Milk Bottle Bases

Studying the base of a milk bottle will give some clues as to how it was made and what company might have manufactured the bottle.  Also many dairies took advantage of the space on the milk bottle base to add embossing to help identify their bottle.  One thing that one will not find is a pontil mark.  Many people, especially on ebay, describe milk bottles as having a pontil mark but this is not correct.  A pontil is where the glass blower attached a punty rod to hold the partially finished bottle so he could form the lip.  When the punty rod was snapped off the bottle, a rough scar was left on the base of the bottle (picture).  Pontil marks are found on bottles that date to the 1860’s and before.  Since the first milk bottles did not appear till the late 1870’s one will not find American milk bottles with pontil marks.  We have only heard of one early jar that was from Tuthill Dairy of Unionville, New York that was reported to have a pontil but this was not in the shape of a milk bottle.