The Mystery of the Melted Bottle

Despite their age, most of the bottles that I worked with this week were largely whole and undamaged; I was able to observe their color, feel the seams, and discern maker’s marks with only a moderate amount of difficulty. I was finally gaining confidence in my bottle-identification skills, when I came to the last bottle in my assemblage, catalog number 45KI765/M-4. It was a heavily damaged bottle, its original shape, color and label barely discernible.



I hardly knew where to begin. Normally I would identify the finish, bottle shape and use type first, but the neck and finish were missing, the shape had been completely distorted, and any decoration or label that once existed was obscured by an unidentified dried substance. I decided to try and find any feature on the bottle that might make it stand out, and the only possibility that I came up with was to somehow identify the embossed label. I tried a few different techniques; I felt the letters with my fingers and held it up to the light at different angles; I photographed it on my phone and adjusted the color and contrast; and I used a piece of paper and a pencil to try to create a stencil. Finally, after much effort, I put together “ZAREMB” on the top of the label, “SPR” in the middle, and “SEATTLE WA” on the bottom. Armed with the little information I gleaned from the label, I resorted to the best archaeological tool I could think of to solve this mystery: the internet.

After reading about various different people named Zaremba (there was an opera singer, a Russian composer, and a family of Polish nobility) I finally found the right combination of letters and was able to determine that the bottle came from Zarembo Mineral Springs Company. It once contained mineral water from the Alaskan island of Zarembo and was marketed as a health drink from 1900-1920. Presumably, it was dumped at the site by an individual who was perhaps hoping to improve their health by consuming the magical healing waters of Alaska (or maybe they were just thirsty).
                          (The Pacific Monthly, Volume 14 1905:611)

While this was all very fascinating, I was a little bit disappointed that this mysterious bottle and all of my effort hadn’t let me to something more interesting, a sinister poison perhaps, or an illicit concoction. Oh well, there’s always next time.





Lordly Liquor

The bottle that I thought was most interesting from my selection was a squat liquor bottle. The shape has a lot of character, as it has a uniquely bloated neck. It doesn’t have any seams, but the valve mark and striations seem to suggest a turn paste mould.

The wax or paper label still present on the bottle’s finish gives the most insight into its origin. It reads “House of Lords SCOTCH WHISKEY.” Evidently, the House of Lords was a line of whiskey marketed by the UK based Edradour liquor company through at least the 1970s. Below is a comparison of a bottle of this line from the 1970s and this one, likely from between the 1870s and approximately 1916.

The bottle was manufactured by the Edradour liquor company based in the United Kingdom, which still sells fine liquor today. However, all of the modern liquor bottles are clear or lightly tinted, unlike the dark coloration of this bottle, which may suggest it contained liquor meant for domestic sale.

This liquor in these bottles was probably consumed in the United Kingdom in public settings, such as pubs, or in the private parlors. These days, a bottle of Edradour liquor is between 15 and 400 euros, with the majority of the bottles costing between 40 and 70 euros.

Here are the two bottles of similar shape and function from perhaps 100 years apart. On the right there is a 1970s House of Lords scotch whiskey bottle and below is the c1900 House of Lords scotch whiskey. As you can see, the 1970s one still has the bulbous neck, but is clear and has a paper label on the body (still). It’s shorter and has more square shoulders, yet the similarities are still quite visible.

Snider’s Catsup – The Flavor of The Past

When looking at the historic bottles from a dump site used in the 19th and early 20th century, I identified one bottle specifically as a Catsup bottle. This bottle has many characteristics that identify it as a Catsup bottle. First
off, the finish, or mouth part, is what is referred to as a screw thread finish, which indicates the kind of cap that screws on and off, which is what a sauce bottle would have.

Another hint is the size and shape. The long neck, sloping shoulders, and carrying capacity looks very similar to a current ketchup bottle. The manufacture method, which can be determined by looking at the two vertical seams on the bottle, is indicative of a mouth-blown, two-part post mould. One can determine that is mouth blown because the seams don’t continue through to the finish.


