Dating j b bottles
Watkins distributed many different types of household products including cleaning products, food extracts and flavorings, cosmetics, home remedies, and other products.
Watkins Company began in 1868 as a small home-based business in Plainview, Minnesota, founded by entrepreneur Joseph Ray Watkins.
One of the most frequently asked questions about old bottles is, 'How old is this bottle?
' Often beginners have a difficult time distinguishing between old and new bottles especially when is comes to modern reproductions.
▪ Field archaeologists trying to identify and date bottles or bottle fragments which are found during cultural surveys and excavations in the United States; ▪ Educators dealing with the subject of historical archaeology; and ▪ Collectors and the general public trying to date a bottle, determine what it was used likely for, and/or begin their search for information dealing with the fascinating world of historic bottles.
Some of the embossed markings on the bottle base above are a great information source for 20th century bottle identification; some are meaningless.
White milkglass salve or “ointment jars” were also sold. Apparently, Watkins has been gradually switching over to plastic containers for most of their products.
The very first bottles sold are assumed to date as far back as 1868, but I doubt that the with the “Watkins” name, but would have likely been “generic” handblown bottles with just a paper label to indicate contents.
Since there were hundreds of thousands of uniquely different bottles produced in the United States (and Canada**) between the late 18th century and the 1950s (Fike 1987), it is beyond the scope or even possibility of this site (or website or book) to provide specific details about more than just a tiny fraction of a percent of that variety of bottles.
Even then the bottles discussed in depth are so primarily to illustrate the presented information and concepts.
The author created this website as a BLM employee and continues to update and enhance the site in retirement as a volunteer.
This website now has a permanent home courtesy of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). This entire website is essentially a "key" - albeit a complex one - to the dating and typing (typology) of historic bottles.