I have gotten another old wooden molded demijohn in my collection. As an OLD bottle it is a carrier of many bottle mysteries. They include the following points and if anyone has any clues that will help describe the functions and characteristics that caused these markings, I will appreciate hearing from you. If nothing else it shows good reason to remove the old shipping wicker covering from an old bottle, sometimes.
One main mystery, is the pinch of glass on the neck at the top of the shoulder. It is obvious that it was done after the bottle parison was blown in the mold. So it must have been done to straighten the neck to a more vertical stance. The pinch tool that the glassmakers in Germany used for pinched alcohol bottles, could have been used to create this web of glass.
As you can see the straight tapered applied finish was sloppy, but the neck was still a bit crooked.
The next thing to point out that this pinch of glass is about ¼” thick and a good three inches long. It is not in line with the seams of the two part mold segments, so it was not glass pinched in the closure of the mold segments.
This picture is looking down toward the finish of the bottle. Note the top view of the pinch is at about 7: o’clock.
To continue with the mysteries: it is quite obvious to me that it was formed in wooden molds, made evident by the brushed out charred wooden surfaces on each side of the shoulder molded seams, with one side being higher than the other and the burn off of the match edges at the mold seams.
Proceeding down the bottle there are two distinct areas of brushed out charred wood. One is near the bottom on the left in this picture. You can see how much was removed by looking at the bottom contour on the right side of the base of the demijohn.
The next mystery is that there are two pieces of tramp glass adhered to the side walls of the bottle. One is about ¼” wide and two inches long and the other is a little wider and two and ¼” long. One of these is shown horizontally in the picture above this.
The second one is near the bottom of the other side in this picture. These seem to be tramped glass in the glass wall of the demijohn. Where they even came from is a mystery.
The last and strangest mystery of all is the fact that the area where one would expect to find a pontil mark is actually a Y shaped marking about 5 and ¼” long. A really very strange marking and I have no clue of the tool used to make this type of mark, or for that mater if it was indeed an empontilling holding device for holding the glass formation for the work on the neck.
The glass is all bubbly and hints of inclusions exist through-out the glass formation. This is visible in some of the above pictures, as well as this one.
It is very evident to me that this bottle, was not made by an expert bottle maker; but it obviously was used to carry a liquid product. I have seen other similar bottom marks. I have seen demijohns similar to this with the mold seam going all the way across the bottom and up the sides to the neck. Any bits and pieces of comment will be appreciated.
This is a picture sent to me by an friend in the Netherlands that shows a demijohn with a long contact empontilled device being off from the mold parting line on the bottom. He has no clue to the age but feels it is a very early formed bottle. This is added to just show another example of this type of bottle mystery. Thanks to Willem van Traa.
— Red Matthews