And if all of this information isn’t convincing that this is a Catsup bottle, the maker’s mark on the bottom doesn’t hurt.

Snider’s Catsup. Advertisement. VintageAdBrowser. 2012. Accessed Feb 13, 2017.

When researching Snider’s Catsup bottles, I found an advertisement that shed light on how this product was marketed and used. The ad says hotels, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and even homes choose Snider’s Catsup. This shows a targeting towards mostly non-residential businesses. The advertisement also provides two recipes, which is something most people would now consider slightly odd for a sauce bottle. It also mentions Cincinnati, U.S.A, which is either indicative of where the bottles were made, or where the ad was marketed (I was not able to discern).

Overall, catsup/ketchup was, and still is, an important accessory to the American diet, as shown by it’s abundance in the historical and archaeological record.

Poppin’ Bottles: Ν.Καλλικούνη

When Team No Sleep began splitting up the glassware collection assigned to us to see who would date what portion I was secretly hoping I would get the aqua-colored, vertically embossed bottle. Although it was just the body, the foreign language written on it caught my attention.

Glasswares from the Atlantic/Central Bus Base Expansion. Broke aqua-colored bottle on right is the focus of this post.

Using a Greek alphabet to search for the brand, I learned that the company has been passed down for five generations since 1850. The name of the company is Callicounis and they sell a variety of liquors. They have a video that shows their process of distillation and have scenes of pouring them into the manufactured bottles. Callicounis seems to pride itself in its drink, and boast that its Cognac N.Kallikouni won gold medals at the 1900 Paris International Exhibition. Adding in the fact it was imported, I assume it may have been a little pricey to get a hold of. There may have been a well established bar near by, or a household that was well off that disposed of the bottle in the dump.

One of the stores in Greece for Ν.Καλλικούνη

From the page, I got the impression it is local only to Greece, meaning the bottle was manufactured in Europe. I had no luck finding a European glass bottle dating catalog, so I unfortunately had to depend on the Society for Historical Archaeology Bottle Index, which is based in the US. According to the site and only have the body of the bottle, it must have been manufactured between 1890 to 1915, which aligns with its time of popularity.


This embossed glass food bottle (45KI765/M-42) was made between 1888-1946, although given the time that the site was filled was 1929, it most likely was manufactured between 1888 and 1929. I was unable to find which exact Heinz product it contained, although it most likely was a condiment, given the company. Despite the fact that the bottle bares resemblance e to one manufactured from 1876-1888, it does not have a “F&J” embossed on the side of it leading me to believe that it was manufactured after John, Heinz’ brother sold his shares of the company in 1888. Heinz then renamed the business the H.J. Heinz Co. which is the embossed lettering on the side of the bottle. This bottle was most likely used in a household or a restaurant, and considering that the other bottles in the dump indicate a household rather than a business, this leads me to believe that the bottle most likely was used in a household.

Heinz’s Long Lost Competitor

Curtice Brothers Preservers, Rochester, NY

Pictured here is an early twentieth century ketchup bottle produced by the Curtice Brothers Company, which was founded in 1868 in Rochester, New York. Although you have probably never heard of Curtice Brothers, their ketchup once rivaled the more well-known Heinz in the early twentieth century. The story of their descent into the recesses of popular memory is bound up with early government food safety regulations, but I’ll get to that in a moment…

The bottle itself was mouth blown and made in a two piece mold with a cup bottom, likely manufactured by the Berney-Bond Glass Company based in Pennsylvania.1 The finish (the lip of the bottle) is externally threaded so that a cap could have been screwed on it and was made using the “improved tooled finishing” method, meaning that most of the finish was created in the mold itself with just minor tooled touches to ensure that the cap would fit.2 This is evident in the seam on the finish, which nearly reaches the mouth, but you can see where the tool turned the seam.

