Transitional Bottles

Updated: July 7, 2012

Information included in the 1889 Hutchinson catalog’s advertising copy helps explain what many collectors refer to as “transitional” bottles.   Hutchinson bottles were hand blown objects, therefore their neck and mouth lengths and diameters often varied considerably in size from bottle to bottle.  W. H. Hutchinson & Son accommodated for these dimension variations by producing stoppers in at least 15 different sizes.  They even went so far as to turn this into a sales feature by advertising:

Your bottles can be made to use either the Hutchinson Patent Stoppers or corks and fasteners equally well, so that it would be advisable for all Bottlers to order their new bottles with necks for our Patent Stopper, then if they desire to use the Patent Stopper they can do so, or they can use corks and fasteners, knowing that they can change to stoppers at any time if they wish.

Although there is no documentation indicating W. H. Hutchinson & Son, the glass manufacturers, or bottlers referred to bottles that could be sealed with either corks or Hutchinson stoppers as “transitional” bottles, the term is appropriate, as a soft drink industry transition was definitely underway. 

The accompanying image of an A. KOOB / BELLEVILLE / ILLS. bottle illustrated an excellent example of a transitional bottle that utilized a cork closure and later Hutchinson's Patent Spring Stopper.  The rust circling the neck beneath the blob top is residue from the wire used to hold a cork in place.  Koob apparently followed W. H. Hutchinson & Son's advice and converted to Patent Stoppers, hence the original example (complete with rubber disk) lodged in the mouth of the bottle.  Special thanks to Randy Huetsch of Chesterfield, Missouri for permission to post this image.  Randy's GreedyBay ID is "mocounty." 

As a closing argument for their sales pitch, Hutchinson’s 1889 catalog suggested:

Our Patent Stoppers give universal satisfaction to customers, and when they once use them, they will have no more bottles stopped with corks.

Let every Bottler do away with prejudice and try the Hutchinson Patent Stopper; it costs very little, and the positive gain is so much that any Bottler can well afford the slight risk of trying them in a small way.

You can try our Stoppers, and if you find you prefer corks, you can easily remove the Stoppers, and return to the old way; but we have never known a Bottler returning to corks and fasteners after using our Stoppers, and we know it will be to your advantage to give our Stoppers a fair trial.