Types of Bottles


A narrow-necked container made of impermeable material in various shapes and sizes that stores or transports liquids. Bottles can be sealed with an internal stopper, an external bottle cap, or a closure.

A plastic bottle that contains a product, such as water, soft drink or juice. Often made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), it is strong and lightweight. PET is produced by the chemical reaction of ethylene glycol, a colorless viscous hygroscopic liquid, and terephthalic acid an organic compound. Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down into microplastics, which drift away from the shore and enter oceanic gyres. The Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of floating plastic debris, is a large part of one such gyre.

Glass is a solid material that, like the liquids it holds, has some of the properties of a gas and some of the properties of a liquid. It is formed by heating dry ingredients to a very high temperature until they are in a very viscous state. Then the ingredients are cooled very quickly to prevent them from forming a regular crystalline structure. This gives the glass its rigidity.

While the raw materials are relatively inexpensive, the manufacturing process is expensive and labor-intensive. The cost of production is mainly driven by the high energy costs associated with heating the ingredients to the high temperatures necessary for glass formation. The final product is sold at a premium to consumers because of the perception that it is superior to competing products that are mass-produced with cheaper raw materials and inferior manufacturing processes.

Bottles are used to store and transport a variety of liquid substances, including food, beverages and motor oil. They are also used to contain dry goods such as medications and nutritional supplements. Bottles are also used as containers for laboratory chemicals and as vessels to carry liquid gases such as carbon dioxide.

There are many different types of bottles, with a wide variety of sizes and finishes. Some of these are designed for specific uses, such as pharmaceutical and household chemicals. Others are designed for general purpose use. Some are made of clear glass, while others are tinted and decorated.

A ground rim/lip finish is a type of finish that has had its top surface hand-ground to enhance sealing and closure fit. This is most commonly seen on bottles with outside screw threads, particularly canning and fruit jars. It is sometimes erroneously referred to in collector jargon as a “bare iron pontil mark” or “graphite” pontil scar based on the frequently gray appearance of the deposit (Kendrick 1968).

A flared finish is a type of neck that protrudes more horizontally than vertically from its base. This is a common finish on early medicinal bottles. Click the Bottle Finishes & Styles page for more information on this and other finish types.