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The Wine Bottle is an English Invention

In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the standard method for the storage and transport of wine was the clay amphora. It was from the Gauls (who inhabited modern day France) that the Romans then adopted the use of wooden barrels in the first century AD. The Roman writer Pliny actually credits the Celtic tribes in the Alpine valleys of modern day Switzerland with their introduction, but it was mainly from the Gauls that the Romans adopted their use.

Up until the 17th century, wine would have been served straight from these wooden barrels, for immediate consumption in open decanters. The first bottles with a cork stopper to appear on the scene in Europe in the late 1500s would have been made out of pottery or ceramic. Of course that glass bottles had been around for centuries, but these glass bottles were fragile and expensive.

It was an Englishman who was responsible for the introduction of the strong and inexpensive glass wine bottle we know today. In 1632, Kenelm Dilgby presented a new way of making glass in which a higher proportion of sand to lime and potash was used, and in which the mixture was heated to a higher temperature than was usual at the time. He did this by including a wind tunnel in a coal, rather than wood, furnace.

These bottles, which were stronger than any other bottles at the time and had a translucent green or brown colour, came to be known as “English Bottles” and quickly spread throughout Europe. Digby received a patent for his invention in 1662, making wine bottles an English invention.

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