Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes
HOME: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Labeled bottles
This Labeled Bottles page allows users to see what many different shapes or "types" of bottles were precisely used for as the original labels (and often contents) are still intact. It is hoped that showing a large assortment of bottles, which are often not embossed as to contents, will give users more of a feel for what shapes or types of bottles were used for what products. This page also includes some foreign made bottles that are distinctive in shape and found frequently in the the U. S. and Canada.
This is almost purely a pictorial page with limited descriptive information on the pictured bottles; the labels usually speak for themselves. Estimated date ranges for the bottle or bottles in the image are given, however, as well as other small bits of information were appropriate. Most of the bottles that are pictured here are not pictured elsewhere on this website, and in fact, are primarily images found on the internet or submitted by users.
The page is divided into the eight bottle type categories noted on the main Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes page (click to move directly to that category):
It is expected that additional images of product labeled bottles will be constantly acquired and added indefinitely to this page well into the future. Stay tuned...
Users Note: Additions to this page in the form of clear, good quality digital images are most welcome! Of particular need are good images for the categories that are relatively underrepresented. If submitting photos, views of the label(s), embossing (if present), at least one side (if not round), and base would be appreciated though just a picture of the entire bottle showing the label also acceptable. If you would like to contribute to this webpage please contact the author of this website at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To the left: A shoo-fly "liquor" flask used instead for bitters (image to the left). Although this style of flask was used largely for various liquors (e.g., whiskey in particular), they were also used (or re-used) for bitters or other medicines like Jamaica ginger. Bottle early 20th century mouth-blown.
To the right: A "union oval" flask in a large quart size used for "California Port" (images to the right). These type mouth-blown and occasionally machine-made flasks came in various sizes (sample size to at least a quart) and typically date from the first two decades of the 20th century, i.e., about 1900 to 1919 (National Prohibition).
To the left: European made "Crème 'd Italie" liqueur bottle (product of Italy though bottled in London) with an applied glass handle and a cracked-off/sheared and refired "straight" finish (image to the left). These bottles date from the late 19th century, also came in amber glass without a handle, and contained some kind of fruit based liqueur, though even with the label intact it is not possible to tell exactly what type liqueur.
To the right: "Mazeppa Bourbon Whiskey" from the Hildebrandt, Posner & Co. (San Francisco, CA. (image to the right). This typical cylinder "fifth" liquor bottle is mouth-blown and dates from the 1890s to 1915 era; the company was in business from 1885 to 1918 (Wilson & Wilson 1968).
To the left: A generic "utility" bottle used (or re-used) for "Cognac Brandy" by a New York druggist (image to the left). This early style of bottle was used for a myriad of different liquid products including ink (thus the "utility" designation) and dates from the 1840 to 1870 era. It is believe that this style was seldom used for liquor though here is an example.
To the right: A later, machine-made example of a typical rectangular "Kummel" bottle with widely beveled edges that likely dates from the early portion of National Prohibition (1919 into the 1920s) as it notes that the product is "non-alcoholic" (images to the right). Kummel was a sweet, colorless liqueur flavored with caraway seed, cumin, and fennel which was originated in Holland though the most popular brands seen in the U.S. was of German origin (e.g. GILKA). Kummel typically came in bottles of this distinctive shape back into at least the 1880s.
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To the left: Three "western style" stubbie beer bottles from the Northwest dating from the 1950s (image to the left). This subtle variation of the stubbie bottle appeared to have been exclusively used by Western brewing companies (Lockhart pers. comm. 2006). (Photo compliments of David Bethman.)
To the right: An image of a very large (11") half-gallon size "steinie" that was used by Bohemian Breweries, Inc. of Spokane, WA. who operated under that name from 1934 to 1957 (Van Wieren 1995). Click close-up of the label to see such. These very large steinie type bottles are relatively uncommon compared to the ubiquitous smaller sizes but a popular "picnic" size for events and parties. This particular bottle dates from the late 1930s or 1940s and has an unusual (for the era) lightning closure still affixed to it, although it has a standard crown cap accepting finish. Whether this closure is original is unknown though it could well be on this size of bottle which would conceivably take a while to finish and this closure would facilitate easy resealing. (Photos compliments of David Bethman.)
