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So machine-made bottles aren’t un-collectible, it’s just that what feeds the passion of most collectors through the years has been the earlier things from the late 18th century through the 19th century. My Historic Bottle website, the reason it has so many pictures of all different types of bottles is that I just love all old bottles, from the flasks to the medicines to the liquor bottles to whatever, soda. : The only thing I really specialize in is medicinal tonic bottles. It has a picture of a guy beating a skeleton – this is embossed on the front of it – beating a skeleton with a club, and it boldly states at the bottom, “Cures all diseases.” Tonic bottles are just a subcategory of the huge variety of patent medicine bottles.Nobody seemed to collect tonic bottles much, so I just started collecting.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.

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The air from a glassblower was used to inflate and make the bottle versus a machine, which produced pressurized air.

In terms of what I’m most passionate about it’s Western mouth-blown bottles, bottles that are clearly identified with the West or made in the West.

It’s hard to describe them, but these flasks date from the first half of the 19th century.

Most bitters bottles date from the last half of the 19th century, the most collectible ones, and they come in the shapes of ears of corn, Indian maiden, fish, barrels as well as the square bottles. It was another genre of medicinal, but it was usually 30 to 40 percent alcohol.

Anyway, we started by digging some of the mining camps in Oregon and Arizona and then eventually gravitated towards digging in downtown Portland, the urban renewal stuff in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. And so we got in there and started finding really nice stuff. I never looked back, and have been collecting ever since.

That was way better digging because that’s where people lived. : I have over a thousand bottles, which means something or nothing.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.The major types are liquor, spirits-type bottles, soda and mineral water, wine, beer and ale, medicinal and then household things like ink and cleaning products…and miscellaneous bottles that don’t fit the other categories.Michael Owens invented the machine in 1903, and it became more common by the 1908 or 1910.

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