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It is very easy to confuse the two. To help you tell them apart, milk glass is more translucent than platonite, and platonite is usually marked "HA" on the bottom. Hazel Atlas platonite is also a collectible, so even if you make this mistake, it's not a bad one to make. This milk glass political plate features the profile of President William McKinley. It was made around and has an ornate, open latticework along the rim. Three smaller, yet similar plates are circulating for sale in the political Americana market.

Color Naming Simply put, people observe or interpret colors or in Canada and Great Britain - colours differently. Even the same bottle to the same person can vary widely in color depending on differing lighting situations - direct and indirect sunlight out in the field, fluorescent lights in the office, and LED and incandescent lights at home. Adding to the confusion is the jumble of terminology that is used to describe colors and the seemingly infinite color variations.

As noted on Greg Spurgeon's fruit jar oriented website there is no "governing authority" on glass or bottle colors Spurgeon There always has been and will continue to be confusion as to color nomenclature even though many attempts have been made to try to standardize it. The collector world is rife with unusual naming, like "strawberry puce with apricot overtones" being one example of a lengthy color name which is intended to help clarify the exact color of bottle but can often end up causing more confusion than clarity.

When describing colors, modifiers can and should be used to help narrow down the specific color.

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Examples of common modifying terminology adjectives include dark or deep for the denser end of the colormedium mid range densitylight paler densityas well as clear for noticeably translucent glass of any color or murky glass with diminished clarity.

Dual color naming e. For example, "yellow olive" is a dominantly olive color with a shift towards yellow, whereas "olive yellow" would be a dominantly yellow color with a slight, but noticeable, olive tint Spurgeon This author of this website has no delusions of this being the "final" word on colors or color naming. It is considered useful, however, to briefly describe, name, and picture some basic bottle glass colors that are noted on this website. The information on this page is a composite taken from numerous references which are noted where appropriate throughout the text.

The following glass color description categories are not in any significant order except that the list moves from the generally lighter to darker colors. A user can either click on the color specific links below or just scroll down through the descriptions to find the color that you are interested in or that matches the color of a bottle you are trying to gain information on.

Return to the top of this page. Colorless aka "Clear". This color is the actually the absence of any color. Colorless is preferred over the term " clear " or " white " glass since the former term refers more accurately to the transparency of the glass not its color, e.

Colorless glass was a goal of glass manufacturers for centuries and was difficult to produce because it required the use of virtually impurity-free materials. Venetian glass makers produced their crystallo as early as the 15th century and glass makers in 18th century England made what was known as "flint glass" from virtually pure quartz rock i. Improved chemistry and glass making methods of the late 19th and early 20th century allowed for process efficiencies which made colorless glass easier and cheaper to produce using various additives in the glass mixture.

The term flint glass was and still is used somewhat erroneously by glassmakers to describe colorless glass that is made with low iron sand. It is, however, not true flint glass.

Colorless glass was also called "crown" glass by early glassmakers Hunter Colorless glass is not always, or even usually, absolutely colorless.

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It will usually have very faint tints of pink or "amethystine" faintly visible in the base of the bottle to the leftamber or "straw", grayish green, gray, or grayish blue. These faint colors are viewed easiest when looking through the thickest portion of the bottle, i. Colorless glass is usually attained by using the purest sand source possible and by adding "decolorizing agents" to the glass batch to offset the residual iron impurities Dillon Common decolorizing agents were manganese dioxide, selenium dioxide usually in conjunction with cobalt oxideantimony and arsenious arsenic oxide - which is also used as a stabilizer of selenium in decolorizing glass - or some combination of these compounds Trowbridge ; New York Herald ; Scholes ; Tooley ; Lockhart a.

Colorless glass actually does have more utility in dating and typing than most other colors, though still of limited application. Some of the better dating reliability is for bottles with manganese dioxide decolorized glass.

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Upon exposure to sunlight, this glass will turn a light pink or lavender to moderately dark amethyst or even a deep purple depending on the amount of manganese in the glass mix and amount of ultraviolet UV light.

