Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hitting the bottle...

not really...but if this were 1872 we could get a marble if we did because Hiram Codd in England designed the first bottle for carbonated drinks. The Codd-neck bottle, as it was called(no fancy branding needed then), was designed and manufactured to enclose a marble and a rubber washer/gasket in the neck. The bottles were filled upside down, and pressure of the gas in the bottle forced the marble against the washer, sealing in the carbonation. The bottle was pinched into a special shape, as can be seen in the photo to the right, to provide a chamber into which the marble was pushed to open the bottle. This prevented the marble from blocking the neck as the drink was poured.

The bottles were regularly produced for many decades but gradually declined in usage. Since children smashed the bottles to retrieve the marbles, they are relatively rare and have become collector items particularly in the UK.

Bottles date back to 1500 B.C. The Romans created small bottles for perfume, but the bottle as a food carrier revolutionized the wine trade. The first glass wine bottle was blown into wooden molds in the 17th century, and spread throughout Europe. Before this invention, bottles were never sold with their contents. They were used in the families and continuously washed and reused. (see...even those folks understood recycling!) From this moment on, the contents and the container were commercialized. The bottle spread first from England to France where the first glassworks were set up in the region of Champagne-Ardenne. Then, at the end of the eighteenth century it reached the Rhine area in Germany and Piedmont in Italy.
The bottle arrived in France just at a time when the initial trials were being made with the production of Champagne. For many years experiments with Dom Perignon caused breakages and explosions that at times reached 95 percent of all the bottles. Only much later, that is towards the first decades of the eighteenth century, were more robust bottles produced such as to resist the high pressure of Champagne.

In the collector world, bottles divide into six categories: sodas, whiskeys, bitters, medicines, inkwells, and fruit jars. The stash on the table above has some intriguing bottles.

Although difficult to read this is a bottle from a Camden, NJ, plant.
Here is one from a small town up north, Swedesboro, NJ...I love the Doctor's name...Benjamin Buzby...
Medicine bottles seem to be the most common. Guess the aisles of products in the drugstores are nothing new! They tell stories alone with their names and various mottos. This is "tasteless tonic."
Here is a known product...Listerine...look at the size of this bottle compared to the behemoths in our medicine cabinets today!
This bottle makes me laugh...can you imagine putting this on a bottle today?
"Italian Balm"!
Glass bottles are still around because it takes about 4000 years for glass to breakdown. That is why people "dig" for bottles. They are unique pieces of the past, and some words to remember from actress Gene Tierney: "Life is a little like a message in a bottle, to be carried by the winds and the tides." These old bottles bring us enchanting old messages.

1 comment:

Brenda @Just a Bed of Roses said...

4,000 years to break down a bottle, my goodness.

Love your bottles and your article.