Historical information

This bottle once contained John Fletcher’s ginger cordial. It was found in August 2014 in the sand dunes at Levy's Point, near McKinnon's quarry, Warrnambool.

ABOUT JOHN FLETCHER of WARRNAMBOOL

John Fletcher Cordial (or Beverage) Co . Warrnambool, supplied cordial and aerated drinks to the Western district of Victoria.

John Fletcher was named as a cordial manufacturer in the Warrnambool Standard of June 13th 1895, when he attended a Publican’s Association meeting.

Mr John Fletcher, aerated water and cordial manufacturer of Koroit Street Warrnambool, had a summary of his factory printed in a short article in the Advocate, Melbourne, in February 1901. The article said “one of the most complete plants outside the metropolis … spacious … well appointed …old-established business … noted for the excellence of the quality … a trial [of the beverage] is solicited.”

John Fletcher and Harold Caffin, trading as J.S. Rowley & co cordial manufacturers in 1903; were prosecuted in September 1903 when the Board of Health found an analysed sample of Raspberry Vinegar to contain coal tar colouring, which could be injurious to health, particularly to the kidneys.

The factory was still in operation in December 1924, when sadly, Mr S. Fletcher, who was carrying bottles of aerated water at Mr John Fletcher’s cordial factory, sustained an eye injury when one of the bottles burst. Later the eye had to be removed at the Warrnambool Base Hospital.

ABOUT CODD BOTTLES

During the mid-to-late 1800s there were many inventions to keep the fizz in carbonated drinks such as ginger ale, soda water and fruit drinks.
Hiram Codd, an English engineer invented a successful process that he patented as “Codd’s patented globe stopper bottle” in 1872.
The Codd-neck bottle (commonly called Codd or marble bottle) is manufactured in two parts. The body of the bottle is cast in two sections. At the time of joining the sections a glass marble and rubber seal are inserted into the neck section. The lip is then applied to the top of the bottle.

The Codd bottle is filled upside down as the pressure of the gas from the carbonated liquid holds the marble up and out of the way. When the bottle stands upright the gas pushes the marble up against the washer, creating a firm seal to keep the fizz inside. The bottle is opened by pushing the marble down firmly to allow some of the gas to escape. The marble drops down and is caught in a depression formed in the neck. When the bottle is tilted to pour or drink the liquid the marble rests in a dimple.

Some have said that the bottle as a character, the shape having a face with its mouth keeping the marble out of the drink and eyes that catch the marble so that it doesn’t roll into the mouth of the drinker.

The Codd bottle was expensive to produce and children loved to destroy the marbles to play with the marbles inside. Many shops and factories added a deposit to the cost of buying the drink to encourage children to return the bottles rather than break it for the marble.

Codd bottles are still being produced in India and Japan for soft drinks. A Codd bottle with the same markings as this one is valued on today’s Australian auction sites from $35 - $75 AUD.

Physical description

Bottle, aqua/green glass, with glass marble inside. John Fletcher's Ginger Ale, Warrnambool. Container is often called a "Codd neck bottle", “marble bottle” or “Codd’s patent bottle”. Bottle made by Dobson. Inscription on bottle and base. c. 1905

Inscriptions & markings

Marks moulded into glass; "JOHN FLETCHER / GINGER ALE / WARRNAMBOOL" and “DOBSON” and on base “G”.