This is called "sun-purpled" or "sun colored amethyst " SCA glass. This bottle began its life as colorless glass and has "turned" a much darker than average color of amethyst most likely due to the application of artificial UV light or other artificial source like sterilization equipmenti. The light lavender tint produced by manganese offsets the green tint of the iron impurities in sand creating a largely colorless glass. For an interesting article on the artificial irradiation of historic bottles, see the late Dr.

Manganese became known as "glassmakers soap" due to the ability to "cleanse" or neutralize the effects of other impurities in the sand, particularly iron Hunter Manganese dioxide induced colorless glass was most commonly used from the s to about the end of World War 1. At that time manganese dioxide use was greatly reduced for a variety of reasons, although in part because it did not work as well as other chemical decolorizers see next paragraph in the open, continuous glass tanks used by the increasingly dominant bottle making machines - both semi-automatic and automatic.

It is often noted in the literature that the reason for the switch from manganese dioxide to other decolorants was due to the cut-off of imports usually from the Caucasian Mountain region of Russia to the U. However, it is more complicated than that with other reasons being wartime allocation of the now scarcer manganese to the more important need for producing steel and the dramatic increase in the application of chemical knowledge to glass manufacturing which lead to the eventual realization that glass batch mixes with selenium as the primary decolorizer simply worked better Peter Schulz, unpublished manuscript Colorless glass which was decolorized with selenium or arsenic or typically a combination of the two in conjunction with cobalt oxide results in a very faint " straw " or amber tint to the thickest portions of the glass Scholes ; Tooley ; Lockhart b.

The picture to the left shows this color evident in the thick portion of a milk bottle underneath the line pointing out the valve mark that dates between and based on the makers mark for the Pacific Coast Glass Company Toulouse Click Cloverdale Dairy Co.

This colorless "color" can be very diagnostic of a machine-made bottle made from about to typically no later than the s Giarde ; Lockhart b; empirical observations. The straw tinted colorless glass in bottles does show up frequently in later mouth-blown bottles although such can be found occasionally in bottles from the midth century. Click French mustard bottle to view an s era bottle with a faint straw cast - evident at the heel - to the otherwise colorless glass. Selenium was the best decolorizer for glass made in open glass tanks versus the earlier closed pots which was used with most all automatic bottle machines.

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Such glass can also be irradiated to produce a medium yellowish brown color which looks abnormal for glass color empirical observations. One can be quite confident that if the fragment is colorless with a slight straw tint, it very likely is from a machine-made bottle, unlikely to date from much prior to World War 1 i.

Conversely, a colorless fragment with a slight amethyst tint is quite likely to date to or prior to World War 1 and is more likely than not to be from a mouth-blown bottle. Bottles with a grayish tint seem to date between an although numerous examples outside that range have been noted by the author Giarde ; empirical observations. Generally speaking, bottles of colorless glass were relatively uncommon prior to the s but became quite common after the wide spread use of automatic bottle machines in the mid to late s Kendrick ; Toulouse a; Fike ; U.

Nothing is absolute in these date range estimates, but they are believed to have reasonably high reliability; other contextual information or evidence should be used also. Be aware that non-glass bottle products e. Keep this in mind if trying to identify glass fragments which may be from bottles or other non-container glassware. Bill Lockhart's Historical Archaeology journal article from is available on this website at the link below. This is by far the best reference on the subject!

Lockhart, Bill. Historical Archaeology 40 2 Aqua Aquamarine. This color - like all the colors that follow - had many subtle variations and shades. The "gothic" or "cathedral" style pickle bottle ca.

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Shades of aqua are the most common color for these utilitarian food bottles which were a common stylistic design particularly between the s and s though some examples date before or after that period. The term aqua is a preferred by this website shorthand version of the term aquamarine. Use of modifying terminology is frequently employed to make more precise the color shape, intensity, or hue. For example, the fruit jar pictured below right would be considered deep blue aqua.

