Glass clorox bottle

Glass clorox bottle DEFAULT

Clorox Bottles: A Key to Their Indetification and Date of Manufacture

Linda C. Sandelin
Associate State Archaeologist
June 11, 1998

This paper was written to be used by foresters and other resource professionals as part of CAL FIRE's Archaeological Training Program. Information on the dating of Clorox bottles may prove to be a valuable tool during the evaluation of historical sites since these items are frequently found in historic trash dumps. These bottles have distinctive markings allowing for a precise way to date the bottle; therefore one can fairly accurately date a site containing Clorox bottles. Information on dates and characteristics about Clorox Bottles was obtained for this paper from communication with The Clorox Company.

Established in Oakland, California, the Electro-Alkaline Company in 1913 began manufacturing liquid bleach for industrial purposes in 5-gallon crockery containers. The label with the diamond shaped design and word "Clorox" in the center originated at this time. Clorox bleach was used primarily in Oakland's laundries, breweries, walnut processing sheds, and local municipal water companies. These five-gallon containers were the company's only form of manufacture until 1918 when, in order to save the company from foreclosure, Electro-Alkaline expanded into the individual household market by manufacturing 15-ounce amber glass "pint" containers with rubber stoppers. This new household version quickly gained popularity and the company distributed their product throughout the country. From 1918 through 1928 the amber glass containers were used by many other companies, which bottled a variety of liquid products. Therefore, unless the paper label is on the bottle or the stopper that has the Clorox name on it is still attached, one can not determine if it is indeed a Clorox bottle.

In 1928 the company went public and became the Clorox Chemical Company. From 1929 on, "Clorox" glass bottles with rubber stoppers became distinguishable by numerous characteristics. From 1929 through 1930 the Clorox diamond trademark was found on the bottom of the bottle. The rubber stoppers had the word "Clorox" on the top. In 1931, "Clorox" was added in solid lettering to the neck and shoulder and in 1932 to the heel as well. Starting in 1933 the contents were identified and four years later a fill line was included under the content identification. The neck area was widened to 3" circumference in 1938. The following year saw the advent of their half-gallon jug with a finger-ring. A major bottle design change occurred in 1940 when the threaded neck appeared and screw caps replaced rubber stoppers. No other changes occurred to the bottles over the next five years. A grained texture was included on the shoulder and heel in 1945. The one-gallon container with a finger ring handle was introduced during this time. In 1951 outline lettering replaced the solid lettering which had been used for twenty years. The grained texture extended down the label panel. In 1955 the raised fill line replaced the side content identification. A two-fingered handle replaced the finger-ring for both the gallon and half-gallon bottles. In 1958 the grained texture was removed from the side of the label panel and remained only on the shoulder and heel. In 1959 the neck area on pints and quarts became more streamlined and bulb shaped: The four-finger handle on gallon and half-gallon jugs made its debut. Conversion to white, polyethylene plastic bottles began in 1960 and completely phased out glass Clorox bottles by 1962.

Reference: Letter report to CAL FIRE Archaeologist Linda Sandelin from Kedron C. Miller, Product Specialist, Clorox Company 5/20/98, on file at the CAL FIRE Archaeology Office, Fresno

  • 1932: Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.
  • 1937: Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just under ounce identification. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.

  • 1938-39: Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just below ounce identification. Neck area widens to 3-4/16" around. Rubber stoppers used to seal opening.

  • 1940-44: Threaded neck appears, used with screw on lid. Other characteristics same as 1938-39 (Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel, fill line just under ounce identification. Neck area 3-4/16" around.

  • 1945-1950: A grained texture was added on shoulder and heel. Fill line above ounce identification. All other characteristics same as 1940-44 (Solid lettering on neck, shoulder and heel. Neck area 3-4/16" around.)

  • 1951-1954: Outline lettering replaces solid lettering; grained texture on shoulder, heel and extending down label panel, fill line does not show ounce identification. Threaded neck.

  • 1951-1955 Finger ring handle on one-gallon bottle.


Clorox Amber Sea Glass Base Segment

"The switch to using plastic began in 1960..."

The company initially began commercial production of industrial-strength bleach distributed in five-gallon crockery jugs. Beginning in 1918 and through 1928 Clorox began selling to American households in pint-sized amber glass bottles. Because these bottles were also made for distribution by other companies there were no identifying markings to indicate it was a Clorox bottle. This can be useful dating information if you happen across this type of bottle top or bottom.

By 1929 Clorox began distributing their bleach in bottles specifically made for them with the Clorox brand name embossed on the side and the trademark debossed on the bottle base. The approximate dating of these bottles can be determined by various changes and additions to the design, size and information embossed on them.

