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Object Record

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Catalog Number 2017.012.042
Description Ceramic Beer Bottle, c. 1880-1899. White ceramic beer bottle with a round base and cylindrical shape which tapers offs towards the neck. Taper ends mid way through the neck at which point the lip of the bottle begins. The lip of the botle is wider than the top of the neck. The white ceramic possesses fine reddish orange-brown lines and is peppered with small dark, round marks.
Object Name Bottle, Beer
Collection 3D - Food Service Tools & Equipment
Title Ceramic Beer Bottle, c. 1880-1899
Date c. 1880-1899
Creator Unknown
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text None
Provenance Part of donation that included 6 cases of beer and whiskey bottles dating from 1850 through the 1890s. These are the type of bottles that would have been present in San Mateo County during that time period.
Notes "Throughout the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries beer, as well as many non-alcoholic beverages, was commonly bottled in stoneware bottles like those shown to the left. Stoneware bottles did provide the ultimate in protection from the detrimental effects of light though had other problems that eventually lessened their popularity, e.g., weight (heavy) and closure limitations. The two-tone stoneware bottle pictured to the far left [picture shown was of a champagne shaped bottle with a medium brown colored top and a cream colored bottom] was made in Great Britain during the 1870s or 1880s. Many stoneware bottles found in the U.S. were imported from Great Britain and are a very common item on 19th century historic sites (Switzer 1974; Wilson 1981). This bottle also had a fragmental label noting that it contained either ale or stout (i.e., "Ale/Stout"). The medium brown stoneware bottle to the immediate left is almost certainly American made (incised with J. L. SCHRIBER on the shoulder) and is fairly typical of a U. S. made item from the 1850 to 1890 era (Peters 1996). (Photo from eBay®.) Stoneware or ceramic bottles for beer were generally discontinued in the U. S. after about 1895 (Graci 1995). However, the subject of stoneware or ceramic bottles is beyond the scope of this website and the subject is not covered further." [ 09/19/2017]

"Ale and Porter were bottled in the United States from at least 1844, usually in cork-stoppered, ceramic bottles. These bottles were generally discontinued after 1895 (Graci 1995:14), but some were still in use as soft drink bottles until at least the mid-1920s (cf. Lockhart 2000). For practical purposes, however, the ceramic containers became a dead end before the turn of the century." [ 09/19/2017]

The bottle might have contained a type of beer called steam beer, known as california common beer today. "The steam beer, or California Common, is an American original and was first produced in California during the gold rush (late 19th Century). The style of beer is very much tied to the west coast and in particular San Francisco."[ 09/19/2017]. Although, "as with beer and ale, different soft drinks and mineral water were bottled in non-glass containers. This included the ale style stoneware bottles... Root beer was commonly dispensed in stoneware bottles during the 19th century, particularly east of the Mississippi... Mineral water was also sold in larger ceramic or pottery jugs... It should also be noted that bottles strongly identified with beer were also used (or re-used) for the bottling of soda and mineral water." [ 09/19/2017]

Dimensions H-8.5 W-2.5 D-0.125 inches
Search Terms Alcohol
San Mateo County
San Mateo County - History
Bottle Collection
Subjects Alcoholic beverages
Bottle industry
Drinking vessels
Pottery industry