Updated: Feb 4, 2019
My great-grandfather's mother, Annie (Robinson) Dickinson, was born in 1870 in Manchester, England. Manchester is near Sheffield, where her future husband, Harry Dickinson, lived. He was the son of John Dickinson, a hammersman of Sheffield.
While researching the Robinson family of Manchester, I stumbled upon a glass bottle for sale on eBay. It was embossed with two key words that quickly got my full attention:
"J. Dickinson & Co." and "Manchester".
In the center, between the word "Trade-mark" appears a large "D" with "& J Co" in it.
Complete with what appears to be a wooden stopper (safely stuck inside the bottle), this mysterious relic could be connected to the family somehow. I had to have it!
Lucky for me, no one else was interested in outbidding me. It was shipped directly from Manchester!
In examining the bottle for clues, the first indicator that it was made in the 19th century is that it has seams going up both sides. There is a number "432" embossed on the bottom and on the back it says:
Nuttall & Co - Makers - St Helens
Nuttall & Co. bottle making business was in operation from 1873 to 1913 when the company merged with Cannington, Shaw & Co. and became United Glass Bottle Manufacturers. According to the Society for Historical Archaeology, the "Nuttall & Co" mark indicates it was made between 1872 and 1890s.
I found similar bottles referred to as Codd bottles and a stone bottle by the same J. Dickinson, referred to as a ginger beer bottle.
So many questions remain! Who was this J. Dickinson? What was he selling in these bottles? Anyone with information about this, please share in the comments below.
For more on these families, see the Dickinson page or the Robinson page.