the older keg format.

Almost any kind of beer can be delivered in this format, although it tends to be mainly associated with imported, stronger, and speciality beers. The keykeg format is suitable for transporting beer internationally, unlike traditional cask ales, allowing pubs and other outlets to offer a cosmopolitan range. On the other hand, this is a plastic single-use keg. What is, environmentally a major disadvantage.

Sparkler Edit

A sparkler is a device that can be attached to the nozzle of a beer engine. [72] Designed rather like a shower-head, beer dispensed through a sparkler becomes aerated and frothy which results in a noticeable head. Some CO2 is carried into the head, resulting in a softer, sweeter flavour due to the loss of normal CO2 acidity. [73]

There is some dispute about the benefits of a sparkler. There is an argument that the sparkler can reduce the flavour and aroma, especially of the hops, in some beers. [74] The counter argument is that the sparkler takes away harshness. [75] A pub may favour sparklers because the larger head they produce means it does not need to supply as much beer. [ citation needed ]

Breweries may state whether or not a sparkler is preferred when serving their beers. Generally, breweries in northern England serve their beers with a sparkler attached and breweries in the south without. [76]

Bottled beer Edit

Whilst draught beer takes up the majority of the market, bottled beer has a firm place and is a growing sector. [77] Some brands are sold almost entirely in the bottled format, such as Newcastle Brown Ale and Worthington White Shield. CAMRA promotes bottle-conditioned beer as "real ale in a bottle". [78]

Outlets Edit

The English pub is a national institution. At one time certain pubs, known as alehouses, were allowed to sell only beer. Now most pubs are licensed to sell a range of drinks, with beer making up a significant proportion. The range of beer available in a given establishment can vary from a few mass-market products to a wide selection of cask ales and bottled beers, in a free house. The latter are sometimes called "chalkies" because the current selection of cask ales is often written on a blackboard.

Some on-licensed establishments are considered bars rather than pubs they are less likely to be free standing, and more likely to be urban in setting and modern in style. "New wave" beer bars tend to specialise in bottled and pressure-dispensed craft beers from around the world, rather than the cask ales of traditional real ale pubs. [79] Some establishments imitate Dutch or Belgian cafés, or German bierkellers as a novelty, with a range of draught and bottled beer to match.

Most off licences (i.e. liquor stores) sell at least a dozen bottled beers. Some specialists sell many more, and may include a few cask ales that can be dispensed to customers in containers to be taken home.

The English do not have a long-standing tradition of beer festivals like the Munich Oktoberfest, but the idea of a "beer exhibition" where a wide variety can be sampled has been enthusiastically taken up since the 1970s. The largest is CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival held every August. Local CAMRA branches organise smaller festivals in most vicinities. Beer festivals often include competitions to judge the best beer.

Glassware Edit

Historical drinking vessels Edit

A tankard is a form of drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical, drinking cup with a single handle. Tankards are usually made of silver, pewter, or glass, but can be made of other materials, for example wood, ceramic or leather. [80] A tankard may have a hinged lid, and tankards featuring glass bottoms are also fairly common. Tankards are now rarely used, except where made from glass, but historic tankards are often used as decorative items.

A Toby Jug—also sometimes known as a Fillpot (or Philpot)—is a pottery jug in the form of a seated person, or the head of a recognizable person (often an English king). Typically the seated figure is a heavy-set, jovial man holding a mug of beer in one hand and a pipe of tobacco in the other and wearing 18th century attire: a long coat and a tricorn hat. Like metal tankards, they are now considered decorative items.

A yard of ale or yard glass is a very tall beer glass used for drinking around 2.5 imperial pints (1.4 l) of beer, depending upon the diameter. The glass is approximately 1 yard long, shaped with a bulb at the bottom, and a widening shaft which constitutes most of the height. [81] The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England where the glass was known also as a "Long Glass", a "Cambridge Yard (Glass)" and an "Ell Glass". It is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though was mainly used for drinking feats and special toasts. [82] [83] Drinking a yard glass full of beer as quickly as possible is a traditional pub game the bulb at the bottom of the glass makes it likely that the contestant will be splashed with a sudden rush of beer towards the end of the feat. The fastest drinking of a yard of ale (1.42 litres) in the Guinness Book of Records is five seconds. The former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke once held the world record for drinking a yard. [84]

A wooden tankard found on board the 16th century carrack Mary Rose.

Current beer glasses Edit

Beer is now generally sold in pint and half-pint glasses (Half-pint glasses are generally smaller versions of pint glasses.). The common shapes of pint glass are:

  • Conical glasses are shaped, as the name suggests, as an inverted truncated cone around 6 inches (15 cm) tall and tapering by about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter over its height.
  • The nonic, a variation on the conical design, where the glass bulges out a couple of inches from the top this is partly for improved grip, partly to prevent the glasses from sticking together when stacked, and partly to give strength and stop the rim from becoming chipped or "nicked". [85] The term "nonic" derives from "no nick".
  • Jug glasses, Barrel glasses, or "dimple mugs", are shaped more like a large mug with a handle. They are moulded with a grid pattern of thickened glass on the outside, somewhat resembling the segmentation of a WWII-era hand grenade. The dimples prevent the glass slipping out of the fingers in a washing-up bowl, and the design of the glass emphasises strength, also to withstand frequent manual washing. These design features became less important when manual washing was superseded by machine washing. from the 1960s onwards. Dimpled glasses are now rarer than the other types and are regarded as more traditional. [86] This sort of glass is also known as a "Handle" due to the handle on the glass. They are popular with the older generation and people with restricted movement in their hands which can make holding a usual pint glass difficult. [citation needed]

British dimpled glass pint jug

Ingredients Edit

The most celebrated English hop varieties are Fuggles and Goldings, although commercial pressures may incline brewers to use higher-yielding modern varieties. Modern brewers also sometimes make use of American or Continental hops. South-east England, particularly Kent, is the traditional hop growing area brewers in the north and west used to economise on the cost of importing hops by producing beers with more of a malt character, a regional distinction that has not entirely vanished. [ citation needed ] A characteristic technique is dry hopping, where hops are added during the fermentation phase in addition to those that went into the initial boil. Worcestershire and Herefordshire has also been a major hop-growing area. The jargon of the areas is distinguished from that of Kent in certain words. Thus in Kent the drying house is known as an oast-house, in Worcestershire as a kiln, a hop-field is called a hop-garden, in Worcestershire a hop-yard.

Maris Otter is the most celebrated barley used in a brewing malt. Malts can be treated in a number of ways, particularly by degrees of roasting, to obtain different colours and flavours. Oats, wheat malt or unmalted barley may also be included in the mash.

Water—known as "liquor"—is an important ingredient in brewing, and larger breweries often draw supplies from their own wells. Burton upon Trent (see below) is famed for the suitability of its water for brewing, and its mineral balance is often artificially copied.

Top-fermenting yeasts stay on the surface of fermenting beer whilst active, hence top-fermented beers tend to be less naturally clear than lagers and finings are sometimes used to clarify them. Modern breweries carefully maintain their own distinctive strains of yeast.

English brewers are allowed a free hand in the use of adjuncts which can include honey, ginger and spices, although this practice is not common.

Breweries Edit

English brewing is often considered to have a four-tier structure.

  • International megabreweries: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors, Heineken, Guinness and Carlsberg
  • National breweries Greene King, Marston's and Wells and Young's. These are "new" nationals, formed by mergers and takeovers of former regional breweries. The old "big six" national breweries (Whitbread, Scottish and Newcastle, Bass Charrington, Allied Breweries, Courage Imperial and Watneys) were all absorbed into international corporations. , often owned and run by successive generations of a family. Elgood's Brewery, Wisbech is an example. and brewpubs, a volatile sector that has undergone considerable expansion in the past 30 years. [87]

Brewpubs Edit

In Britain during the 20th century most of the traditional pubs which brewed their own beer in the brewhouse round the back of the pub, were bought out by larger breweries and ceased brewing on the premises. By the mid-1970s only four brewpubs remained, All Nations, The Old Swan, the Three Tuns and the Blue Anchor. [88]

Brewpubs subsequently resurged, particularly with the rise of the Firkin pub chain, most of whose pubs brewed on the premises, running to over one hundred at peak. However, that chain was sold and eventually its pubs ceased brewing their own beer. The resulting decline in brewpubs was something of a boon to other forms of microbrewing, as it led to an availability of trained craft brewers and brewing equipment.

British brewpubs are not required to double up as restaurants, as is the case in some jurisdictions. Many specialise in ale, whilst others brew continental styles such as lager and wheatbeer. Current examples of small independent brewpubs are The Ministry of Ale, Burnley The Masons Arms, Headington, Oxford The Brunswick Inn, Derby The Watermill pub, Ings, Cumbria The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds and Fernandes Brewery Tap & Bier Keller, Wakefield.

The tie Edit

After the development of the large London porter breweries in the 18th century, the trend grew for pubs to become tied houses which could only sell beer from one brewery (a pub not tied in this way was called a free house). The usual arrangement for a tied house was that the pub was owned by the brewery but rented out to a private individual (landlord) who ran it as a separate business (even though contracted to buy the beer from the brewery). Another very common arrangement was (and is) for the landlord to own the premises (whether freehold or leasehold) independently of the brewer, but then to take a mortgage loan from a brewery, either to finance the purchase of the pub initially, or to refurbish it, and be required as a term of the loan to observe the solus tie. A growing trend in the late 20th century was for the brewery to run their pubs directly, employing a salaried manager (who perhaps could make extra money by commission, or by selling food).

Most such breweries, such as the regional brewery Shepherd Neame in Kent, which claims brewing lineage back to 1698 and Young's in London, control hundreds of pubs in a particular region of the UK, whilst a few, such as Greene King, are spread nationally. The landlord of a tied pub may be an employee of the brewery—in which case he would be a manager of a managed house, or a self-employed tenant who has entered into a lease agreement with a brewery, a condition of which is the legal obligation (trade tie) only to purchase that brewery's beer. This tied agreement provides tenants with trade premises at a below market rent providing people with a low-cost entry into self-employment. The beer selection is mainly limited to beers brewed by that particular company. A Supply of Beer law, passed in 1989, was aimed at getting tied houses to offer at least one alternative beer, known as a guest beer, from another brewery. This law has now been repealed, but while in force it dramatically altered the industry.

The period since the 1980s saw many breweries absorbed by, or becoming by take-overs, larger companies in the food, hotel or property sectors. The low returns of a pub-owning business led to many breweries selling their pub estates, especially those in cities, often to a new generation of small chains, many of which have now grown considerably and have a national presence. Other pub chains, such as All Bar One and Slug and Lettuce offer youth-orientated atmospheres, often in premises larger than traditional pubs.

A free house is a pub that is free of the control of any one particular brewery. Free houses can, but do not necessarily, serve a varied selection range of guest beers. Some pub chains do so as well.

Burton upon Trent Edit

For centuries, Burton upon Trent has been associated with the brewing industry due to the quality of the local water (from boreholes, not from the River Trent). This comes from the high proportion of dissolved salts in the water, predominantly caused by the gypsum in the surrounding hills the resulting sulphate brings out the hops—see Burtonisation. Much of the open land within and around the town is protected from chemical treatment to help preserve this water quality.

The town is still home to seven brewers:

    , a brewery from the United States which produces Carling. In addition to their large-scale plant, Coors also operate the White Shield Brewery, a microbrewery producing a number of speciality beers, including the eponymous Worthington White Shield. , now Marston's PLC. Marston's also brew Bass beer and Stones Bitter under licence from Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • Burton Bridge Brewery, a small brewery founded in 1982 by Geoff Mumford and Bruce Wilkinson.
  • Tower Brewery, a microbrewery
  • Cottage Brewery, its retail outlet being the nearby Old Cottage Inn
  • Black Hole Brewery, a microbrewery subsidiary of Kammac, a cask supplier

The Bass Museum of Brewing—renamed the Coors Visitor Centre after Coors took over the brewery—continued until June 2008. [89] This was reopened in 2010 as the William Worthington Brewery and its ales—including Worthington Red Shield, White Shield, and "E", are primarily sold through the on-site Brewery Tap outlet.

A by-product of the brewing industry, figuratively and literally, is the Marmite factory in the town: Marmite being made from spent brewer's yeast. Together with the breweries this can give the area a distinctive smell.

A pale and well hopped style of beer was developed in Burton in parallel with the development of India Pale Ale elsewhere. Previously, Englishmen had drunk mainly dark stout and porter beers, but pale ale came to predominate. Burton came to dominate this trade, and at its height one quarter of all beer sold in Britain was produced here. Although over thirty breweries are recorded in 1880, a process of mergers and buy-outs resulted in three main breweries remaining by 1980: Bass, Ind Coopes and Marston's.

The fame of Burton ales gave rise to the English euphemism "gone for a Burton", meaning to have been killed—a World War II humorous suggestion that a missing comrade had merely nipped out for a beer.

