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Paneled Cologne Bottle

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Artifact Description

A single cobalt blue 12-paneled glass bottle of a style typically associated with cologne or toilet water was recovered Jacksonville "Blue China" shipwreck. The form was in circulation between approximately the 1830s and the late 1850s, a date range confirmed by the pontilled base. Originally sealed with a cork stopper, the bottle was recovered empty and may represent a small collection of select cologne containers carried aboard the vessel.

The cologne bottle featured a long, somewhat cylindrical body, a rounded sloping shoulder, and a long cylindrical neck with a narrow rolled “bead-like” finish. The base exhibits a glass-tipped pontil scar with some purposeful indenting from the pontil rod to facilitate standing upright. It appears to have been blown in a true two-piece mold, although some examples were made with a three-piece leaf mold that would present three vertical seams on the bottle’s neck (a feature that is often difficult to recognize).

While the wearing of perfumes, colognes, rosewaters and other scented concoctions played a major role amongst both the ladies and gentlemen of the era, it would also appear that their use was not entirely restricted to the more cosmopolitan middle and upper classes. As noted above, by the mid-19th century, widespread advertisements for cologne and sweet waters of all kinds had increased dramatically, often published in small-town local gazettes as well as in larger urban newspapers. The sale of colognes and other scented waters was not limited to the burgeoning metropolis or to society’s upper crust, but rather targeted the general public more broadly.

By the last quarter of the 18th century a number of perfumery manufactories had been established in America, with small quantities of fragrant waters and colognes frequently put into square or long, flat bottles. These relatively simple glass vessels were soon joined by fancier cologne bottles, which had become very popular in America and abroad, especially in France, by the late 1820s. One of the earlier advertisements for “Cologne Water; in rich fancy bottles, of various qualities” was offered for sale in the New York Commercial Advertiser of August 1829, available at N. Prentiss’ Perfume Manufactory. An advertisement for cologne water in “panell bottles” appears in that same newspaper as early as 1832.

Paneled bottles, the name for which they were descriptively called even in the 19th century, were in vogue from the early 1830s and remained popular until late in the century. They were produced in a variety of colors representing virtually the full spectrum of the color wheel from milk glass to black, pinks and greens, as well as purples and blues. Bottles of this type are usually attributed to the Boston & Sandwich Glass Works, although, as noted above, many glass companies produced paneled colognes including the New York wholesale perfumer and importers Snyder & Company, which advertised a diversity of styles in 1832. The Williamstown Glass Works (1840-54) also offered these distinctive paneled bottles in a variety of sizes ranging from 3-18 ounces, with corresponding prices ranging from $0.50 to $1.50 a dozen.

Other Details

H. 18.8cm