Identifying and dating glass bottles

Submitted by Sammy Smith (


Bottle photograph from Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website.

If you’re interested in historic bottles, you may enjoy browsing the Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. The website aids visitors in finding out how old a bottle is, and what type it is. The website is limited to bottles made in the USA, and to some extent, Canada, between about 1800 and the 1950s. That’s still a lot of bottles, and some major changes in bottle making technology!

Why, you might wonder, is this information presented via a website, and not a more traditional printed publication? The website states:

In order to answer or address questions related to the dating and typing a bottle, a lot of information must be presented in a way that is accessible to the user of this site. A major benefit of using the internet to accomplish this task is the ability to use hundreds (or thousands) of illustrative pictures that would not be possible (or affordable) if published in book form. Another benefit of the internet is the relative ease of revising and/or adding information to a website as corrected or new information becomes available. As soon as the information is added it is available to everyone immediately; an attribute not possible with a printed publication. Finally, the ability of the internet to easily reach more potential users than any other communication medium makes it the most powerful tool of education and enlightenment available today.

You might especially enjoy perusing scanned pages of the 1906 Illinois Glass Company Illustrated Catalogue and Price List. Thumbnails of the scans are on this webpage.

The website is sponsored by the Society for Historical Archaeology and the Bureau of Land Management of the US Department of the Interior. Click here to visit it.