The town's connection with the brewing industry is celebrated by the sculpture of the Burton Cooper in the shopping centre.

Burton upon Trent is also known in beer technology circles for the Burton Union recirculating fermenter system, now used only by Marston's Brewery (all other Burton brewers have switched to stainless steel).

Home brewing Edit

Since 1963 it has been legal to brew any amount of beer at home, without a licence, providing it is not sold. Home brewing is a reasonably popular hobby, with many towns having home brew shops. Ale is usually brewed, the required equipment being simpler than that for lager.

Breweriana Edit

Breweriana refers to any article containing a brewery name or brand name, usually in connection to collecting them as a hobby. Examples include beer cans, bottles, openers, tin signs, coasters, beer trays, wooden cases and neon signs. [90]

Hip Flasks for Bottle Collectors

Sample 1-Way WWII Dates Amber Glass Beer Bottle -- Rare?

[Editor's note: Originally posted July 2009 -- latest info update added 11/6/09]

I rec'd this email today, and thought I'd share it, and my response, and ask for any info you knowledgable bottle collectors can add -- please!

"I have an old World War II beer bottle. It is a small brown bottle. I am told that it was made for soldiers overseas after the war. It is a no deposit-no return bottle. The interesting thing about this beer bottle is that it lists all important events of the war beginning with Pearl Harbor 12/7/41 through end of hostilities 12/31/46. At the bottom edge it has ships and planes bombing each other and it has the atom bomb explosion going up the middle of the bottle.

Owens Illinois Glass Mfg. in Toledo OH made the bottle. On the bottom it is dated 6/09/47 Duraglas 1 Way.

I tried to give the bottle to the Smithsonian Institute and had several emails from them and then heard nothing further. I also contacted the Historical Bottlers Collectors in New Jersey but never heard from them.

I would like to know if the bottle has any money value and I would also like to find a home for it - someone who would really appreciate its historical value.

Can you help me? I await your response."

And here's what I wrote back to her:

I am sorry to disappoint, but I do not think that you have a scarce bottle. I did a google search, and an eBay search, and while I could not find any definitive info, I can surmise that they do not bring a strong price.

I found 2 entries on google search, that linked to ebay listings - however the listings are so old they do not display on ebay - ebay only keeps closed items on for a few weeks. Thankfully google caches info for longer, and through them I saw that 2 bottles like yours had sold on ebay:

1947 Duraglas 1-WAY Amber Beer Bottle WWII Dates US $4.99

Duraglas 1-Way Brown Beer Bottle World War II Dates, 1 Bid, $5.50

This shows you the low prices they brought. It also shows you some terminology they used -- no-deposit bottles are also called "1-way" (I've also heard "throw-aways" used).

I would suggest watching ebay to see when some more come up -- summer is the slowest time on ebay, fyi.

You can always bring your bottle to our club's show in October, and we can likely find a dealer who knows more -- check out our new blog for all the show info --

Thanks for sharing -- wish I had better news!"

If any readers out there have some definitive info about Carol's bottle, please leave a comment here!

Here are some pix of the bottle, and my Update:

Well, I was right that there would be a dealer at our club's October bottle show who would have something to say about Carol's interesting bottle.

There was one of these 1-Way War Dates bottles on a dealer's table. The dealer didn't know anything about the bottle, other than it was interesting to him, and since he doesn't do eBay, it was not common to him, so he had it priced at $40 (it did not sell that day).

I was looking at the bottle, when another dealer at the show came up to me. Bob Davidson, who is a long-time bottle dealer (he goes by bottlbob on eBay -- check out his listings for quality bottles from someone you can trust), reported that he had sold one of these same bottles before, and didn't think they were common, either. He said he had sold his for $50, a while ago.

Bob was of the thought that they were samples, made to present the then-new concept of 1-way disposable bottles, and that they had never been ordered to be used/filled with beer. That would explain why the ones that are around were saved -- they were a novelty to the receiver, and they were not used, so they remain in excellent condition.

So, while these 2 gents were of the opinion that they were worth more than my estimate, they didn't price them too terribly high because they are still modern bottles.

I stand by my first report, that they are "available", listed very often on eBay, but not seen at every bottle show, so you might be able to find a buyer that will pay a better price in person.

As I write this, there is currently one available on ebay - languishing with a Buy-It-Now price of $34.99 (here's the link: WW2 IMPORTANT DATES 1-WAY BEER BOTTLE .

You can see by the pix that it is an interesting bottle, and maybe this discussion will raise awareness of it, and drive the value up.

The FinBotClub Blog is published by the Findlay Antique Bottle Club of Ohio

Brown glass and WWII - History

(Civil War era & before)

Listed prices do not include shipping & insurance. Please read the Important Information for Buyers section on the main "Bottles For Sale" page for complete buyer information.

DR. TOWNSEND'S - SARSAPARILLA - ALBANY / N. Y. - Here offered is a big and heavy (2 full pounds of glass!) classic early American medicinal bottle from New York which is well know to most collectors. Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla bottles were made in this basic shape and embossing pattern in scores of different molds from the 1830s until at least the 1880s.

The excellent article series on Townsend's in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector magazine a couple years back (by Rick Ciralli) covers the varying molds of the earlier (and largely pontiled) examples including this one (August 2015 issue, pages 36-37) which is the "very scarce" mold DT-17. Rick's pictured example is a "medium olive green" though this offered one is more of a medium to dark-ish (lighter in the upper 3/4ths and dark in the lower 1/4th) olive amber.

This 9.5" tall example is very crude with varying color intensity and some fine swirls through the body, a very crudely applied and formed one part tapered lip/finish with nice slop-over below the bottom of the lip that is visible in the images. The glass surface is also nicely crude with indentations, texture, bubbles of all sizes in the glass, etc. Click base view to see such showing the large, rough and very distinct glass-tipped, disk or possibly a very crude "sand" pontil scar (aka "sticky ball pontil"). Not sure which to call it though the linked base view shows what is there well. (For a discussion of pontil types see my educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website page on such.) The bottle is in about mint condition with no chips, cracks, pings or significant staining inside. It has some minor fine scratching here and there - hard to see. It has no staining I can see on the inside, but does have some spotty light wear (faint staining?) in a few patches here and there on several of the panels. Kind of adds to the look of age to my eye and is not distracting. An ex-Glass Works Auction item from some years ago. Overall this is an excellent, early and appropriately crude example of a Townsend's likely dating from the 1840s. $475

DR. J. HOSTETTER'S / STOMACH BITTERS - The black glass Hostetter's Stomach Bitters are not particularly rare but are a big hit with collectors. I think these earliest ones are found all over the country to some degree, but the bigger (30 oz. or so), black glass examples are frequently found in the West. The SS Bertrand - on it's way from St. Louis to Fort Benton and the gold fields of Montana - sunk in the Missouri just 20 miles north of Omaha with a large supply of Hostetter's Bitters, all of which were some version of what collectors call "black glass" like this one. (I actually had full access to study these and other Bertrand bottles several years ago in the great museum on the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa where the entire cargo was curated. I highly recommending visiting the museum if ever near the area.)

Anyway. this example was found in the West but not sure where - probably California. It is about 9.5" tall, is a very dark olive green with an amber tone (or olive amber), has a somewhat (for the era) crudely applied "oil" finish like virtually all early (and later) Hostetter's, and a slightly indented "smooth" (non-pontiled) base with what appears to be either a small "I" or "E" in the center. This example is essentially mint with just a bit of minor scuffing in a few places, but with no chips, cracks, dings, or other damage and the embossing is strong. There is a couple very shallow dips on the rim of the lip (aka "finish") which (under magnification) prove to be totally in-making - just typical hand made crudeness. The glass has lots of seed bubbles and moderate body crudeness. I wouldn't be getting rid of this but I acquired one recently that is even cruder in the body and overall. so moving this one on. Great example for your collection! SOLD!

Medium darkish amber early umbrella ink - Stoddard manufacture? Well, everyone speculates about that with these early umbrella inks so I won't (or maybe I just did?). It is the "right" amber color, but umbrella inks like this were standard offerings from many/most New England & New York/New Jersey (Midwestern even?) glass houses of the mid-19th century. Like many of these lovely bottles, it is a beautiful little jewel that looks like it was poured into the mold. It has sheared/cracked off (more likely) and re-fired straight finish or lip, a blow-pipe pontil scar on the base, was blown in a two-piece hinge mold as evidenced in the base image (click to enlarge) by the mold line equally dissecting the base, and dates from around 1845-1855 most likely. The surface of the glass is glossy, waxy, with some rippled whittle along with some glass thickness waviness visible in the image (click to enlarge). It may have been professionally cleaned although I think it was fire polished when made - a common bottle treatment at that time with some types of bottles, especially those with sheared or cracked-off finishes like this. Color is a medium to medium golden or root beer amber and fairly represented by the image. The condition is essentially dead mint with no chips, cracks, or staining. SOLD!

HARRISON'S / COLUMBIA / INK - Although these little ink bottles are not particularly rare, they are quite coveted due to the multi-sided conformation, cool name and early manufacture. They also come in an array of colors which are WAY more expensive than this more typical aqua example. I cover these particular bottles in more depth on my Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website at this page: However, here is the brief write-up on the company that I have on the linked page:

This is a grouping is of three different colors of the Harrison's Columbian Ink - a fairly popular ink during the mid-19th century given the number examples that are seen today. They all have vertical 8 sided bodies, blow-pipe pontil scars, cracked-off/sheared and rolled finishes and date from the 1840s to early 1860s period. These bottles were made for Apollos W. Harrison who was a Philadelphia dealer in "books, maps and ink" from about 1843 to 1877 (McKearin & Wilson 1978 Faulkner 2009).

The offered example is a nice blue aqua in color, has a crudely rolled lip or finish, a blowpipe type pontil scar to the domed base, and dates from the 1840 to 1860 era. The bottle is near mint with no chips, cracks or staining (may have been professionally cleaned?) and only a couple light scratches to a rear panel opposite the embossing which is pretty decent for these bottles which can be somewhat faint at times. It also has some nice waviness to the glass and an overall look of crudity commensurate with the early era of its manufacture. Nice ink! $95

CLARKE & WHITE / large C / NEW YORK - Although Clarke & White bottles are generally fairly common in most of the myriad of varieties, this one has uncommon - though very esthetic - crudeness to it. I actually don't really want to get rid of it as it is so cool looking, but here it is. I can't keep everything. The bottle is about 7.75" tall, has a fairly crudely applied "mineral" finish/lip (the Saratoga mineral water bottles are the origin of the finish name I believe), smooth (non-pontiled) somewhat domed base (embossed with an "X" in the middle and a "7" off to the side - see image), and is from the 1860s. The special thing about this bottle is the zillions of tiny and not so tiny bubbles in and on the glass click close-up of the glass surface to see this semi-orange peel look to the glass surface. Otherwise the bottle is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, staining, or other issues. the only thing I can see is a very small scuff (not chip) on the edge of the heel on the back. There is probably some minor scratching and such mixed in with the rough surface but they are unobtrusive. A great example! $85

FOR PIKE'S PEAK (walking dude/prospector above flattened oval) - (eagle with banner in beak above squared oval) - This is McKearin & Wilson classification #GXI-30 - the large quart size and one of the more abundant quart Pike's Peak flasks. Celebrating the gold rush to Colorado in 1859, these popular flasks were made throughout the 1860s and possibly into the early 1870s. This a very nice, clean, blue aqua example with the typical applied "champagne" style banded finish common on flasks made at various Pittsburgh, PA. glasshouses - where the majority of Pike's Peak flasks were made. This example is near mint with the original sheen (never professionally cleaned nor buried) to the glass, a nice deeper blue-aqua color glass with some body crudeness, neck stretch marks & bubbles, and a "key-base mold" smooth base. On close inspection, the bottle does have a small (3-4 mm in diameter), faint, iridescent impact mark at the heel underneath the walking dude/oval and a very small "flea bite" on the inside of the finish which appears to be a bit of "in making" roughness. Otherwise an above average, clean, bright, blue aqua example which is big and boldly embossed. $75

CORN FOR THE WORLD / (ear of corn) - (Baltimore monument) / BALTIMORE - Although this looks like a common "Corn For The World" quart figured flask, this is actually one of the rarer versions as listed in McKearin & Wilson (1978) as mold GVI-5. This is the variation with the stairs on the monument base to the right instead of the left as the more common GVI-4 quart has. (Click here for an image of an amber GVI-4 example I have of the Baltimore monument side.) There are other subtle differences in the lettering and conformation of the ear of corn all pointing to this mold being completely different from GVI-4, but with a very similar pattern.

