Speaking, opinion, dating old liquor bottles opinion
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Kind of like playing a game of Clue, except with booze. Below is a run through of each along with some additional resources at the end. Doing some simple math puts this bottle at Nice and simple. You know that big block of text on the back of your whiskey that tells you not to operate machinery or be pregnant while drinking? If the UPC code is missing you can move the estimated date of the bottle back to at least pre
Chart 1 The Basics of Dating Bottles Readers first need to develop the vocabulary necessary to distinguish early and late forms of bottles. Screw Tops and the Owens Ring. Dating Bitters. Dating Medicine Bottles. Dating Soda Bottles.
From on this was no longer required. Below is an example of a style strip click to enlarge. Starting January 1, all bottles were required to use metric measurements ml, 1 liter, etc. Some bottles produced during the transition will show both metric and ounces. If your bottle shows these words, it was probably bottled between and However, some producers continued to use bottle molds with the warning for a few years after; bottles that display the warning have been seen up to This was more common starting in the s.
You can see here this Wild Turkey was bottled in Other distilleries use date codes that are more cryptic. Similar to the color question above, the presence of bubbles in the glass can help some in pinning down the date of a machine bottle, but must be used in conjunction with other features to more confidently narrow down a date range as it is not conclusive by itself.
More specifically, there appears to have been an increase in the homogeneity and uniformity of glass as the technological advances of the machine era proceeded. However, this feature is still a tenuous one since there are many early machine-made bottles with few or no bubbles. As a general rule of thumb, earlier machine-made bottles and jars i. The absence of bubbles or presence of only a very few small "seed" bubbles less than a pin-head in size or very narrow "V" shaped bubbles, denotes a bottle that is more likely to date from or after the s.
If one takes a look at glass bottles found in supermarkets today they would be hard pressed to find even one bubble in all the bottles looked at combined as technology has all but eradicated this flaw in glassmaking. This embossing was legally required on all liquor bottles sold in the U.
In the U. This requirement was intended to discourage the re-use of bottles by bootleggers and moonshiners, though the biggest discouragement to that illicit activity was that liquor was now legally available. On January 1st, all liquor sold in the United States was required to be in bottles that had the above statement embossed in the glass Busch The statement was not required on wine or beer bottles, the latter category which was - and to some degree still is - bottled in re-useable bottles.
If your bottle has this statement embossed in the glass, it is a machine-made liquor bottle that dates between and the mids. This inscription is found only on machine-made bottles, with the rare exception of some Mexican-made for the U.
Inthe law requiring this statement was repealed.
If your machine-made bottle does not have this phrase embossed in the glass it is probably either not a spirits or liquor bottle, made outside the era the statement was required, or the bottle was originally sold outside the U. If you know the bottle is a U. A pre date is possible since some spirits - particularly whiskey and brandy - were available to a limited degree by prescription through pharmacists to be used " for medicinal purposes only. This is because Prohibition occurred individually in most states between an with National Prohibition finally passed in and effective in early This time span was the peak changeover from hand to automated bottle production methods.
Note about a potential related dating refinement. Another requirement was specific liquor bottle permit numbers assigned to individual glass companies and specific factories which were authorized by the Federal Government to produce liquor bottles. These numbers were embossed on the base of many maybe all? This can often lead to enhanced dating refinement of midth century liquor bottle depending on the current information available for the glass maker.
This picture shows the "Diamond O-I" makers mark inside the white box click to enlarge. Pictured is a beer bottle made at the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Bottles with the highlighted mark in the image date between and the mids with some limited use of this mark until at least This mark is also called the "Saturn" mark by some due to its stylized resemblance.
Note: The "O" in the Diamond O-I marking is actually a vertically elongated oval, although referred to here as an "O" for simplicity. This makers mark is very common on bottles made during the to mids period as the company was and still is a dominant force in the bottle production world at that time Toulouse ; Lockhart d. The various Owens-Illinois markings provide an opportunity to also identify which plant made the bottle and in what year.
Specifically for the pictured export beer bottle, the script Duraglas marking and the stippling molded "roughness" around the outside edge of the base were both used first inso this bottle can date no earlier than that.
