Shattered remains of the past

Nowadays the majority of our sodas, medicine and water all come in plastic containers. It’s kind of difficult to imagine a world without the widespread use of plastic. Well before the 1950s that’s exactly what the world was like and instead of plastics we used glass.

Pictured to the left are the bases and bodies of two glass bottles recovered during the Atlantic/ Central bus base Expansion Project that took place in Seattle between 2002 and 2006. But how can we possibly learn anything from two jagged and rather dirty looking fragments? Well I can tell you with complete confidence that there is certainly more to these shattered pieces than meets the eye.

Based on the location of seams on the sides and base of the bottles we know that this was produced using a 2 piece post- bottom mold (see diagram). This type of mold was used between the 1840s and the early 1900s. Therefore, we can assume that the  bottles were first produced and used within this time period. Embossed on to the front of the bottles are the words “JG Fox & Co.” This provides us with a wealth of information. A quick google search will reveal that JG Fox & Co was a beverage company based out of Seattle that primarily sold mineral water, sodas and beer. Since beer is usually sold in darker bottles I think it’s safe to assume that this was either a soda or mineral water bottle.  In comparison to other bottles within the assemblage these ones were relatively heavy. Therefore, I do not think they would have been carried by people in everyday life. Instead, they were more likely used in a domestic setting, i.e. someone’s home, or in a restaurant.

Thats all I have to say about these bottles. If your interested in learning more about bottle identification I highly recommend the Society of Historical Archaeology Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website


Lindsey, Bill. “Bottle Bases.” Bottle Bases Page,


1 thought on “Shattered remains of the past

  1. The reason theses particular bottles or most soda and mineral water bottles were so thick and heavy was because air(bubbles) under pressure would cause most normal bottles to explode. They also found that a round bottle was the best as square bottles had seams and thin areas and would not work. The only exception were the (very desirable)torpedo or some flat bottomed early soda bottles that laid horizontally instead of upright,but they were very thick also. I have enjoyed digging and collecting old bottles since I was a child,digging with my parents in Eastern Washington.

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