Historical information

This teal coloured bottle (blue-green, non-olive) has been handmade from about the 1840s-1870s. The bottle, possibly used to store soda or mineral water, was found in the coastal waters of Victoria about 100 years from when it was made. It is part of the John Chance Collection.

The teal, or blue-green, colour of this bottle’s glass is reasonably rare. The colour is probably the result of a combination of cobalt (blue), iron (yellow-orange) and chromium (green) that may have been in the raw silica, or perhaps added to the glass sand before making the glass.

Glassblowers made bottles like this one by blowing air through a long pipe into the molten glass blob at the end of the pipe. The glass was blown out to fit into the shape of the cylindrical dip mould. Once it hardened, the glass was removed from the mould and the glassblower would continue using the pipe to create the neck while carefully using a tool to hold the base. A ponty tool was used to complete the shape of the base. The bottle would be cracked off the end of the glassblower’s pipe and a blob of molten glass would be wrapped around the top of the neck and shaped to finish the lip of the bottle, sometimes using a tool to do this. The seal was usually a cork, often held in place with wax or wire with tape over it to seal the aerated drink inside. The gutter between the upper and lower lip was used to anchor the seal.

This style of handmade bottles would often have horizontal bubbles in the applied finish, caused by twisting the glass, and vertical bubbles and diagonal lines in the neck and body from it being blown, and a mark in the base where the ponty tool had been attached.


Although the bottle is not linked to a particular shipwreck, it is recognised as being historically significant as an example of handmade, mid-19th century bottles imported for use in Colonial Victoria in the mid-to-late 1800s.

The bottle is significant for its rarity, as its teal, blue-green colour is unusual. It is a valuable addition to our collection of 1800s handmade bottles.

The bottle is also significant as it was recovered by John Chance, a diver in Victoria’s coastal waters 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; unusual dark teal (blue-green, non-olive) opaque glass, medium size, cork-top style. Handmade with applied double-collar lip with straight side upper and a ring lower. The edge of the mouth is uneven. Neck is slightly bulbous. Body has shoulder seam, then tapers inwards to base, shallow base. Heel is uneven width. Base is shallow with glass of different density. Bubbles in the body and an elongated bubble at base of neck. Sediment inside bottle. Chip in lip. Scratched surface.