200-year-old wine or liquor bottle found in Queens cleanout
Laden with imperfections and missing its cork, this wine or liquor bottle has seen better days than when I found it in a Queens cleanout not long ago.
What tells me the age of the bottle is its heavy weight and unusual style. Most of the bottom of the bottle is pushed in pretty far — the bottom portion that’s pushed up takes up at least 25 percent of the bottle, and it looks like it was done by a square-shaped piece of steel when the glass was hot. It could have been made that way by a blacksmith who wanted to spin the bottle on a wine rack during the aging process.
While it has a 1974 wine cork to keep in the dirt, it’s not the original piece that came with this wine. The bottle is a medium green, and if you look closely, you can see that the bottle isn’t sitting 100 percent straight up. It’s as if the bottle was mouth-blown or slightly melted after its owner emptied the contents.
Mouth-blown bottles were made by skilled craftsman as long ago as before 1900. The act of mouth-blowing bottles involves manually gathering hot glass onto a blowpipe. Then, the shape of the bottle is formed by using the mouth to apply air pressure to the blowpipe, most of the time with (and sometimes without) a mold.
Approximately 95 percent of mouth-blown bottles date back to the pre-World War I era, in the early 1900s. At least 75 percent of them date back to the 19th century.
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