Showing posts from May, 2021

Applied Colour Labels on pop bottles / The Lions Ginger Ale

As "Historical Archaeology" ages, we are called to know more about bottles of 20th century. The soft drink industry is quite interesting. Although soda bottles existed for many years before, the soft drink industry exploded with Prohibition in the 1920s.  Applied Colour Labels (ACL)  (also referred to as enamelled, painted-on, lithographed, or screen-printed) are those labels on glass bottles that are colourful and seemingly fused to the glass like paint. We all know a good old fashioned Coke bottle with an ACL. Embossed bottles were dominant in the ‘20s and ‘30s, but the ACLs took over the market because of their colour and durability. The first ACL on such bottles was used around 1934. Drying time limited the labels to 1 or 2 colours until a technological development in the mid-1950s allowed colours to be applied more quickly, meaning that a label with 3 or more colours post-dates that time.   As an example, here is the Lions Ginger Ale bottle found in Vancouver, BC: The Li

E.B. Millar Spice Bottle

E.B. Millar & Co. , company: Chicago, IL / contents: various sources, 1883 – ca. 1930   This intricately embossed bottle (17 cm tall, 6.3 cm in diameter) was made in a semi-automatic machine (as per the valve mark) in a two-piece post-bottom mould. The continuous thread finish was made in the mould and has a very rough surface, indicating early technology. The base is embossed with a 3. The embossing reads: E. B. MILLAR & CO. IMPORTERS & GRINDERS QUALITY PURITY ABSOLUTE FINE SPICES ETC. TRADE MARK CHICAGO The Millar logo in the middle of the embossing is a & above a stylized EBM encircled in a C with an “O” (the rest of “Co”) in the opening of the C. E.B. Millar & Co. was established in January 1883 and was one of the largest importers of spices in the country by 1885 (No Author 1885-86:421).

Smelling History

Another interesting artifact and experience from an excavation in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Ed Pinaud Hair Tonic Bottle , Paris, France, pre-1897 – ca. 1920   This is a pale green, mould-blown bottle (17 cm tall, 5.5 cm basal width) made in a 3-piece cup-bottom mould with a hand applied lip.  The bottle is rectangular in cross-section with flattened corners. "Pinaud" is clearly marked on the base. Edouard Pinaud bought a perfume company in Paris in 1840. He and his friend and partner, Emile Meyer, had Pinaud & Meyer in Paris until 1868 when Pinaud died.  Meyer changed the name to Ed. Pinaud around 1872.  This December 1897 ad clearly shows this style of bottle in the middle – the shape they used for Extract Végétal A L’ixora – a hair tonic used by barbers. 1897 Pinaud Ad This other ad also shows this style of bottle used for toilet water: Ed. Pinaud’s Lilac Vegetal. Pinaud’s Ad   The bottle found in this collection is embossed with Ed. Pinaud on the

Hearing History

" The Indestructible Phonograph Co. of Albany, New York, produced molded celluloid cylinders beginning in 1907. The company made both two- and four-minute cylinders, and the repertoire was similar to that of Edison and Columbia cylinders. The cylinders had a thick cardboard core and metal rim ends to keep them rigid. Production continued until 1922, and cylinders were issued both under the   Indestructible Record   label and also for Sears, Roebuck, and Co. as Oxford Indestructible Records, as pictured above. From 1908 to 1912 they were also distributed by the Columbia Phonograph Co. Regardless of the brand under which they were sold, Indestructible cylinders all have the same content for a given catalog number and carry no company identification on the cylinder itself, so if they have become separated from their original boxes, the different brands are indistinguishable." ( source ) In the spring of 2021, an archaeological investigation in the Lower Mainland of British Colum

Japanese porcelain and the Blue Dragon Inn in Horseshoe Bay

Working on an historic archaeology collection from Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, I came across 14 sherds of Japanese porcelain.  This is not uncommon in Western Canada. Japanese porcelain was ubiquitous around the turn of the 20th century and into the 20s. But their probable connection to a business in the town is intriguing. Japan was mostly closed off from the rest of the world from 1639 until 1853 under the isolationist foreign policy (Sakoku) of the Tokungawa shogunate (Bakufu) ( ).  Ceramics from Japanese potteries still continued to be traded directly to the west up until about 1740 ( ) . After that time, some Japanese ceramics still dribbled out to the Western world through the Dutch and Chinese trading posts of Dejima (near Nagasaki) ( ) .   The Japanese export styles were likely influenced by Chinese tastes. The opening of trade in