Both molds are usually very boldly embossed - particular the ear of corn which sticks out from the background 3/8th of an inch or so on this example. All the rest of the embossing also pops out quite nicely. This example has a blowpipe pontil scar (click base view to see such) and shows the "hinge mold" mold seam coming around the lower sides and dissecting the base into two equal sections. The outside surface of this flask has a pleasing orange peel effect that I guess was done on purpose by not polishing the surface of the cast iron mold? This is seen frequently on different "figured flasks" (aka "historical flasks") and occasionally on other 19th century bottles and appears different than typical "whittle marks."

The condition of this flask is excellent with some faint white-ish content staining here and there inside and wear on the base indicative of it sitting somewhere for decades, if not its entire life. There is a small, shallow flake (about <1 cm x 5 mm possibly in making?) at the junction of the heel and base at the mold seam on the right side (viewed with the corn side facing one) which is visible in the base view (linked above) to the left side of the base. Other than those minor issues there are no other chips, cracks, dings or noticeable high point wear to the embossing. This is a very esthetic flask for an aqua example - a nice blue aqua as the images show. There is also some scattered bubbles in the glass, stretch marks on the neck, and other crudity befitting its estimated mid-1840s to mid-1850s manufacture by the Baltimore Glass Works. $200

ROWAN'S - TONIC - MIXTURE - OR / VEGETABLE - FEBRIFUGE - PHILAD A - This bottle is one of the oldest I have for sale and among the earliest embossed patent medicines bottles made in the United States. It is also one of a small handful of over 4 sided medicine bottles that are embossed on every side - six embossed sides in this case. And if that were not enough it is also unusual in that it has "left hand" embossing, i.e., it reads from the base to the shoulder (and best read holding it in ones left hand) whereas the vast majority of vertically embossed bottles read "right handed."

According to the late John Odell's book on pontiled medicines (a great book BTW!) the product first claimed to have been sold in 1830 and continued (apparently) until about 1843 when it was renamed "Rowan's Improved Tonic. " and the bottles (likely) began to be embossed as such (I believe IMPROVED / TONIC on one side?). Not sure of the precise dates of manufacture, but suffice to say 1830s and 1840s. early!

In any event these are early, crude, and light glass bottles that have a lot of appeal for an aqua medicine bottle. It is about 5.5" tall, blown in a true two-piece "hinge" mold, and sports a nice blowpipe style pontil scar click base view to see such. The lip is a short, tapered banded example that was tooled or rolled over to the outside to form it. The surface of the bottle is very wavy, lumpy and crude which is largely a function it appears of the rough, unpolished surface of the likely iron mold it was made it. The bottle also appears to have been professionally cleaned at some point and there is still some faint surface etching visible on most of the sides. However, it is very hard to see due to the noted crude "as blown" surface and is non-distracting. Outside of the noted glass surface issue, the bottle is otherwise in about perfect condition with no chips, cracks, dings, flashes, or other issues. Great bottle that is one of the earliest of the "medicinal tonic" bottles I've collected. $100

Wickered & handled miniature demijohn "cologne" bottle - The wicker and handles are, of course, just embossed on this cute little bottle. These are early American (pre-Civil War) bottles that were largely produced as containers for cologne, though other ". cosmetic liquids as well as cologne and toilet or "sweet" waters" according to McKearin & Wilson's 1978 book "American Bottles & Flasks." They dated the large and interesting group of Antebellum cologne bottles to "183o-1860s." The open oval label space on the reverse (second image to the left) would have told the story about the contents if the label was still there, but it is long gone.

This example - like most of the earlier ones I've seen - has a "blowpipe" style pontil scar (right image) which was formed by using the end of a (in this case) very small diameter blowpipe doing double duty as a pontil rod. (I discuss pontil types at length on my other educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website" on the following linked page: ) I have two of these bottles and a quick comparison indicates they were made in totally different molds though upon casual looking appear identical. They are not - having different looks to the wicker embossing, the faux handles and other subtle features - indicating that these bottles were either made over a long period of time (wearing out molds) or were made by different period glassworks. or both. (I've also seen later examples which are not pontiled, were blown in a cup-base mold and have tooled finishes dating them to the later portions of the 19th century or even early 20th. It was a popular style for cologne.)

This offered example is about 2.75" tall, has an inwardly rolled "straight" finish or lip, made in a true two-piece "hinge" mold and of a pale bluish aqua glass. This example is perfect mint condition with no chips, cracks, or staining I doubt it was ever buried. It does have a bit a little wear on the base from sitting somewhere for at least a century and a half. $60


Keene Sunburst pint flask GVIII-8 - Sunburst flasks are one of my favorites and with many people for obvious reasons - they are truly beautiful early American items. The offered medium olive green - with just a touch of amber - pint flask here is also an 1820s to early 1830s design from the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works, Keene, NH. It is classified as GVIII-8 by McKearin & Wilson and has KEEN embossed on one side and P&W on the other in the little ovals in the middle of the sunbursts, a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, slightly flared sheared lip or finish (sheared/cracked-off with tooling marks and re-firing), and was produced in a key base mold. Click reverse view to see the KEEN side. This flask is also essentially mint with no issues except for some wear on the high points of the sides (where the embossing in the center of the sunburst is and particularly on the KEEN side) and some typical base wear. As is typical, the KEEN and P&W are lightly embossed but readable. Nice example. SOLD!

HARRISON'S - COLUMBIA - INK - This is an example of the large family of ink bottles produced for Apollos W. Harrison who was a Philadelphia dealer in "books, maps and ink" from about 1847 to 1877 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). This would be considered a large ink bottle or small bulk ink. It was acquired for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website the following is from the write-up on that website:

These ink bottles come in many sizes ranging from 2.5" (1 oz.) up to a gallon size at a large 11.5" tall (McKearin & Wilson 1978). (This). example is aqua in color, 3.6" tall, 2" in diameter with eight equal vertical sides, a crudely applied two part collared ring finish (the closest fit to the finish styles described elsewhere on this site), a very distinct blowpipe style pontil scar, and was blown in an apparent (hard to say for sure) two piece post-bottom mold with no evidence of mold air venting. Click on the following links to see more images of this bottle: base view showing the protruding and very tubular blowpipe pontil scar view of reverse side showing the word PATENT embossed on the shoulder. It is not known as to what the patent was for, though likely the ink itself not the bottle. These bottles are known to have been made at several South New Jersey glasshouses including Whitney Brothers and Isabella Glass Works (Covill 1971).

This example is not quite perfect but displays well. Specifically, the top of the finish (a style essentially unique to Harrison's ink bottles) has a very thin, flat flake (approx. 1/4" by 1/8") that just touches the edge on the right side of the bottle (and shows in the image) and the bottle has some water staining which isn't too detracting (see image). A very presentable example with a great example of a tubular blowpipe pontil. and priced right. SOLD!

SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD (horse pulling a cart) - This is embossed on both sides of this familiar pint flask familiar to most bottle collectors that is! Although not particularly "rare" in the world of early American flasks, these are very popular flasks due to the great embossing which is typically very "raised" and bold - especially the horse and cart - and the historical linkage with the early push to connect the country by rail in the 1830s, the age of these flasks. This particular mold is classified as GV-3 by McKearin & Wilson (1978), is pint sized, blown in a true two-piece "key base" mold, has a cracked-off (aka "sheared") and refired straight finish or lip, a blow-pipe (aka "open") pontil scar on the base (click base view to see such), and is a beautiful light-ish to medium yellow olive in color. Oh, it also has distinct ridges down both narrow sides on the mold seam and around the embossing pattern on each embossed side. The flask also has the typical crudeness collectors love in early American glass - cool swirls and lines in the glass, rough surface texture, lots of seed bubbles and small impurities in the glass (none with radiation issues), varying glass density and color, in-making waviness to the lip rim, and just the look and feel of "oldness." The condition of this example is near mint with some highpoint wear on the embossing and the base from having sat and laid somewhere for 180 years no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage. The only "issue" with this flask is typical of this mold in that a portion of the embossing (primarily the word "THE") on the upper part of the side is weak (enough to be hard to photograph) though it is all readable and the rest of the embossed lettering is moderately to very bold. Nice addition to any collection and an ex-Heckler auction item. SOLD!

Shield and Clasped Hands pint flask (GXII-23) - This pint flask was blown by the famous Pittsburgh glass company of Christian Ihmsen & Sons as indicated by the C. I & SONS embossed underneath the eagle on the reverse side (well, reverse as noted by McKearin & Wilson). The other side has the popular Civil War era - the era of this flasks manufacture - motif of the clasped hands within a shield along with the word UNION, 13 stars, etc. The embossing is very bold and distinct. According to Jay Hawkins' great book on the subject of Pittsburgh glass makers, Christian Ihmsen & Sons was the company name from 1861 to

1875. This 7.5" tall, pint flask is listed as "comparatively scarce" by McKearin & Wilson (1978). It has a very crude applied "tooled, broad rounded ring below thickened plain lip" (to quote McKearin & Wilson - their finish #12) and a rounded key-mold type smooth base (McKearin & Wilson type #5 base) indicating being blown in a true two-piece mold both finish and base being typical of the wares produced in the Pittsburgh region during the pre to post Civil War era. The color is a relatively rich blue aqua with the glass having various swirls of un-melted slag or ash particles imbedded in the glass click close-up of the finish, neck and shoulder to see a close-up of some of this. The flask is overall very crude with large bubbles, the noted slag particles (no radiations from any of these), a very sloppy and crude lip, stretch marks in the neck, wavy glass and is just a wonderful example of the crudeness of hand-blown glass from the mid-19th century! Condition is near mint - no chips, cracks or other damage (well, one tiny pin-prick at the edge of the base and a bit of wear on the high points of the base) - although there is some light haze in the upper shoulder and a bit behind the eagle on the reverse. Overall, a fine Civil War era liquor flask that is scarcer than most of these types. SOLD!

Persian "saddle" flask/bottle - Offered here is virtually perfect example of what are referred to as "Persian saddle flask" and believed to have been used as such ( slung inside of some type leather or cloth sheath) in various parts of the Mediterranean world or nearby (like Persia). (Not "early American" per se, but from the era of Colonial America.) According to McKearin & Wilson (1978:244-245) the origin of these flasks is a bit vague though they attribute them to Persia (Iran today). What isn't questionable is that these bottles are definitely old being produced during the 17th and 18th century. (I've read once about someone contending they were Austrian bottles from the 18th or early 19th century, but never seen any confirmation of that.) In any event, this bottle is at least a couple hundred years old! This example is 9.25" tall, a rich medium clear green, has the typical wrapped "thread" or string of glass around the upper shoulder and neck, free-blown manufacture with a crudely tooled flared lip and a glass tipped pontil scar on the somewhat pushed up base click base view to see such. The bottle is in near mint condition with no chips, cracks, an entirely intact applied thread of glass (these are often missing pieces, but not this one) the only issue is a bit of content haze on the inside and some outside surface wear and light scratching in the usual spots (base rim & sides). Very nice looking item which I used to illustrate that bottle type on the Historic Bottle Website. Great window bottle and almost certainly the least expensive, good condition bottle dating from the 1600s or 1700s that one can acquire these days. SOLD!

(shoulder star) /E. ROUSSEL / PHILAD.A - DYOTTVILLE GLASS WORKS PHILAD. / SILVER MEDAL / 1847 / AWARD / THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD - This is a great, dated, mineral/soda water bottle from Philadelphia, PA. The contained product was good enough to win the silver medal at some unstated competition in 1847. Tod von Mechow's great website on soda/mineral water bottles dates these as being made/used from 1847 to 1849 - an early soda by any standards. The bottle is just under 7.5" tall, an olive toned medium emerald green color to my eye which passes the light easily, has some nice whittling to the surface and bubbles in the glass, and a nicely distinct iron/improved pontil scar on the base with light but even iron residue remaining. Click base view to see such. The shoulder has a very boldly embossed star and the finish/lip is what is referred to as a "tapered collar" - a one part, early and crudely applied finish that has flattened sides and flares out distinctly from the rim to the base. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such. The embossing is generally quite good: the E. ROUSSEL side is all very boldly embossed the 1847 dated side - which was engraved much less deeply and with very small letters compared to the ROUSSEL side - is still pretty bold for these bottles with only the IS in BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD nearest the heel being very hard to see. The condition is very good having been lightly cleaned. The only issues being a minor bit of residual (post-cleaning) case wear/scratching, some scattered, small, and hard to see ("pin prick" size) contact marks on the body/heel, a narrow wisp of light discoloring from the upper neck gradually disappearing in the shoulder (this could be some minor post-cleaning stain but could be some glass mixing discontinuity), and a small (2-3mm in diameter) impact mark at the heel. no other chips, cracks, or other post-manufacturing damage. Overall this early soda is very appealing to the eye and much better looking than that litany of minor issues implies - see the images. Bottle acquired for and used/pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. Great dated mineral water made during the earlier days of the "blob soda" era. SOLD!