Aqua glass is a "natural" result of the iron impurities found in most sands. It is very rare maybe unknown that sand does not contain some traces of iron.

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Sand deposits with very low iron content were - and probably still are - a highly valued commodity. Although good quality sand was plentiful in the Eastern United States, some was still being imported from Belgium for Western American glass factories as late as the s. Aqua glass is the result of sand which is relatively low in the amount of iron which was not off-set by de-colorizing agents as noted in the colorless glass discussion above. Higher levels of iron produce darker greens, black glass, and even amber.

Natural aqua glass was often called "green glass," "bottle glass," or "bottle glass green" by glass makers Kendrick ; White Different shades of aqua and the related blue-green colors which are often observed in the same bottles blown in the same mold may be explained - at least in part - by the following information quoted from Dr. This excerpt is making reference to some of the effects - desired or not - that occur when mixing and melting glass.

It also points out one of the many complexities inherent in producing desired glass colors:. Little was known about the influence of the flame. A "reducing" flame, or one with less oxygen supplied for burning, might produce a bluish-green because the iron in the sand might then be reduced to one of the bluer iron oxides - an excess of air might make the oxidized green iron oxides predominate.

Early glassmakers knew little about this.

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Thus a fire banked for the night and with the air intake flues closed down, could produce quite blue glass for the morning's start, and change slowly during the day when the air vents were opened wide for a hotter flame. Click 1st or 2nd century Roman aqua "unguentarium bottle" to see such a bottle in aqua glass, though it is so patinated that it is hard to see the actual glass color.

One significant exception to this dating is soda bottles, e.

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Another notable exception is that many fruit jars were also made well into the the s in aqua though colorless glass probably became the majority color by that time. For example Ball fruit jars were made in a distinct "Ball blue" from at least until at least the late s and even later for some specialty items Creswick The picture to the above left shows two sizes quart and pint of Ball's very popular Perfect Mason fruit jar.

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This color is light but a more intense blue than blue aqua but does not quite fit the other color groups described below; thus its coverage here. Inthe Ball Company was making This market domination during the first half of the 20th century explains the commonness of these fruit jars today and in historical sites from the early s through the Great Depression.

Some glass dealers also assume that all painted milk glass is old, but that's not a hard and fast rule. And while testing with a black light will reveal cracks and repairs with some types of glues, making sure a piece glows under a fluorescent bulb should be one confirmation of age and not the only measure. American milk glass is a popular collector's item that primarily dates back to the turn of the 19th century up through the s. It is also called clambroth glass, resembling the color of the milky, translucent cooking liquid. All of the dating information on this site, including the following dating key, is based on the researched history and evolution of American glass making, specific glass maker histories, and the above noted regional research on specific - typically embossed - company/product bottles. This body of information will be utilized and extrapolated to.

Opaque White or Milk Glass. Another exception example is that the bottles for expensive, limited production liquors e. Many specialty bottles were imported from Europe, though that fact may be at times hard to impossible to ascertain.

Specialty bottles can be, of course, occasionally found on historic sites usually fragments, but occasionally intact but can rarely be used to help date the site because of the diagnostic problems and deposition lag issues noted above.

Having stated the above, there are still many diagnostic features or characteristics that provide a high probability of both dating and typing a bottle with some precision. A key concept in historic bottle dating is the high probability i.

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The general probability estimates noted on this website are based on a merging of reliable references with empirical observations made by this site's affiliated consulting experts see the About This Site page and the author all of whom have been students of historic bottle dating and identification for many years. N otes on embossing, labeling, and existing research. Raised embossing and when present, paper labeling on a bottle can frequently provide important details to refine the probable manufacturing date range if information exists for the company that either manufactured the bottle i.

For example, the early San Francisco mineral water bottle pictured here is known to date between based on the information provided by the embossing company name embossed on the pictured side and the glass maker - Union Glass Works - embossed on the reverse and research done by collectors Markota Researched historical information of variable depth and quality exists for thousands of different - typically embossed - bottles.

