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Nice Little Find Of Old Bottles

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Bottles1844 of 3473Merwin Hulbert what?Cowboys were Flashy
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Posted 2 years ago


(261 items)

I was doing a little bottle probing with my probe rod behind an old house the other day, and found this nice little cache of old bottles, nothing special.
Forbes Bros.,T & S. Co.
Horlick's Malted Milk
Castoria, Kent Drug Company
Castor Oil, The Frank Tea & Spice Company
Lange, De Pere, Wisc.
Misc. small vials.
All in all, kind of an interesting day.
I added a pic of the tools I take when I go digging. As you can see, I have made or modified the equipment to suite my needs. The black ball on the ends is foam pipe insulation wrapped in electrical tape. The reason for this is that it gives a cushion on the end, as I do not wear gloves.
You will note various probes and digging tools, all have a purpose. After nearly 40 years of doing this, I have pretty well figured out what I need.
You will note the long probe handle, that is my main probing rod. You can buy them pre-made, however, since we are not all the same height, it is better to make one fitted to you.
I made my probe rod out of a piece of 3/8 spring steel, as this will not bend. It is 46” in length and welded to a 12” handle, made from ¾ steel pipe, wrapped in foam pipe insulation and electrical tape. I do not use Duck Tape because after time, it tends to break down and makes a mess. You need to grind the end to a long taper, and a dull point on the end. A real sharp point tends to shatter glass.
Once you have done it for a while, you will be able to tell the difference in sound between rock, metal, china, glass, etc., as they all have a different sound.
Hope this helps


  1. walksoftly walksoftly, 2 years ago
    There is something soothing about digging in the dirt looking for treasure even if it isn't valuable, takes your mind off of the troubles of the day.
  2. jimborasco jimborasco, 2 years ago
    Good going packrat...a couple of hours ago i was out riding fence and came up on a couple of old bottles. I know one was a Log cabin syrup. Jimbo
  3. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much Manikin, walksoftly , scandinavian_pieces, jimborasco, kerry10456 & mrmajestic1.
    You are correct, there is something about digging in the dirt. Only two were broken!
    Probing is the best way to look for bottles. There was no metal with this little cache, so a metal detector would not have found it.
  4. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much vetraio50 & vintagemad
  5. Hunter Hunter, 2 years ago
    how does your probe-rod work, walksoft? I used to dig in old dump sites on my grandparent's property, but would often break smaller glass items while digging. Found lots of goodies though!
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 2 years ago
    When I dig in the dump site at my Grandparents old farm I approach it like an archaeology dig using a pointed cement trowel & a sifting screen. I think as kids we broke everything when we were all young & foolish, so I haven't found any glass intact. I didn't need a probe to find it as the cattle have the site nicely grazed & I know exactly where the dump is.
  7. Hunter Hunter, 2 years ago
    thanks for all the tips guys - who knows when I'll next be out there, but hopefully I can do some safer digging than when I was a teen. I do have a few intact bottles, but my best find was a locket bracelet with my grandmother's initials engraved in it. I'll have to post when I get photos!
  8. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    AR8Jason hit it right on the head, great advice. Please see my revision to my post showing the tools I use.
    I hope we have helped you.
  9. walksoftly walksoftly, 2 years ago
    Nice dig kit packrat, you are well prepared.
  10. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    No mud pies, however, I feel I missed my true calling, I should have been an archeologist. There is something about digging things out of the ground that has fascinated me since I was a kid.
    walksoftly, thank you very much, yes, I have screened quite a few dumps over the years myself. I made mine out of an old wooden Coca Cola crate, and used 3/8" galvanized hardware cloth. Keep us posted on what you find.
  11. Yuko Yuko, 2 years ago
    The picture of the bottles still half buried liked me. For me it is like discovering a little treasure.
    Your common find them, but to me are beautiful.
    Congratulations on your luck when digging.
  12. stonesfan1 stonesfan1, 2 years ago
    yea it does take your mind off every thing else , but when u find some thing cool like the bottles in the picture has fast does your mind start running to over drive on what they could be or what else is there .
  13. AQUA69, 2 years ago
    What a beautiful sight. Good find Packrat! I especially like the Horlicks. I have a nine piece set ranging from 8 oz "Table tablets" up to half gallon "fresh milk". I love them! Thanks for sharing.
  14. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much for the kind words AQUA69, stonesfan1, Yuko & walksoftly.
    Thank you very much for the love BELLIN68 , Woman34 , trunkman, toolate2, AR8Jason, Yuko & Trey.
  15. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much for the love bratjdd.
  16. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much Vontrike
  17. packrat-place packrat-place, 2 years ago
    Thank you very much petey

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