To the left: A a non-alcoholic malt tonic bottle from Brooklyn, NY. that likely dates from just before the Prohibition era, i.e., 1910 to 1920. The Welz & Zerweck "High Ground Brewery" was in business from 1883 to 1920 (Van Wieren 1995). The base of the bottle is embossed with - BOTTLE NOT TO BE USED REFILLED OR SOLD MUST BE RETURNED TO LIEBMANN BREWERY INC. Liebmann was another Brooklyn brewery and this bottle is an example of re-use of the type that the inscription on the base was trying to stop (Van Wieren). The label has the following information:
The large amber beer bottle to the right is a "quart" (24-26 oz.) labeled beer used by the Wunder Brewing Company (San Francisco, CA.) which was in business from 1898 to 1909 (Van Wieren 1995). This particular bottle - or at least the label (more below) - dates from between 1906 and 1909. How do we know that? The label notes that the product is "Guaranteed Under the Food & Drugs Act of June 30th, 1906" making 1906 the earliest date that the label was produced. As noted above, the company went out of business or changed its operating name around 1909; thus the date range of 1906 to 1909.
This bottle is also certainly an example of re-use in that the base is embossed M. B. & G. CO. which indicates manufacture by the short-lived Massillon Bottle & Glass Co. (Massillon, OH.) which began business in 1900, though was merged into the Ohio Bottle Company in 1904, making the latest manufacturing date at least two years before the label was made (Toulouse 1971). In addition, the back shoulder of the bottle has A. J. OAK. etched into the glass by hand almost certainly indicating that another unknown (Oakland?) brewery first purchased the bottle from Massillon, marked it with their ownership (ownership etching was not uncommon at that time), and the bottle eventually picked up for re-use by Wunder. Thus, we have quite conclusive dating that the bottle itself was manufactured between 1900 to 1904 and the label between 1906 and 1909. Click on the following links for more images: reverse side of the bottle showing shoulder etching of A. J. OAK.; base view showing the M. B. & G. CO. makers marking. (Photos and information courtesy of Jared Smith, Mesa Historical Museum, Mesa, AZ.)
To the left: An apollinaris mineral water bottle from Europe that most likely dates from the 1920 to 1940 era. It is machine-made and of a typical shape and color (green) which was popular for soda and mineral waters during that era.
To the right: This image is of round-bottom soda bottle (with enough of a flat base to stand up however) with the original labels intact. It is from Cantrell & Cochrane of Dublin & Belfast, Ireland and contained Ginger Ale which was probably the most common beverage contained within this class of soda bottles. Click on the following links to view close-ups of the label: close-up of the front label; close-up of the back label which also shows an image of a round-bottom soda. This company also exported millions of round-bottom soda bottles with their names embossed on the sides. (Photos courtesy of David Bethman.)
To the left: A large spring water bottle from the Witter Medicinal Spring Co. of San Francisco, CA., although the spring itself was in Lake County, CA. (near Clear Lake north of the Bay Area). This bottle is sealed with the original contents, has a tooled one-part finish (though covered by the foil capsule), was blown in a cup-bottom mold, and most likely has ample mold air venting in evidence - all indicative of an early 20th century manufacture. The base is embossed with WITTER MEDICAL SPRINGS (in a circle) with S. F. in the center of the base inside of the embossing. The reverse label notes that the product is "Guaranteed Under the Food & Drugs Act of June 30th, 1906" which indicates a manufacturing date of 1907 to around 1913. The label does note that it will "cure" various ills - a claim that largely disappeared after implementation of the Sherley Act in 1913. (See the introduction on this page Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist Bottles for more information on that law). The company was also noted by Fike (1987) as advertising in 1915 and 1923. Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle and its labels: base view showing the embossing; view from the top showing the embossed lead capsule covering the cord; view of the reverse side label which makes typical medicinal claims for the product. (Photos and information courtesy of Jared Smith, Mesa Historical Museum, Mesa, AZ.)
