~ FREQUENTLY ASKED ?'S ~
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HERE IS SOME GENERAL INFORMATION QUESTIONS THAT I RECIEVE QUITE A BIT SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SET THEM UP HER FOR EASY ACCESS. I WILL ADD TO TO THEM AS TIME PERMITS. THE INFORMATION YOU SEEK NOT HERE OR ON MY SITE? YOU CAN ALSO.EMAIL RICKSBOTTLEROOM@GMAIL.COM THANKS.
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FINDING PLACES TO DIG OLD BOTTLES HAS GOTTEN MUCH HARDER OVER THE YEARS AND RESEARCH IS STILL KEY TO GETTING THE DUMPING SPOTS LOCATED. I HAVE MAPS OF THE SURROUNDING AREAS DATING BACK TO THE EARLY 1800'S, THESE ARE VERY HELPFUL AS YOU CAN LOCATE HOUSES AND SOMETIMES ENTIRE SMALL TOWNS WHICH NO LONGER ARE THERE. THESES ARE GREAT PLACES TO START LOOKING AND SOMETIMES, IF THEY HAVE NOT BEEN DUG ALREADY YOU CAN FIND SOME GREAT STUFF. IT VERY ADDICTIVE ONCE YOU START FINDING THOSE TREASURES,IT IS ALSO ALOT OF WORK AND SOMETIMES PRODUCES NO REWARDS AT ALL...SO YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT AND DETERMINED AND WILL EVENTUALLY PAY OFF FOR YOU. THE SIDE BENIFITS ARE,GREAT EXERCISE,SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS AND FRIENDS YOU WILL MEET IN THE HOBBY. OLD FARMS THAT ARE STILL AROUND ARE GOOD PLACES TO LOOK FOR DUMPS AS THEY USALLY ARE THERE THROUGH GENERATIONS LITTLE UNCHANGED, I HAVE FOUND THE BEST PLACE TO START ON FARM PROPERTIES ARE THE LOWER REAR CORNER OF THE PROPERTY OVER THE STONEWALL. SOUNDS WAY TO SIMPLE...BUT TRY IT, IT WORKS ALOT OF THE TIME. WHO WANTED TO TAKE THEIR TRASH UPHILL!!. TOWN AND CITY DUMPS THAT WERE CLOSED BACK IN THE 20'S AND 30'S ARE GREAT SPOTS AS WELL, BUT GET READY AS I HAVE DUG MANY THAT ARE OVER 16 FEET DEEP AND REQUIRE ALOT OF WORK...GOOD NEWS THEY ALMOST ALWAYS REWARD IN SOME WAY. TOOLS: A QUAILITY SHOVEL, HAND PICK, GLOVES,LOTS OF FLUIDS AND SNACKS AND A PACK. WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO BE BACK A LONG WAYS AT A DUMP IT IS ALWAYS GOOD TO LET SOMEONE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE,AND DON'T BUY CHEAP TOOLS...WALKING HALF A MILE INTO A DUMP AND BREAKING YOUR SHOVEL IN FIRST 20 MINUTES SAVES YOU NOTHING. GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
DETERMINING THE VALUE OF ANY OLD BOTTLE IS DEPENDANT ON A FEW FACTORS,AGE,CONDITION,RARITY AND APPEAL. THE GUIDES THAT ARE OUT THERE ARE GREAT FOR REFERENCE BUT SINCE THE INTERNET AND ONLINE AUCTIONS,THINGS HAVE CHANGED ALOT.I STARTED COLLECTING IN THE 70'S AND STILL HAVE ALL MY BOOKS FROM THEN. THE VALUES ON BOTTLES IN THOSE GUIDES HAVE CHANGED ALOT,DUE TO AGE OF COURSE BUT ALSO DUE TO THE AVAILABILITY OF INFORMMATION AND BEING ABLE TO GET ANY PARTICULAR BOTTLE. SOME BOTTLES THAT WERE CONSIDERED RARE EVEN 20 YRS AGO HAVE BECOME JUST SCARCE DUE TO HOW MANY ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO BUY ON LINE,THEREFORE REDUCING VALUE AS RARITY IS REDUCED. I HAD OVER 300 POISON BOTTLES BEFORE LIQUIDATING THEM AND GOING INTO INKS AND BLOB TOPS ECT. THE COLLECTION INCLUDED DIAMONND AND LATTICE POISONS FROM W.T. COMPANY AND WHEN GROWING UP UP UNTIL THE 1980'S THERE WAS SOME OF THESE THAT WERE CONSIDERED VERY RARE AND BROUGHT GOOD MONEY. THEN WITH THE INTERNET AND ONLINE AUCTION/FOR SALE SITES, THEY BECAME ACCESSABLE AND THE VALUE FELL OFF CONSIDERABLY. SO USE BOOKS AND VALUE GUIDES AS STARTING REFERENCE AND THEN EXPAND RESEARCH TO PRIOR AUCTION SALES, AND ALWAYS REMEMBER...CONDITION AND COLOR PLAY A HUGE PART IN VALUE ON MOST BOTTLES.YOU CAN ALSO SEND ME YOUR INFORMATION AND I WILL GLADLY RESEARCH IT FOR YOU FROM MY FILES I KEEP ON SUCH THINGS. THANKS, RICKSBOTTLEROOM@GMAIL.COM
Bottles Without Mold Seams
