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Old 02-21-2008, 11:58 AM
 
8,760 posts, read 16,449,196 times
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This thread was triggered by the post Sea glass/garbage. I expect Northern Maine Land Man to chime in on this one.
Bottle dumps. We have three of them that I have discovered so far on our land. Every once in a while when the mood strikes me (and before the black flies and mosquitos hatch) I take a clam hoe down back and scratch around in the dump area used by generations of previous residents of our property.
We have found some really nice bottles and even some intact dishes and cups. I'm not a bottle collector but I do enjoy some of the craftsmanship of bygone eras. Even in the art of bottle making. The way the bottles were shaped, some obviously without benefit of a mold. Raised lettering and logos, dates, flared necks, big ones all the way down to tiny perfume bottles with the glass applicator wand still inside. We have a row of these tiny bottles on a window sill we use to put four leaf clovers in in the summer. They're quite pretty with all of the different colors. It's interesting to see beverage company logos long since out of business, popping up as reminders of what folks had to enjoy in years past. Then there are the common bottles like vanilla bottles, pepto bottles, alka seltzer bottles, not to mention, the myriad of old liquor and beer bottles.
Some of these are nice too. One other sunny window sill has a half dozen old vanilla bottles filled with different colored water in them. They're quite nice with the sun shining through them. What have you found??
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:01 PM
 
Location: CA
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I call them old trash heaps. The bottles were just some of the items that survived in the elements 50+ years. Up at my dad's old palce in Oregon there were several of these out in the woods. Speculation was that they were left over from hermits living in the woods and also Chinese digging holes near the creek for gold. The relative age of the heaps could be determined by the trash contents. In the older ones there were mostly just really old bottles - some hand-blown pharmacy-type bottles, and metal objects, while other heaps had tin cans from the fifties-on era.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:19 PM
 
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I guess that's exactly what these bottle dumps were originally....trash heaps. There were no organized dumps in most Maine towns in the early years and folks just took the trash out to "the back 40" and threw it over any convenient embankment. All of the metal has long since rusted away along with any wood and paper leaving only the glass and china items. Hence the term bottle dump.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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All of our old dumps were along the river and once a month a bulldozer would push the trash into the river.
Each year, after the spring runoff, the river bank is a great place to find old bottles.
Old cellar holes are another place to find bottles. It seems in the winter the inhabitants did not want to trudge into the snow with their garbage, so they would open the back door and pitch the trash onto the ground. It has been told to me that if you can locate the spot of the back door, you can find the bottles to the right as most people are right handed.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Chaos Central
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I've found the usual stuff that you describe - small bottles with raised lettering on their sides, some made for corks, some for metal caps. Larger bottles with no markings, resembling wine bottles but I have no idea what they were for. Milk bottles. Also found Za-Rex bottles shaped like pitchers. Don't think those were terribly old, probably 50's. Plates and cups, some with only small chips out of them,otherwise very decorative. Lots and lots of tin cans and old shoes and boots! Car parts. Pieces of what used to be harness or wagons.
One of the neighborhood teenagers (when I was a teenager) was an avid digger/collector and had a book on antique bottles. He had quite a collection, and found a colored bottle worth quite a bit of money at that time. I just like to find and admire them, and also use for decoration if possible.
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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Old logging camps on the rivers are a good place to find bottles. Many of the sites are just above a set of rapids because that's where log jams occurred and crews would have to be there for longer periods of time. There are whisky bottles of course, but many medicine bottles with the doctor's name embossed in the glass. Those bottles were often hand blown into a mould with the doctor's name inserted for each batch that he ordered. The same mold was used by the glass company for many different customers. Medicine bottles were often either blue or purple.

I'm not a collector either. I just pick them up when I see them. I have never bought or sold any, but I have given some away.
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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NMLM I knew you would have something to add. The info about the doctor's linament bottles is quite interesting.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Maine
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We have a bottle dump. My daughter likes to poke around in it every spring to see if the frost pushed up anything interesting.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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Northern Maine Land Man Have you ever dug any of those river driver dumps?
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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Never dug any. I did scratch around among the leaves and duff with a stick and found a couple of old brown pint bottles without threads. When I'm on a river I'm more interested in fishing.
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