Published works generally cover either a particular city, region, or category of bottles. See the References page for more information.

of selling "loose milk," still being conducted in New York City in , as a major cause for the spread of tuberculosis (Glass Container ). It is probable that the delivery of milk in glass containers became universal shortly thereafter. Because the topics of finishes . If you hold old milk glass up to the light, you should see a rainbow of subtle colors. Before the s, milk glass manufacturers used iridized salts to produce the glass, creating an iridescent effect. Examine the texture. Rough or bumpy milk glass tends to be newer, while smooth milk glass is likely Kate Miller-Wilson. Apr 10, † But if you're wanting a little more guidance on age or the company of origin here's a few tips: 1. How old is it? 19th century milk glass tends to be extremely opaque with less shine. Milk glass dating from the 20th 2. Who made it? If you're wanting to .

For a large majority of embossed and unembossed bottles, however, there is little or nothing formally published on the details of their origins. Only a relative few geographic areas or areas of collecting interest have received more than cursory historical treatment and the majority of this is due to the efforts of collectors.

Time has taken its toll on records, of course, but much of what happened in the past was simply not documented well or at all as with most endeavors of common people in the past. As noted in Munsey's book, " When it comes to methods of dating bottles As Munsey also notes - " Most of what is used today to date bottles Still all true today.

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This body of information will be utilized and extrapolated to make dating and typing estimates for the majority of bottles for which there is either no specific company or glass maker information available or such is not possible to determine because the bottles are unmarked i.

Stell Newman Newman Newman's key made a noble attempt at simplifying bottle dating, but is weakened by the fact that the subject is much too complex to be conducive to such a simple approach by itself. Also, the format and space constraints of a journal article do not allow for the elaboration and illustrations necessary to make a key function fully Jones b. Newman wryly recognized all this with his reworking of an old saying: "This bottle dating key is for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of fools.

This website is designed to have the informational depth, pictures, and illustrations necessary to solve the problems of the Newman key though his warning still holds, although hopefully less so. This entire website is essentially a key to the dating and typing of bottles. However, the author of this site still recommends Dr. Before jumping into the key, it must again be emphasized that no single key can get a user to an absolutely precise date for any bottle.

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The best the following key can do is get a user to a reliably close dating range estimate. Other information on this website usually must be reviewed to fine tune the information about a specific bottle.

In addition, other references beyond the scope of this website usually must be consulted to get as complete of a dating and typing story as is possible for any given bottle. This include period newspapers, business directories, glass makers catalogs, trade journals and related publications, and other sources too numerous to detail. Keep this all in mind as you progress through the key which follows and on into the other website pages Starting with Question 1follow through the questions as suggested.

There is frequent hyper-linking between the diagnostic characteristics and terminology listed on this page and other website pages.

This is done to allow the user to get more information or clarification as they proceed through the key. Pursue these links freely since they will take a user to more details on bottle dating and identification and hopefully add to the users knowledge and understanding about the bottle being "keying out.

The three questions found on this page below answer several basic questions about a given bottle. Answers to these questions will then direct a user to one of the two additional dating pages which are extensions of this key for the two major classes of bottles: mouth-blown bottles and machine-made bottles. Read the questions - and accompanying explanations and exceptions - very carefully as the correct answer is critical to moving properly through the "key.

For examples of how to use this dating key see the Examples of Dating Historic Bottles page. This page guides a user through the key for seven different type and age bottles with several being side-by-side comparisons of very similar bottles of different eras.

This page also shows how other portions of this website can provide information pertinent to the bottle in question.

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See the About This Site page for more information about the author and contributors. For brevity, most of the specific references are not noted in the key's narratives. They are noted on the other website pages which expand on the information summarized in the key. If you know your bottle is machine-made click Machine-Made Bottles to move directly to that page. If you know your bottle is mouth-blown aka hand-made click Mouth-blown Bottles to move directly to that page.

