Have you ever come across an old bottle with a dented neck and a marble inside? If so, you might have found a Codd bottle. Collecting Codd bottles is a great past time and good excuse to go antiquing.
First, let me start by saying that I love old bottles. They have so much character and they make great vases for daisies. (If you are new to this blog then you should know I put flowers in just about any vessel)
However, finding a Codd bottle is extra special and because of that, they are particularly fun to collect. Let me explain why.
Collecting Antique Codd Bottles
Way back in the day. I mean – waaay back in 1872 – a gentleman by the name of Hiram Codd invented a bottle that would keep its carbonated contents safely sealed.
Mr. Codd was an English engineer and used his training to design a glass bottle that could hold carbonated beverages and seal them by using a marble. This was no small feat at the time because most bottles were sealed, sometimes unsuccessfully, with a cork.
If you look closely at the photo above, you will see that the necks of these bottles have an indentation and that they also contain a marble. Can you see the marble? Excellent.
Mr. Codd designed these bottles to be filled with a carbonated beverage UPSIDE DOWN. The carbonated water/soda/beer would be added and then the bottle would be turned right side up. In turn, the marble would float to the top of the bottle where there was a rubber seal that the marble would rest against. The carbonation would push the marble against the rubber creating an air tight seal.
The funny dents in the neck of the bottle are devised to keep the marble, more or less, in place. The dented neck allowed the marble to roll to one side when the bottle was tilted for pouring out the liquid contents.
So other than their unique design, what makes these bottles special? Great question!
Unique Qualities of Codd Bottles
To a small boy who lived in the late 1800s the marbles in these bottles were irresistible. Many bottles were smashed or broken just so the marble could be retrieved. So as a result of this, not many pre-1900 Codd bottles survived.
There are also other qualities to look for to get a good idea if you have an authentic Codd bottle. Given that these bottle held carbonated beverages, the glass is unusually thick, particularly at the bottom of the bottle.
If you look at the bottles in the photo above, you can see that the glass on the bottom of the bottles is very thick and as a result, the bottles have a certain heft and weight to them.
You can also see near the top of the bottle where the rubber seal is located.
Other things to consider when buying and collecting Codd bottles. If the glass is perfectly clear and shiny – then you might want to put that bottle back. Truly old bottles seldom have a perfectly clear and clean glass. Often times, there are chips on the rims or bottoms of the bottles. If the bottles have been “dug up” or recovered from the ground then there is usually some dirt and debris on the inside.
In my opinion, all these little imperfections add authenticity to the bottles. These imperfections are one way to have reasonable assurance that the bottle is not a recent reproduction. I’m always a little uncomfortable around things that are too perfect.
The bottles shown in these photos, I believe are vintage and I think they are from India. I love their color and, of course, the imperfections. Some bottles still have little bubbles of air trapped in the glass. In some Asian countries, they still use Codd bottles for soda. However, by and large, in this day and age, these bottles are seldom used.
Also, some of my friends have some great posts regarding vintage and antique items.
Rachel has a great post on Vintage Items to Find in 2022.
Cindy has a collection of posts from other bloggers on her Tuesday Turnabout post.
Finally, I want to take the time to acknowledge the passing of Paula at Virginia Sweet Pea. She recently lost her battle with cancer and was an amazing woman. For proof of this – all you need to do is read some of her blog posts.
Other Posts on Collecting
If you liked this post and want to read more about collecting specific items, you might like to read the posts below:
Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you feel inspired and learned something new. There is so much to learn from antique and vintage items.