The "1" to the right of Diamond O-I mark is the year code and in this case obviously can not be earlier than i.
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In the early s, realizing that single digit date codes were repeating e. At that point two digit year codes e. Unfortunately, the use of the one and two digit date codes was inconsistently used by different plants and mold makers so this is not a certain rule for dating.
Similarly, the bottle is paper labeled as having been used by the Columbia Brewing Inc.
Tacoma, WA. Van Wieren Once again though, this bit of information does not help pin down the date. The clincher for the date is the heavier thicker glass that this particular bottle was made with identifying it as having been made just prior to the wartime reduction in the amount of glass used for many bottle types as a conservation effort during WWII.
This bottle is also an example of how even with the relatively ample amount of information Owens-Illinois bottle bases provide, one may still need to rely on more than one piece of data e. Between and about the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. The base image to the right is of this newer mark on a bottle made at plant 21 Portland, OR.
Date codes with this later mark still in use today are variable with both single and double digit codes like in the image observed, though recently made beer bottles s and later seem to consistently have two digit codes empirical observations. For a discussion of the Duraglas marking - shown on the amber beer bottle base above - see Question 17 below. That company's marks are probably the most commonly encountered U.
When present, bottle makers marks can be an excellent tool for helping with the dating of historic bottles.
Since there were so many different makers markings on both mouth-blown and machine-made bottles, they are not covered in this key. The top illustration shows a cork finish i. The bottom illustration shows the same type bottle with a screw thread finish with the metal cap on.
Jul 24, In this format, the first number is the glassmaker's permit to make liquor bottles, and the second number is the year the bottle was made. You're correct in noting that this does NOT tell you when the liquor was put into the bottle, but it does give you an exclusion date: you can't put whiskey into a bottle that hasn't been manufactured. The "Federal Law forbids." phrase was required on liquor bottles between an and was also marked on some liquor bottles for several years afterward. The "12" is a liquor bottle permit number assigned to Whitall Tatum, and "9" is a date code, evidently for the year Unlike the first portions of the Dating key (Questions #1 through #3 on the main Bottle Dating page; #4 through #7 on the Mouth-blown bottles portion of the dating key), each question on this page is an independent dating tool for which the response is not predicated on the outcome of any of the other questions.
This catalog shows the availability of both closure types from the same manufacturer in the late s with the note that the screw caps are ". Sealed with some other type closure? The cork finish versus screw-thread finish can be helpful in dating machine-made bottles but only allows for a moderately accurate dating break which to a large degree is bottle type specific. The utility here for dating is that certain types of bottles made the transition from cork accepting to screw-thread finishes during the mids through the s; see illustrations to the right.
DATING BOTTLES BY THEIR TOPS AND BASES. A Look at Bottle Bases. One approach to helping beginner identify their old bottles involves show them the bases of old bottles. The picture below at the left shows an iron pontil on the base jof a historical flask circa The middle picture shows an open pontil on the base of a cylindrical medicine. Starting January 1, all bottles were required to use metric measurements (ml, 1 liter, etc.). Some bottles produced during the transition will show both metric and ounces. Incidentally, the term "fifth" for a bottle of liquor comes from the fact that the standard size for many years was 1/5 gallon. Government Warnings. First this cautionary note: Bottle dating is not a precise science! Using just physical, manufacturing related diagnostic features, most utilitarian bottles can usually only be accurately placed within a date range of years (i.e., to or ).
External screw-threads were first used during the midth century though almost exclusively on canning jars including the famous Mason's "" jar. The use of screw threads was still limited by the lack of precision in hand production processes.
These older external screw thread bottles would likely have keyed out as mouth-blown in Question 2 because of the ground lip surface present on most mouth-blown external screw-thread bottles.
If you have a bottle of spirits but you don't know how old it is, you can estimate the date of the bottle from a few key clues. Once you've figured out how old the bottle is, consider carefully whether it's safe to drink the contents or not. While most liquors will stay safe indefinitely, some may lose their flavor or become dangerous to drink. Dating antique bottles requires knowledge of the evolution of bottle technology and the ability to research manufacturers and bottling companies. Although glass bottles have been made for a few thousand years, it was not until the 19th century that bottle use became common, coinciding with the industrial revolution. 26 rows OLD BOTTLE IDENTIFICATION AND DATING GUIDE. This webpage is intended to .
