Dating base 1
We can always have some indication of a starting date for a technique if we can find who first put the idea into practice.
But any technique, once developed, can be used right up to the present - as many collectors know who have been so unfortunate as to rely too heavily on a popular termination date as sure evidence of true antiquity..." (Toulouse 1969b).
In short, there was (and is) nothing to stop a glassmaker from using an obsolete method in the production of a bottle.3.
Some technological changes were expensive and not adopted by glass makers until it became an "adapt or perish" issue and many glass factories just perished.
Of course, soda & beer were reused up until quite recently.
The bottle pictured to the right has a Wait's Liver and Kidney Bitters label pasted over the embossing of a Star Kidney and Liver Bitters bottle!
Please be aware that in order to gain the maximum information about any particular bottle (e.g., dating, typing) the user must usually must review a number of pages within this website.
Unfortunately, the complexities of precisely dating bottles is beyond the scope of any simple key.
The author has also seen Star Bitters labels on Wait's bottles as well as both labels on the immensely period popular Hostetter's Stomach Bitters bottles!
This page and associated sub-pages allows a user to run an American produced utilitarian bottle or a significantly sized bottle fragment through a series of questions based primarily on diagnostic physical, manufacturing related characteristics or features to determine the approximate manufacturing age range of the item.
As Berge (1980) noted in referring to bottles, the "..of manufacture of glass containers provides observable attributes which seem to be very useful in a classification of these artifacts." Thus, this page.
Utilitarian items makes up the bulk of the bottles produced during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Bottles intended to be used once to dispense the contained product without much hope of return, though as noted in #4 above, many types of bottles were commonly reused during the 19th and early 20th centuries; or 2.
Heavy duty bottles intended to be recycled and reused by the producer or distributor of the contained product (primarily soda, beer & milk bottles); or 3.
Utilitarian items include canning/fruit jars and figured flasks since they were intended to be reused by the purchaser and have been observed to follow well the dating guidelines, though there are some manufacturing timeframe differences with canning jars.