Check bottle for mold seams. The earliest bottles were made by a glassblower using a blowpipe, and free-blown bottles will lack seams.
Check for a pontil mark. A free-blown bottle will often exhibit a scar on its base from when the bottle was detached from the blowpipe (pontil).
Check for bottle symmetry. If the bottle lacks mold seams but exhibits a high degree of symmetry, it may be dip- or turn-molded and probably dates before 1850.
Bottles With Mold Seams
Check to see if seams go all the way from the base to the lip. If the seam disappears in the neck, then the bottle was probably "blown-in-mold," and dates circa 1800s to 1915.
Note if bottle has seams that extend all the way to the lip. These are machine made and date from the early 20th century and later.
Check for a "suction" scar on the base. Bottles with mold seams and suction scars are made in an Owens Automatic Bottle Machine and date after 1903. The Owens machine revolutionized the bottle industry, and made bottles very common objects.
Bottles with Labels and Embossed Lettering
Check for embossed lettering. Embossed lettering can date prior to 1850, but most date to the late 19th century and later. Embossed lettering is especially common on patent medicine bottles that date from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century.
Check for embossed lettering on the base. This often indicates the bottle manufacturer and will help date the bottle.
Check for the following lettering: Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reusw of This Bottle. These are liquor bottles that date from 1935-1960s.
Check for applied color labeling. These bottles date after 1940.
(Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website)
Free-blown (no mold)
No mold seams
Asymmetrical and non-uniform
Up to about the 1860s in the archaeological record
Simple Two-piece mold (“Hinged mold”
Mold seam extends from just below finish, down the neck and side, across the bottom, and up the other side
Symmetrical, uniform shapes
May have embossed lettering on body, especially after 1869 Ca. 1810-1880 "Cup" mold
Mold seam on each side that extends from just below the finish down to the edge ("heel") of the base
Most-common technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (ca. 1850s-1920s) Post mold
Bottle made in a three-piece mold with separate base plate
Side seam continues onto base, then is interrupted by the circular (sometimes oval) post
Dominant mold type used between about 1870 and 1900
1840s–early 1900s (sometimes later) Ricketts mold
No mold seams on body; horizontal seam around circumference where body joins shoulder, and vertical seam part-way up each shoulder
Often used for liquor and pharmaceutical bottles 1820s–1920s Turn mold
Bottle turned while in mold, obliterating seams
Often used for wine/champagne and brandy bottles (usually dark green)
No embossed lettering; glass highly polished from turning in mold Ca.1870–World War I Automatic bottle machine
Bottles made by machine, rather than blown
Seams run all the way up the bottle and over the finish
Made in large numbers beginning after World War I (though the first machine was invented in the 1890s) Sheared lip
Bottle neck stretched and cut, end ground or re-fired to make smooth
Bubbles in glass also will be stretched and elongated; vertical stretch marks visible on neck
Pre-1860s Hand-applied finish
Bottle re-heated and ring of glass applied to neck by hand
Ring very asymmetrical, sometimes “globby” Ca. 1840-1860 Lipping tool Applied ring of glass smoothed into a more-uniform shape using a hand-held lipping tool
Striations around circumference of neck from lipping tool; mold seam stops at neck (obliterated by lipping tool)
