The Colonial Bottle & Collectors Club Of WA Inc.

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What We Collect - Descriptions of Bottle types

Aerated Waters

Early aerated water (or cool drink) bottles are one of the most popular and most sought after categories collected today.  This is mainly due to the vast range of different patent designs and closures used, especially in the later half of the 19th century and that most of these bottles were often very ornately embossed with the companies name, trade mark and town or location. This gives the bottle an excellent provenance. 

Marble Bottles 

Marble Bottle
Marble Bottle
Blue Top Marble Bottle

Lamonts Patent

Lamont’s patent was invented by John Lamont in the later part of the 19th century, predominately as an alternative to the Codd bottle. Also having an internal sealing method, the Lamont incorporated a Bakelite type “bullet stopper” within the bottle, which had the rubber sealing ring recessed into its base. 

Hamiltons & Maughams

Blue Shepard Star Torpedo

The most obvious thing about both of these patents is that they could not stand upright by themselves.

The Hamilton or Torpedo bottle was first conceived in the early 19th century, before the elaborate internal stoppered patent closures appeared and addressed the issue of the traditional closure method of a cork. 

Sausage Bottle

Codd Hamilton Hybrids

H E Reading Hybrid bottle
Chapman Weld Hotel Hybrid, Cossack
H E Reading Valve Hybrid

These were a rare and strange quirk of the bottle making industry by anyone’s imagination. Sometimes thought to have been made more as a sales gimmick at the time than of a practical reason, the Hybrid incorporated two well known designs within the one bottle. Having a codd top half on a Hamilton base, they couldn’t stand up, thus keeping the rubber seal within the Codd top permanently wet and the Hamilton shape gave them extreme strength. 

Other Patents

Ginger Beers

Like aerated waters, successfully bottling brewed ginger beer also had its challenges. Strength of bottle and closure was probably the most important requirement when bottling a traditionally brewed ginger beer along with restricting light exposure to the bottled product. 

Ceramic Ginger Beers

Blob top Ginger Beer
Ceramic Ginger Beer
Ceramic Ginger Beer

Like most of the glass aerated water bottles, most manufacturers wanted their bottles to be clearly marked with their name, trade mark and locality. Because most ceramic ginger beers were hand thrown at the pottery, they were much more expensive to manufacture than glass bottles and consequently had a very high return deposit placed on them, sometimes well more than their contents price. It is for this reason they were never usually thrown away in any numbers and are generally not common to find.

Glass Ginger Beers


By the 1930’s, due to their high cost of manufacture, many aerated water producers were opting to the new machine made glass ginger beer bottle. These were usually made in brown glass to restrict light to the product and all incorporated a Crown Seal closure. 


Company Beers

Perth Glass Works
Perth Glass Works

Like aerated water manufacturers, brewers had similar issues closing and capping their bottles, especially in Australia’s hot climate. The methods chosen were a lot less elaborate than that of the aerated water industry and were generally attained by a well wired down cork in a traditional “ring seal” or “cork top” closure until in the 1920’s when, like aerated waters, the Crown Seal started to dominate the market.

Exchange Bottles

Perth Glass Works
Perth Glass Works

As talked about above, most brewers refrained from the expensive option of ordering their bottles embossed with their own name on them. What was a much more preferred option, especially to breweries in the big cities, was to hire their bottles from a bottle exchange who would look after the collection and washing of the returned empties. 

Black Glass

Old Black Glass Bottles
Black Glass Onion Bottles
Old Black Glass Bottles

Black glass is somewhat of a general reference. Black glass is actually naturally coloured glass which hasn’t had agents added during the manufacturing process to clear it or colour it, such as soda ash and includes all natural dark olive coloured glass through to totally black. Being a natural glass colour, finding black glass on a site is generally a good indication of age, usually pre 1880’s.  

Perth Glass Works


If you are looking for a uniquely Western Australia bottle, these bottles are as “West Aussie” as you can get. Unusually crude for their age and uniquely colourful by their manufacture, they are known throughout Australia for their popularity with collectors. Except for a couple of very rare varieties, they are generally quite easy to find due to their extensive use throughout the state.



Cordials are another popular category to collect, although not many examples of earlier Western Australian manufacturers exist. Along with many earlier cordials imported from England, Rose’s lime juice being the most popular, many cordials were imported from the Eastern States, usually packaged in very ornate bottles, the most popular being the Brookes “Lemos” and the OT Cordials.