070405.Walcot, Better than a Frontal LobotomyApril 5, 2007 at 3:25 AM | Posted in Bath, Walcot | 4 Comments
Well, Ja.mes has kindly “allowed” me (JC) to come up with my own caption by not providing any words of his own. Thanks, Ja.mes.
The bottles you see above are, to the best of my knowledge, blob-top soda bottles used to hold mineral water. They originated in the early 1840’s, dominated the soda/water-bottle market through the early- to mid-1870’s.
You won’t find THESE on grocery shelves nowadays! These bottles are designed to lay on their sides and keep their corks moist, thus preventing the corks from drying out and shrinking and, consequently, keeping the bottle’s contents from losing carbonation or evaporating. (Ingenious theory, but can you imagine if you needed to put it down while drinking it? Despite this apparent problem, this style of bottle enjoyed popularity from as early as 1809 ’til as late as the 1920s.)
They are labelled here as “egg bottles,” but are also known as “bombs,” “torpedo bottles,” “round bottom sodas,” and “ballast bottles.” This last term is derived from the belief that a good number of these bottles were imported to the U.S. from England as “ballast” (or: “weight”) in ships. (Apparently this is a uniquely English/Irish shape for bottles; at the very least, the U.S. imported almost all of theirs from the Isles.)
Anyone thirsty? The green bottle on the right is another blob-top whose cork was held in with wires; the clear bottle on the left is, uh, the same thing.
(Reference: Bureau of Land Management Historic Bottle Homepage, a secondary source [shame on me!] compiled by Bill Lindsey, who cites his sources religiously. I trust him.)