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Mineral Water Bottle

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Artifact Description

The excavation of the Jacksonville “Blue China” wreck site produced one individual dark olive green mineral water bottle, quite possibly the remains of a once larger cargo or less likely the personal property of a crew member. Although unmarked, the bottle’s relatively heavy and squat body is typical of mineral water bottles of the mid-19th century which were designed to survive the rigors of the high pressure bottling process as well as extensive post-bottling handling. This was particularly important since mineral water bottles were frequently re-used many times. Also, as in this one example, a large majority of mineral water bottles were round in cross section; a cylindrical bottle being inherently stronger than other shapes, and thus able to withstand the gaseous pressure of the product itself. Bottles made to endure internal carbonation pressure were known as "pressure ware" in the bottle making industry.

Like the “Blue China” cylinder liquor bottles, this example is also made of black glass, especially functional in reducing exposure to heat and light to better preserve the bottled contents. The dark glass color typically occurred from impurities in the glass batch, or as a result of the proportions of the ingredients used; some recipes called for additional quantities of ashes which when used in sufficient quantity, produced a very black glass.

This mineral water specimen was blown in a post base mold, a typically three-part mold where the middle portion of the base is formed by a separate small plate or "post,” while the neck, shoulder, body, heel, and outside edges of the base are formed by the two side mold sections. The date or origin of this style of mold is unknown, though it was used in the U.S. at least as early as the 1840s and as late as the early 1900s for mouth-blown bottles.


Other Details

H. 18.2cm