Packaging curiosities at the National Bottle Museum

From those that glow to a controversial Poland Spring original, every one of 3,500 bottles at the museum is a piece of US history.

October 28, 2014

2 Min Read
Packaging curiosities at the National Bottle Museum
Dutch onion bottles.

From glowing bottles to a controversial Poland Spring original to a flask seen in a popular pirate movie to an early example of an optimized bottle, each of the several thousands of bottles on display at the National Bottle Museum is a historical artifact, according to museum director Gary Moeller. A number of them also tell a story—and Moeller shares a few of them.

A stop on a whim while on a business trip to the Albany, NY, area this month turned into a fascinating visit to the National Bottle Museum (NBM), open year around in the quaint town of Ballston Spa. Started in 1979 and housed in a 1901 storefront since 1993, the two-floor museum contains notable examples of the U.S. glassmaking industry that gained a firm toe-hold stateside in NJ in 1739 and has grown ever since.

My mid-week timing coincided with a slow day that gave me the run of the place and the expert insights of museum director Gary Moeller, my personal tour guide who posed a “pop” quiz: Where does the name soda pop originate? I took a stab at it and was on the money with the sound the release of the vacuum stopper made, which Moeller noted was specifically the Hutchinson stopper with a U-shape metal loop.  However, Moeller pointed out that some collectors say that’s not true, insisting that a vacuum would pull in air rather than release it with a pop opening of a pressurized carbonated soft drink (CSD).

I wonder if this unsolved CSD mystery could be considered a “cold case”?

In any event, we also offer you a pop quiz so to speak: According to Moeller, which group comprises the majority of visitors to the NBM?:

A. Institute of Packaging Professionals members.
B. Home-schooled children.
C. Packaging editors and other trade journal reporters.
D. Bottle collectors.

The correct answer is…found on the last slide of this Gallery, which begins with our first stop, a Dutch “onion” bottle seen most recently in the hands of a flamboyant, if contemporary, movie pirate....

Click Here to view the Slideshow Gallery.

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