Since we began publishing the blog in Jan., variations of certain bottles have been identifed and have become popular with collectors. The differences in these bottles have been known to advanced collectors for some time, and I think it might be time to put some sort of nomenclature together for identifing these bottle for collectors that might be confused by the slang or terminology used by us oldtimers. The slang will never go away, I frankly hope that it never completely dissappears, but there are a couple of bottles that need to be identified by variation or maybe type. (type1) (type2) if you will.
By default, I guess, we are using John Thomas' book Whiskey Bottles of the Old West as our standard work. I don't think there is an argument for using any other current book for discussion of glob top fifths or flasks. They are all right there in Thomas' book, organized, with numbers, etc.... pretty easy to follow along. There is confusion with several bottles, particularly J.F. Cutter Star/Shield (t-46) and the assorted J.H. Cutter (t-44) bottles. Thomas has 4 variants of the Star/Shield (t-46). He calls them Var. 1 thru Var. 4. On the J.H. Cutter (t-44) they are listed as 44A, 44B, 44C.
A quick look through the book and I could only find one instance where numbers were used to identify variants, the (t-46). All other bottles with noted variants used a letter A, B, C, to identify examples.
I propose that we use the lettering system to identify the Star/Shield (t-46) variations. We are having trouble with that var.1, 2, 3 thing as it is!
J.F. Cutter (t-46A)(type1) = pointed A, "Fatboy"
J.F. Cutter (t-46A)(type2) = pointed A
J.F. Cutter (t-46B) = flat A
J.F. Cutter (t-46C) = curved R's, X on base
No, I don't plan on a recall of all copies of Thomas' book for a rewrite, and I really hate to make any changes to the numbering system for identification. Maybe we can do an addendum (1 or 2 page insert) to Thomas book with a list of variants and types as collectors have identified them to us.
My friend, Warren Friedrich, got me thinking as to what determines a variant for a particular bottle, and what is just a manufacturing whim or glassblowers tool choice. (type of top)
What say you?? I guess in my thinking, a new mold or major mold alteration would be a variant.
A different style of top, (lipping tool choice) or a minor mold change would be a type. ie - Millers flask single collar -type1, double collar -type2....so on.
Jesse Moore fifth non vented - type1; vented - type2
O.K. Cutter (t-41) light slug, older look - type1; heavy slug, different base - type2
It takes a long time for terminology to change or become mainstream in the hobby. (I guess it didn't take long for Fat Boy?) After reading this, everyone stand down, stay calm, put your gun back in the holster, just write 'um up the way you're used to. But if you see some new terms or phrases showing up in bottle descriptions, you know who to blame...