Before County Londonderry was called that it was known as County Coleraine, so it’s namesake town of almost 25,000 people has always been a prominent place within the North West.

Situated on the River Bann it rose during Victorian times to be an important port town being only 5 miles along the river to Lough Foyle. Noted for it Linens, Salmon & Whiskey.

In 1861 there where at least 7 Spirit Dealers/Merchants and 15 Pubs & 7 Hotels in town jumping in 1880 to 30 & 18 respectively. So it’s no surprise that there are Bottles and flagons out there, though at this point it’s anyone guess how many.


Patrick McLaughlin listed in 1901 having premises in the Waterside and the Diamond, this particular flagon is a late one probably 1900/10.

A 1 Gallon version with P McLaughlin, a bit older probably 1885ish

John McLaughlin listed in 1852 at Preaching House Lane (now Church Street), 1901 as having premises at Brook Street and ceased trading by 1918. Going by the crudeness of the letters and the darkness of the glaze I date this to 1880s.

Hamiton Todd & Co

Listed in 1907 BSD at premises on Circular road as a Mineral Water Manufacturer, seemingly taking over James Birch’s Mineral Water manufactory after his death in 1905.

It seems he was in business right up until his death in 1951 at which point Lyle & Kinahan of Belfast bought the business and ran it as a subsidiary under the original name.

Coleraine - Hamilton Todd & Co.jpg

Stoneware bottle with Coleraine Coat of Arms, no idea at present where Brookfield Works are. My hypothesis is that their location at Circular Road looks out onto a small Brook and perhaps they named their factory after such. This is most likely the first style of bottle they used as stoneware would have been the go to medium of aerated waters up until about 1920, it’s a swing stopper closure and would have had a ceramic lid no doubt with their name printed on.


They would have slowly started moving to glass as it became cheaper and I would say this bottle existed alongside the stoneware for a short period. Dates to 1910

Crown capped bottle, still an early bottle as it is an applied lip. 1920’s


I, along with a few others had assumed that this pictorial was of a dog, a greyhound or similar. With this sharp embossing however it’s clear to see that this is in fact a Fox with its bushy tail. Further supported as Todd is derived from the old english word Tod which translates as Fox and as such appears on various Todd coat of Arms.

This a much later machine-made bottle, with manufacturing processes being refined, more elaborate designs could be moulded. 1940’s


Another version with the Hamilton Todd coat of arms.


As you can see evidence of the take over of Lyle & Kinahan, 1951 onwards

Anderson & Stewart

Originally two separate address’ on Church Street, Hugh Anderson in 17a & John Stewart in 17b.

Hugh inherited the business in 1871 from his uncle Alexander who operated as a General Merchant. It’s unclear to me if John Stewart was in business at 17b or simply living there, either way the 2 address’ became one in 1874 and thus the Anderson & Stewart Spirit Merchants was born.

Hugh died in 1899 leaving John the business, it’s unclear when John passed away but the business operated until the 1960’s.


For the brief period of 3 years that Hugh ran his own business he dabbled in Spirits and this is where we get this behemoth 3 1/2 Gallon Flagon from. A slab seal impressed with H.Anderson/ Coleraine. Notice how the potter failed to cut of a few of the crescents, it’s little things like this that make me like collecting.


In original dirt covered wicker basket, all 145 years worth, this was bought at an auction in Rasharkin June 2017 and by all accounts had been sitting in a corner of a shed untouched for 50 years.


Rather less impressive this machine-made beer bottle from the 1950’s, would have had a paper label and probably a pictorial cap.

I will update this blog as I find more bottles from these main companies and may even do a part 2 as more items turn up.




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Wide mouth milk bottles – Ulster, IrelandĀ 

My fledgling wide mouth milk bottle collection. I hadn’t really intended to collect them but I’ve picked them up here and there over the past year or so and relatively cheaply too. All where around the 5 buck mark.

L to R;

  • B.Hazelton – Dungannon, Pyro label.
  • Dhu Varren Dairy (DVD) – Portrush.
  • Killyman Dairy – Moy.
  • Porters Glenside Dairyc – Hannahstown
  • Lowry – Belfast
  • S.J. Wright Deerpark Dairy – Belfast

Before foil caps where the fashion these where sealed with cardboard lids, some would use generic lids with advertising on or their own personalized ones. I have yet to see one with it’s corresponding lid.

