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Question about some old bottles I just found!

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Bottles3386 of 5868Plonk BottleOld jar of Pain Killer Ointment
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Posted 4 years ago


(1 item)

I live in a small town outside of Nashville called Franklin. We have a quaint downtown area there where The Battle of Franklin took place in 1864. Because of this there is a lot of history here, which I love. That being said, my boyfriend and I took a walk this weekend and began to feel adventurous and decided to explore. We came to a back road of downtown Franklin where they've completely dug up the entire side road (due to flood damage a couple years back) and because there isn't a road there right now, it doesn't get many visitors. Being a town so rich with history we thought how cool it would be if amongst the mounds and mounds of dug up dirt and layers upon layers of old road, we could find "treasure"! We kept our eyes open and it didn't take long. In less than an hour we literally found bags full of old bottles, broken pieces of old china (plates and saucers), leather straps, old railroad nails, something that looks like a meat hook, a horseshoe, etc. All the bottles we collected were still in tact and from some of the research I've done date back to the early 1920's-1950's. Needless to say, we were super excited to have had such a successful day of rescuing these antique treasures (which most likely would've been ruined or lost forever amidst the new construction process).
My question is this - oddly enough while researching the bottles, I realized on approximately half of them there was hand carved (uneven/imperfect) circles made on the bottom of each bottle. Almost as if someone was trying to remove the bottom of the bottle completely. The bottles that have this marking range from liquor bottles, mason jars, soda bottles, etc. I've become extremely curious as to what this means and any insight you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated! Just to reiterate, these bottles have been buried for several decades and I'm assuming the markings were made a long time ago. Maybe a way to limit the tracking of alcohol purchases during prohibition? Anyway, thanks so much!

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  1. MattyG MattyG, 4 years ago
    Seems like a great place to dig for artifacts :
  2. vintagebritt, 4 years ago
    @MattyG - It appears to be! Thanks for the link too! I've been to the Carnton Plantation tour a few times and the article is correct, you can see in almost every room blood stained wood floors from the soldiers.
  3. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    Sounds like a super fun day with excellent results.
  4. LOUMANAL LOUMANAL, 4 years ago
    You can find a lot of information by simply googling "dating old bottles". Bottle collecting is a fantastic hobby and can be financially rewarding if you find the "right" bottles and decide to sell them to collectors. Brand names, designs, method of manufacture, color can all help you in dating them. Sometimes a recent bottle can be as valuable as an old one if it is scarce. By perusing your find, I can tell that they are from the 1930's to 1950's range and provide a great spread of bottles in use at the time. I am sure that somewhere near your town is an abandoned privy, ridge, well, riverbank that will have been used at an earlier time to dispose of bottles. Remember that people were afraid of fires and glass was feared as a possible cause of fires caused by the sun's rays being concentrated through glass. Some rare bottles have been found in more recent dumps because people kept them in sheds, basements etc.. and decided to dispose of them at a later date.
    As far as the circles underneath them, they were machine made so the circle is actually left on the underbase by the manufacturing process. You will eventually learn to date bottles by pontils, molds and mold lines, color sometimes and the top rims- applied or not. Look around for local bottle collecting clubs....they will open your eyes to a marvelous pastime and hobby. Good Luck, RER (BOB)
  5. junkmanjoe junkmanjoe, 4 years ago
    That was A great Day for You! Wish I would have been there too. I love digging for buried treasures. Hope You Find More!!!
  6. vintagebritt, 4 years ago
    @Loumanl- thank you so much for your expertise! What you said about the abandoned riverbank is exactly right. There was one right next to this area! Also thank you for solving the mystery of the circles at the bottom of the bottles! I've definitely become very interested in old bottles and learning more and glad I discovered this site!

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