Australian Bottle History
For those interested in collecting antique bottles they will find that apart from the early 1820’s onwards convict pottery bottles and jars glass making was not sufficient to fill the young nation’s needs. In fact Australia was not self sufficient in glass making until the turn of the 20th century and many bottles were made overseas and shipped to Australia, with names such as Codd, Rylands, etc. Many other bottles were shipped to Australia with their contents and when emptied were re-filled with other company’s products. Because of the popularity of ginger beer, which in the early days was usually put in stone bottles, the pottery trade could not keep up the supply and even into the 1940’s many stoneware bottles originated in England. Many bottle collectors in Australia and around the world specialise in collecting categories.
Collecting antique glass or stoneware bottles has become an international hobby over the past 50 years and as there are many thousands of bottles most collectors specialise in a particular type of bottle or perhaps bottles from a particular company or township. The following is a short list of some of the most popular categories with a brief description of the container.
A lemonade bottle with a marble in the neck. The bottle is so named after the inventor Hiram Codd.
A pointed ended bottle that would not stand up so it laid on its side so the contents kept the cork moist and the gas could not escape.
Ring seal beer bottle
Bottles of beer that were sealed with a cork. They had a ring of glass around the neck and the cork was tied down to this ring.
Crown seal beers
Had a top similar to a beer bottle of today.
Goldfield salad oils
Although life was rough and ready on the goldfields many of these bottles in a myriad of beautiful shapes can be found on the old diggings
Another name for a codd bottle containing aerated water or lemonade.
Variations of ways of sealing the bottle.
As the name suggests - ceramic lids for pots which usually contained toothpaste, ointment, face cremes, etc.
A brand name for a company which made very decorative jars and lids amongst other types of ceeramics.
Usually a square shaped bottle with a variety of coloured glass. Many of these bitters bottles had American names as they were made for the Cobb and co lines and used in the goldrush era when many americans came to Australia to find their fortune
Stoneware bottle usually with black transfer print or impressed with the brand name
Convict ginger beers
Stoneware bottles made during Australia’s early colonial history. Usually roughly made. Some were impressed with the potter’s name or the company which had commissioned the bottle.
Early gin bottles were ‘free blown’ and in later years were made in a mould and embossed with the maker’s name
Fruit Jar or preserving jar
Most often embossed with an attractive trade mark.
Wonderful designs with fancy circles, diamonds and patterns.
The value of the bottles is determined by their rarity which plays probably the most important role, followed by their attractiveness and condition (good shiney glass with no chips or cracks)