Root beer amber early umbrella ink - Stoddard manufacture? Well, everyone speculates about that with these early umbrella inks so I won't (or maybe I just did?). This bottle is a beautiful little jewel that looks like it was poured into the mold. It has sheared and re-fired straight finish or lip, a blow-pipe pontil scar on the base (click to view base), was blown in a two-piece hinge mold, and dates from around 1845-1855 most likely. The surface of the glass is glossy, waxy, with rippled whittle all over. It may have been professionally cleaned although I think it was fire polished when made - a common bottle treatment at that time with some types of bottles, especially those with sheared or cracked-off finishes like this. Color is a medium to medium dark root beer amber and fairly represented by the image. The condition is just about mint with no chips, cracks, or staining. just one tiny pin point peck mark (with no accompanying issues) on the lower part of one panel. SOLD!

Brilliant, deep grass green pint scroll flask - This is a spectacularly brilliantly colored pint scroll flask which keys out to GIX-10 in McKearin & Wilson's 1978 book "American Bottles & Flasks." This flask was likely blown at the Lancaster Glass Works (Lancaster, NY) between about 1845 and 1855, has a crudely sheared/cracked-off lip or finish which received some tooling and re-firing, and has a large wonderfully nasty blowpipe pontil scar click base view to see such. (This image also shows that a bit of the extreme outside base edge appears to have been ground down some to allow the flask to stand straighter, something commonly done by early flask collectors.) The color is as shown - a brilliant medium grass green that is both beautiful and very rare to find. The flask is also very crude in the body and neck with stretch marks, bubbles, moderate amount of pebbly-ness to the surface (but not too much) and all the things one wants in a mid-19th century American figured flask! I have another that is essentially the same color so this one is "extra." The flask has one "issue" that was almost certainly done in making, i.e., several short, very thin, hairline fissures in and around an inside open (?) bubble near the lower median rib on one side. Click close-up of side to see the hairlines pointed out. Two of these "lines" appear to be the edges of the inside open bubble or on the thin covering of it on the inside, but not sure. The third hairline (upper one pointed out in the image, <1cm long) appears to come off the edge of the bubble. All of this is very hard to see and to photograph, but they are there. and sound WAY worse to describe than they really are. There is no other issues with the flask and the glass is sparkling and unstained (never buried I'm sure). If perfect, this would be a $1500++ flask I suspect. This slightly flawed example is priced to move and the in-making "damage" very hard to see. and the color will make your bottle shelves come alive! SOLD!

JOHN CLARKE / NEW YORK - Probably the earliest of the "Saratoga" type mineral water bottles are some of the examples made with Mr. John Clarke's name on them. with possibly the oldest ones (1820s and early 1830s) embossed Lynch & Clarke. The example offered here is a pint sized one used by just Mr. Clarke after he branched off on his own in 1833 (i.e., Mr. Lynch died) it dates from between that date and about 1846 and is pretty certainly known to have been blown by the Saratoga Mountain Glass Works (Mt. Pleasant, NY) as best I can tell from various references including McKearin & Wilson (1978). (Note: I cover this particular bottle in more depth on my Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website at this link: Soda & Mineral Waters Typology page.) In any event this bottle is about 7" tall, an nice clear medium olive amber, has a crudely applied "mineral" type finish (where this finish gets its name!), and somewhat indented base with a centered dot with the mold seam line (a true two-piece mold indication) cutting through it and a moderately distinct sand pontil scar around the outside edge of the domed base. (Click on both small images to see larger ones.) Condition of this example is excellent and it appears to have been lightly cleaned at one point restoring a nice original gloss to the bottle inside and out. The bottle is near mint with just some very, very light scratching/scuffing in some hard to see spots on the lower back and a tiny impact nick on the base. Nice example of a VERY early mineral water bottle and one of the precursors to the huge array of very similar shaped mineral water bottles that continued to be made until the end of the 19th century. (Note: An example from this exact mold sold at Glass Works Auctions recently (March 2013) for $600+ 15%. and not THAT much better of condition.) SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is

4.3" tall, a fairly clear (not muddy) olive amber with a yellowish tint, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip or finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off), blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such one can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. Lots of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips (besides the totally in-making roughness of the cracked-off finish which received very little fire polishing at the "glory hole"), or staining. just a tiny bit of dirt (or blacking?) in one upper corner. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain"). This bottle was acquired to help illustrate the shoe polish/blacking bottle section of the "Household Bottles (non-food)" typology section on my Historic Bottle Website. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is another classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is

4.4" tall, a fairly dark olive amber ("black glass") with a bit of a yellowish tint, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip or finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off) with some fire polishing to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a very distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such one can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The all over glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. Quite a lot of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially near mint with no cracks, chips, or staining. just a tiny bit of dirt (or blacking?) in one upper corner and a very small rough spot on the inside of the lip that was caused by a small bit of un-melted material being right on the surface there. not a chip. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. This bottle was acquired to help illustrate the shoe polish/blacking bottle section of the "Household Bottles (non-food)" typology section on my Historic Bottle Website. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is the larger size - larger than the typical ones which are around 4.4-4.5" tall "- measuring

4.9". It is a different mold with higher shoulders and slightly wider sides than the typical size (two examples in the "SOLD" section below). When placed side by side the difference is noticeable. There is also a distinctly shorter, smaller bodied mold example also - as compared to the middle "typical" examples.). Anyway, this example is a medium/darkish olive amber glass with a yellowish tint which passes light easy in a window, heavy glass for its size, has a cracked-off lip/finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) that was fire polished to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar (image above click to enlarge). One can see in the base image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The all over glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, bottom-hinged mold it was blown with. The glass has LOTS of little seed bubbles in along with some larger ones and is just plain OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining. just a bit of dirt or residual blacking(?) in the base corners inside and some wear on the high points of the base indicating that it may have never been buried. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one of these with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

ZANESVILLE / OHIO / J. SHEPARD & CO - I'll just say it right up front: this is one of my "crying" bottles as it is the only nice bottle that I've inadvertently damaged - this one 25 years ago. I've kept it since as it is such a lovely piece of glass. and to remind myself to be careful when handling bottles. However, it is time to pare down stuff. so here it is.

This is a McKearin & Wilson GIV-32, produced by the White Glass Works of Zanesville, OH. under the proprietorship of Joseph Sheppard (the correct spelling of his name is indeed with "pp" not the one "p" like on the flask). These flasks were produced sometime between 1823 and 1838 when the company dissolved following a financial panic. (Information from J. William Barrett's great book "Zanesville Glass.") These "Shepard" flasks are pint sized and very popular to collect due to availability (quite a few around McK & W list as "common"), the wonderfully busy and copious embossing, and the fact that they come in a rainbow of colors (if one has enough money to acquire them).

This example is wonderful in that the embossing is quite bold all the way to the top of the panels (they commonly get weak up in the ZANESVILLE area) and is a nice, deeper blue aqua. The flask is (was) mint condition with wonderful glass sheen and luster, no chips, cracks or staining, beautiful age appropriate crudeness including some long bubbles and waviness to the glass, and a glass tipped pontil scar on the base just over the true "two-piece" mold seam equally dissecting it. Alas, the self-induced breakage knocked three chips out of the lip/neck all of which have been glued back into place making the bottle quite presentable. Click neck close-up to see the side with the largest chip "line" by far which dips to the neck/body interface area. The other two chips are on the back side and much smaller (both combined equal to maybe 1/5th the large one) and equally difficult to see. All are glued together so that there appears to be no glass missing. (All three of the chips were just glued back with water soluble "Elmer's" glue so the flask could be soaked in water to remove the chips which could then be glued back with epoxy to look even better maybe?) Anyway, a beautiful flask nonetheless that is 100% "there" but at a price much less (of course) than it would be if I had not been so clumsy. SOLD!

S. O. RICHARDSON'S - BITTERS - SOUTH /READING - MASS. - All this is embossed on four sides of this early (1840s or early 1850s) bitters bottle from New England. This one is classified as R57 by Ring & Ham. The product was apparently quite popular and made for an extended period - from 1840 to at least the early 1900s with this bottle being, of course, at the early end of that range. It is 6.25" tall, rectangular in cross-section with very side beveled corners, has an applied flared bead type finish (or want of a better term) that was wrapped crudely around point the blow- pipe was cracked off (the cracked-off surface is still quite apparently on the inside of the neck), and has a very nice blowpipe pontil scar on the base. Click on the image to the left to view a close-up of the blowpipe pontiled base showing the mold seam dissecting the base - a certain indication of production in a true two-piece mold. The color is a nice greenish aqua, glass being quite crude with ample pebbly roughness and whittle to the surface and many bubbles of varying size scattered throughout. Condition is about mint with no chips, cracks or staining the only issue is a very, very, very minute nick on the edge of the lip rim which looks to me (under a glass) to be possibly in-making (i.e., a tiny bubble pop). This is indeed a very nice example which should please the most discriminating collectors. SOLD!

C. BRINKERHOFFS - HEALTH RESTORATIVE - PRICE $1.00 - NEW_YORK - Pontiled, colored medicine bottles are very popular with collectors and for good reason - they are really old and beautiful bottles! This Brinkerhoffs Health Restorative is an exceptional example of one of the more financially accessible colored pontiled medicines, though these are still pretty scarce bottles. The offered bottle is very well embossed on a type that can often be faintly embossed in places, particularly in the vicinity of the HO in BRINKERHOFFS, about the same location on the reverse and on the narrower side panels. This example is one of the boldest I've seen and pretty much on all sides. Click HEALTH RESTORATIVE to view an image of that side of the bottle click NEW YORK to see that side.

According to the late John Odell's excellent "Pontil Medicine Encyclopedia" this product was advertised from 1845 to 1849 so it is pretty early. It claimed that it ". cures consumption, liver complaint, asthma, colds, coughs, and pains in the side and chest." According to the most recent American Glass Gallery auction catalog (#14) these bottles were made at "a Stoddard, NH glasshouse, 1850-1851." In addition, the catalog notes that "Brinkerhoff went out of business in 1851, with Smith (of Smith's Green Mountain Renovator fame) purchasing the existing bottles." These purchased bottles were then labeled with his product labeling over the Brinkerhoff embossing the noted catalog has an example of this bottle with that labeling. Cool story and certainly consistent with the re-use of expensive-to-make bottles back in those early times!

Anyway. the bottle is about 7.5" tall, a crudely applied tapered lip or collar, has the usual (for these bottles) sand or "sticky ball" pontil scar on the base (click base view to see such), blown in a true two piece mold as evidenced by the mold seam dissecting the base, and is very crude and bubbly with pleasantly wavy glass. The color is essentially a lightish to medium olive green like most though this example has a high amount of green mixed in with the olive to my eye that makes it very bright and pleasing. It also passes light quite well, particularly in the upper half. Condition is essentially dead mint with no staining, cracks, flashes, dings, chips, noticeable scuffing or anything that I can see. It is as near perfect as such a bottle can be! A very nice example if you're in need of a deeply colored, very old, mint condition pontiled medicine bottle. with a likely Stoddard origin. SOLD!

"Louisville" double eagle pint flask GII-24 - These pint flasks are popular ones with collectors due to the HEAVY embossing that basically covers the entire flask. This includes the same eagle, banner, stars & oval-with-design embossing on both sides and the continuous, closely spaced horizontal ribs around that embossing on the flask edge crowding up against a thick, single vertical medial ridge at the mold line. This is listed in McKearin & Wilson's eagle category as GII-24. Listed as probably from the Kentucky Glass Works, there has been some debate about that attribution with some thinking that it is the product of some Pittsburgh glass company of the 1840s or early 1850s. Regardless of where it was actually blown, these flasks are about as much design beauty and embossing one can get for the money as they are relatively abundant. and come in a wide array of colors.

