Bottle Attributes - Lettering

The Lettering on a bottle can say something about a bottle's age, but is less useful in dating glass bottles than pottery ones.  For example, lettering that is embossed

Pontil marks are distinctive and are found on the earliest of bottles. A pontil was an iron rod attached to the bottom of a bottle after it was blown. After the pontil was attached, the blown bottle was severed from the blowpipe and the lip was applied. The bottle was then snapped from the pontil leaving its distinctive scar. A pontil mark usually indicates the bottle was made before 1860. However, different regions of the country abandoned the use of pontils at different times. For the most part, the transition period was 1855 to 1860. The pontil was first abandoned in New England, then in the Mid-Atlantic, and finally in the Mid-West over this period.

A machine scar is a light circular ridge of glass that was left on the bottom of a bottle as the result of the bottle being manufactured by an automatic bottle machine (ABM). These scars are often mistaken for pontils by novices. However, they are only found on bottles that were manufactured after 1900 and on some earlier bottles manufactured on semi-automatic machines. The first semi-automatic machines appeared about 1895, but were primarily used to manufacture fruit jars.

The following lettering types are documented on this site:

  1. Beer Bottle Lettering Types
  2. Soda & Mineral Water Bottle Lettering Types

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