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  #1  
Old 05-04-2008, 07:27 AM
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Default How Many Bottle Hunt?

How many of us bottle hunt and have found one that is rare and unusual or just old? Pictures welcome.

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Old 05-04-2008, 03:31 PM
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Hi Tim - My wife & I have dug bottles and everything else out of old dump sites for many years. We got some nice ones at the Tombstone, Az dump but other places no one would know. Steve in so az


Here's some Edison bottles from along the old Railroad tracks. They poured the Edison oil in the battery box to keep the electrolyte from evaporating.


And here's some ink bottles , my wife's favorites.

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  #3  
Old 05-04-2008, 04:29 PM
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Wow Steve, those are some great specimens.

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  #4  
Old 05-05-2008, 02:51 PM
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not found any since started MDing but found a few there in south easr Decatur before they tore down those old homes and built public housing 20 years ago

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  #5  
Old 05-05-2008, 07:50 PM
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I would like to, but I am not sure how to go about finding the old trash piles from the old houses.

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  #6  
Old 05-06-2008, 12:39 PM
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Tinky, I can give you some quick tips. I'll try and keep it simple. If there's any additional interest on the site, perhaps I'll write a step by step article, with Carol's permission of course.

Given the choice, you want to look for privies whenever possible. Since most folks didnt have trash service or couldn't afford it, table scraps, bottles, broken china were typically disposed of in the outhouse. Fortunately for us, the um.....liquids in the privy cushioned anything breakable.

Trash pits, on average, aren't as productive. Smaller holes were dug allowing less space. Trash was often burned, turning anything inside the pit in to a molten mess. Finally, bottles were often intentionally broken so that all of the dirt dug out of the hole could be returned without creating a mound.

Older city lots with clearly marked boundries are easiest to begin your search. Farms can be more difficult as site selection for the outhouse wasn't constrained by property lines, alleys, etc.

When arriving on any site with a building, house or foundation markers, you need to set down all of your gear and take a hard look. Put yourself in the original occupants place. Where was the common front entrance to the house ? Where was the back door ? Was there a carriage house or an out building ? Where did the occupants cook their meals? Depending on the area of the country in which you live, many pre 1890 homes had external kitchens. Where did the o.o. s (original occs) leave the property from the rear ? Any deductions made about understanding how people used the property, will be potentially beneficial to both MD ing and digging.

Once you think you have a general understanding of the manner in which the property was used, it's time to break out the common sense.

Again, put yourself in their shoes. Common sense dictates that the privy is going to be behind the property. Who wants to wave to the neighbors as they dash out in to the FRONT yard to head to the reading room ?

Now, think about the aroma of a porta potty. You sure as heck don't want that vile smelling thing near the back door. Even with people dumping bags of lime into privies, they were odiferous at best.

Think about the weather ? if it's 2 am and you need to make a run for the border, you dont want it so far away that you have to trudge through much snow. Even if the family is using chamber pots, someone still has to carry their toxic cargo to dispose of it.

So, if it were you, you want it away from the house , but not so far away that you have to saddle up to get there ! Most outhouses/privies are typically 30-50 feet from the rear entrance of the home. This same logic can be used for farms or large unmarked plots of land. I used to take a commercial tape (200 feet) lay out 50 feet and mark a semi circle from the rear entrance of the building/dwelling.


Now stand where you think the rear of the dwelling was, and look some more.
If you have a rear entrance to the property, you wouldn't want your outhouse near it. Who wants to huff fumes every time they come home?

So, now we are looking for a spot behind the house 30-50 feet away from rear entrance and not near the rear property entrance.

Here's where you need a special tool. Purchase a quality spring steel digging probe. 36 inches is the the standard. Most serious bottle collectors have 36, 48 and either a 60 or a 72 inch probe. A 36 will meet 85% of your needs.

A probe is basically a 1/4 inch in diameter piece of spring steel with a T handle on one end and a triangular tip on the other. Build quality must be high as you put a tremendous amount of pressure on the handles. I know of two people that have been speared through and through by poorly made probes when the weld at the handle failed. It was not pretty.

The probe is used by pressing it in to the ground. You are feeling the ground consistency. Once you have a feel for ground which has not been turned, you will recognize any area which has previously been disturbed.

Depending on lot size, and assuming you are working in town, start in the rear corner of the lot AWAY from the rear entrance to the property. Locate the rear property marker or general guess and then probe the area 2 feet from back line and two feet from side line.

What do you feel as you put pressure on the probe ? Does it take consistent pressure all the way to the knuckles ? Do you feel inconsistency, or hitting small bits of trash ?

Remember that probe tip I told you about ? It plays a number of roles if used properly. Just looking at it, you would assume that the slightly bulbous end was used solely to make a slightly larger hole, lessoning the friction on the rod. While this is true, there is another huge opportunity to learn something.
A properly designed probe will capture a dirt plug from the bottem of your probe depth. That dirt plug can tell you a lot about whats in the ground.

So, start probing. Go slow. You want to apply just enough pressure to drive the probe in the ground. Smooth consistent pressure. If you hit an obticle, STOP APPLYING PRESSURE AND IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THE PROBE. Too many people starting out force the probe, and typically drive it right through a bottle.

Now look at the plug of dirt. What do you see ? Is it just clean dirt ? Is it the exact shade of the yard ? Or is it a different color ?

Orange, rust colored, or small rust colored flecks usually indicates that iron is likely buried. A great sign that requires additional investigation.

White or whitish flecks are another great sign. White could be an indication of of ash or more importantly, a sign that lime has been dumped in the hole. As stated above, lime was used in outhouses to help knock down the smell. Again, further investigation is required.

