Types of Bottles

Bottles are containers of all shapes and sizes made of a wide range of materials to store, transport and preserve liquids. Their mouth – the bottle neck – can be sealed by an internal or external stopper or a closure (bottle cap). A “cap” or “closure” is an optional device used to seal a bottle and is typically attached to the bottle by a wire, thread or band. Bottles can be categorized by their material, shape and finish.

Glass is a solid, semi-rigid material available in various colors, textures and finishes. Bottles are made by melting and molding molten glass into the desired shape using a crucible and other tools. The molded glass is then cooled and annealed in an oven or lehr to relieve stress in the glass and make it stronger and less prone to breakage.

A “full sized” mold is one that forms all or most of the body, shoulder and/or neck of a bottle. In a hand-blown glass bottle, a full sized mold is used to shape the glob (gob) of molten glass collected on the end of the blowpipe called a gather as it expands to form a mouth-blown bottle (Tooley 1953).

This term is also often used to refer to an entire bottle, including its lip and collar together. See the General Bottle Morphology pop-up page for more information on this and other terms relating to bottle morphology.

A dimple is a molded depression on the neck of a bottle into which the lever wire of a toggle closure device can be hooked. This is another feature that’s easier to show than describe – click dimple for a picture.

Crazing is a grouping of short fissures or checks most commonly found on the top surface of an applied finish (see Bottle Finishes and Closures) but rarely in tooled finishes as well. They result from the differential heat between the hot applied glass and the cooler neck glass during finishing.

Ca. – Abbreviation for approximately; this is frequently used to denote an approximate date, age or year of manufacture on bottles and other glass objects.

Plastics (including bottles) take hundreds of years to break down into microplastics that then travel with the wind and ocean currents until they reach a host region’s water and climatic conditions where they can be ingested or otherwise harm local marine life. The resulting accumulations are referred to as oceanic garbage patches and have been shown to have a variety of adverse health effects on humans as well as on many animal species that depend on these waters for survival.