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