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    

Very Rare Cobalt SodaRare Vintage C1900 Escambia Pepsi Cola Soda Pop Embossed Glass Hutchinson Bottle1856 Rare Antique Soda Blob Top Mouth Blown Bottle J. R. Owens Parkesburg, Pa. Rare Acl San Antonio Texas Alamo Soda Water Bottle Orange Green Painted Label Outstanding Deep Teal Flowered J Kennedy Pittsburg Iron Pontil Soda.Iron Pontil J.t.nusbaum & Brothers Weissport Pa SquatHenry Kuck 1878 Savannah Ga. Soda BottleHenry Kuck Savannah, Georgia. Blob Top Soda / Mineral Water BottleDark Green "bowling Pin" Bottle - Probably Baltimore 1850'sRare J.m.c.m. Mauch Chunk Pa Iron PontilB.l.winn - Dyottville Glass Works -pontil - Benjamin L. Winn Salem, Mass.Slocan Bottling Works Kaslo British Columbia Hutchinson SodaIron Pontil G.a.kohl Easton PaVery Rare Antique Utah Hutch Soda, John Beck Hot Springs Mineral Water Salt LakePearson's (1870's) * Mint, Never Cleaned, Aqua - Placerville, Bodie, Carson CityIron Pontil J Kenneddy Pittsburgh Soda Double D Porter Top Excellent ShapeLong Neck Blob , Grafite Deep Pontil Soda Bottle-j.shields-st. Louis, Mo.Amber Stright Side Pepsi Cola Soda Bottle - Birmingham, Ala.Dawson Georgia Ga. Rare Error Slug Plate Chero Cola Soda Bottle Old BottleCongress Water Mineral Water BottleRare Combination Pre Pro Soda/ Brewery Bottle $0.99 No Reserve GeorgiaGuilford Vermont Mineral Spring Water Bottle Green Pristine Condition Barn Find G.e.weissport Pa SodaJ Deegan Pottsville, Pa. Antique Amber Glass Bottle Pre- 1900Vintage Emerson Drug Co Antique Bromo Seltzer Dispenser Stand Cobalt Blue GlassF Quade Lancaster Pa BlobThomas Thos Maher Savannah, Ga Green Iron Pontil Soda Bottle Slug Plate Blob TopClassy Beverages--longview, Texas Acl Soda Bottle--1940sClarke & White Olive Amber Mineral Water Pint Ex. Rare 12 Oz. 1940 Solon Acl Soda BottleVintage Bell Beverages Inc., Union City, N.j., Blue Seltzer, Etched Bell, 26 Oz Antique Hutchinson Soda Bottle - Delta Bottling Works Yazoo City Mississippi Sun Up Nm 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle...philadelphia, Pa Nice P&b Beverages ~ Acl Soda Bottle With Jumping Horses ~ Pittsburgh, Pa. Jos. Schlitz Amber Blob Quart Beer Bottle Peoria Illinois Il SodaRare Late 1800s Hutch Jq Buchheit Union Sc Bottle W Original Stopper HutchinsonStarke, Florida Hutchinson Soda Bottle, Mug Based, Rare!Unique Rare Green Twitchell Soda W/ Bird SwingBlue H.c.hotchkiss Mineral Water Bottle Lyons N.y.Vintage Blue Seltzer Bottle Irwin's Beverages Phila Made In Czechoslovakia Stoddard N.h. Saratoga Type - Pontil - Quart - Best Example!Light Aqua Western Hutch Pioneer Soda Works Portland Oregon Pictures Anchor Ace 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Nm Salamanca, New York Ny Panama Canal Commisary Division Industrial Laboratory Soda Bottle - Very RareCherry River Beverages Acl Soda Bottle 10 Oz. Richwood, W. VaAntique Paris French Blue Glass Cut Air Balloon Seltzer Soda Bottle Signed WowRitz "man In Top Hat" Acl Soda Bottle 10 Oz. St. Louis, MoSpiffy 12 Oz Nm Soda Bottle From Phillipsburg, Nj Great 3 Color AclTwitchell Bottle Philadelphia, Pa 1880's Augusta Brewing Hutch-top Soda BottleTimmermann Soda Water (st. Louis) - Applied Top, PontilAntique Bottle Gray Rock Water Co Woodlawn Md Mineral Spring Water Baltimore MdAcl - Big Chief Soda Bottle Gonzales Texas 12ozsHutchinson Soda Bottle, Parson's Bottling Works, Bryan, Texas 1902Sioux Indian Beverages Acl Soda Bottle Heap Fine Drink Sioux Falls SdMr. Sunny! Acl Soda Bottle 8 Oz. Gazzosa Nm 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Bethlehem, Pa 6 Vintage Soda Pop Caps. Circa 1920's. With Cork Intact - Nice.Chester Club 8 Oz 2 Color Acl Soda Bottle Poughkeepsie, Ny **cool GraphicsKuhn's Quality Beverages Nm 7 Oz Acl Soda Bottle Lebanon , Pa.