What to Look for in Vintage or Old Bottles

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What to Look for in Vintage or Old Bottles

Vintage or old bottles are pleasant collectors items and have many uses beyond creating a pretty display. Collectors can look for bottles from a particular era or in a specific colour or style to create a uniform display. Alternatively, they can mix and match old glass bottles for an eclectic look. Buyers should consider the shape, colour, and finish of vintage or old glass bottles before choosing an item.


Shapes of Vintage or Old Bottles

The shape of a vintage or old bottle helps to identify its original purpose. Buyers should consider the overall diameter of the bottle and the size of the opening. Medicine bottles are available in numerous shapes and sizes, and often feature embossed details with graduated measurements on the side. They are typically made from heavy glass and have an angular shape. Some drinks bottles are also made from heavy glass to support carbonated liquids. They often have cylindrical middle sections and long necks. Food storage bottles have wide mouths that make it easy to fill and empty the containers. Old wine bottles are tall and have narrow openings. Champagne bottles are made from thick glass and have a rounder design.


Colours of Vintage or Old Bottles

The colour of the glass can help to date vintage bottles. Colourless glass is often associated with milk bottles. A slight tint to colourless glass indicates features, such as iron impurities in the sand used to make the glass, which creates a green hue. White glass, or milk glass, is often found in perfume bottles. Amber is the most common colour for machine-made bottles.


Finish for Vintage or Old Bottles

Bottle lips, or finishes, provide a significant amount of information for collectors. Hand-blown glass bottles have the lips marked as the last step in the process, and they are often rough. Some glassmakers of the past used heated rods to create an applied finish to bottles, which produces a smoother lip. To identify this finish, buyers should look for a small ridge just inside the top of the bottle. As techniques improved, glassmakers used tooled finishes, which collectors can identify by looking for a side mould seam that fades away under the neck. Machine-made bottles have finishes that are made first, which are more uniform.

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