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
The following lettering types are documented on this site:
Beer Bottle Lettering Types
Soda & Mineral Water Bottle Lettering Types
Click on the links above to get more information on an
attribute or to identify a bottle that you are researching.