Godalming Museum, ref: B9802681-3


The stoneware bottle on the left is transfer printed ' West Surrey Mineral Works, Godalming'. It was found during alterations on the site of H B Baverstock & Sons Brewery.

Earthenware bottles were in common use for fizzy drinks as far back as the late 1700s, when Joseph Schweppe started his carbonated drinks business in Bristol. The contents, though, tended to go flat due to the permeable nature of the clay container. Stoneware bottles, like this one used by the West Surrey Mineral Works, continued in use well into the 1900s. Glass bottles ( embossed with the bottlers' or drink manufacturers' names) became the more popular form of container from the mid-1800s onwards. Today, mineral waters and fizzy drinks are mainly supplied in recyclable plastic ('PETE') bottles with screw top lids.

In earlier times, the problem of containing fizzy liquids gave rise to many and various kinds of bottle stoppers. Cork stoppers had to remain moist , otherwise pressure from the gas would build up and lead to a 'blow out'. So corked bottles had to be stored on their sides, allowing the liquid contents to keep the cork moist. Later, glass bottles were produced with a screw thread moulded into the opening allowing a screw top to be used. One of the most ingenious methods, though, was invented and patented by Hiram Codd in 1875 and there is an example of this in the middle of the picture in the form of a glass, Surrey Mineral Water Works bottle. Codd's stopper consisted of a glass marble forced against a rubber ring in the bottle opening. The marble stopper was released by placing a special wooden cap containing a plunger on top and, presumably, giving it a sharp tap. The marble was then pushed down into a trap in the neck of Codd's bottle, so that the drink could flow through. Codd made over 50 modifications to his design, including an oval marble, which he thought would be less desirable to small boys, who were in the habit of breaking his bottles to get the marbles out!


A A C Hedges, Bottles and Bottle Collecting - Shire Album, 6 (Princes Risborough :Shire Publications,1996) 



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