Speaking of color, this example is a particularly rich shade of deep blue aqua to really more of a light blue-green. It sports a cracked-off and lightly fire polished "sheared" or "straight" finish or lip which does retain a bit of in-making roughness from the light re-firing after blowpipe removal. (Like many pint scroll flasks attributed to the Pittsburgh area from the same era.) The neck is a bit longer than average, the glass bubbly and crude with an orange peel texture on the embossing panels, and a blowpipe (aka "open") pontil scar on the "key" mold base. Click base view to see the pontil scar and base. (Note: The flask does stand up easily.) The condition is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, or staining (a bit of dirt in the inside at the base). It does have some high point wear on the eagles head & a few other points (on one side primarily) and the usual "I'm a 160+ years old!" base wear. Nice deeper colored example for your collection of early American flasks. SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This is the right, smaller bottle in the first image here,

4.4" tall, a nice clear (not muddy) moderately dark (see images) but almost pure olive green (the pair picture is most accurate to my eye for both bottles) with just a touch of yellow maybe, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) which was fire smoothed at the "glory hole" when made, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a distinct blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such base on the right. One can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The glass surface is "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. LOTS of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain"). Nice example of the typical size for these bottles which is very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is another classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. (Bottle to the left in the two bottle image above.) This example is the larger size - larger than the typical ones which are around 4.3-4.5" tall "- measuring about 5". It is a different mold with higher shoulders and slightly wider sides than the typical size. like the one on the right in the two bottle image here. There is also a distinctly shorter, smaller bodied version smaller compared to the smaller one in the image here. This larger example is a medium yellowish amber with a bit of a olive tint which passes light easy in a window, heavy glass for its size. It is a color often attributed to one of the Stoddard, NH factories but who knows. This example also has the usually cracked-off lip/finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) that was fire polished to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a big, really cool, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar (click base view it is the bottle on the left). Even with the very large - for this size bottle - pontil scar it stands up perfectly. The all over glass surface is also pretty "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, bottom-hinged mold it was blown with. The glass also has a lot little seed bubbles in the glass (though not as thick as the smaller example) and also looks just plain old! Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining and some wear on the high points of the base indicating that it may have never been buried. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one of these with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

JENY. LIND (embossed bust of the famous singer inside a wreath) - (embossing of a glass works building) - Here is a pretty nice example of one of an array of calabash bottles honoring the visit of Jenny Lind ("The Swedish Nightingale") to the United States in the very late 1840s to early 1850s. This visit was prompted by P. T. Barnum who paid her $1000 a performance - an massive sum of money at the time for a performer - though he made out very well due to his legendary promotion skills. and the "voice of a nightingale." Anyway. this is McKearin & Wilson's catalog number GI-103 which is listed as "comparatively scarce" and was produced by the famous Whitney Glass Works of Glassboro, N.J. This example has the name JENY. LIND above the singers bust inside a wreath on the front - click front close-up to see such (the otherwise strong embossing is a bit weak in the details of the face which I believe is common to this mold). The reverse has an unnamed glass factory with smoke coming out it - click reverse close-up to see that side of the bottle (all the building embossing is sharp and bold). The sides of the bottle have very distinct ridges running vertically coming together at a heavy embossed ring at the base of the neck see the images. Oh. and the neck is a cool looking 8-sided. It is around a quart in size, about 10.5" tall, an pleasant bluish aqua in color (images show this well), has a crudely applied plump long tapered collar, and an unusual "double" blowpipe style pontil scar, i.e., parts of it are two circular fine pontil scars parallel to each other (the rest is sharp and nasty) click base view to see such. One sees this pontil feature now and then and it may just be that part of the very thick pontil scar glass came away on the pontil rod end leaving the two tracks to define the edges of it. In any event it is a bold, distinct pontil scar with no pontil "chips." Condition is essentially mint and was likely never buried as there is no staining, chips, cracks, scratches that I can see or other post-manufacture damage but does have some "honest" wear on the base from sitting somewhere for a century and a half. Very nice example. SOLD!

"SUMMER - WINTER" quart flask GX-19 - This is a big, bold, well embossed flask that is pretty well known to collectors. It comes in a host of colors ranging from black amethyst to blue to emerald green though is by far most commonly seen in the color of this example - bluish aqua. This example - GX-19 in McKearin & Wilson (1978) - is one of two quart sizes with similar embossing one of the pints (GX-15) is the one flask that has the embossing SUMMER (above the leafy tree) and WINTER (above the bare tree) giving this short run of flasks its name - Summer-Winter flasks. McKearin & Wilson list the maker as "unknown" for all the Summer-Winter flasks, though I suspect someone out there has some ideas of the origin? Could it be the same manufacturer - Sheets & Duffy - who ran the Kensington Vial and Bottle Works in Philadelphia, PA. from 1845 to around 1874 and who are attributed with making the calabash listed above? That is certainly - on the later end - the right era. In any event, this example is a very nice one - 8.5" tall, smooth "key mold" base, applied double ring lip or finish, has an interesting medial rib or ridge on the sides and dates from the 1860s. Condition is essentially mint - never been buried it appears - with only the slightest of content haze wisps (almost invisible) near the base of the leafy "summer" side and a bit in the center of tree on the "winter" side. A nice example that I've had for some time, but need to move on to make room for other recent acquisitions. SOLD!

JENY. LIND (embossed bust of the famous singer inside a wreath) - (embossing of a glass works building) - Here is a nice example of one of an array of calabash bottles & flasks honoring the visit of Jenny Lind ("The Swedish Nightingale") to the United States in the very late 1840s to early 1850s. This visit was prompted by P. T. Barnum who paid her $1000 a performance - an massive sum of money at the time for a performer - though he made out very well due to his legendary promotion skills. and the "voice of a nightingale."

Anyway, this is McKearin & Wilson's catalog number GI-103 which is listed as "comparatively scarce" and was produced by the famous Whitney Glass Works of Glassboro, N.J. This example has the name JENY. LIND (the correct spelling was Jenny) above the singers bust inside a wreath on the front the embossing is quite good for this mold with the decorative elements at the top of Jenny's dress having good detail. The reverse has an unnamed glass factory with smoke coming out it with all the building and tree embossing sharp and bold. The sides of the bottle have very distinct ridges (11) running vertically coming together at a heavy embossed ring at the base of the neck see the images. Oh. and the neck is a cool looking 8-sided. It is around a quart in size, about 10" tall, an pleasant bluish aqua in color (images show this well), and has a very crude applied long tapered collar. The base sports an unusual "double" blowpipe style pontil scar, i.e., parts of it are two circular fine pontil scars parallel to each other. Click base view to see such the scar is more distinct in real life. I've seen this pontil variation on several other examples - including one I sold some years ago below. One sees this pontil feature now and then (e.g., Bininger barrel whiskey's example below and also a likely Whitney GW product) and it may just be that part of the very thick pontil scar glass came away on the pontil rod end leaving the two tracks to define the edges of it. Condition is essentially mint and was likely never buried as there is no staining, chips, cracks, scratches that I can see or other post-manufacture damage. It does have a bit of wear on the base from sitting somewhere for a century and a half. Very nice example. SOLD!

Leafy Tree - Sheaf of Wheat Calabash - The motif of the tree with leaves is commonly seen on several "historical" or "pictorial" flasks from the era just before the Civil War (1850s) through the end of that wrenching conflict. Many of the flasks have the tree with leaves on one side and without leaves on the reverse - probably a reference to life and death? This calabash flask has the leafy tree on one side and a sheaf of wheat - with a rake and pitchfork - on the reverse. I suppose that those motif's - like the cornucopia & urn flasks - are a tribute to the bounty of the land? In any event, this example is McKearin & Wilson (1978) catalogue number GXIII-46 who also noted that this mold comes in the colors of sapphire-blue, dark wine, and like this one - and by far the most commonly encountered color - aqua. These calabash flasks are attributed to the glass company of Sheets & Duffy, who ran the Kensington Vial and Bottle Works in Philadelphia, PA. from 1845 to around 1874. Both Sheets and Duffy were glass blowers for Dr. Dyott who ran the famous Dyottville Glass Works in the earlier days. Anyway, this example is the typical quart size (more or less) calabash with ribbed sides, the base in slightly domed with a nice blowpipe pontil scar surrounded by a larger but fainter pontil scar (click base view to see such), has a crudely applied double ring finish or lip, is a nice blue-green aqua color and stands about 9" tall. The condition is essentially mint with just the faintest line of content lines about halfway up the insides (it is very, very faint) otherwise there are no cracks, chips, scratches or other issues of note. Some bubbles in the glass round out this almost perfect example. SOLD!

"Pineapple Bitters" - These familiar shaped bottles are very popular with collectors for obvious reasons and this is an exceptional example. This is the earlier example made from the same mold that was used for either the W & Co / N.Y. or the J. C. & Co examples (or both?) except with the embossing "slugged out" or more accurately stated, with no engraved plate inserted in place of the blank mold plate. (The oval plate covering the engraving is clearly evident in real life on the bottle but only vaguely visible in the enlarged image to the right.)

This example is a light to medium golden amber with a beautiful brilliance to the glass. The base has a large (1.5" in diameter) and quite distinct pontil scar - a circular "disk" pontil scar which is an unusual pontil style for these bottles. and unusual on American manufactured bottles for that matter. Click base view to view this light but distinct pontil scar. (For more information on the disk pontil, see my other, comprehensive Historic Bottle Website pontil scars page at this link: Pontil ) The bottle is almost 9" tall, bubbles here and there in the glass, has a crudely applied double ring type finish (the finish found on the earlier bottles - click upper neck view to see such), and is ca. 1850s.

The condition of this example is essentially perfect as it never appears to have been buried and exhibits a bit of high point wear on the base. There are a few very short in-making stress lines in the upper neck/lip interface area where the finishing glass was applied although they are hard to see and quite common to that era in applied lip bottles. An excellent example and the equal of an identical example (same color and mold but with a blowpipe pontil scar) sold in 2010 at American Bottle Auctions for over a $1200 (with commission). Bottle acquired for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. SOLD!

Bininger Barrel Bourbon - It has been awhile since I've had a Bininger barrel to offer but here is one now - the "small" size (8") of the Bininger barrels. Very decorative and highly embossed, this reads as most all do from top to bottom: DISTILLED IN 1848 / OLD KENTUCKY / 1849 / (protruding nipple) / RESERVE / BOURBON / A. M. BININGER & Co. 338 BROADWAY, N.Y. This along with four horizontal rings each at the upper and lower body and three rings bracketing the middle portion above the circular embossing. Applied double ring finish or lip, "open" pontil scarred base (this having the "double" blowpipe pontil scar that is seen on these bottles at times click here to view base), a beautiful bright & rich medium golden amber, and dating from the 1850s. These also come with smooth non-pontiled bases which must date around the Civil War as these bottles were produced for some time given their relative abundance. (I believe I remember that these are attributed to the Whitney Glass Works of NJ.) This example still has most of the original cork inside the neck which has kept the insides of the bottle from collecting any dust as it is obvious from the dead mint condition, wear ring around the outside edge of the base and the lack of any staining whatsoever that the bottle was never buried. Like a lot of figural bitters and other "catch-the-eye" type bottles (brilliant early marketing!) from the 19th century, many of these bottles were never tossed, but kept around until they broke or some collector found it. like this one. An excellent example and certainly the most affordable of the large line of typically very beautiful Bininger liquor bottles! SOLD!

WASHINGTON - JACKSON pint flask - Here is a pretty nice example of a popular New England flask, most likely made at either the Coventry Glass Works (Conn.) or Keene Glass Works (NH - Marlboro St.) in the 1840s or early 1850s. This example is the "comparatively scarce" GI-32 mold which McKearin & Wilson note as "Eastern, probably New England" though they also noted in the text that it was likely from Keene. Since both Keene and Coventry made very similar flasks in very similar colors, it is about certain that one of the two made this flask. Anyway, this example has a nice, distinct blow-pipe style pontil (click base view to see such) and a sheared "straight" finish (actually these were usually cracked off the blowpipe and reheated at the glory hole to smooth out the rough rim). The glass is crude, appropriate to the time with the color a nice, clear medium olive amber color that is neither amber nor olive dominated to my eye and passes the light very nicely. Click view in the sunlight to see such. The embossing is pretty distinct - about average I think for this mold and better than the two images to the left show - with the Washington side (visible in the base view linked above) being just every so slightly more bold than Mr. Jackson's side. The condition is very good with no chips, cracks, stars, flea bites, or the like though both sides do have some light to moderate scratching and some highpoint wear. probably from laying down somewhere for 170 years. This is a very nice example that is priced a bit less than I would have otherwise due to the noted scratching which is really not noticeable sitting on a shelf. or even close-up. SOLD!

SCROLL FLASK QUART - Here is very nice, perfect condition example of a late 1840s to 1850s decorative flask referred to as a scroll flask by most collectors although I've heard them also called a "violin" flask (although this could be a cello sized compared to the pints!). These were reportedly made by various glass works on the Eastern Seaboard though most are usually attributed primarily to that eras glass factories in the Pittsburgh area.

This example is the big, substantial quart size and stands 8.5" tall. It has the typical "sheared" finish/lip which was virtually always really a cracked-off lip (i.e., the blowpipe was cracked off from the bottle neck after application of the pontil rod) that was more or less reheated to smooth it out and make it less dangerous. The base has a blowpipe style (aka "open") pontil scar and is of a key or hinge mold style in that it has a mold seam across the base with a a half circle in the middle - the "key" protruding from one mold half to the equivalent indentation on the other half at the base which facilitated easier meshing of the two mold halves.

This example has a wavy, smooth glass surface of a nice blue aqua coloration it is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, potstone bruises, staining, etc. As noted, it has a cracked off finish which has some in making irregularities about it as it was likely just waved around a few seconds in the glass furnaces "glory hole" to smooth it out a bit. It has an interesting crude fold in the glass on one side (inside little evidence on the outside) this is visible in the far right image (click to enlarge). No damage associated with it - just a great crudity befitting its totally hand-made origin. A better (aqua) example would be hard to find. SOLD!