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To the left: Two patent medicine bottles dating from the 1890 to 1905 era (image to the left). One (right) appears oval in cross-section; the other a typical rectangular "paneled" bottle.
To the right: A group of eight various patent/proprietary medicines from the 1900 to 1920s era (image to the right). All are variations of the very typical rectangular paneled bottle extremely popular for liquid medicinals of all types.
To the left: A shoo-fly "liquor" flask used for Old Dominion Vegetable Bitters (image to the left). Although the shoo-fly and coffin styles of flasks were used largely for various liquors (e.g., whiskey in particular), they were also used - or re-used - for bitters or other medicines like Jamaica ginger. This flask is early 20th century mouth-blown.
To the right: A "standard" shape sarsaparilla with the original label, contents, and box (image to the right). This bottle is also embossed with DALTON'S SARSAPARILLA (and more) but was covered on the Medicinal/Chemical/Druggist bottles page although without a picture of the original box. It dates from the 1890s.
To the left: A typical proprietary medicine type that utilized some particular herb or plant with presumed medicinal qualities as the main ingredient - in this case the palmetto (image to the left). This is a mouth-blown "ring neck extract" type bottle that dates most likely from the 1890s or very early 1900s. Medicine company was in Wheeling, West Virginia.
To the right: A Toneco Bitters with label and contents. This bottle is about 10" tall, machine-made, and is of a shape usually associated with Irish whiskey; i.e., it is very similar to the past - and current - Bushmill's Irish Whiskey bottles. This item likely dates from the late 1910s or early 1920s and was a form of alcohol (30% according the lower label) that may have been available even during National Prohibition due to its medicinal claims. Click on the following links for more images: base view showing the relatively distinct suction scar which slops over onto the side (upper portion of the image) and the makers mark (FGW) for Fairmount Glass Works (Fairmount, IN.) who used this mark on mouth-blown and machine-made bottles from 1898 to 1930; close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish showing the shoulder label noting that the product was produced by the Lash's Bitters Co. which was a California company that went national after the turn of the century (Toulouse 1971; Wilson & Wilson 1971).
To the left: A labeled ketchup bottle from the Midwest. This bottle is a smaller size at 7 3/4", has an improved tooled external screw thread finish, and was almost certainly blown in cup-bottom mold with air venting. (Picture off of eBay®.) The label notes the brand is "Ohio Valley Ketchup" which implies a Midwest origin, although the actual producer and location is not noted. Click close-up of the finish and screw cap to view such. The bore of the mouth has a cork in it though it is unknown whether it was originally bottled with the cork in addition to the screw cap, though it is quite possible.
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To the left: An early 20th century (1906 to about 1915) veterinary medicine bottle intended for use on livestock, i.e. a "Home Treatment for Horses and Cattle" (image to the left). The label notes it is "Guaranteed under Food and Drugs Act of 1906" indicating it was produced during the date range noted.
To the right: A cobalt blue "Fluid Face Power for the Complexion" with the label and box (image to the right). These bottles are mouth-blown, were produced by the Portland (OR) firm of Blumauer-Frank Drug Company, and date from the 1900 to 1915 era. Cobalt and milk glass rectangular "panel" bottles were commonly used for cosmetic products during the era from the 1870s into the 1920s (largely machine-made by that time).
To the left: This is a mid-19th century (1840-1860) snuff bottle from a Boston firm. It has a blow-pipe style pontil scar, a deep olive green (aka "black glass"), and is 4.25" tall with a base that is 2.6" wide (longest measurement) by 1.7" deep (shortest). (Image courtesy of Glass Works Auctions.)
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