Antique Mineral and Soda Water Bottles

Bottles for mineral and soda water first appeared in the late 1600s. As a group, these bottles tended to be thick in order to withstand repeated fillings. After the introduction of artificially carbonated water in 1832, the bottles were also required to withstand the pressure of carbonation. While the earliest of these bottles were similar to beer and ale bottles of the day, by the mid-1800s bottles made exclusively for soda and mineral water began to appear.

Mid-19th-century soda and mineral water bottles were usually short and squat. The shoulders of these bottles were abrupt and the straight necks were long compared to the body of the bottle itself. Most bottles were embossed but there are plenty of examples that were left plain.

One early type of antique soda and mineral water bottle was produced in what’s known as the Saratoga style, named for the hundreds of companies that bottled water in Saratoga Springs, New York. These bottles were produced in pint and quart sizes. Since they contained mineral water, their collars are described as having a “mineral” finish. Saratoga bottles were capped by corks, which were wired to the bottle’s collar.

Another early type of soda and mineral water container was the round bottom or torpedo style bottle. These vessels were sealed tight with wired-down corks—they had to be, because the shapes of their bottoms meant the bottles were usually stored on their sides. A rare variation of the round bottom bottle was the club or tenpin bottle, which had a flat spot on its base.

Round and torpedo bottles had what are known as blob tops. The blob at the top of the bottle was applied separately to the bottle and enabled the bottler to seal the bottle’s contents with a swing-type enclosure, which was secured tightly below the blob.

Beginning in around 1860, mineral water and soda bottles with internal stoppers appeared. These bottles were longer and narrower than the squat bottles that had come before, and they virtually lacked necks.

There were several types of internal stoppers. The simplest was a gravitating stopper, which consisted of a glass stopper that plugged the bottle’s top with the help of a rubber ...

A second type of internal stopper was the Hutchinson spring stopper, which was far more common than gravitating models. In a Hutchinson, the stopper inside the bottle was attached to a thick wire loop or spring that could be accessed from the top of the bottle. When the loop was pushed down, the bottle’s contents poured out. But the stoppers were difficult to clean, so by the beginning of the 20th century, they were no longer in use.

Use of Codd style bottles was also widespread for mineral and soda water in the latter part of the 19th century. The contents of Codd style bottles were sealed from the elements by a hardened glass ball or marble, which was inserted into the bottle and then trapped inside during the manufacturing process. The ball sealed the bottle by being forced against the inside of the bottle’s neck due to pressure from the bottle’s contents. A special tool known as a Codd opener was needed to get at the liquid inside.

The invention that eventually pushed other stoppers aside and changed the look of antique mineral and soda water bottles was the crown cap closure, which is similar to the bottle closures we are familiar with today. Patented in 1892, crown caps were not popular at first with bottlers, who were required to invest in new bottles and machinery. As for customers, they distrusted crown caps as a newfangled invention whose promise was probably too good to be true.

