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In particular, the information found within the Bottle Typing & Diagnostic Shapes complex of pages is of particular use.
: If you are keying a bottle with a ground lip or finish, only questions #6 & #7 will help refine your dating quest since ground lip bottles and jars are rarely pontil marked (Question #4) and this finishing method is not covered under Question #5 (it falls out as "C" - Other Finishes - under Question #5).
From Champagne to Bailey’s Irish Cream, here’s a consumer’s guide to how long your favorite bottles of alcohol will last once you pop the cork or break the seal.
Mouth-blown (aka "hand-made") bottles were produced by skilled craftsmen who gathered the hot glass onto a blowpipe manually then formed the bottle with air pressure applied by mouth to the blowpipe, with (usually) or without the aid of a mold.
It was also the position that glass factory boys aspired towards (Skrabec 2007).
Between the mid 1840s and the mid 1860s the pontil rod was gradually replaced by various snap case tools which typically leave no distinct markings on the bottle (Barber 1900, Jones & Sullivan 1989). Utilitarian bottles with pontil marks usually date from or prior to the American Civil War era, i.e., ≤1860-1865, and almost always prior to the early 1870s, though can date prior to the earliest timeframe that this website covers (1800).
(Many "specialty" bottles can have pontil scars after this period, though common utilitarian bottles follow these time frames quite closely; click specialty bottle pontil scars for more information.)For more information and dating information on pontil marks it is highly recommended that a user review the Pontil Marks or Scars page.
Typical examples of the 3 major pontil types - glass-tipped or "open" pontil scar, iron or "improved" pontil scar, and sand (disk) pontil scar - are pictured to the right.
Visit the Pontil Marks or Scars page for much more information on pontil rods, pontil scars, and the empontilling process.