PROBING 'V'       Written by: Allan Holden    all rights reserved

    I received a letter from my childhood friend who had an antique bottle question. I thought I would share this with you.


    I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving ! I was at a yard sale today and struck up a conversation with a guy about metal detecting. I told him about you and your business and club. I told him how I enjoy your club newsletter and thought you wouldn't mind putting him on your mailing list. I hope that was okay.

    I also mentioned that you were an authority on old bottles which sent him to the house to show me something. I have to admit it really was something I have never seen. I said I would mention it to you concerning rarity and value. It was a mineral water bottle, light green, William H Baxter, Haslingen Mineral, Water Works, Haslingen, it had a shield with a bird on top, the bottom had M with a z under it, 10 oz, 11A2. It had a cobalt marble in the neck that apparently limits the amount of water coming out each time you drink. It really was nice condition.

Let me know if you have any info about such a find.

    Hi Tim; No I was stupid for Thanksgiving. Our home is bi-level and we have always wanted a deck. A couple months ago I went to Menards and ordered all of the treated lumber and had them deliver it. They dumped 3000 pounds of lumber, screws and nails in the middle of our driveway when we were gone. So that same evening, my wife and I had to carry all of the stuff to the back yard. Do you have any idea how much a wet, pressure treated 2 X 10 X 17 weighs?

    Well, yesterday I got 2/3 of this monster done! We had been having an Indian summer and I didn't want to waste a 58° day. Today, every part of me hurts!

    When I send you the newsletter, I am actually directing you to my web site, where he can read a whole year's worth and tons of stories from past newsletters. This next month I will have been writing the newsletter for 12 years. I will put Jim on the list.

    That bottle is English and that is the usual color for it. If it were amber, or even clear, it would be worth more. It is known as a Codd soda. The English shipped a lot of beverages to the US but at first the product would show up in our ports spoiled. That was because the sailing ships were so slow. By the time the product arrived, the corks had dried out and the carbonation was gone.

    Then they invented the round bottom or torpedo bottle. Those bottles would lay down, thereby keeping the corks wet. Those bottles were transported deep down in the ship's hold to provide ballast. Every once in a while on a coral reef or a rock shelf, divers will find thousands of them from an old English ship that lost her bottom! Many times the bottles are found with uncontaminated contents and, in the case of wine, beer or ales, this can be quite a treasure!

    People didn't like a bottle that, without a special holder, they had to lay down. Right after the automatic bottle machine was invented in 1900, the glass blower was no longer needed. That is when Mr. Codd invented and made the mold for the Codd soda bottle.

    The mineral water was carbonated because the marble was the stopper and the pressure of carbonation held the marble in place. When a person wanted to open the bottle, he had to push down hard on the marble. When the marble became unseated, he would hear a loud pop --- known as "soda pop." On one side of the neck, there are two spots where the glass is pinched in. When a person drank from the bottle, he held the pinch side down and these indentations held the marble in place so that it didn't go up and seal up the opening.

    As early as 1880, an American inventor came up with a similar closure that worked on the same principle. His name was Hutchinson. Instead of a marble, he used a rubber-covered steel disc that had a wire bail that stuck above the bottles opening. These bottles are called "Hutch sodas." When someone wanted a drink, he slammed down on the wire loop and pop! The American Hutch bottle is credited with the "soda pop" term.

    Because of the nature of how those closures worked, the Hutch and Codd bottles had to be filled upside down. The latest Kovel's price guide lists Jim's bottle at $35.00. English bottles don't have a big following in the U.S. Because your bottle is machine made bottle and not hand- blown and hand-finished, you lose the interest of many of the advanced collectors. It is a neat bottle however, and a good conversation piece. If it were mine, I would keep it. Hope this helps!

Take care, Tim!