Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes


Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles
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This page is currently a work in progress.

This Miscellaneous & Foreign bottles page is one of two typology pages (in addition to the Household bottles [non-food related] page) which comprise the "catch-all" sections for American-made bottles that do not neatly fit in any of the other major typology pages.  This particular page also includes a smattering of foreign bottles which were commonly imported into the U. S. and Canada and likely to be found on U. S. and Canadian historic sites.

This section of the typology pages probably doesn't need any further discussion or introduction; it just contains moderately significant categories that are not otherwise covered anywhere else within this website.  The other typology pages (e.g., "Liquor/Spirits bottles", "Food Bottles & Canning Jars", etc.) have larger introductory sections than this page or the "Household bottles (non-food related)" page.  This is because the "miscellaneous" and "household" categories are much wider ranging in diversity, lacking an overall binding "theme" compared to the other major categories.  Instead, this page will have specific bottle type introductions incorporated into the opening paragraphs within each given section listed.  Given this structural difference, the introduction for this page is considered complete; please scroll down to the "Organization & Structure" section below to begin.

NOTE:  Attached to the "Bottle Types/Diagnostic Shapes" grouping of pages is a complete copy of a never re-printed, 280 page, 1906 Illinois Glass Company bottle catalog scanned at two pages per JPEG file.  Click 1906 IGCo. Catalog to access the page that links to all the scans of this very useful catalog.  Miscellaneous type bottles are listed throughout this catalog.


Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes:
"Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles" page
Organization & Structure

This Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles page is divided into the following categories and sub-categories based largely on the different contents that each group held, and within those groups, by various dominant shapes or other logical categories.  Additional categories and/or sub-categories will almost certainly be added as future updates to this page.

Barber bottles

Fire Grenades

Carboys & Demijohns

Battery jars

Foreign bottles
Chinese bottles
  -European bottles
  -Other foreign bottles


Other miscellaneous bottles
 -Bird Food bottles
 -Figural bottles (not fitting another category)


Each of the pictured bottles has a relatively short description and explanation including estimated dates or date ranges for that type bottle and links to other view pictures of the bottle.  Additional links to images of similar bottles are also frequently included. 

The array of references used to support the conclusions and estimates found here - including the listed dating ranges - are noted.  Additional information and estimates are based on the empirical observations of the author over 40 years of experience; this is often but not always noted.

Various terminology is used in the descriptions that may be unfamiliar if you have not studied other pages on this site.  If a term is unfamiliar, first check the Bottle Glossary page for an explanation or definition.  As an alternative, one can do a search of this website.  To do a word/phrase search one must use the "Search SHA" boxes found on many of the main SHA web pages, including the Research Resources page (upper right side of that page) which links to this site.  The Historic Bottle Website (HBW) has no internal search mechanism so be aware that when running a search one will also get non-HBW response links to other portions of the SHA site.



Barber bottles

Late 19th to early 20th century barber bottle; click to enlarge.Image of an early 20th century decorative barber bottle.Barber bottles could have been included along with "hair products" on the Household Bottles (non-food related) page, though due to the "specialty bottle" nature of barber bottles.....






The following barber bottles give some idea as to the variety possible in both shape and colors.  These bottles date from the 1885 to 1920 era and are provided compliments of Glass Works Auctions.



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Fire Grenades

Late 19th century fire grenade bottle.subject.....


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Carboys & Demijohns


AB&GC November 2008 has good Odell article on the subject.  McKearin & Wilson also have a section on this (p. 255-259).


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Battery jars

Battery jars.....


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Foreign bottles

Many types of foreign-made bottles are commonly found on historic sites in the U. S. (and Canada).


Chinese bottles

Chinese bottles...  Wegars (2001) a useful source of information...







Good reference Felton et al. 1984

A great website for information on and images of Chinese artifacts excavated in Montana is available at the following link:  This website - sponsored by the University of Montana - is based on the German Gulch (a defunct mining camp near Butte, MT.) collection of artifacts being analyzed by Bill Norman at the U. of Montana.  The site primarily covers various ceramic and metal artifacts, though does include some glass items.


European bottles

This is section that could rival or exceed this entire website in scope and complexity, and the reason that foreign bottles are really not the subject of this work....

However, many bottle types originating and produced in Europe made their way to North America in vast quantities.  This section will explore just a few of the more commonly encountered European bottle types. 