Bininger Barrel Bourbon - Offered here is a nice, though not pristine, example of the "large" size (9.25") of the Bininger barrels. These seem to be several times scarcer than the smaller "pint" size ones. Like so many Bininger bottles, these barrels are very decorative and/or highly embossed, this reads from top to bottom: DISTILLED IN 1848 / OLD KENTUCKY / 1849 / (protruding nipple) / RESERVE / BOURBON (small star?) / A. M. BININGER & Co. 19 BROAD S T , N.Y. Click close-up of the central embossing to see such. (The company must have done a LOT of distilling in 1848 given the numbers of bottles that have that embossed on them!) This along with four horizontal rings each at the upper and lower body as well as four rings bracketing the middle portion above the circular embossing (the smaller size has 3 rings bracketing the embossing).

This example has the typical applied double ring two-part finish or lip, "open" pontil scarred base (classic blowpipe pontil scar which is a bit off center click here to view base), a very nice lighter yellow amber color, some whittle to the body glass between the rings and dating from the 1850s to maybe early 1860s. I believe the large size is also sometimes seen with a smooth non-pontiled bases which must date around the Civil War as both sizes of these barrel bottles seemed to have been produced for some time. (I believe I remember that these are attributed to the Whitney Glass Works of NJ.) Although many examples of these bottles were never tossed this example was dug. It has some light, though very even, external staining which gives it a "matte" appearance which is not that distracting due to the lightness/evenness and which could be easily cleaned. There are no cracks or potstone radiations (actually don't see any potstones at all) but does have two small chips on the lower rings. The largest one (about 5 mm side to side and a couple mm tall) is just below the Co. on the third ring above the base and shows a bit in the image at this link. The other is just a 2 mm "peck" mark above the E in BININGER. Both small nicks are hard to find and also non-distracting. For complete accuracy, there is also an open bubble on the first ring above the base just to the right and below the first noted small chip. It has essentially no depth, really just the outline of a surface bubble (it shows in the enlarged base image). This all sounds way worse than it is as it's actually a nice looking bottle on the shelf (or window where I keep it) and an affordable example of the large line of typically very beautiful Bininger liquor bottles! If pristine it would be around $500 like the one I sold years ago. SOLD!

OLD / DR. TOWNSEND's - SARSAPARILLA - NEW . YORK. - This is embossed vertically on three sides of this familiar - and desired - bottle to collectors. The "Old Doctor" bottles were used by the same-named poseur and competitor of the more common Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla. This bottle is a beautiful medium clear green or blue green depending on ones eye the images show the color well. It is 9.5" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" finish or lip, a distinctly iron pontiled base (click on the image to see a larger version), and dates from the 1850s most likely. This example is essentially "attic" mint having no evidence whatsoever of being buried, i.e., no staining, no chips, or cracks. just a little wear on the base from having sat somewhere for 150 years. The bottle has some scattered bubbles in the very clean glass including a large one on the shoulder which has a very fine, in-making (1/4" + or -) fracture on the inside surface of the bubble. The bubble is not open at all inside or outside but has that small hairline which is visible (just above the arrow) in the close-up image at this link: close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish. An overall excellent example that is as made from the factory but priced considering the small "issue." SOLD!

Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products.

4.4" tall, a fairly clear (not muddy) moderately dark olive green with an amber tone and of heavy glass for its size as is typical. It also has a crude and somewhat flared & refired lip or finish (aka "sheared lip" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe), was blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice bold, sharp and slightly off-center blowpipe type pontil scar. Click the base image to see such. One can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does.

The glass surface is variably rough, wavy and crude reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. A fair smattering of varying sized bubbles and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or other dings just a bit of very light haze on the outside in a few spots. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!

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Page Last Updated: 6/12/2021

A Short History of Pyrex: The 100-Year-Old American Classic Glassware

If you’ve ever measured out milk for pancakes, melted butter in the microwave, scooped out a slice of lasagna at a potluck buffet, or even just dug into a bowl of popcorn while speeding through the entire season of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” you’ve likely had your hands on a piece of Pyrex in your lifetime. The sturdy, sometimes-colorful glass kitchenware has been around for an entire century!

That’s amazing enough, but did you know it’s always been manufactured right here in the United States? Here’s the lowdown on how Pyrex was born in Corning, NY, and is still made today in Charleroi, PA.

In 1908, Corning Glass Works started making Nonex, a thermally resistant “non-expansion glass,” for railroad signal lanterns and other industrial applications. This clear glass moved into the kitchen through the efforts of Corning employee Jesse Littleton. As the origin story goes, he brought a sawed-off battery jar home to his wife Bessie, and she used the shallow mold to bake a cake.

Capitalizing on the fact that the domestic sphere could benefit from the glass’s durability as much as the industrial world, Corning had a hit on its hands. By 1915, it was selling Pyrex pie plates, casserole dishes, and bakeware to the housewives of America. And despite the fact that many people hang onto their Pyrex pieces for a lifetime, it’s still selling and making its way into homes.

The unique properties of the glass made it unlike anything else on the market — it was able to withstand temperature changes, didn’t discolor, didn’t react with ingredients to change the taste of food (like cast iron), didn’t retain food smells after washing (like ceramics and earthenware), and because the original Pyrex pieces were see-through, bakers could watch the sides of their cakes, pies, and casseroles turn golden-brown as they cooked.

In 1936, Corning bought a glass factory in Charleroi, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, which had the capability to produce colorful opal glass — a tempered opaque glass with the same heat-resistant properties as the clear glass coming out of Upstate New York. Again, although this opalware was originally used on an industrial scale (to outfit military mess halls during World War II), the technology trickled into the home kitchen with the release of the iconic primary-colored Pyrex nesting bowls in 1945.

Glass Fishing Floats

What was the initial spark for my passion for finding and collecting glass fishing floats? Going back to the spring of 1977, my wife and I were in the midst of a 23,000 mile odyssey with our 7-month old baby daughter comfortably bundled up in her car seat with a tomcat on either side of her, in a fully packed '71 Volkswagen Beetle. We met and stayed a short while with a group of people near Shi Shi Beach on the Neah Bay Indian Reservation in Washington State. Three of them lived on the beach in rent free log cabins built by the forestry service, and managed to keep themselves in food through the sale of their art and by finding and selling glass fishing floats. Having always been a guy who loved to find things like old bottles and arrowheads, my spirit perked up excitedly when I heard of their tales about finding glass fishing floats on the beach after big onshore wind storms. The floats were gathered after the storms and then sold in Port Townsend to an antiques dealer. During the hike down the beach to visit these artists in their cabins, my wife and I found two floats hidden among the piles of huge beached logs, and one more glass ball floating in the sunlit water at the end of a rocky point. Holding the newly found floats up to the sky to see their colors, and talking excitedly about them, we felt a wonderful surge of happiness from the findings. A fire within me was ignited!

Above: This is one of the first fishing floats we found, on Shi Shi Beach in May 1977.

That was thirty years ago, and the excitement of finding and learning about glass fishing floats has not subsided. Those first three floats have morphed into a large collection. My wife and I still share the excitements of our first finds.

Above: Orange is a very unusual colour for fishing floats, which makes this contemporary float from Hokuyo, Japan, rare.

Glass fishing floats are hollow glass shapes that fishermen used to attach to their lines or their nets to hold the sides of the net, the headline, or the mouth of a trawl net up toward the surface of the water. They vary from small golf ball sizes (about 1.5" diameter) to massive sizes with diameters of 12" and more. The small ones were possibly used for hand-line or rod fishing, as well as for finer diameter mesh nets (used for herring, sprats, trout, sardines, shad, and larger fish such as salmon in bays, rivers and lakes). The 4.5 to 6" diameter floats were most often used for cod gillnets, trawl nets and to mark traps. The very large ones were used to mark net settings and to float and mark the long lines used especially by Japanese deep sea fishermen in the mid 20th Century.

Glass floats were encased in a protective netting of rope, string, wood and later, plastic or metal. Many of the fishing floats collected today still retain their original netting (see the example below).

Above: This small egg-shaped fishing float is bound into a beautifully-worked net.

There is considerable variety in the shapes of glass fishing floats, depending on the kind of fishing and the preferences of local fishermen. The donut hole fishing float shown below, was made by the Northwestern Glass Co. of Seattle, Washington, in the USA. It was an experimental shape, and is very rarely found in collections. The grooved egg shaped fishing float next to it, was easily tied onto the headline of a herring net but these are also found encased in macrame netting. The egg shaped floats were used in Norway, mostly on smaller diameter herring and possibly salmon nets. They are mostly three to three and a half inches long, but have also been found much larger.

Another unusual shape of fishing float is shown below. This was made in China and consists of two globes joined together by a large gather of molten glass and encased in a sturdy net. These are known as "Chinese Binaries". The binaries were first beachcombed in the early 1980's on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. Until recently, they were rare. During 2007, on eBay auctions, many were placed up for bid during a short period of time, and many serious collectors purchased at least one for their collection. While attending an antique show that fall, I found more than 10 offered for sale from various sellers. Most were coming from an importer located in Florida.

Floats were often made from recycled glass, from incorrectly-mixed batches of molten glass or from glass left over from other jobs. They were made as cheaply and quickly as possible, which accounts for the floats with glass that is literally filled with bubbles, streaks of other colors, large bubbles of glass sucked into the float at the seal, spindles of glass that extend inside the floats from end to end or side to side, etc. These idiosyncrasies make them interesting and more valuable to collectors. I often think that floats were most likely considered during the times of their use, to be similar to today's throw-a-ways. Most were colored various shades of green, aqua, amber or clear. And most fascinating of all-they are often clearly marked with embossed initials or a logo, such as the British naval anchor shown below.

I believe the earliest fishing floats were those used by subsistence fishermen. There is speculation that glass fishing floats were used as early as the mid-1700s. Could they have been used much earlier? Egg-shaped floats are considered to be one of the oldest forms of floats. Note that the knobbed eggs (like the one below) and the small dog floats (round-bodied with an elongated neck) were made using a different and older technique to the traditional round or egg shaped float. They were formed using a blowing pipe, punty and pincers and are also much rarer. Their knobs or neck would have been perfect for tying to a hand-held fishing line or attaching to the line from a fishing pole.

Above: This small knobbed egg fishing float is a very early design. These are rare and prized by collectors.

More common than the knobbed egg floats are the plain egg shaped floats which were encased in a net so that they could be attached to a fishing line or net. The example below was found still attached to a fishing net.

It is widely believed that the first commercial fishing floats were made and used in the mid 19th Century. Christopher Faye from Bergen, Norway is usually credited with developing the first commercially produced glass fishing floats in approximately 1840 in collaboration with the Hadeland Glassverk. The production records for Hadeland Glassverk first mention their new product - glass fishing floats - in 1841.

However, it seems most likely that prior to their commercial production, glass floats were already being used on gill nets in Norway, and possibly Sweden and Denmark. When I look at the "Dog Neck Floats" used most often in Sweden and Denmark, I find myself comparing their shape to Demijohn bottles. It seems as if it would have been an easy conversion in thinking to adapt that bottle form for use with fishing nets or lines, by simply adding a glass seal to make it water tight.

Those first commercially produced 4.5" to 5" round floats were netted and attached to their cod gillnets by Norwegian fishermen in the Lofoton area. Glass floats were found to be far superior to solid round wood floats which often became, "drunken," because they would absorb too much water and not float. There have been heavy brown glass sealed balls dug up in the grounds of the Schimmelmans Glassverk, which was in existence from 1779 until 1832, indicating the probable production of glass fishing floats earlier than 1840. This information comes from Vebjorn Fiksdal ( who, along with Pereinar123, has been finding and selling floats from Norway to collectors around the world, while compiling information on the history of Norwegian glassworks.

The float shown below is a wonderful example of a relatively rare float marked with an anchor and the letters BY. I obtained it from Pereinar123, who had found it in an old boathouse in Norway. It is a 5" diameter sphere blown into a 2-piece mold. I have seen this marking on green and clear glass floats, and a small number of them have appeared from France. So far we do not know what this mark signifies.

We know that glass fishing floats were heavily used all over Europe and North America by all of the fishing countries. We know the names of many of the companies who produced them. There are references to their use in books and photos, but at present there is hardly any information to explain the markings which are found on many floats and very little information about their manufacturers. There are some records of a few large glass companies in Norway having inventories of more than 100,000 floats. Pereinar123 kindly supplied me with a copy of a document from the Flesland Glassverk, shown below, which lists glass fishing floats sold by that company in the 1950s.

The picture below shows an amber glass fishing float credited to the Flesland Glassworks by Stu Farnsworth and Alan Rammer, in their book, Glass Fishing Floats of the World. It has grooves so that rope can be easily tied around it. These grooved 4.5" to 5.0" diameter floats are highly desirable among collectors. A number of them have appeared on U.K. and French eBay auctions, and have been found in Norway by Per Einar and by Vebjorn Fiksdal.