After 1856 Automatic bottle machine
Entire bottle, including finish, made by machine
Lip completely symmetrical and even
Mold seam runs over lip
After World War I Interior-threaded
Screw-in top with plug inside bottle
Interior threads on bottle finish 1870s-1900
Exterior-threaded (“screw cap
Screw-on top with cap outside bottle
Exterior threads on bottle finish
Mid-1880s-present (threads standardized after 1924); metal caps on early examples, metal or plastic after 1930s Hutchinson “spring” stopper
Rubber gasket inside bottle neck, with metal-loop handle
Stopper could not be removed from (intact) bottle
1879-1915 "Lightning" stopper
Ceramic plug held in place by metal loop attached to metal ring around bottle neck
Bottle finish with wide, prominent lip to hold ring in place
1882-1920s (still used, but not in large numbers - think Grolsch Beer) "Crown" cap Metal, inverted-crown-shaped cap Bottle finish with narrow ring at top to hold cap 1892-present
•Look for a label. While some bottles had paper labels that did not stand the test of time, there are other forms of labeling as well. Many vintage soda bottles have embossed logos that are easy to read and identify. Others have applied color labels. This type of labeling is durable, so the color logo is normally still visible. The logo can help to pinpoint the age of the bottle. For example, until 1951, the words "Pepsi" and "Cola" on the logo were separated by two dashes. In 1951, this was changed to a single dash.
Check the shape. For many soda manufacturers, the shape of the bottle has become an iconic and identifiable symbol of their product. The familiar shape of the Coca-Cola bottle, known as the "Mae West" or "hobbleskirt" bottle because it resembled a woman's skirt of the time period, was first manufactured in 1915. Before that date, Coco-Cola bottles came in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Examine the color. The color of a bottle can help to identify its age. For example, Pepsi bottles manufactured before 1907 were made of dark amber glass. There are reproductions of these vintage glasses in the marketplace. To identify an old one, see if you can read a newspaper through it. If you cannot, you have a vintage bottle rather than a reproduction.
Study the bottom of the bottle. The shape of the bottom of the bottle can help to identify when it was made. The oldest, and most valuable, bottles have pontil marks, where the glass rod used to create the bottle was snapped off. In addition, the bottom of the bottle can hold other identification clues. For example, Coca-Cola bottles manufactured after 1916 have a four-digit manufacturer's number that indicates the year it was made. On older bottles, the last two digits indicate the year. On newer bottles, it is the first digit.
American Stoneware Pots and Jars
THE COLLECTOR interested in quaint and homely American objects will find the fat, sturdy jugs, pots, and crocks of stoneware suited to his taste. There are many available today and the market values are reasonable except for articles made by a few of the early potters, but even these may be located where they may be bought cheap. Stoneware is made from gray and tan clays which vitrify at a strong heat to form a nonporous base, which was glazed by throwing a handful of common salt into the kiln. This gave the ware a pebbly surface. The good old pots were often beautiful in form and proportion, and decorated with cobalt blue and sometimes brown or purple designs painted freehand, etched with a dull point, or ornamented on the lathe. The great variety of shapes is one of the chief joys of the collector.