Late 19th century English codd bottle; click to enlarge.Codd Soda/Mineral Water bottlesThe Codd's ball stopper soda water (rarely beer) bottle style was by far the most successful of an assortment of internal ball type stoppers for soda bottles devised during the second half of the 19th century.  It was first patented in 1870 in England with patents for the most commonly seen types granted in 1872 and 1873; it was first patented in the United States in 1873 (Munsey 1970; Goodacre 1995).  Most of its success was in England or the Commonwealth nations like Canada, India, and Australia.  Similar to the round bottom sodas, this closure & bottle style was infrequently used by American soda bottlers (primarily due to the fierce competition from the Hutchinson and later crown closures) and was known to have been produced in only one U. S. glass factory - the Whitney Glass Co. (Glassboro, NJ) beginning in 1886 (Toulouse 1971; Goodacre 1995).  There were, however, a few seldom seen non-Codd ball types which were made in the U.S. (Riley 1958, Graci 2003).   Part of the reason for its lack of success in the U.S. reportedly was because American kids had a tendency to break the bottles to get at the internal marble for their youthful games, though that must have occurred in other countries also (Lief 1965).

The bottles were produced by a method that required the use of an applied finish until well into the 20th century which is long after virtually all other bottle types were being mouth-blown with tooled finishes.  According to one author the mouth-blown bottles were produced as follows:  After being mold blown the bottles were sheared at the neck and allowed to cool.  Then a glass marble, made from glass of a hardness twice that of the bottle was dropped into it.  The bottle was then re-heated and the neck welded on (finish applied), so containing the marble (Goodacre 1995).  Eventually fully automatic bottle machines were adapted to produce Codd bottles (example pictured below right).

This type of internal ball closure was self-sealing via a rubber gasket mounted inside the bore of the bottle against which the marble was firmly held in place by the carbonated contents.  The contained beverage was accessed by pushing down on the marble to release the pressure after which the marble dropped to the constriction ridges in the lower part of the neck.  Click Codd opener for a picture of a tool used to push down the marble.  The illustration below left shows the upper portion of a Codd bottle with the marble in the sealing position inside the bore.  The photo to the right below shows a late 20th century, machine-made Codd bottle from India with the gasket in place in the middle of the finish and the marble in the unsealed "resting" position low down in the neck on the internal constriction ridges.  This side view of a Codd bottle also shows why these bottles are sometimes called an "elephant" or "pig" bottle (Elliott & Gould 1988).   Some resemblance, I guess?  The "eyes" are actually diagonal indentations in the neck that held back the marble when pouring the contents out after opening, keeping it from impeding the flow (Fowler 1986).  During the 1920s and 1930s most of the English machinery to produce Codd bottles was shipped to India where the bottle may still be produced (Goodacre 1995).

Codd bottle made in late 20th century India; click to enlarge.Besides size, there are a few variations to the typical bottle as pictured here.  What variations there are, are primarily in the body as these bottles shoulder/neck (hard to differentiate the two separately) and finish had to be largely as shown in the pictures for this closure system to work properly.  One interesting variation is that there were some round bottom and torpedo sodas bottles that have Codd ball stoppers - some of which were made in England for U. S. soda water manufacturers (Elliot & Gould 1988).  This makes for a very unusual looking bottle to say the least and given the purpose of a round bottom - to ensure that the bottle is laid on its side to keep the cork wet - somewhat pointless, since there was no cork.

The English Codd bottle pictured to the above left is embossed NORTH LINDSEY / MINERAL WATER CO. / SCUNTHORPE.  It is also embossed on the reverse REDFEARN BROS / BOTTLE MAKERS / BARNSLEY indicating that the bottle was made by this glass company - business dates unknown.  The towns of Barnsley and Scunthorpe are located in central England so of course this bottle is English made, most likely during the late 19th century, i.e., 1880-1900.  It has a crudely applied long tapered (outwards towards base) "oil" type finish (for want of a better finish fit) with a groove on the inside of the bore for the gasket which the marble sealed against; a ubiquitous finish on a Codd bottle.  Some residual gasket is remaining as shown in the picture.  The bottle has no apparent evidence of air venting and was blown in a post-bottom mold.  These features would date the bottle - if U. S. made - from the 1870s to mid-1880s.  However, as noted on other portions of this website, European manufacturers were "behind" the U. S. in adopting new bottle production techniques so it is possible that this Codd bottle could date as late as 1900-1915 as Codd bottles from that era are known with these diagnostic traits.  It could also date from the 1880s also and would need local research on the company (or glassmaker) history to pin down the date more.  Click on the following links for more views of this bottle: base view; close-up of the neck and finish.  Though English made, it is essentially identical to the bottles that were used infrequently by soda companies in the U.S.; bottles that were almost certainly made by English glass companies like Redfearn Bros.

Period illustration of a codd neck and finish with marble in sealing position.Dating Summary/Notes: As noted, the Codd bottle/closure was a minor element in the American soda bottle/closure market.  Hutchinson closures followed by the crown closure (both covered below) were far and away the most popular sealing methods for soda and mineral water in the U.S.  One researcher, however, has tallied 25 or so different Codd bottles that are identifiable as used by American companies spanning the country (Graci 2003).  In Hawaii, the state where soda companies used the Codd bottle the most, there were at least 14 different Codd or Codd type bottles used by 4 different companies between 1884 and 1898 (Elliott & Gould 1988).  It is not known how many American soda concerns used unembossed Codd bottles with proprietary labels attached, though it was likely just a fraction of one percent and miniscule compared to the Hutchinson and crown closure bottles; Codd bottles are rarely found on historic sites in the U.S. (empirical observations).

