February 11, 2024

What Is a Bottle?

A bottle is a narrow-necked container of an impermeable material in various shapes and sizes that stores and transports liquids. Its mouth may be sealed with a bottle cap, closure, or sheared finish. Bottles are used to store and dispense carbonated beverages, among other things. They can be made of glass, steel or aluminum, or plastic. The term “bottle” is also used to refer to the shape of a bottle or the bottle’s neck, or the overall shape and profile of the bottle’s body.

A bottle can be a clear, green or brown vessel, or it can be decorated with color, etching, embossing, or other decorative embellishments. In addition, it can be molded or shaped with distinctive features that give the bottle its own character and value. Bottles can be molded in a variety of ways including using a hot glass blowpipe, a press mold, or a glass block (Hunter 1950; White 1978).

Glass bottle makers used decolorizing chemicals to neutralize the iron and carbonaceous impurities present in most types of sand in order to make colorless glass. They were typically added to the molten glass batch by dumping them in the hot glass melt or sand mix (Tooley 1953). These included such compounds as selenium, manganese dioxide, and arsenic. See the glass colors page for more information.

The ejection mark is a circular “scar” left on the base of some bottles. It is caused by the action of a metal rod in some press-and-blow, automatic, and semi-automatic bottle machines that used to be produced in the United States, where a metal rod (usually centered) pushed the pre-bottle out of the first parison mold (click ejection mark image to enlarge) and then into the second or final blow mold (Hinge mold, Key mold, or Lynch MB Two Table). This process left this type of scar on the base of the finished bottle. It is often mistakenly called a suction scar but that should be reserved for the versions of this scar which were not cut cleanly, such as those shown in the pictured bottle.

Applied finish (also called lip or sheared finish) – Describes a bottle finish where the finishing glass was separately applied to the severed neck end after the body of the bottle was drawn down into the neck mold. Click the Applied finish link to view an illustration of this style of bottle neck finishing.

BPA – Bisphenol A (BPA) is an artificial estrogen that is widely used as an industrial chemical, especially in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. BPA has been found in human breast milk, infant formula, and blood; it is absorbed by the placenta and has been shown to be able to cross the brain barrier. Once ingested, BPA can be converted to water-soluble metabolites by the liver (BPA glucuronide and sulfate) or to free unconjugated form (free BPA). Unconjugated BPA is believed to have a number of toxic effects including altering hormones and immune responses in humans and animals.