Bottle Attributes - Beer Bottle Lettering Types

The technique to apply lettering to a bottle may or may not provide information on how to narrow the date on beer bottles.

Below are the different types of lettering that are found on Beer bottles

Embossing on a Glass Bottle
Embossing on a Pottery Bottle
Embossed, glass circ: 1835-1920+, pottery: circ: 1890-1900
This technique used to get the glass embossed is to cut a reverse image of the lettering into the mold that the glass will be blown in to shape the bottle.  When the glass is blown into the mold, the glass being pressed into the molds lettering, it will create an inverse image on the bottle. 

The same holds true for pottery bottles, but slip is poured into plaster molds, which will have the inverted lettering cut into them.  The green-ware copy of the bottle will then present this lettering when removed from the mold and will later be fired and glazed to complete the manufacturing process. 
Impression on a Glass Bottle
Impression on a Pottery Bottle
Impressed, glass circ: 1855-1860, pottery circ: 1825-1910
Getting the lettering on a glass bottle to be impressed can be accomplished with two different techniques.  The first would be to alter the mold in a way the lettering is not cut into the mold, but raised.  It would then push into the face of the bottle being blown into it.  The second would be to use a stamp with raised lettering that would be pushed into the face of an already blown bottle.  The former technique would have the impressed lettering always in the same place on the bottle and the later technique would result in different placement of the lettering.

The same technique of stamping was used on pottery bottles.
Hand Applied Glaze on a Pottery Bottle
Stamp or Paper-based Glaze on a Pottery Bottle
Glazed, pottery circ: 1845-1920+
Lettering that is glazed can be of two types, but in both cases this lettering is applied to the pottery container before the final firing.  The first type is a fee form hand decoration, usually initials of some sort that are applied as a slip.  These are sometimes added to pottery bottles that have impressed lettering.  The second type is more uniform and is the result of a rubber or similar materialed  stamp that is pressed into liquid glaze and stamped on the bottle. In another technique, a paper label with the glaze printed on it is attached to the bottle before firing.  During the firing the paper burns away and glaze is left affixed to the bottle.
Etching on a Glass Bottle Engraved, glass, circ: 1855-1865
The appearance in the lettering of an engraved bottle is similar to a etched one, but is usually not as exacting.  To engrave lettering on a bottle involves using a copper or some other metal or stone wheel and using the wheels edge to cut the lettering into the glass.  This was often done when a bottler or brewer acquired bottles from another firm and wanted to mark them with their name or mark.  The same technique is occasionally used to grind lettering off an embossed bottle.
Skratching on a Pottery Bottle Scratched, pottery, circ: 1840-1880
This technique used to apply lettering in this way is to scratch the lettering on a glazed but unfired bottle.  This would expose the clay and provide the necessary contrast to make the letters readable.
Applied Color Label on a Glass Bottle Applied Color Label, glass circ: 1934-Today
Also known as a "Painted Label" or "Pyro."  This type of lettering is a glass based slip that is silkscreened onto an annealed bottle, which is then refried to fuse the design to the glass. A small indentation near the base of the bottle was used by the machinery to properly align the bottle as the design was applied.  This technique was introduced in 1934 and in in use thru today.