If unsure about what embossing or vertical side mold seams picture below are, click on Bottle Morphology to see this sub-page for a illustration and explanation of these and many other key bottle related physical features. Return back to this page by closing the Bottle Morphology page. Vertical side mold seam on the neck of a beer bottle ending well below the finish, indicating that it was at least partially handmade - ca. YES - The bottle has embossing or visible vertical side mold seams somewhere on the body between the heel and the base of the finish or lip.

A bottle may have mold seams but no embossing, but all embossed bottles were molded in some way and have mold seams even if they are not readily apparent. See note 2 below if there is embossing but it is only within a disk of glass which appears applied to the neck, shoulder or body of the bottle. This bottle is either free-blown"dip" molde or was produced in a "turn-mold" aka "paste-mold" where the side mold seams were erased during manufacture.

A "NO" answer is much less likely than "YES" for this question as a very large majority of bottles made during the 19th century and virtually all made during the 20th century were mold blown resulting in mold seams; see the notes below. Notes : 1. A low probability though possible "NO" alternative is that the user has an unembossed, molded bottle with no visible vertical side mold seams.

This can be due to one or a combination of factors including post-molding hot glass "flow" masking the mold seams, fire polishing of the bottle body, or atypically good mold part s fitting precision. If necessary, look very closely at the bottle shoulder - the best location to see vertical side seams on mouth-blown and most machine-made bottles - in good light with a hand lens to see if there is at least some faint evidence of where the mold part edges came together.

Often the vertical side mold seams are evidenced by very faint changes in glass density in lines where one would expect mold seams to be.

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If the embossing on a bottle is only within a separately applied blob seal similar to that shown to the right click to enlargeand found nowhere else on the bottle, the bottle is almost certainly mouth-blown. This is another low probability choice but certainly possible. The dolphinwhich actually looks a lot more like a fish than a porpoise, was used to form the stems of candlesticks, compotes and other items reflecting the Empire style popular during the mids although it has seen many revivals in glass over the years.

After the Civil War era, various animals and birds were popularly molded into all types of pressed glassincluding milk glass.

Milk Glass 101: the History and VALUE of USí FAVORITE Glass!! Plus HOW to ID and Makers Marks (NEW)

Draping patterns reflected the mourning festoons on milk glass memorial pieces for Presidents Lincoln and Garfield during the s. The turn of the 19th century saw the Spanish-American War commemorated with covered dishes shaped like ships or busts of Admiral Dewey.

The laying of the Trans-Atlantic cable had an influence on glass designs, too, and resulted in cable motifs.

Milk glass production was also reputedly hard on the longevity of glass melting tanks and pots so was avoided by some glass factories. Diagnostic/Dating Utility: Milk glass was used in the production of a wide array of different type bottles, though there is some typing and dating utility to the color. The color, however, was most commonly used in cosmetic and toiletry bottles (primarily from the s to about . Other milk glass items are hand-painted with fruit, birds or flowers. A "WG" represents their mark with the "G" overlaid with the "W" in older items. Some pieces had foil labels in addition to the logo. Pieces by Westmoreland are often hand-painted with fruit, birds or flowers.

Most of the milk glass collectors encounter today was made by Westmoreland Glass and Fenton Glass. Wesmoreland began making milk glass in the s, while Fenton started in the s. Westmoreland's Paneled Grape pattern, which is similar to a line produced in the early s by another company, is the most prolific but their Beaded GrapeOld Quilt, and Roses and Bows patterns can also be found in antique shops today.

Fenton utilized hundreds of their varied molds in milk glass production. One of the most popular was Silver Crest, which has a milk glass body with a ruffled edge fashioned of clear glass. Other colored edges were attached to milk glass such as Peach Crest and Emerald Crest. Fenton's Hobnail pieces were touted as their "oldest, most popular pattern" in milk glass marketing materials and these are readily found by collectors today.

Kemple glass works made "authentic antique reproductions processed by hand" that look like old pressed glass pieces as well. The glass looks more modern and whiter in comparison to older pieces in most instances.

Smith Glass also produced milk glass lines.

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