Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Torpedo Bottles

Previously, I mentioned in an post that my parents and relatives visited Cumberland Island in the summer of 1970. See the link below:

Back then, The National Park Foundation had been recently established by Congress for the purpose of purchasing "collecting" property on Cumberland Island for a possible future of a national seashore under the jurisdiction of the NPS. The well established non-for-profit Andrew W. Mellon Foundation contributed to the NPF roughly $5.5 million to  purchase Fraser's two tracts towards the possible seashore. My Uncle Joe had caught wind of that fact and retained permission from Charles Fraser for my family to visit and camp on his southern tract.

Being the avid antique bottle hunters that they are, my family while camping descended upon the old Dungeness household dump site.  Below are a few photos of some of the antique bottles dug from the old household pit.
Torpedo Bottles

The bottles above are known as torpedo bottles. The molded bottles were designed with rounded bases to ensure that they rested on their side so the wired down cork in the blob would not dry out. The torpedo bottles were used for ginger ale, soda, and mineral waters.
The majority of the bottles that are dug or found in this country date from the 1870's to the 1910's and were imported from the United Kingdom. The most common type were ginger ale bottles.
The company that dominated the market in the late 1800s was the firm Cochrane and Cantrell.

The bottles above are worth very little. 
If your fortunate, $10.00 a pop.

Tinted aqua or green torpedo bottles with no embossing are very common. Torpedo bottles that are colored amber, emerald green, or cobalt blue are worth more.

Ceramic Jam Crocks

The crocks have the same inscription stamped on the bottom. Only one has a label applied before glazing that is decorated with acorns and leaves bearing the inscriptions: GRAND MEDAL OF MERIT VIENNA 1873 - JAMES KEILLER & SONS - DUNDEE MARMALADE - ONLY PRIZE MEDAL FOR MARMALADE LONDON, 1862 - Great Britain.

It is great that the torpedo bottles and crocks have survived for over a hundred years.  We will donate the many torpedo bottles and ceramic crocks to the CUIS.



  1. I wouldn't give them to the park!~We gave the communion set (very primitive) from the Church, to the park and it's NOWHERE to be found and is NOT on display at their lame attempt of a museum.... I'd keep them.

  2. Came back over to take a look at all of your photos, now that things have slowed down for me...
    THese are incredible photos! Thanks for sharing them Dawson! I love the pop up camper that you got over here! I'm assuming they barged it somehow. Was there someone doing a barge back then? I guess you could have used Greyfield's...
    I've found one torpedo bottle with no writing. I gave it away to someone who repaired our railings on the porch on the house here and wouldn't take any money. I knew he collected old bottles.

  3. Yes, the torpedo bottles will be given to the NPS. Hopefully the bottles will be documented just like the Henderson's communion set for researchers to request to view for documentation purposives. I dought and do not expect the bottles given to the NPS will be on view at the museum.
    Regardless, I'm getting of subject now, my sister and I did not go to the museum. I believe the hours to be 1 - 4 in the afternoons. We were on the island and not in St. Marys so it was not convenient for us to view unless we staid for an extra night and waited until 1 in the afternoon to view it.
    The museum at St. Marys, that is due to the St. Marys and Camden County's political crowd towards loss of income from personable land tax from the island for the mainland of Camden County. Official ferry from Fernandina!?! The Hendersons are quite aware.

  4. But, with all of the interest in the Church, where is the Communion set? Why WOULDN"T it be on display?~!?~? Grover gave that in the 70's when he found it in the Beulah Alberty House, along with many other items, when he bought that house. (In front of the Church, she was a leader in the church). No biggy, but folks don't know these things. Why would someone have to request to see such an item, when that has been the main draw to this park (Kennedy wedding/church)? That's the kind of stuff that folks want to see. Not the rich,then broke which is why they had to sell C.I., Carnegie broken/cracked/chipped china that I saw a couple of days ago on display where you buy your tickets. It seem that the park doesn't want to give access to the north end and the black parts, the REAL parts of C.I. Anyways, we won't be giving anymore...
    That museum has been a money pit since day one. When it was orginally built, there was a vapor problem afterwards and the floor had to be redone and the whole thing was about doulbe or more the cost AGAIN to do. I remember this because I put in a bid on the hurricane shutters (had a business in town for 15 yrs) and dealt with the contractors at the time. It's been one big money pit after another, now it's still not up and running and gettting the amount of visitation it should. I asked where the Martin Pate painting of the CHimneys was the other day when buying my very expensive ticket, it had been moved from the visitors center that EVERYONE passes through, over to the museum. Genius I tell ya....No NOBODY will see it. IT's a rendering of what the Chimneys at Stafford looked like. Let's put it over where NOBODY will see it?!?!
    I don't know about the last paragaraph and local $... It's a FEDERAL thing, so that shouldn't effect it. I'm all for the Fernanadina ferry, but it will never happen. The park has just built the bldg downtown (as mentioned in thes comment where you buy tickets), so it will never happen. I think it should have left from Fern. all along, but it's too late now. There's not enough room for development of it/parking downtown Fern., I don't believe. Maybe though. But, it's too late now. Too much invested in St. Marys, which will ALWAYS be a dead end town. NOTHING there, it's dying and never will be anything.
    I wonder why you never get any comments on here from folks? I see according to your counter that you get lots of hits. Funny how folks don't want say anything, they can always do so under annonymous. SPEAK UP AMERICA!~ You can't go to jail for voicing your opinion and if you are lucky, you might begin a dialogue....