Pattern Molded Bottle Glass

Pattern molded glass bottle fragment with diamond design found on recent excavations in Fairfax County

by Elizabeth PaynterCART Lab Director

Pattern molding is a mix between a hand-blown glass technique and the use of a mold. Unlike when a mold was used to create a bottle form, however, the pattern mold was only used to impress the basis of the design and not shape the glass. For a pattern mold, the glass was put into a mold to achieve the basis of the pattern. Different types of molds were used such as a dip mold or a two piece mold. The decorated piece would then be free blown to its desired shape. During this process, the pattern could be altered into different designs such as a twist. One common pattern was the diamond shape. Another pattern commonly found was ribs which were often twisted or swirled as seen in the picture below. The design has a distinct almost softened look. Pattern molds found on American sites primarily date before 1850. (Lindsey 2017)

Pattern molded glass bottle fragments found on recent excavations in Fairfax County. Twisted or swirled rib design (left) and diamond design (right).

For a wonderful example of pattern molding glass from a dip mold watch the video by the Corning Museum of Glass. Go to https://youtu.be/GlP7eyfCSzU

For a picture of a full bottle go to https://sha.org/bottle/Body/pitkingreen.jpg

References and Further Reading

Jones, Olive and Catherine Sullivan. 1989. The Parks Canada Glass Glossary for the Description of Containers, Tableware, Flat Glass and Closures. National Historic Parks and Sites Canadian Parks Service Environment Canada, Canada. Originally Published 1985

Lindsey, Bill. 2017. Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. Bureau of Land Management & the Society for Historical Archaeology. Electronic. https://sha.org/bottle/body.htm accessed November 9, 2017

McKearin, Helen and Kenneth M. Wilson. 1978. American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York

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About cartarchaeology

We are the County Archaeological Research Team, part of the Archaeology and Collections Branch, Resource Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority. We are tasked with understanding and managing the cultural resources on Park land throughout Fairfax County.
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