Recently found Norwegian fishing floats indicate that each of the Norwegian glassworks produced glass floats with their own markings. The marking shown below, FG surrounded by MADE IN NORWAY has been identified for the Flesland glassworks. This glassworks operated from 1937 to the early 1950s on the Western coast of Norway. Vebjorn Fiksdal speculates, in his on-line book "Norwegian Glass Fishing Floats", that this version was produced for export, and the version with just FG was for the Norwegian market.

Another example of a glass float made by the Flesland glassworks is shown below. This one is marked F6. The company made a series of these marked F1 to F8. Vebjorn Fiksdal reports that these numbers do not relate to size, as the F1 float has been found in sizes both smaller and larger than the F4 and F5. They are still a mystery. I bought my F6 from an American seller in an eBay auction.

Were markings embossed to represent the companies who made them? Possibly the glass blowers who blew them? The mold makers and engravers who built the molds and the seal stamping tools? The fishing companies who used them? Did individual fishermen order floats with their own special markings? I firmly believe the answers are yes. The meaning of the embossing on many of these marked floats is still one of the greatest mysteries. Some however, like the Swedish float below, clearly marked for the glass company Eneryda, are easy to identify. This float was produced as a contemporary fishing float to celebrate the company's glass art.

Identification marks can be found on different parts of the glass float. Most often they are found on the seal button itself. They are also found on the end opposite the seal (or "top" of the float), on the middle, upper or lower third of the ball, or along the side-seam of mold-formed floats and on Japanese floats, they are often found embossed on a seal-like piece of glass anywhere on the float body. The float pictured below shows the contemporary maker's mark of back-to-back F's of the Hokuyo Glass company in Japan.

There are several different methods of making glass fishing floats. Those formed using a pontil rod, like the knobbed egg and dog floats discussed above, are the rarest type of formed float. The only examples of that type of production that I own, are a Swedish float with an applied seal, the knobbed egg, two dog floats, and one special commemorative Eneryda Glas float. The picture below shows my rare form of Swedish float and its pontil mark. This mark is made when a pontil rod or punty is attached to the newly-blown glass ball to hold it while the blowpipe is detached. The shape is then finished by hand using tools to complete the sphere or to shape a neck or knob or other change, as in this case to apply a seal. The pontil rod is then detached with a sharp knock on the iron, and a small rough patch of glass is left behind. This kind of hand work was only rarely applied to fishing floats.
Above: Rare Swedish hand blown glass float, 5.5" diameter, with its hand-formed raised neck. Bought from an American who now lives in Sweden.

All of the rest of the European and Japanese floats in my collection were finished off with a "seal button". They were blown on the end of a blowpipe and a gather of glass was applied to the hole after it was taken off the blowing rod. The example below shows a dark hand-blown European glass fishing float with a raised letter L on the seal button.

Older European floats were mostly freeblown using a wood or metal bowl to shape the round ball. There are no mold lines on these floats. Later glass floats were commonly shaped by being blown into an iron mold which was then opened up to release the ball. The mold would either be in two pieces hinged together, or sometimes three hinged sections. This method of production leaves a raised line along the joints between the mold sections. Most European floats made post 1920 were made using metal molds, and the 4 to 5 inch floats especially have mold lines indicating a 2-piece mold. There are also examples of 3-piece mold blown balls from Europe in this period.

Above: The mold lines can be clearly seen on this unusual square curio fishing float.

Glass fishing floats were also made by machine, especially in America. Large glass bottle and glass food container companies such as Northwestern Glass Co. and Owens-Illinois Glass Co. produced machine-made floats after 1940. All of these machine made floats were sealed with a raised neck seal, and the American floats had a flattened base. The example below shows the neck seal on a float made by the Northwestern Glass Company.

There is a British made float with the initials "FGC" on it which was also machine made, and is shown below. FGC was a trademark used before 1940 by the Forsters Glass Company Ltd., bottle makers of St Helens in England. This float, which came from a seller living in Nova Scotia, Canada, may have been made by the Forsters Glass Company.

Another example of a British machine-made glass float is shown below. This one is 5" in diameter and I bought it from a UK eBay auction. It is embossed MADE IN ENGLAND and was possibly made by the Forster Glass Company during the late 1930s to mid 1940s.

The clear glass float shown below is an uncommon example of a 5" diameter glass fishing float made in a 2-piece mold from Britain. These were usually made in green glass, either dark green or amber green. I bought this one from a seller in England. The North Star with an 8 in the centre is a mark whose maker we have not identified so far.

The Pittsburgh Corning Corporation produced a two-piece machine-made float. The top and bottom halves were fused together in the middle of the float, and finished with a distinct band-like 11/8th. inch seal, shown below. They were made using a very high quality clear glass, and because of the cost to produce them, were made in limited quantities.

Most of the Japanese floats in my collection were formed by blowing and using a wooden or metal bowl to shape them. There are examples of Asian floats produced using two or three piece molds, especially the 3" diameter Korean floats (see below) the jumbo and regular rolling pins and 2-piece fused "sunburst" floats from Daiichi Glass Company.

Above: Small (3" diameter) Korean glass float, made in a three-piece mold.

The Japanese began, so far as we know, to use glass floats attached to their fishing nets and lines after the turn of the 20th century (about 1910). These floats often came lose from their fastenings and floated across the sea to wash up on the West Coast of the USA, Canada and Mexico. Amos Wood estimated that it takes an average of about ten years for a fishing float to travel from Japan to the U.S., Mexican or Canadian coast, but it can be as little as three years. Experiments with floating objects released into the sea in 1992 indicate that there is a huge circling current in the Pacific which traps items like glass fishing floats, and they may circle around for a decade before a storm or a tide releases them to wash up on the beaches of the Western USA and Canada (Wikipedia). This constantly circulating Pacific current is called the Kuroshio Japanese Current and is sometimes called "the Black Stream" or "Black Current" due to the dark color of its waters. It is a warm water current, and is detected on the beach by glass ball hunters when a beautiful small blue and purple jelly fish called "Velella" that lives in the current, is in the high tide driftline. When you see Velella on the beach, you know that glass floats are going to be found.

Above: Hokkaido Rolling Pin fishing float from Northern Japan - these are quite common.

Above: Another Japanese Rolling Pin fishing float, this one known as the Tohoku Roller.

Collectors are intrigued by the incredible shapes, sizes, colors and embossing on Japanese glass floats. The Japanese used large glass floats when longline fishing for tuna and other pelagic fish. They also used millions of differently-sized and shaped floats for catching incredible numbers and types of fish, squid and octopus, using nets, traps and jigs.

Above: This Japanese Rolling Pin fishing float is a miniature version of the jumbo floats and is known as the Mini Jumbo.

Above: And this one is a smaller version known as a "Near Mini Jumbo" Japanese Rolling Pin fishing float.

The array of Japanese floats to be found is vast. There are a number of collectors who live in Japan or who travel to Japan just to beachcomb floats. And there are a number of collectors who scour the coastline for abandoned or destroyed fishermen's shacks where floats sometimes numbering in the thousands are to be found. The "shark roller" shown below is another shape of Japanese glass fishing float that is eagerly sought by collectors. If I were still beachcombing for floats on the coast of Washington State, my collection would be almost totally Japanese-made floats. Now I live on the East Coast of the U.S. and beachcombing for glass floats is almost 100% guaranteed to fail.

Relocating to the mid-Atlantic States, and no longer able to successfully beachcomb for glass balls, did not put an end to my collecting. I quickly became acquainted with the European-made glass fishing balls. I found my first European glass ball embossed "Made in Germany" on a lawn sale table followed by an amber ball embossed "Made in Czechoslovakia" at a local glass and bottle show then an embossed "FGC Made in England" ball at an antique sellers' fall festival. With those findings my collecting direction quickly changed and I began concentrating on building a collection of European and American-made floats.

Above: This contemporary fishing float is marked "Made in Czechoslovakia" on the opposite end to the seal.

Since finding those first Euros, I have learned that floats were made in countries all over the world for use on various types of fishing: drifters set nets traps for crab, fish, lobster octopus and turtle draggers and long-lines. The example below was found in France.

European-made glass floats are found throughout the world. Online auctions are bringing out a vast array of floats that have been found in attics, sheds, basements, barns, abandoned boat houses, fishing huts, and from personal glass collections. Slowly, these differently-marked, colored and shaped glass floats are being offered for sale to the world's collectors. Hopefully there will also be documents with more information about the manufacturers, the users, and their marks. The fishing float shown below was made in Germany and the clover leaf mark was used extensively by the German manufacturer, Heye Glass.

The green "dog neck" float shown below is also marked with the clover leaf. This is a very rare style of float, measuring 5" diameter.

Another German made float is shown below. 5" diameter sphere it was obtained from a bottle collecting friend in Germany.

The Portugese fishing float shown below is the size of a soccer ball and came from an Australian seller. It is marked "Extra RG Portugal" and I have seen these floats in clear and in green glass. Most of the Portuguese floats this size seem to come from Australia, indicating fishing by the Portugese in those waters, likely for Tuna.

I would like to go out on a limb, a limb that I believe will support me, to talk about three floats that have been credited to Great Britain. These three floats are the ones embossed "Neversink GB5" and "Neversink GB8" and the clear glass Teardrop float embossed "Pat. Pending". I do not believe that any of these three floats are British or European-made. I believe them to be American-made, and I believe that one company located in one of the Northeast Atlantic States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New York made these floats. It is often stated that the letters "GB" stand for "Great Britain" but I believe this is incorrect. The letters GB could very well mean "Glass Ball". The numbers "5" and "8" stand for the diameters of the floats. For years, I have been tracing the origins of eBay float auctions to see if patterns develop that possibly indicate where floats originated from. During the years that I have been tracing these floats on eBay I have never seen any of them appear on a European auction. All have originated in the United States, and most of them have been offered from sellers located in one of the three states mentioned above.

Steel, aluminum, and later - plastic floats began to replace glass floats from about 1910 onwards. By the late 1940s mechanized winches were being used to haul in the fishing nets and these tended to destroy the glass floats. By the 1960s the fishing industry had changed. Fish populations were declining rapidly. Larger processing ships, new fishing methods, new technology to find the fish and the use of huge dragging nets with mechanized gear, were the most profitable way to fish commercially. These new fishing methods and cheaper materials virtually brought about the end of glass float use for commercial fishing. It did not end altogether, as glass floats are still being used today, on a very limited basis, mostly by individuals. And they are still being made as curios for collectors.

During the 1950's and 1960's a number of the companies who made glass fishing floats began making what are known as "contemporary floats". These floats are made with the same thickness of glass as the tough fishing float, and are normally embossed with the maker's marking. What sets them apart from the working glass float is the color of the glass used, beautiful shades of blue, red, yellow, orange and green. These floats are normally found in pristine shape, but because of the quality of the glass used, were sometimes used for fishing. I have examples of Japanese, British, Swedish and American-made contemporary floats. The one shown below was made by the Swedish company Torvald Stranne, and carries their makers mark.

Today, it is common to find what are known as curio floats. These floats are often not functional for fishing because the glass is thin and lightweight. They are made primarily for decoration, and are found in differently sized floats from small golf ball floats up to the large-diameter 10in.or 25cm. single floats, brightly coloured rolling pin floats, and roped and netted two to six ball hangers with cork floats added between the glass floats.

Above: 6 inch contemporary glass fishing float made in Japan.

The Chinese glass producers have been making curio floats which are replicas of the old Asian fishing floats, using thick sturdy glass, netting them and marking them with an arrow, sea horse, etc.

Finally, there are glass artisans such as Dale Chihuly, who have been producing beautiful multi-colored floats for sale and for artistic installations around the world. Other artisans are producing floats to be found as beachcombing treasures during American West Coast glass ball and beachcombing festivals, and for decoration and design.

The prices paid for rare floats is sometimes amazing. Just recently an American-made Northwestern Glass Company float, made after WWII, sold for more than $4000.00. Rare shapes which sell for high prices include: the Japanese kanji rollers the giant Tohoku torpedo, dumbell, bullet, jumbo and double sausage rollers European knobbed, large or grooved eggs the huge Norwegian tear drop marker floats dog floats and from America the grooved gill net floats, grooved rollers, teardrop and doughnut floats. The numbers of collectors has also grown thanks to availability on the internet coupled with the increased awareness of collectors of glass.

Above: A grooved roller fishing float from Seattle, WA, c. 1940s. This kind of float also attracts high prices today.

Maybe you recognize the maker of the embossing in one of our pictures, or have information from a glassblowing company about the production, sales or advertisements of glass fishing floats? Old catalogues from commercial fishing supply companies who sold the gear to fishermen are helpful. Any information would be much appreciated. I am particularly interested in finding references to companies in Great Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and Italy who produced or sold glass fishing floats, as well as history of family members, acquaintances, and other users of the floats. And am always ready to add a new float to the collection. I can be reached at my email address: [email protected]

Above: This 5" diameter fishing float was another UK eBay find. The maker is still unknown to me.

