Dating bottles by their tops and bases
See the Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes page for more information on the subject..
And last, but definitely not least, is the fact that the art and science of glassmaking had a lot of glassmaker/glassblower induced uniqueness in the form of variations, errors, experimentations, and retrogressions.
While running a bottle through the key questions, the user is frequently directed to move to other website pages to explain diagnostic features and concepts as well as to add depth and/or precision to the initial dating estimate.Produced during the era where all bottles were an relatively rare and cherished commodity to be discarded only when broken (i.e., the first third of the 19th century back many centuries prior) and does not otherwise fit the above two categories.Utilitarian bottles include the majority of the bottles in the following bottle categories or types: soda, mineral water, beer, milk, proprietary medicine, druggist (excluding shop furniture), chemical, foods & sauces, household (including ink, shoe polish, cleaners, personal hygiene related items), common wine containers (excluding decanters), champagne, and most non-decanter spirits/liquor bottles.Utilitarian items makes up the bulk of the bottles produced during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Bottles intended to be used once to dispense the contained product without much hope of return, though as noted in #4 above, many types of bottles were commonly reused during the 19th and early 20th centuries; or 2.
Heavy duty bottles intended to be recycled and reused by the producer or distributor of the contained product (primarily soda, beer & milk bottles); or 3.
The shift to the fully automated bottle machine from mouth-blown and some semi-automatic methods in the early 20th century is the classic example (Toulouse 1967, 1969a). The same bottle could have been recycled and reused many times for many years before finally being discarded - entire or broken (Busch 1987).