Historic Bottles – bottle identification and information



2015-06-26 11:03:04

Historic Bottles is a website offering information and assistance to collectors of rare and historic bottles. Its major focus is bottles produced in the Unites States between 1800 and the 1950s

The website is a branch of the Society of Archaeological History and is aimed at both collectors and archaeologists.

Mission statement

“This website has been prepared to assist archaeologists with the dating, identification and classification of historic bottles and bottle fragments located during cultural surveys and excavations. This site has also been designed to be of utility to the general inquisitive public in helping them date and identify bottles they have questions about.”

Website content

The major purpose of the site is to help collectors and archaeologists to date and identify historic American utilitarian (i.e. practical rather than decorative) bottles.


The extensive dating section of the website provides an overview of the dating process and some caveats, highlighting that bottle dating is approximate and can be complex.

The section discusses the type of utilitarian bottles, problems with dating, history of dating, existing research on dating, followed by bottle dating process itself.

This process consists of a systematic series of questions (and accompanying notes) about the bottle in question, narrowing down the approximate age of the specimen.


This section is aimed at identifying a bottle type, primarily by shape and detail.

The page contains an overview about shape and identification via this method, some cautionary advice about the method, followed by a large number of bottle types.

These have individual pages and are accompanied by images. Types include:

  • Liquor/Spirits bottles
  • Wine and Champagne bottle
  • Beer and Ale bottles
  • Soda and Mineral water bottles
  • Medicinal bottles
  • Labelled bottles

These are further divided into many different sub-types.

Other sections

There are several other sections of the website, providing extensive information on history, methods, variations, type, etc. relating to the following categories:

  • Glassmaking
  • Colours
  • Finishes (‘Lips’) and closures
  • Body and seams
  • Bases

There is also a large glossary, links to related bottle and non-bottle specific websites, and a page of FAQs.

Related Wikicollecting pages

Main article: Antique Bottle Collector's Haven
Main article: Antique-Bottles.net
Main article: Cape May County Bottle Collectors
Main article: International Perfume Bottle Association

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