DUPRS_0006 B.M. Dickinson Bottle

Dublin Core


DUPRS_0006 B.M. Dickinson Bottle


B.M. Dickinson, Chatham N.J.


Glass bottle with “B.M. Dickinson Chatham, N.J.” embossed in a circle on the front. Dimensions: 7 inches high, 3 inches base width, 1 3/4 inch across bore.


Thatcher Manufacturing Company (projected) for the bottle


Selective Surface collection, east Stanley Park, Historic Chatham Township (modern Summit, New Jersey)


Drew University, Department of Anthropology, Drew University Passaic River Survey




Ava Valentino


The materials in this collection are made available for use for educational purposes only for research, teaching and private study. Texts and images from this collection may not be used for any commercial purpose without prior permission from the Department of Anthropology, Drew University.




Glass bottles such as this one were commonly used for the distribution of milk starting around the turn of the last century. The way the system worked was that the customer paid for the milk itself, while the container was purchased by and belonged to the local dairy, and was meant to be reused several times. The wood or cardboard bottle caps used in bottles such as this one were meant to be disposable, so a new one could be used every time.

B.M. Dickinson was probably the name of the individual dairy which owned the bottle, but there is no record of a Dickinson dairy in Chatham, New Jersey. Labeling laws required the dairy name be put on the bottles at around the turn of the last century. A similar bottle was found at the site of the Fairview House Hotel in Chatham but was from the Baldwin Brothers Farm. https://www.nj.com/independentpress/2020/07/in-chatham-a-buried-treasure-turns-into-a-bottle-project.html

The light amethyst color of the glass is one of the most significant aspects of this artifact. This tint indicates that manganese was mixed into green glass to give it a clearer effect, but ultimately turning purple over time due to sun exposure. Manganese glass was used only between 1880-1925 with the majority of glass dating between 1890-1917.

Based on observation of where the side seams of the bottle fade, the circular markings on the neck, the uneven nature of the finish and the way the glass becomes thicker as the neck meets the shoulder, this bottle displays all the qualities of a mouth-blown bottle with a tooled finish. This means that the finish and body were blown together in the mold with the finish then begin hand-tooled to a more precise shape. Most bottles with tooled finishes were produced after 1890 but hand-tooled finishes disappeared between 1910-1920 as fully automatic bottle-making machines took over.

Harvey Thatcher Company in Potsdam, NY manufactured “Common Sense Milk Bottles” which were patented in 1889 and became the industry standard by 1900. The ledge inside the finish is one of the main features of the “Common Sense” bottle, as it serves to hold a cap in place - the ledge is called the cap seat. The cap size for this bottle would have been 1 ¾” and if this is a Thatcher bottle, that could be indicative of a date earlier than 1912 when most cap sizes were standardized at 1 ⅝”.




Thatcher Manufacturing Company (projected) for the bottle, “DUPRS_0006 B.M. Dickinson Bottle,” Drew University Library Special Collections, accessed March 3, 2024, http://omeka.drew.edu/items/show/662.