A certain amount of stoneware was produced in America in the 18th century, but before the Revolution there were only a few stoneware potters in New York; Huntington, Long Island; Norwalk and Litchfield, Connecticut; Boston; and Philadelphia. Remmey operated his stoneware pottery in New York during the Revolution, and a batter jug in the collection of the New York Historical Society is inscribed "Flowered by Clarkson Crolius, New York Feb 17th 1798." According to Barber's Pottery and Porcelain o f the United States, John Remmey started making stoneware pottery behind the old City Hall in New York City in about 1735. He died in 1762, but the business was carried on for three generations, and a great grandson later established a pottery in South Amboy, New Jersey, Henry Remmey worked in Philadelphia in 1810, while Richard Remmey worked in Philadelphia late in the 19th century. The pottery of William and Peter Crolius of New York City was continued after 1762 by Clark son Crolius to 1837, and by Clarkson Crolius, Jr., from 1838 to 1850. It therefore is evident that the collector must be careful whether the Remmey or Crolius is of the 18th or the 19th century. However, the collector need not expect to find much stoneware dated in the 18th century, for the bulk of that found today is of the 19th century. Nevertheless, age and rarity have little to do with the excellence of stoneware, for generally speaking American stoneware improved as the industry developed and much of that made as late as 1850 is exceptionally fine. In the 19th century, potters of stoneware were scattered throughout Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio. Some potteries were small and took care only of local customers, while others were large factories with branches in several towns and considerable shipping business. Thus stoneware potteries were often located on navigable rivers, as waterways were the easiest and cheapest rnode of transportation. Some potteries sold their ware by means of peddlers' wagons.
Stoneware pots and jugs are of various types according to their decoration and method of manufacture. The earliest stoneware was incised, and this means of decoration continued between 1790 and 1900. Stoneware figures were modeled by hand in all factories between 1790 and 1900. These articles include Toby pitchers, heads, toys, bird and animal whistles, and banks. These are rare, especially the animals. Between 1825 and 1875 applied relief decoration was used on handles, as borders such as beading, and a classical figure of Diana with a deer was used at Bennington and St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in Massachusetts, and at other Eastern potteries. Applied leaves and fruit and borders of gadrooning are often found on stoneware made after 1825. From 1825 on, stoneware with blue decoration was also pressed in molds, and included pitchers, water coolers, doorstops, vases, and animals such as dogs and lions. Late stoneware had flowers and leaves molded on and then washed with a blue glaze. Stoneware was stenciled between 1840 and the end of the century. Stenciled eagles are often found on stoneware made in Ohio.
Stoneware jars and crocks are heavy and somewhat clumsy in shape, ranging in capacity from 1 quart to 30 gallons. While some shapes are graceful and of slender proportions, generally speaking, the articles made in stoneware are useful rather than ornamental and include jugs for molasses, rum, cider, and vinegar; crocks for butter and apple butter; water coolers, crocks for eggs, bean pots, batter pots, churns, pudding dishes, milk pans, mugs, pitchers, bottles, bowls, churns, money banks, inkwells, and miniature jugs and crocks. Batter pots had wide spouts and a handle, and churns were the kind that operated with a handle. The crocks and preserve jars are usually straight-sided but some are shaped in curves. Jugs were in a wide variety of shapes from common broad-bottomed ones to vase and urn shapes with narrow necks and bottoms.
Although the word stoneware suggests gray, the colors range from light gray and tan to a deep brown. Even the gray varies from blue and lead color to a soft pure tone, and the tans include sand, buff, yellow, orange, reddish brown, and cafe au lait. The glaze is generally dull, but this varies with the object and the location of the factory. Sometimes there is a lack of uniformity of glaze and sometimes a glaze is iridescent.
