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Bill Lindsey discusses antique bottles, including mouth blown bottles, bitters, figurals, inks, medicines, flasks, and many other varieties.

He also explains the history and methods of early bottle production, and how diggers find bottles.

From when they first started making bottles in North America in the late 1700s to when machines took over, there were probably hundreds of thousands of uniquely different bottles made within a lot of different types.

Machine-made bottles on average are worth much less and are much less interesting to collectors than are the earlier mouth-blown ones.

Mouth-blown is probably a more correct term than hand blown, though they’re synonymous.

And those bottles date from right around the early 1860s when the first successful glass factory started in the Bay Area to the 1910, 1920 era when machines took over. Spring tonic, some claimed it rejuvenated and invigorated, back then during the great age of quackery.

Even after that point, people collect ACL, applied color labels, soda bottles which are machine-made, and milk bottles which are machine-made, the vast majority of them. There’s another one I have, not a tonic bottle but it’s called William Radam’s Microbe Killer.

Pennsylvania has almost 2,000 different Hutchinson soda bottles alone!

Embossing accounts for a lot of a bottle’s popularity. And color and age also help determine value or collector interest.

Michael Owens invented the machine in 1903, and it became more common by the 1908 or 1910.

By 1915, probably half the bottles were made by machines.

With mouth-blown bottles, it’s the rarity and visual aesthetics. It has beautiful color, bold heavy embossing, and a neat name like the Radaem’s Microbe Killer.

You can look at a good bottle, barrel-bitters or a figural one and you know it’s a good bottle. There’s also local appeal, like the soda bottle I was telling you about from the little town south of Klamath Falls of Merrill, Oregon. An equivalent Portland one would be a 20-dollar bottle.

I have 150 or 175 different ones and I know of over 400 that exist, ones embossed with the word tonic.

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