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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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BOTTLE (Fr. bouteille, from a diminutive of the Lat. butta, a flask; cf. Eng. "butt"), a vessel for containing liquids, generally as opposed to one for drinking from (though this probably is not excluded), and with a narrow neck to facilitate closing and pouring. The first bottles were probably made of the skins of animals. In the Iliad (iii. 247) the attendants are represented as bearing wine for use in a bottle made of goat's skin. The ancient Egyptians used skins for this purpose, and from the language employed by Herodotus (ii. 1 2 1), it appears that a bottle was formed by sewing up the skin and leaving the projection of the leg and foot to serve as a vent, which was hence termed iroSeclw. The aperture was closed with a plug or a string. Skin bottles of various forms occur on Egyptian monuments. The Greeks and Romans also were accustomed to use bottles made of skins; and in the southern parts Europe they are still used for the transport of wine. The first of explicit reference to bottles of skin in Scripture occurs in Joshua (ix. 4), where it is said that the Gibeonites took "old sacks upon their asses, and wine-bottles old and rent and bound up." The objection to putting "new wine into old bottles" (Matt. ix. 17) is that the skin, already stretched and weakened by use, is liable to burst under the pressure of the gas from new wine. Skins are still most extensively used throughout western Asia for the conveyance and storage of water. It is an error to represent the bottles of the ancient Hebrews as being made exclusively of skins. In Jer. xix. i the prophet speaks of "a potter's earthen vessel." The Egyptians (see Egypt: Art and Archaeology ) possessed vases and bottles of hard stone, alabaster, glass, ivory, bone, porcelain, bronze, silver and gold, and also of glazed pottery or common earthenware. In modern times bottles are usually made of glass (q.v.), or occasionally of earthenware. The glass bottle industry has attained enormous dimensions, whether for wine, beer, &c., or mineral waters; and labour-saving machinery for filling the bottles has been introduced, as well as for corking or stoppering, for labelling and for washing them.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Bottle'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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