Dating antique medicine bottles

Doctors began to speak out against patent medicines as early as 1827.

The earliest bottles were made by a glassblower using a blowpipe, and free-blown bottles will lack seams. A free-blown bottle will often exhibit a scar on its base from when the bottle was detached from the blowpipe (pontil). If the bottle lacks mold seams but exhibits a high degree of symmetry, it may be dip- or turn-molded and probably dates before 1850.The Owens machine revolutionized the bottle industry, and made bottles very common objects.Bottles with Labels and Embossed Lettering Check for embossed lettering.1850s-1920s) Post mold Bottle made in a three-piece mold with separate base plate Side seam continues onto base, then is interrupted by the circular (sometimes oval) post Dominant mold type used between about 18 1840s–early 1900s (sometimes later) Ricketts mold No mold seams on body; horizontal seam around circumference where body joins shoulder, and vertical seam part-way up each shoulder Often used for liquor and pharmaceutical bottles 1820s–1920s Turn mold Bottle turned while in mold, obliterating seams Often used for wine/champagne and brandy bottles (usually dark green) No embossed lettering; glass highly polished from turning in mold Ca.1870–World War I Automatic bottle machine Bottles made by machine, rather than blown Seams run all the way up the bottle and over the finish Made in large numbers beginning after World War I (though the first machine was invented in the 1890s) Sheared lip Bottle neck stretched and cut, end ground or re-fired to make smooth Bubbles in glass also will be stretched and elongated; vertical stretch marks visible on neck Pre-1860s Hand-applied finish Bottle re-heated and ring of glass applied to neck by hand Ring very asymmetrical, sometimes “globby” Ca.The Archives of New York University School of Medicine mounted an Exhibit of Antique Medical Bottles for the 1999-2000 school years. Both collections consist of glass medical bottles from the Victorian and Modern Era (19th and 20th Century). These early bottles were free form and therefore were often irregular, misshapen or asymmetrical, as are some of the bottles in the collection.

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