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365 Inspirations: Antique bottles

March 1, 2010

Antique bottles

For a while now I’ve been noticing different 365-photo projects. Some people take a self-portrait every day, others photograph the same item but in a different setting every day. I don’t know much about any of these projects, but knew I wanted to do something like it. So I thought I would post a photo every day on my Flickr page about the things that catch my eye and inspire me in some way.

Here is my photo for today of my collection of antique bottles. The youngest of the bunch is the embossed Crown Mason jar to the left of the photo. I found this lovely jar with its original zinc lid, original red rubber seal, and a glass lid instead of the metal type of lids we use nowadays. It’s stamped with a date of “1950” on the bottom. I’ve read that older Crown bottles like this turn a light shade of violet when exposed to the sun, as a compound used in glass making in the early 1900s causes the glass to change colour. Other bottles in the collection include a mineral water bottle from New Brunswick (Sussex Mineral Springs Limited), an embossed Dinneford’s Magnesia(1900-1910), and embossed Campana’s Italian Balm (1910-1930), Pauls Inks & Mucilage (1890-1900), and a bottle with O’Cedar embossed on the bottom (1910-1920). With the exception of the Crown bottle, all of the bottles are hand-made, which means they were not mass produced on a factory line. And all of the bottles were unearthed in the Vancouver area.

I started collecting small antique bottles to have a collection of vases for small, delicate flowers or single flowers. I noticed that many of the bottles I came across had an opalescent sheen on them. I’m told it occurs when the metals in soil react with the glass while the bottles are buried. Some bottles have more obvious opalescence than others, but it looks like a bit of a rainbow on all of them. Serious collectors of antique bottles remove this sheen with acid or other methods, as it apparently lowers the value of the bottles. I think it makes them even more beautiful and plan to collect more just because they look so striking with the sheen on them.

You can see a bit of the sheen here on the small green-ish bottle in the center of this picture. It’s a lot more visible in bright light but very hard to photograph.

These bottles inspire me to appreciate the smaller everyday details I might overlook and to seek the beauty in things that aren’t shiny and new.

Click on this link to see yesterday’s photo of cherry blossoms from a fruit-bearing tree outside my home. Most of the trees here in Vancouver, including the cherry tree, began blooming a few weeks back, and I was very alarmed to see how early the weather has warmed up this year. The cherry trees in my neighbourhood inspire me to be more aware of how our individual impacts on the environment are contributing to global warming.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 1:42 pm

    This is a great photo. I love old bottles as well.

  2. March 1, 2010 6:03 pm

    Thanks! I’m hoping to expand the collection and have little bunches of them here and there around the house. I love thinking about the history they might have 🙂

  3. March 3, 2010 3:46 pm

    Where in Vancouver did you get these beautiful bottles??? I am a huge fan of antiques and this has me drooling!

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