Historical information

This olive green bottle was handmade by a glassblower and is the typical shape of a ‘gallon’ type liquor bottle, which has the capacity of one-sixth of an imperial gallon, about 750ml. It was made around the mid-to-late 1800s. The bottle was recovered from an unnamed shipwreck in the coastal water of Victoria. It is part of the John Chance Collection.

This bottle has a pontil mark in the centre of the base and four pontil marks around the heel. It also has tape around its mouth and lip, adding a little more interest to its history.

Glassblowers made bottles like this one by blowing into a long metal pipe or reed with a blob of molten glass at the end of it. The shape of the glass would be blown out to fit into the shape of the mould. Once it set, the glass was removed from the mould and the glassblower would continue using the pipe to create the neck and another tool to finish the base. The tool that the glassblower or his assistant used to steady the bottle left four marks in the heel of the bottle. The bottle would be cracked off the end of the glassblower’s pipe and a blob of molten glass would be added to the top to form the mouth and lip of the bottle. The seal was usually a cork, often held in place with tape.


Although the bottle is not linked to a particular shipwreck, it is recognised as being historically significant as an example of bottles imported for use in Colonial Victoria in the mid-to-late 1800s.

This bottle is a little more significant than other similar bottles in our collection because it has multiple pontil marks, four around the heel of the base as well as one in the centre of the base. These marks were left by the tool or tools used to hold or steady the bottle as the maker completed the process.

The bottle is also significant as it was recovered by John Chance, a diver in Victoria’s coastal water in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Items that come from several wrecks have since been donated to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s museum collection by his family, illustrating this item’s level of historical value.

Physical description

Bottle, dark olive green glass, tall thin Gallon type. Applied mouth with remnants of tape around lip. Lip is straight and narrow. Low shoulder seam; glass above seam has more shine than below seam. Body tapers gently inwards to base. Rim of heel has four equidistant pontil marks. Base is concave with central pontil mark. No inscriptions. Handmade bottle.
Sediment inside bottle on one side, top to bottom.