Types of Bottles


A bottle is a container with a narrow neck used for storing drinks or other liquids. Typically made of glass, but occasionally of plastic, it is a common household item and an easy way to transport beverages.

There are several different types of bottles, but they can all be divided into four main categories: body, shoulder, neck, and finish. Each of these has distinct parts and varies in size, shape, and construction. The term “bottle” is derived from the Greek word botos, meaning “container.”

Body (Vitrue) – A relatively straight sided, often tapered, cylindrical shape. This is usually the most common type of bottle in use. The bottle’s curved “shoulder” is often used for catching sediment and makes it easy to stack.

Shoulder – A transition zone between the body and the base of the neck. Similar to the heel of a bottle, this portion typically terminates at the extreme outer edge of the base, but may also extend down into the rim or even into the neck itself. Shoulders are commonly used on bottles that are intended for a long shelf life, such as spirits.

Neck – The most distinctive portion of a bottle and a primary focus of the glassmakers’ design process. The neck typically has a straight, rounded, or gently curving shape. It is often used for a variety of purposes including forming the top surface of a bottle’s cap, containing the opening of a jar, and in some cases, creating a decorative piece.

Finish – The uppermost portion of the neck, or what was traditionally called the lip. This part of the neck is referred to as the “finish” by some glassmakers and sometimes simply as the “top.” The finish can be one-part, two-parts, or three-parts. The term finish is derived from the glassmakers’ terminology for the final stage of making a mouth-blown bottle.

Mold Seams – Raised lines on the body, shoulder, neck, finish, and/or base of the bottle that are formed where the edges of different mold sections parts came together. See the Bottle Body & Mold Seams page for more information on these lines.

The Finish – The uppermost portion of the body, or what was traditionally called the lip. Originally called the “top” by some glassmakers and sometimes simply as “the lip” or “mouth,” the finish is referred to as the “finish” in the glass industry. The term finish can be one-part, two-parts, and even three-parts, but the term is rarely used for more than three parts.

Polycarbonate – A polymer that is synthesized by polymerizing bisphenol A (C15H16O2) and phosgene. This is a relatively expensive polymer, but it can be used to make durable, high-quality reusable bottles.

Other materials that are often used to produce bottles include aluminum, steel, and polypropylene. Each of these material has its own unique properties and is suited for specific uses.

Unlike tap water, which is delivered through energy efficient infrastructure, producing bottled water involves burning vast quantities of fossil fuels, expanding the carbon footprint of the product. This article aims to highlight the environmental consequences of bottled water and encourage people to switch to a more sustainable alternative.