Dating for beginners new era
All this adds to the fascination with bottle making, but makes systematic dating similar to solving Rubik's cube - ostensibly simple on the surface but complex in practice.
To misquote an old saying as rephrased by the BLM supervisor that facilitated the initiation of this website project: "The universe (of bottles) isn't just more complicated than you think, it's more complicated than you CAN think." True to a large degree, though much information can be teased out of most bottles with a systematic approach to the matter. This Bottle Dating page (and website in general) is designed to address what the website author refers to as "utilitarian" bottles & jars (click for more information).
The information on this website will, however, usually produce a reliable manufacturing date range for a majority of American utilitarian bottles manufactured from the early 1800s to the mid-20th century.
While running a bottle through the key questions, the user is frequently directed to move to other website pages to explain diagnostic features and concepts as well as to add depth and/or precision to the initial dating estimate.
Please be aware that in order to gain the maximum information about any particular bottle (e.g., dating, typing) the user must usually must review a number of pages within this website.
Unfortunately, the complexities of precisely dating bottles is beyond the scope of any simple key.
An example of this is the finding of a few pontil scarred utilitarian bottles among otherwise late 19th or early 20th century refuse.
It is unlikely that this bottle was made during the same era, but instead was reused for a lengthy period or otherwise retained until broken or discarded.