Black, or blackish flecks. Again, very promising. Black could be an indication of a fire pit, or the remnants of stove embers.

So, we have hit something underground but not sure of what it is. Move your probe over three inches and probe again. Now, really think about what your hands are feeling. Do you feel or hear rice krispies ? This is typically caused by small bits of broken glass. Anything in the top six inches is usually nothing more than surface !!!! which has worked it's way in to the ground. If you are getting rice krispies at 18 inches or deeper, you have usually found a trash pit or privy.

Now you need to dig a test hole. 12 inches by 12 inches, by 18-24 inches. Dig slowly and pay very close attention to every scoop of dirt that comes out. No need to pay much attention to first six inches or so as that is typically surface related.

You want to dig a hole with smooth clean walls. No hacking or shopping. In addition to watching the dirt removed from the hole, you're examining the hole walls for anything out of the ordinary. Do you see water seep lines ? An agled deliniation of ash or soot ? Iron, metal or rust bleed lines ? All these are indications that the ground has been disturbed.

This should get you started. I have left a ton of stuff out which can save you a lot fo wasted time. In addition, I failed to address the whole research aspect of a site which can save you hours or days of wated effort. Sorry for running off at the keyboard.

If you have a specific site in mind, PM me. I can do some work on the net and likely save you some grief. Good luck !
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2008, 01:22 PM
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Cool Bottle Happy!

Don't bottle hunt myself, but I have kinda a funny story about the hobby.
Some may think it is just mean!?!
When I was still out on the crews for the Utility company I worked for, we had a backhoe operator who was a real bottle fanatic. If he thought he saw something in the hole or trench, he'd shut down the job and go probing around. Well anyhow, being kinda young & dumb back then, some of us would get a kick out of tossing little bits of glass into the trench just to see his reaction!!
We actually came across some nice bottle caches digging in the older part of town! I think it is a great hobby now!

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  #8  
Old 05-06-2008, 03:22 PM
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I found these bottles in the attic at work.

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  #9  
Old 05-06-2008, 04:24 PM
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I don't bottle dig as of now but like Tinky I have thought about starting. I recently read a small book on the subject and that coupled with tinfoilhat's tips and advice may be enough to make me want to go try it. Thanks for the tips tinfoilhat.
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  #10  
Old 05-06-2008, 11:23 PM
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Somehow, getting skewered, while probing potential outhouse sites, sounds like a candidate for the darwin awards. Think I would stick to just what I see sticking out of the ground............................

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  #11  
Old 05-06-2008, 11:43 PM
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I do collect older bottles and have been known to dig a few dump sites. I especially like old "tonic" bottles and have a few. I will try and remember to post a few pics soon. I also have quite a few older soda pop bottles, but I think my wife would prefer them somewhere other than the laundry room.
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  #12  
Old 05-06-2008, 11:49 PM
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I found a blob top bottle from the Cherokee Bottling Works, Cherokee Iowa. It was light green, with bubbles in the glass. It was in low water of the Mississippi River and had laid at an angle for so long that the glass on one side was much thicker that the side that was up. Glass is a sort of plastic and will flow over the years. I never found any listing for the manufactor of the bottle so how old was it, I never found out. No longer have bottle or picture of it.
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2008, 12:22 AM
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Beerdoodle... I've heard you've found a few bottles in your days... and didn't even have to get your hands dirty to get em....

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Old 05-07-2008, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerdoodle View Post
Somehow, getting skewered, while probing potential outhouse sites, sounds like a candidate for the darwin awards. Think I would stick to just what I see sticking out of the ground............................
Not really. They were both attributed to crappy welds that failed and poor equipment design.

Belive me, there is not a time I have stuck a probe in the ground that I havent thought about them breaking loose.
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  #15  
Old 05-07-2008, 12:47 AM
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The only time I bottle hunt is, if I run into a bottle dump while detecting.

I have a small collection of little bottles and our favorite bottles that we found in New England, which include 3 milk bottles, a blobtop from New Hampshire, and some spring water bottles found in the water in Rhode Island.


I've never heard of those soft drinks before talosiv. Nice find!

Wow Tinfoilhat, great article and tips. Thanks for sharing your info.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2008, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post
Beerdoodle... I've heard you've found a few bottles in your days... and didn't even have to get your hands dirty to get em....
ya and I just found 6 more and there full...................................

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Old 05-07-2008, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerdoodle View Post
ya and I just found 6 more and there full...................................
...have a couple for me!

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Old 05-07-2008, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeabeeRon View Post
...have a couple for me!
I will. Putting in the garden today, so I broke a sweat and came inside. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions. Felt funny digging without my pinpointer.....................

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  #19  
Old 05-07-2008, 07:28 PM
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Hi Tim, thanks for bringing up one of my favorite topics. I love bottle hunting just as much as detecting. The whole thing started years ago when I found a bottle from my wife's grandfathers dairy company, which he founded in the 1930s. Now, I have many bottles from their dairy, as well as an old milkbox, and I collect antique beer, soda milk, ink and medicine bottles from Rhode Island and Eastern Conn. I have found quite a few dumps while out detecting in the woods over the years, and as a matter of fact, my buddy and I are going to check one out in CT on Saturday. We also have an early 1800s property that we have permission to dig the outhouse pits on. We're going to hit that in another couple of weeks. The owner has two known outhouse locations on the property, so we're hoping for some really good stuff.

Here's a pic of some of the bottles in my collection. These are some old milk bottles, and some colored label sodas:
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:31 PM
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These are some older beer and soda bottles, medicine bottles, and the last pic is of some of my oldest and favorites. I also pick some bottles up at flea markets and yard sales. Bottle hunting is a great hobby. Thanks again Tim for bringing it up!
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