I would like to thank Pereinar123, Vebjorn Fiksdal, Stu Farnsworth, Hans-Olaf Koch, David Neff, Juergen Boehrens, Peter Vermeulen, "Woody" Woodward, Ken Busse, Doborah Hillman and Walt Pich for information provided to me in numerous emails. To Angela Bowey for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and my passion in this article. And to Chad Holliday, a glass artisan and our son-in-law, who has helped me to understand the techniques and tools used to make floats, taken me inside working hotshops and who has introduced me to many world famous glass artists and their craft. Also special thanks to the sellers, librarians, writers, museum curators, research specialists, glass artisans, and collectors of glass fishing floats, who have helped me build my collection through their auctions, replied to my emails with information, insight, humor and personal stories of their finds. And my wife, Nancy.

References and Further Reading:

  • Beachcomber's treasure, glass floats: A field guide of the what, where, when, how (1984) by Rufus H Cate.
  • Beachcombing for Japanese Glass Floats (1985) by Amos L. Wood.
  • Beachcombers Guide to the Northwest (1997) by Walt Pich.
  • Beachcombing the Pacific (1997) by Amos L. Wood.
  • Glass fishing floats of the world The collector price guide & identification (2001) by Stuart Farnsworth.
  • Glass Ball (2004) by Walter Pich.
  • Washed Up: The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam (2006) by Skye Moody.
  • Glass Ball Shapes (2014) by Walt Pich .
  • "European Fishing Floats" an article in Glass Collectors' Digest, by Stu Farnsworth, Feb 1996.
  • "Glass Treasures from the Sea" am article in Glass Collectors Digest, by Stu Farnsworth, August 1990.

If you are looking for glass fishing floats you can usually find items on offer on ebay.We thought you would like to see these examples - click here.

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St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

1554 to 1560: Ivan the Terrible erected the exuberant St. Basil's Cathedral just outside the Kremlin gates in Moscow.

The reign of Ivan IV (the Terrible) brought a brief resurgence of interest in traditional Russian styles. To honor Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan, the legendary Ivan the Terrible erected the exuberant St. Basil's Cathedral just outside the Kremlin gates in Moscow. Completed in 1560, St. Basil's is a carnival of painted onion domes in the most expressive of Russo-Byzantine traditions. It is said that Ivan the Terrible had the architects blinded so that they could never again design a building so beautiful.

St. Basil's Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God.

After the reign of Ivan IV, architecture in Russia borrowed more and more from European rather than Eastern styles.

The Collector's Guide to Milk Glass

Skim this primer to learn more 
about some of the most prized 
pieces in the Milky Way.

Opaque Glass originated in 16th century Venice and came in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, blue, and brown. The white variety beloved today rose to prominence during the Victorian era, when 
it was coveted as an economic dead-ringer for porcelain. (The Victorians also get credit for coining the term "milk glass.") Its production and popularity waned during the Great Depression but saw a resurgence after World War II. Thanks to a frenzy of mass production during the 1950s and 1960s from companies such as Anchor Hocking, Fenton, and Westmoreland, the mid-century finds are readily available today&mdashmany for mere milk money. Here are some pretty pieces to add to your own collection.

In the 1950s and 1960s, milk glass vessels were florists' go-to. This small bud vase (1), valued at $5, showcases Stars and Bars, a popular pattern discontinued in 1965. Also of interest is this nubby style (2) that goes for $10 and sports the raised pattern known as Hobnail. Introduced by Fenton in 1939, the look quickly became synonymous with milk glass design. Less noteworthy vases can be found in lots of 5 to 10 for as little as $1 on eBay and Etsy.

Banana Stands Victorians wanted a dish for everything bananas were no exception. This 1950s reproduction (1), used here as a flower display, features a lace edge and holds a value of $45. One from the early 1900s could fetch up to $100.

Pitchers Decorative pitchers recall a time when lingering around the dinner table was the norm. The striking owl (2), worth $125, is a wise investment thanks to pristine cabochon eyes. Less rare pitchers, like those alongside the owl, go for $40.

Cake Stands These stately pieces 
are the current "it" 
item among milk glass collectors and have high prices to show for it. 
This relatively rare Silver Crest cake plate by Fenton (3) has a thin wavy edge and fetches a sweet $75.

Punch Bowl A party staple of the 1960s, punch bowls are highly coveted by today's collectors. If paired with the original 12 cups, this bowl by glassmaker Hazel-Atlas (4) would bring in $50. Without the cups, you can scoop it for $25.

Cruets Made to hold oil and vinegar, cruets were popular during the Victorian era and saw a resurgence during the 1950s. This Westmoreland pourer (5) was part of a set that also came with a container and small tray. Alone the vessel is valued at $25 the full trio would command $50.

Plates Unlike other 20th-century tabletop collectibles such as Jadeite and Fiesta, actual milk glass dinnerware was never produced. Instead, the plates you see here were used as serving pieces or home deécor. Today, purely decorative plates, like this sought-after one featuring the face of George Washington (1), sell for $30. Those with flawless adornment (2) (painting floral or fruit motifs on milk glass was a popular hobby) have a rate of $20.

Covered Dishes Decorative sugar bowls and candy dishes were a staple on buffet tables throughout the 1900s. One of the most popular designs was Westmoreland's Paneled Grape. This 1940s version (3) is worth $25 thanks to its intact lid. Also of note is the Hen on a Nest (4) , which has been produced by virtually every milk glass manufacturer at some point. Those items were originally sold at grocery stores and contained mustard, but consumers continued to flock to the look long after they transported the condiment. This particular hen was produced in the 1950s by Indiana Glass and clucks in at $35.

To verify your piece is a genuine antique 
(1960s and prior), look for the "Ring of Fire" by holding it up to a natural light source. 
Older milk glass was made with iridized salts and, therefore, should produce a halo of 
iridescent reds, blues, and greens in the sun.

What Coke Bottles Have Looked Like Throughout History

You might think of Coca-Cola as just another soda option out there, but the brand is actually pretty iconic and has quite the history. Coca-Cola has been around since the late 1800s, meaning we’ve all been drinking and loving the stuff our entire lives. During that time, the Coke bottles, probably just as iconic as the drink itself, have changed their look a lot.

The very beginning of Coca-Cola was, in fact, pretty humble.

Coca-Cola was created by John S. Pemberton in May of 1886, and was served as a fountain soda drink at Jacob’s Pharmacy. It wasn’t until 1899 that anyone began bottling up the popular drink. That year, the rights to the bottle were sold to two Chattanooga lawyers named Joseph Whitehead and Benjamin Thomas. The two believed they could capitalize on how popular the fountain drink was and sell even more of it in a bottle — and they were obviously right.

This led to some pretty quick growth, propelling the brand into the spotlight.

From then on, the Coke brand grew massively to become what it is today… one of the biggest soda companies out there. The bottle has gone through some design changes, but it remains recognizable and a total classic. Coca-Cola has clearly always known what it’s doing in the soda industry.

So, what did it look like in the beginning?

Interestingly enough, nothing like what it looks like today! The first Coke bottles were described as “straight-sided Hutchinson bottles with a metal stopper.” They were simple glass bottles with a rounded top. Yes, it will definitely make you do a double-take, asking yourself, “Is that really Coca-Cola? Are my eyes deceiving me?”

The first bottle:

Then, there were changes.

Around 1906 and 1907, the company made the bottles amber-colored. They also added a diamond-shaped label to make them stand out more, and stand out they did. But, we still wouldn’t be able to recognize them when compared to the Coke bottles we’re all used to today. These changes still have us questioning ourselves and everything we know to be true about Coca-Cola.

It really has changed A LOT.

More changes!

In 1915, the bottle changed again, as competitors were trying to imitate Coke with bottles that had slight variations compared to the trademarked name. The famous contour bottle prototype was created by Alexander Samuelson and patented by the Root Glass Company. They were going for a bottle that could be recognized when it was broken on the ground, or if it was being touched in the dark.

And they definitely achieved their goal.

Time to embrace refrigeration.

In 1923, as home refrigeration became more common, Coca-Cola developed a new type of bottle: the six-pack bottle carrier that could easily be slid right into the fridge for cooling. The carton might seem old now, but it was a big invention for the time, and was quickly patented. (Also, it makes for a really cute carrying case that we want them to bring back right now.)

More changes, but smaller this time.

Yes, even small changes made a big difference. Inside the carton, the bottles were a bit more slim than they were in 1915. They still had the iconic contour shape, though, keeping with the fact that Coca-Cola wanted to make their packaging iconic and memorable. If you were feeling around in the dark, you’d definitely recognize this guy…

This shows how important branding really is.

Design really did matter.

And the contour design wasn’t taken lightly. An image from 1937 shows the sketches that went into making the design as sleek as possible. They didn’t just make any old design and throw it into production. A lot of thought went into making Coca-Cola what it was, which would explain why the brand continues to be extremely popular today. Talk about an amazing start!

Then, a different way to drink your Coke came about.

In 1933, the first automated fountain dispenser, called the Dole Master, was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair. The fair was a place where different nations came together to show off all of their achievements, and clearly, Coca-Cola was one such achievement that needed to be promoted. It’s not a bottle, of course, but it was still a new way to drink Coke!

Different sizes soon became important.

What if you only want a small drink of Coke? Or, what if you’re craving something more substantial to quench your thirst? By 1955, Coca-Cola started to offer different sizes in addition to the standard 6.5-ounce bottles. They offered 10-, 12-, and 16-ounce bottles. They also introduced the very first king-size bottle at 26 ounces.

The king-size bottle was truly fit for a king with a love of soda.

A lot can change in two years.

Two years later, the contour bottles got a bit of an update. In 1957, they were printed with a white label featuring both trademarks, Coca-Cola and Coke (before, the trademark had only been blown in glass lettering on the bottle). This is starting to resemble the Coke bottles we know and love today. The times really were a-changin’!

Soda cans were born.

In 1960, the soda was made even more accessible when 12-ounce aluminum cans were introduced in the United States. This was obviously a big deal, and something we can all relate to. However, these aluminum cans have a more vintage feel to them and look a bit more like they contain canned vegetables.

There were experimental cans as well.

There were also experimental 32-oz cans as well. There weren’t that many, though, as they apparently ceased production when World War II started. According to Coca-Cola, during the war, a “special group of Coca-Cola employees called Technical Observers were asked to fulfill Woodruff’s promise. The ‘TOs’ supervised the shipment and operation of 64 complete bottling plants that distributed over 5 billion bottles of Coca-Cola to servicemen and women.” You read that correctly — 5 billion bottles!

Time to bring in the plastic.

In 1978, the plastic bottle was introduced with the two liter PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle. It was a lot easier to manage than the glass bottle because it didn’t break, it was resealable, and it was much more lightweight. (Also, it sounds a lot safer. Picking up broken glass is always a dangerous task.) It was also recyclable, which is definitely a bonus.

1993 was a big year.

The company showed off their first 20-ounce PET contour bottle in 1993. The shape was supposed to distinguish it from other plastic bottles, just like the first contour glass bottle back in 1915. And clearly, it did just that, making Coca-Cola stand out from the crowd of soda competitors.

Coca-Cola did their own thing, and it definitely worked in their favor.

No more broken bottles!

In 2000, they came out with the ultra-glass contour bottle. It was designed to be lighter and have better impact resistance, so it didn’t break as easily. I mean, we all know how devastating it can be to shatter our favorite drink on the ground — so we appreciate that Coca-Cola made strides to prevent this from happening to their customers.

We all love a company that cares.

The aluminum paved the way for what we know today.

By 2005, they had created aluminum contour bottles as well. These looked like the glass and plastic contour bottles, but were uniquely aluminum. Announcing the change, Coca-Cola writes, “In 2005, and with continued R&D support, the Coca-Cola glass bottle loaned its signature curves to a modern interpretation featuring a new packaging material.”

It’s time to take care of Mother Earth.

In 2009, things got more planet-friendly with the “plant bottle.” It was 100% recyclable and was made with up to 30% renewable, plant-based material. In 2015, Coca-Cola revealed, “Since 2009, Coca-Cola has distributed more than 35 billion bottles in nearly 40 countries using its current version of PlantBottle packaging,” adding that this has helped prevent 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.

More things like this, please!

Years later, things got personal. Around 2014, Coke introduced bottles with names on them, so they could be shared with friends. How many of you always checked to make sure they had your name available? They brought this “Share a Coke” campaign back in 2017, but with more names and flavors than before. So if you didn’t find your moniker the first time around, hopefully you were able to snag it back in 2017!

Who knows where the Coke bottle will go from here?

Of course, it’s always going to retain its iconic shape, but maybe they’ll come up with even more innovations. We don’t doubt it.

Watch the video: Foundation Course in Watercolor Painting 17 - Brown Glass Bottle 基礎水彩示範 - 棕色玻璃瓶 (January 2023).