Evidence of “improved tooled” finish

Also visible on the bottle is the maker’s seal on the shoulder reading “Curtice Brothers / Preservers / Rochester, N.Y.” within a circle. Vertical ridges line the sides of the body with an open space for the label, which would have marketed the company’s Blue Label Ketchup. An example of one of Curtice Brothers’ ads from around 1910 is shown below.

Circa 1910 ad for Blue Label Ketchup (Source: MSU Campus Archaeology Program)

The Curtice Brothers’ Blue Label Ketchup was a casualty of one of the first federal consumer protection regulations, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, a precursor to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration. This Act sought to inform and protect consumers from drugs and additives that were perceived as dangerous. One of those dangerous additives was benzoate of soda, then a common preservative in many condiments, including Curtice Brothers’ ketchup. Unfortunately for the company in the long run, Curtice Brothers refused to change their ketchup recipe as they believed benzoate of soda was necessary and posed no threat. On the other side of the argument was Heinz Company, which began producing ketchup using a different recipe that omitted benzoate of soda but sold at a higher price. Despite initial successful legal pushback (note the language of the above ad referencing the endorsement of the US government), ultimately public opinion and government regulation against the additive won out and Curtice Brothers “Blue Label Ketchup” lost its market share to Heinz.3

  1. Society for Historical Archaeology, “Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes.”
  2. Soceity for Historical Archaeology, “Bottle Finishes & Closures.”
  3. Smith, Adam F., 1996. Pure Ketchup: A History of America’s National Condiment, with Recipes. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Glass Capitalism

Looking at broken, antique glass bottles a lot can be learned by flipping them upside down and peering into the details of the bottom. In the case of a historic bottle I analyzed for class, a company, but not just any company, a company intent on merging other companies into their own.

This aqua coloured, 16cm tall broken at the neck beer bottle had and AB logo on it with the inscription: Y12. When I first looked upon this bottle I assumed it was made in 1912 due to the number but also that, once I had researched was made by the company:The Adolphus Busch Glass Mfg. Co. But when further researching this company I found that it had been picked up by The American Bottle Company in 1905. Located in Newark, Ohio, this company had a tendency to take over other glass companies including the Adolphus Busch but also companies like The Massillon Bottle and Glass Company. Bellow is a photo of men that would have been apart of the larger American Bottle Company from one of the smaller companies.

American Bottle Co. yardmen. Provided by the Massillon Museum

The bottle itself would have been made either in Ohio or at the original site of the Adolphus Busch company in Missouri. It would have contained some type of beer and was most likely consumed within a home or at the bar in a local pub in Seattle (where it was found). Beyond the basics of what the bottle contained and where it was from, a lot can be learned about the history of its creation by looking deeper into the glass itself to uncover the company that created it. In this case the American Bottle Company.

Historic Bottles: Ozomulsion

This is an amber medical bottle which contained Ozomulsion. Ozomulsion was “considered” to have been the cure for consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) during the time it was manufactured. In researching the glass container, I discovered the bottle was first introduced in the 1880’s. It was manufactured in London, and New York. Dr. M. Donald Blaufox states that ads for Ozomulsion appeared as late as 1948. The amber bottle has large letters embossed on the front which spell “OZOMULSION”. Since the bottle is rather large, I would presume one would need to pour the contents into a separate container prior to using it.

Here’s an ad I found when researching Ozomulsion:

I would certainly expect Ozomulsion to have been in this bottle in the time it was discovered. Considering it was assumed to have been the cure for “consumption”, I would also suspect parents purchased the product for their children. It’s likely that anyone who believed this was the cure for consumption would have purchased this product if they were able.

– Stephanie H.


Blaufox, M. Donald M.D., PH. D. (Unknown). Museum of Historical Artifacts: 19th Century Medicine. Creative Commons Attribution. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2017

Who is loved more after death?

