Old bottles | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old bottles

I have a collection of old bottles that I have found over the years on the hillsides around Hong Kong island.  The Watsons bottles were found on the hillside behind the Governor's summer mansion on the Peak (before the slopes were concreted).  The flat bottomed torpedo bottle (Aquarius) was found in Tai Tam.  Can anyone date this one?

Any other bottle collectors out there who can give me any information on them, i.e. age, use. 

Bottles.JPG, by bob

Have also included a Dutch gin bottle found near the Matilda Hospital on the peak.  From research this is dated late 1880s and the company originates from African Dutch colonies!  

Dutch Gin Bottle.JPG
Dutch Gin Bottle.JPG, by bob




It's great to see these, thanks for posting. One of my first interests in collecting things was as a teenager, finding old bottles and jars in a Victorian rubbish tip in a town near where I lived in SW Wales. Have you found any similar rubbish tips in HK, or were these found individually?

I especially liked the old ceramic jars, as they made good pots for holding pens, pencils, etc around the house. I think they were used to sell marmalade originally.

Some bottles had a rough-edged top, and I remember being told they were older, but unfortunately I don't have anything else to add. Google turns up this page of tips for dating bottles: https://sha.org/bottle/dating.htm It's from America, but I guess the dates it gives will still be roughly relevant to bottles in Hong Kong.

If you find anything else interesting, please post a photo for us to enjoy. One of my favourite finds was a doll's teacup!

Hi Bob, 

I am sorry to see your story so late, otherwise I must answer you earlier. 

I am also a keen antique bottle searcher in Hong Kong. I am doing the same as you do. I do finding bottles more than 30 years. But you are more clever than me because you know how to find bottles from the governor's summer mansion or foreigner's hospital etc......

The Watson's Hamilton bottle  was first used in 1876 to 1920's. It was easy to find on the antique market ten or twenty years ago. Of course it is not today.

The Aquarius company was established in 1876. It was the sole agent by Caldbeck, MacGregor & Co. in Hong Kong. This flat bottom Hamilton bottle was used in 1920's to 1930's. But it was more popular in used in Shangha, China. Some record said,  it was the first aerated water company established in Shanghai, China.

The earthenware Watson's ginger beer bottle was come to town in 1910's to 1930's. It has two versions. (1: Hong Kong, China & Manila. 2. Hong Kong & China)

The Watson's green straight side embossed bottle, it was a Lemonade bottle (it has  large and small size) which was used in 1920's to 1940's. Most of them (I mean bottles) were manufactured in UK. 

This smaller gin bottle was not popular in use in Hong Kong. Most of them brought back by Chinese from Europe.  I found most of them were made in Amsterdam & Rottardam with seal and  bolb top, seldom with pontil mark at base.

Perhaps, I will post some photos for you guys. Or contact me Simon 9109 6817.  Bye!

Hi Bob,

I am sorry to see your story so late. Otherwise, I will anwer you earlier !

Hi David,

As I know that there were no rubbish tip / dump in Hong Kong in the old days. It was different from U.K.. In the Victorian era, there were Victorian rubbish dumps at outskirt of the towns. But in Hong Kong were different, Governament built several huge furnaces in order to burn out the rubbish. Government also built smaller furnaces at some larger villages.  Only the small villages have their rubbish dump near the village.  

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the extra information about the old bottles.

I'll enjoy seeing some of your other old Hong Kong bottles if you can upload a photo of them. (Here's how to upload a photo to the site: https://gwulo.com/node/2076)

We found a bit more information about early rubbish disposal, please see: https://gwulo.com/node/41231

Hi Bob,

Haven't seen you for ages! I am sorry to tell you that I lost your contact phone number. Last saturday (2/11/2019), I visited you with a marble bottle of Shek Chuen Aerated Water Company, but you were not at home, So I left a name-card for your neighbour to remind you, I wait for your reply, but I didn't receive your reply uptil now. (5/11/2019). May be , you were out of Hong Kong or on vacation somewhere ! 

Anyway, if  you see this message, would you please reply me as soon as possible. I would like to discuss "The Hong Kong Drinks In The Old Days" with you.  Bye!


Best Regards


Hi Simon, 

My research landed me on this website. And i also collect ginger beer stoneware bottles here in New Zealand. The A.S. Watson ginger beer bottle took my attention in particular because it also has the inscription o Manila which is my heritage since moving to New Zealand when I was younger. I vouched to search and hoping I could have one of this to my collection of which to celebrate my heritage's history. 
you also mentioned being a collector for 30 years and i am really keen to ask some help how or if by any chance you have come across this item and how if possible I could have a piece of this. It is somewhat beating the impossibility but hoping there would be a chance. 
hope to hear it from you soon Simon. Thank you

Hi antique bottle collectors, 

I would like to introduce the famous and largest aerated water company in Hong Kong that is Watson's company (ex name Hong Kong Dispansary) It was established in 1841 just a few months after the set up of Hong Kong Colony.  In the early 1900, Watson's manufactured and produced the Stoneware ginger beer in Hong Kong. The bottles was made in UK .

Hi Bottlenose,

I am so happy to know you on Gwulo website. I just found your message here today because I seldom read or watch other net except on eBay.  I am doing some research on Hong Kong Aerated water for almost 30 years.  Watson's company was established  in Hong Kong since 1841, It was originately found in Canton, China in 1828, was called Canton Clinic / Canton Dispansary.  It also sold aereated water in 1830 when the revenue was not good. I think the stoneware ginger beer was popularily sold in public in early 1900's. The earthern ware bottles were made from UK.   If you don't mind, you can contact me directly and discuss this topic  through my email address:  bottlemania@netvigator.com  Waiting for you!    Bye !


Best Regards