Antique Bottle Tops
For the purpose of this text we will be looking at Blown in Mold and Machine Made bottles. The associated charts and corresponding time line were not designed to include Black Glass and some Free blown bottles.

The earliest tops or lips were sheared off. Sheared tops can be rolled in or out. Next applied lips were developed. A hot piece of glass was applied to the neck and then hand tooled to the proper shape. The lips of bottles made before 1870 were often crudely applied and careful examination shows these irregularities. Sometime around 1880 it became common practice to tool the lips with a lipping tool, an object which fit one piece into the opening of the neck while two other pieces clamped on the outside of the applied band of glass. Then with a twisting motion, the top was uniformly shaped. Many bottles produced from 1880 to 1910ís will show evidence of this twisting motion which left faint concentric rings around the neck. At the same time this motion usually erased a portion of the bottle necks mold seam mark. Earlier bottles, those made before 1880, will not show these rings and the lip may be more crudely applied with drippy areas under the applied band. Just remember that any time the mold seam stops before the top of the bottle then the bottle is called hand finished.

Review the common top styles detailed in this book. Take special note as to which category they fall into, non applied, applied or machine made. Basically non applied lips have no additional glass added to lip. Applied lips, as the name implies, use additional glass to finish the top. Machine made tops can often resemble their older counterparts but can be easily distinguished because the mold seam will run through the top.

Above: This non applied Flarred Top was found by my son while digging clams.

Non Applied Lips
Officially called hand-tooled lips the bottle neck was sheared off then smoothed or rolled inward or outward. No additional glass was added to the lip. This style top is often seen on early ink wells. In this same category are sheared lips with attached rings. These are common on Free Blown and Black Glass bottles. Although these rings are technically applied glass they do not change the upper most surface of the lip.


Applied Tops
Applied Tops includes all lips that were applied after the bottle was removed from blow pipe or mold. I have listed below samples of many of the most common Applied Tops. These bottles will have mold seams that do not run through the top. They also can often have a very rough drippy edge on the bottom of the lip. In general the cruder the applied top the older the bottle. This category also includes hand finished tops, which were finished with a lipping tool and are more uniform in shape.


Assorted Tops

Machine Made Tops
After 1903 Automatic machine made (ABM) bottles often mimicked older applied tops. In all cases machine made bottles will have a mold seam that runs through the top. ABM bottles can have a variety of cork style tops, crown tops or screw tops.


Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment.
By Capt. Dan Berg


Softcover, 5.5x8.5", 98 pages
printed in full color. $19.95 +P&H

Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment is the complete field guide for finding and identifying antique bottles. Capt. Berg has been searching for antique bottles in local lakes, rivers and on shipwrecks for over thirty years. Learn not only how to find submerged antique bottles but also how to clean them and how to determine how old they are. This text is packed with historical information that shows how bottles were produced and how each manufacturing process left distinct marks which can be used to accurately estimate any bottles age. Capt. Dan has heavily illustrated this text with over 200 color images depicting the types of bottles that can be recovered by searching local waters. He also uses over 10 unique 3D diagrams designed to give a better understanding as to the time line of glass blowing and bottle manufacturing. These 3D mold images are combined with drawings of the bottles they produced and highlight the distinct mold seam marks each created. This informative text tells all the tricks of the trade that until now have only been learned through years of experience. Bottle collectors, scuba divers and anyone interested in exploring the marine environment for these historic treasurers will reference this text often as they search for and collect antique bottles.


 Antique Bottle Identification Guide  Sample Pages


Sample Pages



This title is also available as a downloadable ebook
click here for details on all of Capt. Dan's downloadable products.


Hunting Antique Bottles in the Marine Environment.
By Capt. Dan Berg

Softcover, 5.5x8.5", 98 pages
printed in full color. $19.95 +P&H


This book is also available as a downloadable ebook

only $9.95
5.7 MB instant download, printable  PDF file





Hunting Antique Bottles
in the Marine Environment

Bottle Collecting
Bottle Characteristics
How bottles were made
Bottle Value
Bottle Types
  Screw Top
  Crown Top
  Blob Top
  Bromo seltza

  Black Glass

  Coca Cola
  Round and Torpedo
Water Hunting
  Scuba Diving
  Ferry Piers
  Dump Sites

Scuba Diving
Cleaning Bottles

Estimating Age
  Mold Marks
  Mold Mark Chart
Patent Numbers
Makers Marks
Just how old
Age Estimating Chart
Glossary of Terms

Scuba Equipment 
 Training Agencies
Equip Manufacturers






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