Dating code 1840
All this adds to the fascination with bottle making, but makes systematic dating similar to solving Rubik's cube - ostensibly simple on the surface but complex in practice.To misquote an old saying as rephrased by the BLM supervisor that facilitated the initiation of this website project: "The universe (of bottles) isn't just more complicated than you think, it's more complicated than you CAN think." True to a large degree, though much information can be teased out of most bottles with a systematic approach to the matter. This Bottle Dating page (and website in general) is designed to address what the website author refers to as "utilitarian" bottles & jars (click for more information).In short, there was (and is) nothing to stop a glassmaker from using an obsolete method in the production of a bottle.3.Some technological changes were expensive and not adopted by glass makers until it became an "adapt or perish" issue and many glass factories just perished.Utilitarian items include canning/fruit jars and figured flasks since they were intended to be reused by the purchaser and have been observed to follow well the dating guidelines, though there are some manufacturing timeframe differences with canning jars.(Click canning jar to view the typology page section devoted to that category.) The beer bottle pictured to the above left is a classic example of a utilitarian bottle from the late 19th century that was typically reused.A substantial amount of bottle type specific information must be reviewed by a user to increase the probability of dating accuracy.Additional reference materials outside of this website must often be consulted to narrow down the date of any item as far as is possible and to really get a "feel" for the history of the bottle in question.
Using physical, manufacturing related diagnostic features, most utilitarian bottles can usually only be accurately placed within a date range of 10-15 years (i.e., 1870-1880 or 1885) . Like many industries making the leap from manual craftsman production to industrialization and automation, technological advances in bottle manufacturing were not immediately accepted by glass manufacturers or their workers.This page and associated sub-pages allows a user to run an American produced utilitarian bottle or a significantly sized bottle fragment through a series of questions based primarily on diagnostic physical, manufacturing related characteristics or features to determine the approximate manufacturing age range of the item.As Berge (1980) noted in referring to bottles, the "..of manufacture of glass containers provides observable attributes which seem to be very useful in a classification of these artifacts." Thus, this page.An example of this is the finding of a few pontil scarred utilitarian bottles among otherwise late 19th or early 20th century refuse.It is unlikely that this bottle was made during the same era, but instead was reused for a lengthy period or otherwise retained until broken or discarded.