The chief interest of stoneware, however, is not in the shape or color, but in decoration. Usually, the decoration was simple and conventional and included flowers, insects, animals, and patriotic symbols, but certain potters used special designs which help us to identify their jugs. For example, the stoneware of the early Remmeys in New York is characterized by the use of the swag and pendant, the chain loop, and the leaf and seed. The holly leaf is characteristic of the wares of Warne and Letts of South Amboy, New Jersey. The earliest technique sketched the design in incised lines and it was filled in with cobalt blue. Later the designs were painted freehand or stenciled. Many pieces are not decorated at all and many have only crude daubs of cobalt blue. The finest pieces, however, have characteristic decorations, including birds, feathers, flowers, foliage, trees, conventional scrolls, and other designs. Birds include robins, bluebirds, cockatoos, and exotic and imaginative birds. The figure of a bird sits on top a jug-shaped money bank made by R. C. Remmey at Philadelphia in 1880. Eagles and roosters are often to be found, but generally animals and human figures are rare. Crudely sketched houses are sometimes seen, and one of more decorative interest than usual was made by A.O. Whittemore, Havana, New York, around 1868. A sailing ship is scratched in a jug marked "G. Goodale, Hartford." This is a rare piece. Inscription pieces, those either inscribed to a friend or with political inscriptions are also rare. One inscription piece is marked "Liberty Forever" and was made by Ware & Letts of South Amboy, New Jersey, in about 1807. It has the typical oak- or holly-leaf decoration used by this potter. Crude incised profiles and Indian heads are found on some jugs made by Joseph Remmey at South Amboy, New Jersey, in about 1823. His pieces are massive and he often employs incised loop designs. Three upright stalks of corn ornament a jug probably made for corn whisky. A bee is sketched on a crock made by Israel Seymour at Troy, New York, in the early 19th century. American flags and patriotic symbols often decorate stoneware jugs, but one such jug, made by G. Purdy at Atwater, Ohio, in about 1850 is more elaborate than most stoneware. It has a horn of plenty filled with flowers and a man astride a cannon holding crossed American flags. An unusual design of an angel's head and folded wings is painted on a crock made by William Macquoid & Co., of New York City, in the 1860s.
In addition to the ornamental decoration, a number indicating the capacity of the crock or jug is often incised or painted on the side and sometimes the date is scrawled in large letters. The maker's name, location, and, in rare instances, the date was painted or incised with a sharp-pointed instrument. However, the custom of stamping with the maker's name and address was not general until after 18o0, and later makers' names were put on with a die stamp. The inscription not only adds to the attractiveness of the piece but it also helps to locate potteries and thus gives the piece historic value.
In collecting stoneware jugs and crocks it is best for the beginner to look for good shape and pleasing proportions, good color, and decoration. After his collection demands the rarer piece he can seek the unusual design and the pieces by well-known early makers.
Although a list of makers of stoneware might be tiresome here, it is good to know that such lists exist, since they will serve as a means of dating a particular piece. The length of the list gives one an idea of the great number of factories that were making stoneware, particularly in the 19th century. A check list compiled by Carolyn Scoon of the New York Historical Society gives the name of thirty-eight manufacturers located in seventeen different towns and cities in New York State. These include potters in Athens, Albany, Troy, Utica, Rome, Ithaca, Binghamton, Cortland, Lyons, Port Edward, Brooklyn, Kings County, Ellenville, Fort Edward, Havana, Huntington, Suffolk County, Mount Morris, Olean, Penn Yan, Poughkeepsie, and West Troy (Watervliet). The makers listed represent a fair proportion of the stoneware makers of New York State and their geographical location gives us a picture of the early trade. A similar check list of stoneware potters of New England was made by Lura Woodside Watkins. It includes potters located in Bangor, Gardiner, and Portland, Maine; Keene and Nashua, New Hampshire; Bennington, Burlington, Dorset, Fairfax, Poultney, St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Ashfield, Ballardvale, Boston, Charlestown, Cambridgeport, Chelsea, Dorchester, Medford, Somerset, Taunton, Worcester, and Whateley, Massachusetts; and Bridgeport, Greenwich, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, and Stonington, Connecticut. Stoneware was also made in South Amboy, Elizabeth, Newark, Flemington, Somerset, Middleton, and New Brunswick, New Jersey; in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and numerous other Pennsylvania towns; in Baltimore and Hagerstown, Maryland; in Louisville, Kentucky; Strasburg, Virginia; and in Middlebury, Jonathan Creek, Hillsboro, Mt. Sterling, Akron, Springfield, Putnam, Cincinnati, Canton, Cleveland, Zanesville, Crooksville and Atwater, Mogadore, Symmes Creek, Roseville, Athens, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.THIS INFO IS FROM :