WHAT ARE PONTIL MEDICINES?

 

Pontil medicines are medicine bottles made primarily between the years 1830-1860.  they are called "Pontil" because of the way they were made.

The base of the bottle has a "pontil" scar  made by an iron rod tipped with hot glass.  This rod was attached to the base of the bottle to hold the bottle while another one of the glassblowers formed the neck and lip of the bottle.  When the rod was detached, or broken off, it left the sharp pontil mark.  

Other names for the pontil mark are a punty mark, pontil scar.  Polished pontils were pontil marks that were ground off then polished smooth.  Iron pontils (much rarer in medicines) left an iron residue, sometimes black sometimes reddish embedded in the glass on the base of the bottle.  By 1865, Glassblowers had figured out a way to form the neck and lip without leaving the pontil scar thus making it easy for us to determine the age of the bottles with such marks.  Note:  Some reproductions and modern bottles have pontil marks if they were made in the old way.

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