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One of the most frequently asked questions about old bottles is, 'How old is this bottle?' Often beginners have a difficult time distinguishing between old and new bottles especially when is comes to modern reproductions.I apologize if you write to me via email, or post on one of these pages and do not get a personalized reply!Also, only a small percentage of comments received are actually published on this site, since if every one was answered and published, my site would soon be loaded down with hundreds of comments that could possibly cause the pages to begin to load more slowly for those with slower or older computers, and/or dialup connections. This is very frequently the case, especially with soda, mineral water, beer and other bottles of the 1880-1930 period, in which the initial(s) of the “end user” (such as the bottler, brewery, drug manufacturer, or other firm for which the bottle was made) appear embossed on the base. initials of early glass companies) may vary slightly in appearance and punctuation from one bottle to another. These marks usually served as some type of mold identification, indicating a particular mold used by a glass factory.For instance, they sometimes occur with or without periods after each letter. If a number of identical molds were produced for making a certain type of bottle, they would often be serially numbered (such as 1 to 12).Hopefully this database will be of some help to those who are attempting to assign an approximate date range to a particular bottle, assuming it carries an identifiable glass manufacturer’s mark. Co.” Also, the abbreviation “Co” (Company) sometimes may be found embossed with either an upper- or lower-case “O” on various bottles made by the same manufacturer.
On earlier flasks, fruit jars, and soda bottles, and especially examples produced in the mid-nineteenth century period (1840s-1860s), the full factory name or initials may be embossed across the front.
For the most part, I have not attempted to list fine distinctions for marks that are found both with and without periods. See webpage here with more info on numbers seen on bottles.
Another source of confusion was the common practice of engraving the “G” (especially in the 1880-1920 period) to appear very close in similarity to a “C”, the only difference between the two being a small “tail” pointing in a downward or “southeasterly” direction on the lower right-hand side of the letter G. I will occasionally be adding more data to these pages as I uncover more accurate information.
This makes its location on the SHA website in the new "Research Resources" section particularly appropriate.
(Specifics on what a pontil looks like or how to tell the age based on the mold seam can be found in Bottle Basics.) While these two characteristics are often a strong clue to age, readers will be further helped by developing an understanding how the various categories of bottles changed over time.