Between 1929 and 1940 the tops of the various sized Clorox bottles had rubber stopper closures. Beginning in 1940 the company began using bottles with screw tops. The switch to using plastic began in 1960 with 1962 being the last year Clorox was sold using amber glass.

As for dating the Clorox shard featured here, notice that the trademark is the only imprint found on the bottom. Since later bottles included information such as the bottle maker's mark and the Reg US Pat Off marks (see photo below) we can conclude this shard belonged to a pint bottle from the early 1930s.

Due to the magnitude of Clorox bleach sales in the US, finding amber colored sea glass from this source will be fairly common. It does become more unique when you can locate a shard that has all or part or the Clorox trademark as this definitely identifies your find. And because Clorox stopped distributing the bleach in glass in 1962 you are assured that your sea glass specimen is at least over 50 years old!


Clorox Amber Sea Glass, Still Life Photo

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Vintage Clorox Bleach Quart Glass Bottle 1951-1954 Amber Brown Original Cap

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Seller:bvduvall1313✉️(1,362)100%, Location:Sussex, New Jersey, Ships to: US & many other countries, Item:202887769873Vintage Clorox Bleach Quart Glass Bottle 1951-1954 Amber Brown Original Cap. This is a 1 quart vintage brown or Amber bottle of Clorox with the original Please see pictures for details. I included a picture of the bottom. The bottle may need a little more cleaning as most of my stuff has been out in the barn for quite some time. Thank you for taking the time to look at my item.Condition:Used, All returns accepted:ReturnsNotAccepted, Color:Brown, Volume:Quart

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Vintage Bottle Guide

Collector’s Tips

From the days of the crockery jug until 1940, cork-style rubber stoppers were used on the standard Clorox bleach amber glass bottles. In 1940, a screw cap was introduced, and a modern adaptation of that top is still used today. These more modern screw cap bottles can be easily identified by their threaded necks as contrasted with the smooth finish, cork-style necks of the earlier Clorox bottles.

Height and content capacity is another way to determine the vintage of Clorox bottles. Until 1933, the Clorox “pint” contained 15 ounces and measured 7-10/16″ in height. In 1933, the 15 ounce “pint” became a true pint — 16 ounces — measuring 7-14/16″ in height. Through the years, the quart bottle also experienced various changes in height and width, though it was always contained 32 ounces.

The Earliest Bottles

In 1913, Clorox liquid bleach was initially offered in five-gallon crockery jugs since it was originally used exclusively by industrial concerns, such as laundries, breweries, walnut bleachers and municipal water companies. This product was delivered by horse and wagon to various customers in San Francisco Bay Area for use as a bleach, stain remover, deodorant and disinfectant.

Five years later, in 1918, Clorox bleach was introduced into American households in 15-ounce amber glass “pint” bottles by the Electro-Alkaline Co., forerunner of The Clorox Company. From 1918 through 1928, these same “pint” containers were also used by other companies to bottle a variety of liquid products. Consequently, these stock bottles had no markings of any kind. Since millions of these containers were used, it is virtually impossible — if the label is missing — to tell which of these bottles contained Clorox and which contained other products.

Glass bottles used by The Clorox Company after 1928 can be distinguished by various characteristics. The following tips and illustrations point out variations in style, markings, lettering, glass texture and handles, and together serve as a guide in determining the approximate vintage of the early Clorox bottles.

Cork Top Bottles


Clorox diamond trademark on bottom.


Solid lettering on neck and shoulder.


Additional solid lettering on shoulder and heel.


Content identification added. Additional solid lettering on shoulder and heel.


Section of fill line raised under content identification.


Neck area widens to 3-4/16″ around.


Neck style changes. Introduction of half-gallon size with finger ring handle.

Screw-top Bottles

Beginning in 1940 The Clorox Company began making Clorox bottles with threaded necks for screw tops, replacing the rubber stopper cork tops of the earlier bottles.

Until 1951, the lettering on Clorox bottles continued to be raised and solid. Beginning in 1951 the lettering on Clorox bottles changes to outline.

1940-1942 Pint, Quart and Half Gallon Bottles

Content identification moves to side. Threaded neck appears. Pint and quart size mouths measure 2-7/16″ around.

1958-1959 Pint and Quart Bottles

Grained texture on shoulder and heel only. Neck style changes.

Odds and Ends

Through the years, other styles of Clorox bleach bottles were considered by The Clorox Company. None of these ever reached full national distribution because they failed to meet Clorox’s exacting packaging standards.

However, some were distributed as test market or sample bottles. Consequently, collectors may occasionally come across a Clorox bottle not included in this guide.

Two of the most common odd Clorox bottles are the 1960 half-pint bottle and the 1957 quart bottle.

1960 half-pint

1957 quart


Clorox bottle glass

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