External screw threads became more common as fully automatic bottle machines dominated over hand production methods, since machines produced much more uniform and precise finish dimensions allowing for standardized caps.
External screw-threads came to dominate closure types by the Depression sexcept on soda and beer bottles. Cork closure, machine-made medicinals, food, inks, and some non-alcoholic beverage bottles usually date prior to the early s, though there are numerous exceptions.
Plastic caps for external threaded finishes: an excellent bottle dating feature. Plastic caps for screw thread finishes can be an excellent tool for dating. Bakelite - an early thermosetting plastic - made its debut in as a screw cap closure material though was first patented in Berge This provides a terminus post quem earliest date of use of for bottles with the plastic cap still present.
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The bottle illustrated is from a Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Toledo, OH. External "screw" thread finish - The bottle you have has external screw threads - which are usually either continuous or non-continuous or variations on these themes.
Most all types of machine-made bottles with external screw threads date from the late s or after, though some types - like catsup bottles - were commonly screw-threaded from the beginning of machine manufacture in the early s.
Numbers on the bottoms of glass bottles and jars
Bottle made by the Owens-Illinois Co. Oakland, CA. Applied color labeling or lettering also known as ACL or pyroglazing was a common way of permanently labeling or owner marking a bottle without the use of fragile paper labels.
It was most common by far on soda and milk bottles, but can occasionally be found on other types of bottles. See the image to the right for an example of a simple two "color" black and white ACL soda bottle.
Many beverage and some other types of bottles are still produced today with ACL's e.
The following recent article - available only on this website - is highly recommended for those wanting to know just about everything about ACL's:. The Glamorous Applied Color Labels. A c omprehensive article on the history, processes and use of ACL labeling beginning in the early s. Note: It should be pointed out that embossed milk and soda bottles continued to be made well after similar ACL versions were dominating the market, with embossed milk bottles made into the s and soda bottles into the s and later [empirical observations].
This mark was formed by machines that utilized a push-rod valve to eject the partially expanded parison out of the one-piece blank mold the "press" part of the process to be grd by "transfer tongs" when shifting the parison to the second blow mold the "blow" part of the machine process Tooley The circle is incised or sharply indented into the surface of the glass and can be distinctly felt by running ones fingernail over the mark.
Dating old liquor bottles
On somewhat rare occasions by a few different glass companies the valve rod had a mold number incised in it which would emboss the base of the bottle with this number when ejecting the parison; these numbers will always be centered in within the ejection mark Lockhart pers.
Toulouse b noted that this mark is " It is also very common on canning jars, including many that were produced by semi-automatic press-and-blow machines possibly as early as Birmingham ; Leybourne The milk bottle pictured above is covered on the Bottle Dating Examples page.
The square milk bottle base pictured dates from the mid to late s and is discussed at this link: Blake-Hart patent milk bottle. At least one manufacturer Cumberland Glass Manufacturing CompanyBridgeton, NJ invented and used a type of semi-automatic press-and-blow machine in which did produce narrow neck bottles that most likely resulted in a valve mark on the base of the bottles produced in the early s Lockhart pers. Thus, the presence of a valve mark on a soda or beer bottles would indicate a narrow manufacture date in the early s.
During the mids, semi-automatic machines began to be used for the production of bottles and jars. For the first decade or so of use i. Because of this, non -Owens machine-made bottles see "General Machine-made Diagnostic Features" point 5 at the beginning of this page with narrow necks- like the medicinal bottles pictured below right - will essentially always date after and virtually always after A review of Illinois Glass Company catalogs from the early s shows that wide mouth bottles - certainly made by semi-automatic "Machine Made" methods - first appear in the catalog and were not present in catalogs before that time.
The types of bottles illustrated on these pages would be considered typical of the earliest machine-made bottles in the U. Most other types of bottles still would have been mouth-blown during this same era.
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