Many of us scuba divers do a fair amount of diving in the St. Clair River and elsewhere,and we often dig on the river bottom or search for coins, artifacts, and old bottles. When we do find an old bottle, we usually wonder how old it is and what was in it.
We had some special guests at the February meeting: Joe, Mike and Jenny Brodzik, and they put on a great educational program to help us with the answers to our questions. Mike and Joe are just sort of naturally curious guys, and what they are curious about, they study! They know a lot about things geological, archaeological, and historical.
Just ask Joe about Indian artifacts, about archaelogical digs he’s been on in Michigan, and about old coins. Ask either one of them about antique bottles! In fact, Mike is president of the Metropolitan Detroit Antique Bottle Club. So……when Sea Snoopers arrived at Betty’s for the February meeting, the first thing they saw in the living room was a table full of some very nice antique bottles: part of Mike and Joe’s collection. Those of us who know a little about old bottles stared at the “onion” flasks from the 1700’s and all the other beautiful old blob top bitters and soda bottles from the 1800’s and were green with envy.
Joe began the presentation with an outline of the history of bottle making and how they were blown, and explained the evolution and development of the molds that were used. He used a large display board, and also handed out a written copy of the information he was discussing. Joe also described how to date and classify bottles by their “pontil marks”, which is a mark on the bottom of some bottles left by the rod that was used to hold the molten bottle while it was being made. Mike then picked up his cue and gave us a thorough description and history of all the bottle closures (you know…like bottle caps and things) that have been invented and used on bottles throughout their history. This is another way to figure out a bottle’s age. Throughout their talk Mike and Joe used bottles from their collection as examples.
After the formal speaking was over, club members brought out old bottles they had found, and Joe and Mike commented on them and dated them if they could.
We would like to thank the Brodziks for doing such a great job with this presentation. I’m sure all of us learned something new….I know I did!