Definition bases dating
The growing strength of the Temperance movement and rising anti-alcohol fervor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to the passage of ever increasing restrictions on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. The power of the Temperance movement culminated in the addition of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on January 16th, 1919; the amendment written to take effect one year after ratification, i.e., January 17th, 1920.
The famous (or infamous depending on perspective) Anti-Saloon League was primary force doggedly pursing the move towards the banning of alcohol and one of the first the successful single-interest pressure groups in the U. National Prohibition, however, was already the law of the land through Congressional passage - over a presidential veto - of the National Prohibition Act (aka the Volstead Act) on October 28th, 1919 which took effect immediately, although existing stocks could be sold through the January 16th, 1920 date.
Prohibition makes a very convenient dating transition point for liquor bottles which is not available for other types of bottles.
However, there were some machine-made liquor bottles and flasks that most definitely pre-date Prohibition.
For example the labeled, colorless, flask (with contents) pictured to the left is actually dated on the tax seal as having been bottled during the fall of 1919 which is just weeks before National Prohibition fully took effect in January 1920.
It is machine-made and a commonly encountered style of liquor flask that can date from before, during, and possibly, just after Prohibition (see the "Dandy Flasks" section later on this page).: Attached to the "Bottle Types/Diagnostic Shapes" grouping of pages is a complete copy of a never re-printed, 280 page, 1906 Illinois Glass Company bottle catalog scanned at two pages per JPEG file.
Click -Squat spirits/utility cylinder bottles (earlier) -Tall, moderately slender bodied, bulged neck spirits/utility cylinder bottles -Tall, moderately slender bodied, straight neck "Patent" style spirits cylinders (mid-19th century) -Tall, moderately slender bodied, straight neck spirits cylinders (late 19th & 20th century) -Decorative shoulder spirits cylinders -Squat cylinder spirits bottles (later) -Malt whiskey cylinders -Tall, straight neck spirits cylinders (early 20th century) -Tall Modern Cylinder liquor (mid-20th century)These categories are shape based primarily with the exception of the first category - figured flasks - which are largely recognized by collectors/archaeologists as a separate category.
Each of the pictured bottles has a relatively short description and explanation including estimated dates or date ranges for that type bottle and links to other view pictures of the bottle.
It is largely true, though not nearly absolute, that if a liquor bottle is machine-made it dates from or after Prohibition.As with virtually all of the bottle type categories to follow, liquor bottle diversity is staggeringly complex in depth and variety.The pictures on this page show just a small bit of this variety.This section of the "Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes" page just covers liquor bottles where the contained product was high in alcohol (20% ) and the intended use was not primarily medicinal - or at least the acknowledged medicinal utility was of secondary importance.For example, even though Hostetter's Stomach Bitters contained as much as 43% alcohol (86 proof!