Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bottles from an Old Town Dump, #1

I haven't had a chance to go detector swinging in the last month or so. That should change in the next week or two. For now, I'd like to share with you some digging of a different kind.

My father owns a small deer hunting property near a tiny town in Central Texas. One corner of the property was used as the town dump more than half a century ago. I don't go deer hunting, but I love to go bottle picking. Sounds like fun, right? It is. Anything gross has rotted away years ago and all that is left are mounds of earth, rusty metal, and bottles.

We went up to the property yesterday to do some mowing on the roads and around the deer stands. Afterwards, I got to go bottle picking. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home. I'll be sure to have it next time. Here are closeups of the bottles I pulled. I don't know very much about bottles, but the information I have has been gleaned from an hour or two of research on the internet. I have not cleaned any of them yet:

French's Mustard Jar - Pre-1950s (This style was patented in 1915)

Opal Mentholatum Jar. Unsure of date. Here is the same one on Ebay: Click here.

Gebhardt's Eagle Brand Chili Powder - Pre-1950s

Eight-sided ointment/cosmetics opal glass jar, product unknown. The glass manufacturer is "Hazel Atlas". You can see the large "H" over the smaller "A". They used the mark from 1923 - 1964. This jar is most likely from the 20s or 30s; the company started by making a variety of jars like this but later made frosted glasses, tumblers, bowls, etc. My parents actually have some of their bowls.

Prescription bottle. Glass manufacturer is Obear-Nester Glass Company, (1894-1980). I believe this bottle is from the 1900s. You can see that it does not have a screw top, indicating it would be cork-sealed. It has measurements in ounces on one side, and cubic centimeters on the other. You can also see some kind of laurel wreath embossing on the front, under the neck.

I found pictures of a similar version of this bottle here on ebay: Click here. The bottom markings on mine are reversed and slightly different.

Round wide mouth bottle (miscellaneous use) manufactured by Illinois Glass Company, Alton, IL (1873-1929).

I identified this bottle by this 1926 Illinois Glass Company catalog I found on the internet: Page 53. I think my bottle is on the top right.

Vick's (think VapoRub) cobalt blue jar. ~1930 I found this one with the lid still on! Thank you to Bill Lindsay at for help with the ID.

And finally, I also found this light blue glass insulator. They were used on telegraph, telephone, and powerlines. There is actually a collectors market for these, and rarer ones found in good shape can be worth some money. Unfortunately, the bottom of this one is cracked and the part I have lacks any marks.

The cool thing about all of these bottles is that they were all only partially underground and there was no digging required. I found all of these in about 10 minutes of searching, and there were many bottles I "left for next time". I will post more pics of these bottles once cleaned.

I have really only scratched the surface of what this dump may contain!

Don't Stop Digging!


  1. This is really cool! It really makes you appreciate the beauty of the bottles' design. And that last thing is fantastic!

  2. This is awesome and how lucky you are to be able to dig worry-free!

  3. Wow, can I go digging there sometime? ;)

  4. Your land is IDENTICAL to mine!! I live in South roxana, IL which is about 20 minutes from st louis and 5 minutes from Alton, IL and my property used to be a dump so I recently started some digging and the more I dug, the more I found and now I have well over 200 different jars,bottles, glass droppers, and more! I have pretty much every jar you have on here except the chili pepper bottle... Some even late 1800's like this HUGE jar maybe a gallon size that looks like an old chemical bottle


    God bless!

  5. I'm finding a lot of the same bottles in the old Wildwood NJ Dump they closed in the late 50s

  6. I've a dump location south of Dallas TX yielding appx 300 bottles on 3-4 trips fitting them into two normal size backpacks (per trip). Dates range from 1895 to 1935 with most being in the 1910 range. I will have some pics up later today and need some help on these. Email

  7. I do share your love for old bottles. I am lucky enough to manage a museum that is full of old bottles located in Cuero, Texas. The museum is free and worth a looking. It's like stepping back into the late 1800's. Happy hunting :)

  8. I found a bottle very similar to your Obear-Nestor prescription bottle in my own back yard just outside of Louisville, KY where I've lived for over 7 years while mowing today! The only differences I can tell is is mine has a "3" on the bottom and the embossed measurements are different. Have you ever found out what the Laurel wreath represents? Mine has an 8 in it. Based on my research so far, mine is a cork top prescription bottle with the "Nu-est" or later renamed "Victor Oval" bottle design (patented in 1907 and was the first to have graduations on either side in ounces and CC's) and was manufactured between 1915 (based on the N with the square around it on the base) and 1937 when the design of the bottle was replaced with a screw top lid.