The general date range for the mainland American use of the Codd closure is probably similar to the date range noted for Hawaii, though it is known that some Codd bottles were used into the early 1900s by some companies.  For example, one Western embossed Codd bottle with a true applied finish (BIGGAM BROS. / YAKIMA, WA) is known to date from between 1911 and 1913.  These bottles were marked as having been manufactured by NUTTALL & CO. - a glass works in St. Helens, Lancashire County, England which was merged out of existence in 1913 (Fowler 1986, Whitten 2005).  A good cut-off date for the limited use of Codd closures in the U.S. is the mid 1910s (Newman 1970). 

Worldwide, Codd bottles were used for an immense range of time from invention in the early 1870s to the late 20th century, as indicated by the bottle pictured to the above right which is machine-made and has as base sticker noting it was Made in India.  Mouth-blown Codd bottles can date as late as the 1920s with applied finishes which were required by the process needed to produce these bottles noted earlier.  Eventually fully automatic bottle machines were adapted to produce these bottles.  (One wonders how the automatic machine worked in order to get the marble in place?)  During the 1920s and 1930s most of the English machinery to produce Codd bottles was shipped to India where the bottle may still be produced (Goodacre 1995).  The machine-made Indian example pictured above right was purchased new from an import store around 1990!

For more information on Codd bottles take a look at these two articles posted on this website courtesy of a pair of well known authors in the bottle world:



One of the better references on many aspects British Commonwealth bottle manufacture was by Dr. James Boow and entitled "Early Australian Commercial Glass: Manufacturing Processes" (Boow 1991).  This publication is also of utility to students of American glass making.





Other foreign bottles



Persian "saddle flasks" -   These bottles are commonly seen at bottle shows, antique stores, and online...and the author of this site gets frequent questions about them.

Excellent article by Phil Culhane covering Persian bottles in B&E May-June 2015, Vol. 26:3, #219, pages 48-55.  He also has a website at  Click base view to see the blowpipe type pontil scar.   



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This section on reproductions...

WARNER'S SAFE KIDNEY & LIVER CURE - (Left image.)  This bottle is embossed WARNER'S / SAFE / KIDNEY & LIVER / CURE (large embossed safe) / ROCHESTER, N.Y.  This large distinctive bottle is oval in cross-section and 9.4"/24 cm tall.  This is another bottle style that is strongly associated with the genre of medicine bottles.  It is also closely (but not totally - there were imitators) associated with the products of the H. H. Warner Co. who was a prolific advertiser and producer of different patent medicines, most of which are shaped like the pictured bottle (Ojea & Stecher 1998).  NOTE:  These bottles were accurately reproduced by the Crownford China Co. during the 1970s (possibly a bit earlier and/or later) and sold with reproductions of the original label.  However, they exhibit machine-made characteristics and distinctive base embossing.  Click on the following images to view pictures of one of these reproductions which are quite well done:  view of the embossing; view of the label; side view; view of the base showing the telltale embossing CROWNFORD / (C in a circle) / CHINA CO. INC.


McKearin & Wilson also have a section on this subject.



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Other miscellaneous bottles

Other miscellaneous types includes, of course, bottles not covered elsewhere on this page or any of the other typology pages largely because these "types" are of minor importance.  This is the "miscellaneous miscellaneous" section.


Bird Food bottles

This is an unusual category that could well have been placed on the "Household" bottles page...



Figural bottles (not fitting another category within the typology pages)

This is category...







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For additional images of various labeled miscellaneous bottles click the following link to view the pertinent section of the Labeled Bottles page.


Again it must be stated that the category of bottles covered on this webpage (Miscellaneous & Foreign Bottles) is very large and diverse.  Like all of the bottle "typing" (typology) pages connected to the main Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes page, this page just scratched the surface as to the total diversity of these bottle types.  It does, however, cover the primary styles that were most commonly used and encountered within an archaeological context.  This page has also somewhat emphasized mouth-blown bottles since that subject is of more familiarity to the author of this website than later 20th century, machine-made items.  However, though the automated bottle production era also had incredible variety, it was not as diverse as the mouth-blown era since shape standardization and simplification was typical of machine manufacturing.  Also, bottle body embossing became much less frequent on machine-made bottles and a significant amount of the diversity of the mouth-blown production era was the different proprietary embossing on essentially the same shapes of bottles.


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This website created and managed by:
Bill Lindsey
Bureau of Land Management (retired) -
Klamath Falls, Oregon
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