Clorox Bottles: A Key to Their Indetification and Date of Manufacture
Linda C. Sandelin
Associate State Archaeologist
This paper was written to be used by foresters and other resource professionals as part of CAL FIRE's Archaeological Training Program. Information on the dating of Clorox bottles may prove to be a valuable tool during the evaluation of historical sites since these items are frequently found in historic trash dumps. These bottles have distinctive markings allowing for a precise way to date the bottle; therefore one can fairly accurately date a site containing Clorox bottles. Information on dates and characteristics about Clorox Bottles was obtained for this paper from communication with The Clorox Company.
Established in Oakland, California, the Electro-Alkaline Company in began manufacturing liquid bleach for industrial purposes in 5-gallon crockery containers. The label with the diamond shaped design and word "Clorox" in the center originated at this time. Clorox bleach was used primarily in Oakland's laundries, breweries, walnut processing sheds, and local municipal water companies. These five-gallon containers were the company's only form of manufacture until when, in order to save the company from foreclosure, Electro-Alkaline expanded into the individual household market by manufacturing ounce amber glass "pint" containers with rubber stoppers. This new household version quickly gained popularity and the company distributed their product throughout the country. From through the amber glass containers were used by many other companies, which bottled a variety of liquid products. Therefore, unless the paper label is on the bottle or the stopper that has the Clorox name on it is still attached, one can not determine if it is indeed a Clorox bottle.
In the company went public and became the Clorox Chemical Company. From on, "Clorox" glass bottles with rubber stoppers became distinguishable by numerous characteristics. From through the Clorox diamond trademark was found on the bottom of the bottle. The rubber stoppers had the word "Clorox" on the top. In , "Clorox" was added in solid lettering to the neck and shoulder and in to the heel as well. Starting in the contents were identified and four years later a fill line was included under the content identification. The neck area was widened to 3" circumference in The following year saw the advent of their half-gallon jug with a finger-ring. A major bottle design change occurred in when the threaded neck appeared and screw caps replaced rubber stoppers. No other changes occurred to the bottles over the next five years. A grained texture was included on the shoulder and heel in The one-gallon container with a finger ring handle was introduced during this time. In outline lettering replaced the solid lettering which had been used for twenty years. The grained texture extended down the label panel. In the raised fill line replaced the side content identification. A two-fingered handle replaced the finger-ring for both the gallon and half-gallon bottles. In the grained texture was removed from the side of the label panel and remained only on the shoulder and heel. In the neck area on pints and quarts became more streamlined and bulb shaped: The four-finger handle on gallon and half-gallon jugs made its debut. Conversion to white, polyethylene plastic bottles began in and completely phased out glass Clorox bottles by
Reference: Letter report to CAL FIRE Archaeologist Linda Sandelin from Kedron C. Miller, Product Specialist, Clorox Company 5/20/98, on file at the CAL FIRE Archaeology Office, Fresno
- Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.
Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just under ounce identification. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.
Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just below ounce identification. Neck area widens to /16" around. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.
Threaded neck appears, used with screw on lid. Other characteristics same as (Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just under ounce identification. Neck area /16" around.
A grained texture was added on shoulder and heel. Fill line above ounce identification. All other characteristics same as (Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel. Neck area /16" around.)
Outline lettering replaces solid lettering; grained texture on shoulder, heel and extending down label panel, fill line does not show ounce identification. Threaded neck.
Finger ring handle on one-gallon bottle.
Vintage Bottle Guide
From the days of the crockery jug until , cork-style rubber stoppers were used on the standard Clorox bleach amber glass bottles. In , a screw cap was introduced, and a modern adaptation of that top is still used today. These more modern screw cap bottles can be easily identified by their threaded necks as contrasted with the smooth finish, cork-style necks of the earlier Clorox bottles.
Height and content capacity is another way to determine the vintage of Clorox bottles. Until , the Clorox “pint” contained 15 ounces and measured /16 in height. In , the 15 ounce “pint” became a true pint — 16 ounces — measuring /16 in height. Through the years, the quart bottle also experienced various changes in height and width, though it was always contained 32 ounces.
The Earliest Bottles
In , Clorox liquid bleach was initially offered in five-gallon crockery jugs since it was originally used exclusively by industrial concerns, such as laundries, breweries, walnut bleachers and municipal water companies. This product was delivered by horse and wagon to various customers in San Francisco Bay Area for use as a bleach, stain remover, deodorant and disinfectant.
Five years later, in , Clorox bleach was introduced into American households in ounce amber glass “pint” bottles by the Electro-Alkaline Co., forerunner of The Clorox Company. From through , these same “pint” containers were also used by other companies to bottle a variety of liquid products. Consequently, these stock bottles had no markings of any kind. Since millions of these containers were used, it is virtually impossible — if the label is missing — to tell which of these bottles contained Clorox and which contained other products.
Glass bottles used by The Clorox Company after can be distinguished by various characteristics. The following tips and illustrations point out variations in style, markings, lettering, glass texture and handles, and together serve as a guide in determining the approximate vintage of the early Clorox bottles.
Cork Top Bottles
Clorox diamond trademark on bottom.
Solid lettering on neck and shoulder.
Additional solid lettering on shoulder and heel.
Content identification added. Additional solid lettering on shoulder and heel.
Section of fill line raised under content identification.
Neck area widens to /16 around.
Neck style changes. Introduction of half-gallon size with finger ring handle.
Beginning in The Clorox Company began making Clorox bottles with threaded necks for screw tops, replacing the rubber stopper cork tops of the earlier bottles.
Until , the lettering on Clorox bottles continued to be raised and solid. Beginning in the lettering on Clorox bottles changes to outline.
Pint, Quart and Half Gallon Bottles
Content identification moves to side. Threaded neck appears. Pint and quart size mouths measure /16 around.
Pint and Quart Bottles
Grained texture on shoulder and heel only. Neck style changes.
Odds and Ends
Through the years, other styles of Clorox bleach bottles were considered by The Clorox Company. None of these ever reached full national distribution because they failed to meet Cloroxs exacting packaging standards.
However, some were distributed as test market or sample bottles. Consequently, collectors may occasionally come across a Clorox bottle not included in this guide.
Two of the most common odd Clorox bottles are the half-pint bottle and the quart bottle.
The Clorox Company sets no value on these bottles, nor does it wish to purchase old bleach bottles.
Click to see full answer.
Herein, when did they stop making glass Clorox bottles?
One may also ask, how old is a brown glass Clorox bottle? From the days of the crockery jug until , cork-style rubber stoppers were used on the standard Clorox bleach amber glass bottles. In , a screw cap was introduced, and a modern adaptation of that top is still used today.
Also question is, are old bottles worth anything?
While not all old bottles are valuable, an older bottle is more likely to be worth more than a newer one. Seams and pontil marks are two of the ways you can determine a bottle's age. The Iron Pontil bottle was made from to
How can you tell if a bottle is antique?
To find the markings, examine the bottle carefully. The side of the bottle may be printed with the product or manufacturer's name, and this can be helpful in identifying your find. Also turn the bottle over. Many bottles have marks on the bottom, and these are important signatures of bottle manufacturers.
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Clorox bottle value glass old
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