Dating old ink bottles
The picture to the left shows both of these mold seams click to enlarge. Square ink bottles first appeared in any quantities around the time of the American Civil War, after cylindrical inks were well established; square pontiled ink bottles are very unusual. The chart accompanying this statement notes that bottles made before have a side mold seam ending on the shoulder or low on the neck, between and the seam ends just below the finish, between and the seam ends within the finish just below the finish rim top lip surface , and those made after have mold seams ending right at the top surface of the finish, i. The majority of the bottles are either aqua glass although colors can range from colorless to many shades of green and amber, to cobalt blue. As Berge noted in referring to bottles, the " A substantial amount of bottle type specific information must be reviewed by a user to increase the probability of dating accuracy.
The dating guidelines found on these Dating Pages and the entire website do not always work well with what the author calls "specialty" bottles click for more information. Click on base view to see the blowpipe pontil scar and a close-up of the glossy surface appearance to the base also. An example of this is the finding of a few pontil scarred utilitarian bottles among otherwise late 19th or early 20th century refuse. Some multi-sided, vertical body ink bottles were also made by automatic bottle machines but most inks of that era are cylindrical or 4-sided square and rectangular. This example is 2. Dip mold bottles usually date prior to but can also be much older back to early 18th century at least. This termination of the side mold seam within the finish short of the rim Sheaffers ink or actually short of the finish itself green ink on these bottles makes it appear upon casual glance that these are mouth-blown bottles having either an improved tooled finish Sheaffers or an applied finish green ink. How do I know it was made east of the Mississippi? Glass makers called this plain style i. We can always have some indication of a starting date for a technique if we can find who first put the idea into practice. Photos courtesy of American Bottle Auctions. A large though unknown percentage of ink bottles were round or cylindrical in cross-section Covill If necessary, look very closely at the bottle shoulder - the best location to see vertical side seams on mouth-blown and most machine-made bottles - in good light with a hand lens to see if there is at least some faint evidence of where the mold edges came together. This style of umbrella ink is a variant with a more distinct shoulder ridge than the others pictured here. Rectangular pontiled ink bottles are a bit more common than square pontiled ones though still unusual. For a broader discussion of this subject see Lockhart, et al. Click canning jar to view the typology page section devoted to that category. Bottle dating is not a precise science! The closer to the top of the bottle the seams extend, the more recent was the production of the bottle. Skrip was a proprietary name for a line of inks made by the Sheaffers Ink Co. A low probability though possible "NO" alternative is that the user has an unembossed, molded bottle with no visible vertical side mold seams. Although there are examples of bottles having mold seams that fit these date ranges properly, the issue of dating bottles is vastly more complicated than the simple reading of side mold seams. This indicates the unusual machine-mold conformation that formed the finish, neck, and upper shoulder in the ring parison mold, as discussed above. Green umbrella ink with distinct shoulder near right image - The pictured eight-sided umbrella ink is from around to , has a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, a rolled or folded finish, and is quite crude as most bottles of this era were. Click on the following links to see more images of this ink bottle: Utilitarian items makes up the bulk of the bottles produced during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the complexities of precisely dating bottles is beyond the scope of any simple key.
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