In researching the usage of kinship terminology in epitaphs I discovered from the data gathered by our class that: Mother is recorded 16 times, Father is recorded 14 times, Wife 5 times, Sister 3, Daughter 7, Grandmother 2, Aunt 1, Husband 3, and Son 4. The use of Father as an epitaph occurs most during the time period from 1945 to 1960. On the other hand Mother ranges from 1821 to 2006, with no discernible time period where it occurs the most. Wife seems to be used in the early 1900’s, while husband seems to be used more in the 1950s to 1960s. Daughter and son are both less frequent that Mother and Father, but seem to be used from 1821 up until 20015, at varying intervals. From comparing the data, there isn’t one set shape for any of the gravestones, although many independent of the epitaphs are block or tablet shaped. And the material composition of the gravestone and the use of particular kinship terminology don’t seem to have any strong correlations between the two. Although it can be assumed that many of the gravestones are wither made out of marble or granite, as earlier analysis showed that those two materials were used the most in making gravestones. Overall the data shows that women, especially Mothers are more likely to have epitaphs stating their relationship to those who bury them. Although Fathers are not far behind. These two kinship terminologies make up 55% of the epitaphs regarding kinship within the data collected. And terminology regarding women make up 62% of kinship related epitaphs.

Displaying IMG_0815.JPG

Graph displaying Kinship epitaphs and the years which they were used.


The most enlightening information I gained from this project was just how absurd Excel and technology can be when trying to graph information, and attempting seriation by hand is not advisable.

From a Lumber Mill’s Grocery to a Neapolitan Pizzeria

Modern satellite image

First built in the early 1900’s Taylor Mill’s Grocery appeared along Lake Washington’s Southern shore. Built and owned by Stanford Taylor, who ran a lumber mill around present day Rainier Avenue, the small grocery store supplied food and other goods for the 100 mill workers and their families which lived in the surrounding area. Taylor Mill’s Grocery, located at “the corner of 68th and Rainier,” served the community not just as a grocery store but also “as [a] post office, watering hole, and unofficial community center.” It was a surprisingly successful grocery store in the developing Rainier Beach region, and managed to stay open into the 1930’s.

The Barlows-Lakeside Tavern

After officially closing in 1937, the building remained mostly unused. In the 1950’s the building was converted into the Lakeside Tavern, becoming an official ‘watering hole’ for the Rainier Beach community. During the years between the 1930’s and 50’s, the building switched ownership and by the time the tavern was opened by the Barlow family the building was owned by the Punsala family. The tavern remained in operation for over 40 years, and was a well-known bar in the Rainier beach region, if the number of patrons returning to the now Pizzeria recounting stories of drunken absurdity is anything to go by. The tavern was also well known due to the fact that the sign hanging outside on the side of the building was upside down. Vince Mottola, current owner of Pizzeria Pulcinella, recounts the disagreement between the owner of the Lakeside Tavern, Mr. Barlow, and the man installing the sign, stating that the two came to a disagreement over payment and in protest over receiving only half of the agreed payment the man installing the sign flipped one side of it upside down and refused to correct it unless he was paid the other half. Exhausted by the repeated exchanges between the sign company and himself, the owner left the sign upside down and from then on it was known throughout the community as the tavern with the upside-down sign, a tradition that Pizzeria Pulcinella’s owners honor and they continue the tradition with their own sign.

The building remained vacant for over 10 years slowly deteriorating away, until the Mottola Family, which have owned and operated the Vince’s Italian restaurant chain for around 60 years, chose to expand their business and open an authentic and verified, Neapolitan style Pizzeria in December of 2008. Surprising many in the community as it was rumored that the Punsala family who owned the building (also known as Kamagon Associate LLC), were going to have the building torn down. But luckily Vince convinced
the owners to allow him and his other business partners, Fred Martichuski and David Dorough, to open a restaurant instead. Not only have they preserved the building itself, but also, they have managed to install the previous Lakeside Tavern’s sign inside of their restaurant preserving its history as well. Pizzeria Pulcinella has now been in operation for over 8 years and “has been ‘certified Neapolitan’ by the Verace Pizza Napolitana Association since 2009.” And hopefully it will be open for many more!