Collectible Antique Glass Bottles

Collectible antique glass bottles come in all shapes in sizes and from a variety of eras. As a collector, you might choose to concentrate on one type of glass bottle, on a time period or on a particular manufacturer. If you decide to focus on a type of glass bottle, picking the genre that is right for you is part of the fun.

Fire Grenade Bottles
What did firemen use to help put out fires before the fire extinguisher was invented? They used fire grenade bottles. Fire grenades, first patented in 1863, were filled with fire-fighting water or chemicals. They are inherently rare; the bottles would be destroyed during the course of their use. The production of fire grenades declined after the invention of the fire extinguisher in 1905.

Fire grenades came in different colors and styles. They typically had the name of the manufacturing company embedded in the glass. You can also collect the carriers that were used to transport the grenades to the scene of fires.

Avon Bottles
Avon, the cosmetics giant, actually started out as a perfume company. Today, one of the hallmarks of Avon is its perfume bottles, many of which were made in the forms of figurines such as automobiles, birds and animals. Some of the most valuable Avon bottles are marked C.P.C. for "California Perfume Company," a designation Avon used from 1929 to 1939. Figural bottles manufactured before the onset of World War II are more valuable than recent offerings.

Milk Bottles
Milk bottles were first patented in 1875, but it was not until 1880 that Warren Glass Works patented a bottle with a standardized shape. In 1889, a capping and sealing design was patented that made the size of the bottle's lip correspond to the size of its cap. In 1892, Owens Glass Company introduced a semi-automatic bottling machine, ushering in the era of automation to the milk bottle industry. By the middle of the 1920s, the production of hand blown glass milk bottles had all but disappeared. The heyday of milk bottle production was from 1921-1945, after which square glass bottles came on the scene and the use of paper-based milk cartons increased in popularity.

Early glass bottles, such as Thatcher bottles, are rare and quite prized. Some enjoy collecting "baby top" bottles, with babies' faces gracing the neck of the bottle or "cop of the cream" bottles, with policemen's faces and caps exhibited on the bottle's neck. 

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