By 1905, fewer than 25 percent of all U.S. bottlers were using crown-cap technology, but that was the year the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine debuted—by 1912, the conversion to crown caps for soda was pretty much complete. For collectors, most surviving soda bottles from the early crown-cap era were produced for Coca-Cola or Pepsi, though bottles for many smaller soda brands can still be found.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Blue Neptune Glass Works 1850's Soda Bottle * New Jersey *White Sulphur Water...greenbrier Va. Virginia Soda Mineral WaterWestern Blob Soda A.w. Cudworth Great Example San Francisco Graphite Pontil C Allen Browne Boston Mineral Water..rareNew York - Sapphire Blue Blob Top Soda Beer Bottle Boardman - Iron PontilReally Good Early Antique Schweppes Hamilton Glass Bottle Well EmbossedRare Lahaina Maui War Slogan Acl Hawaii Soda Pop Bottle Buy War BondsRare Red Wing Advertising Stoneware Soda Fountain Mug Seattle Wa Empire Blob Top Hutchinson Soda A.w. Meyer 1885 Savannah Teal GreenDistilled Soda Water Of Alaska - Hutchinson Soda Bottle - Hutch - Aqua~western~ E.l. Billings Sac City / Geyser Soda - California Cal.Cobalt Blue Lomax Chicago Il Nice Example Pony Blob Top Beer Or Soda BottleWestern Blue Blob Top Soda E. L. Billings Sacramento California Scarcer Color Rare Wible Sparkling Beverages Acl Soda Bottle Three Springs Pa Woman SwimsuitUltra Rare Sussex Emerald Green Codd A Hill Worthing Large Front Date 1877 10ozJ. Cairns Iron Pontil Glass Bottle, 1850's Blob Soda St. Louis Missouri BottlerRare War Slogan Victory Acl Soda Bottle Tease For A Squeeze Adams MassachusettsVintage 1947 Acl Soda Pop Bottle "ten-hi-" Selkirk Manitoba Cowboy Graphics Antique Georgia Teal Blob Top Ginger Ale Bottle Albert Von Harten Savannah, Ga W. H. H. Chicago Illinois. Antique Blob Top Soda Bottle. CobaltPioneer Soda Works Smith & Brian Co Reno Nevada Hutch Soda Bottle Lip ChipBig Chief Beverages Soda Bottle - 10 Oz. Indian - Guin, AlabamaRare H.w. Buffum & Co. Amber Blob Top Ten Pin Cider Ale Soda Pittsburgh BottleVictory Soda Bottle - 6 1/2 Oz. - Airplanes/u.s. Flag - Buy U.s. War BondsVintage Antique Hawthorn Spring Saratoga New York Bottle...bim Green ColorPioneer Soda Bottle - 12 Oz. Covered WagonCement City Bottling Works Yankton South Dakota Hutch Soda BottleNevada Soda Bottle. Eagle Bottling Works Goldfield, NevadaPhiladelphia Pa E. Roussel Green Iron Pontil Blob Top Squat Soda Beer BottleMcniel's Beverages 12 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Nm Elkin Nc Saratoga Deep Rock Spring Oswego New York Ny Mineral Water Bottle 1870's PintNice Aqua ** A. Large & Co ** London Ontario Squat Soda BottleTex-a-cola Soda Bottle - 7 Oz. Cowboy - Arlington, TexasMaumee Valley Beverages Soda Bottle - 8 Oz. Ft. Wayne, Indiana - Indian & CanoeNevada Soda Bottle James Dewar, Elko, NevadaRare Variety G.norris & Co Detroit Cobalt Hutchinson Soda BottleComal Bottling Works New Braunfels Texas Hutchinson Hutch Bottle Montana Hutchinson Soda Holland Rink Bottling Works Butte, Mont.Coca Cola Huntington, W. Va., Amber Straight Sided BottleVintage Red, White And Blue Indian Club Soda Root Beer BottleCoca- Cola Bottling Co Charleston Sc Clear Tint (light Amethyst) Hi-time Beverages Soda Bottle - 7 Oz. - Top Hat And Gloves - Monterey, CaBottle Made For Hutchinsons Patent Spring Stopper Hutch Soda BottleJas F. Taylor New Berne North Carolina Hutch Soda BottleVintage Rylands Bulb Codd The Oak Mineral Water Manufactory WiganVintage 1947 Acl Soda Pop Bottle Mt. Lassen Susanville Ca Volcano Graphics Antique Cast Iron C Supreme Bottle Capper Corker 3 Blob Bottles Pre-coke Cc SodaZee Beverages 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Erie, Pa Pennsylvania Great Spaceship!Barq's ( Barqs Barq ) Root Beer Biloxi Mississippi Seltzer Bottle BoxRhode Island - Green Pony Blob Top Soda Beer Bottle S.j. Esten Smooth BaseCircle Beverages Soda Bottle - 7 Oz. Cowboy & Horse - Miles City, MontanaRare Old Quart A. Wegener & Son Detroit Mich Blob Top Aqua Blue Soda Pop BottleJ. N. Boise Idaho Hutch Soda Bottle Turning PurpleCornflower Blue Blob Top Soda G. Ebberwein Savannah Geo. Mineral WaterNice Aqua ** L.g. Reed ** Kingston, Ontario Squat Soda BottleWood's Pocket Soda Fountain (a Poughkeepsie Ny Bottle) Very UnusualbottleBali Brand 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Nm Los Angeles, Ca CaliforniaYellow Schweppes Footed Seltzer BottleEarly French Fancy Seltzer Bottle Double Bubble With Wire Mesh Circa 1900 Yucca Beverages Soda Bottle - 12 Oz. Clovis, N.m.