BERMUDA MINERAL WATER CO
CODD SODA BOTTLE
Here is a real rare find. An Embossed 1800's Antique Codd Bottle.
The Codd style bottles are readily identified by their marble stopper.
The Codd bottle was filled upside down so that as soon the filling stopped,
the stopper was forced down to seal the bottle against the rubber ring.
Pressure inside the bottle would keep
the marble pressed against the top of the bottle.
To open the bottle, the marble was pressed down where it would fall
into the neck chamber below.
If the bottle is held the right way, the marble stays inside the chamber when
the bottle is tilted up for drinking.
Many of these bottles were destroyed when children would routinely break open
the bottle to get the marble inside.
HISTORY OF THE CODD BOTTLE:
In 1872, Hiram Codd
realized that inserting and capturing a marble in the neck of a
bottle would provide a new and effective way of sealing mineral
water and soda bottles without corks or external stoppers. His
bottle used the effervescent pressure of the mineral water to force
a marble against the upper ring of the neck of the bottle. This made
a very efficient and durable seal. Some of these bottles have
remained sealed for more than 100 years.
At first glance, Codd's
idea appears brilliantly simple. However, like all things that look
to be simple at first; the Codd bottle is much more ingenious than
it appears. For instance, a way would have to be devised to keep the
marble from stopping the bottle when it was tilted for pouring or
drinking. Designing the neck of the bottle to keep the marble in its
place while the bottle was tilted to one side solved this problem.
Cleverly tipping the bottle to the other side allows the marble to
re-seat itself after only a measured amount of fluid passes,
limiting the drinker to one swig or drink. The bottle could easily
be re-sealed by shaking it vigorously, and then tilting it upside
down to cause the marble to re-seat itself over the mouth of the
Codd also developed a
bottle opener to be inserted into the bottle's neck to push the
marble down enough to let the trapped gas escape. The marble would
then drop, opening the bottle. Although Codd's opener was widely
used in public settings, privately most people simply used their
little finger to push the marble down. This habit was the reason why
only a few Codd bottles were ever popular in the United
Because Americans were too
impulsive to wait to find a proper opener, they used the finger
opening method almost exclusively. This worked for those with clean
fingers, but for the many who worked at tasks that caused their
hands to be dirty, using a dirty finger was repulsive. As a result,
the American bottling companies turned to a different internal
stopper more suited to the American lifestyle.
However, Codd's invention
was so successful in England that it was adopted by nearly all the
English soda water manufacturers of the time. Eventually all bottles
sealed by a marble became known as Codd bottles, regardless of their
manufacturer, design or color.
Many Codd-style bottles are copies
or variations of the original bottle designed by Hiram Codd in
Over a span of 60 years,
Codd and his competitors continued to improve on both the design and
the beauty of the bottle. They produced bottles of different sizes
and some with oddly designed necks. Identifying an original Codd
bottle, or even one made by a specific competitor, became extremely
difficult. Some bottle manufacturers attempted to label their Codd
bottles by making them in unique colors, or with a specifically
colored marble or bottle lip.
The diversity of Codd-style
bottles and the limited time they were produced make collecting them
a difficult challenge. Adding to that difficulty, young boys often
broke the bottles to get the marble out.
While collecting these
bottles is still economically possible, with prices for some common
bottles being less than $20, purchasing a cobalt blue Codd bottle
may cost upwards to several thousand dollars. Cobalt blue was
generally a color reserved for bottles containing poisons, and a
smart mineral water bottler would have avoided using bottles of this
color. It's estimated that fewer than a thousand cobalt blue Codd
bottles were produced.
Codd-style bottles were
sold throughout Europe and Asia, but as bottle manufacturers became
more sophisticated and standardized their products, the way was open
for development of the various external stoppers and caps used in
most of the world. Over time the Codd bottle, with its strangely
shaped neck and eye-catching marble, became just another artifact
and collector's item.
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