The pyro label is a little faded in places but I rub some olive oil over it every now and again and it shines like new. I’ve seen people fill them with polystyrene balls and I have to say that it looks rather good, if I get anymore labelled ones I might do just that.

The lips on these bottles are very thick and they seem to survive very well, unlike later thinner glass milk bottles that can smash from being looked at with and angry scowl.

I do have a small collection of later milk bottles, they aren’t as pretty but are becoming very collectible in there own right. I’ve had a digger tell me that he used to kick them back in the whole in the 80’s and he is now visiting his old dig sites as people are begging him for them.

Who knows, I may keep them or I may not, if a good swap comesĀ along there gone.


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January Bootsale & Barn Finds

Some really fantastic stuff recently.

A lovely heavy bar serving tray for “The Belfast Mineral Water Co” This was actually from an ad on Gumtree, usually about once a year I find something worth the hassle.

Interestingly most trays of this era where made by J.A. campbell & co Belfast, so it’s nice to find one with another makers name on.

Up next a moderate condition bottle crate from IB Company, Belfast. IB standing for Irish Bottle. Not to be confused with IGB ( Irish Glass Bottlers) that where based at Ringsend, Dublin. 

Has had a bit of a clean, I know I know, they say not to clean anything when it comes to antiques but it needed it. It had 80 years sitting in an old mechanics garage and was covered in greasy dust.

The best for last, 1 Gallon Whiskey Flagon from Watt & Co Ltd Letterkenny. Harder to find than the Londonderry varity and such this has already gone to a new home. A bar owner/Collector in New York City, U.S.A.

I didn’t mind letting it go, I do collect stoneware but only bottles and this is too big for the shelves anyway.

Bonus – This is some stuff that I’ve seen recently but havent bought

Nice chemist label from Coleraine, I think original bottle too.

Apparently fairly common down Dublin way, anti-curd mixture?

James Mulhern Enniskillin Soda Syphon. Missing top so I didn’t bother with a bid. Bottle to the right is an english codd, preston if your interested.

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Hunter’s Millers Limavady

This was a well earned find, I had to climb into and old abandoned, partially callapsed Railway station storeroom.

Then it was a case of crawling underneath a raised platform where, I no doubt 100+ years of rat activity was present. Worth it.

This Hessian sack dates to around the 50’s, more or less confirmed by a gentleman who worked there as a kid. He’s sure plastic didn’t appear till early 60’s.

It’s double sided but hell if I can make it out. Faded to time, this was the side that was facing the elements.

The Mill would have been located directly beside the Bakery at the corner of Market st. & Irish green st.

The Mill is no longer there replaced by a supermarket. The Bakery however is still there, curning out 100’s of pastries, buns, cakes and breads per day. They make a damn fine sandwhich too.

I have a plan to slightly mend this and get it framed, I have a feeling there aren’t too many of these left. I’ll get a pic up as and when it gets done.

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Kiker & Co Ltd – Mineral Water Manufacturers

Registered 1870 – 1942 Ogle Street Armagh

Starting at the bottom and going anti clockwise.

  • 1880’s Torpedo – Belfast.
  • 1920/30’s applied crown top – Armagh.
  • 1890’s Torpedo *with upright embossing which doesn’t make sense*) – Belfast.
  • 1940’s machine made blob top – Armagh.
  • 1910/20’s applied lip blob top – Armagh.

*I say the torpedo with upright embossing doesn’t make sense because these bottles are specifically designed to lay on their side to keep the corks moist and thus the writting should be oriontated as such like the 1st. Perhaps these went with stands as display peices for grocers windows.

Looks like in the later stages of the business they may have been going for a rebranding with the giant K. All speculation of course.

A few soda syphons. One with a pewter top embossed with Kirker Armagh and one with a bakelite top.

I’ve been told that their logo is a 5 sided Clover but I reckon it’s an apple flower as Armagh is known for apple growing and I recognise the shape as I had apple trees in our garden as a child.

I’ve posted this before when I got it but here it is again. Perfect condition, I’m still very pleased with it.

Bonus – Images taken from The Irish Antique Bottle Collectors Club on facebook.

Credit: Ronan Hughes FB

Apparently this completes the syphon collection. 

Bonus Bonus – Not mine, just some images I’ve collected from t’internet.

Paper Show Card 1901

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December Bootsales & Barn finds

Bootsale – Self explanitory

Barn find – both made in Ireland. I think the bottle is a hair product similar to Brylcreem. Bo-Peep match boxes where a suprise find inside an old tin.

Bootsale – little green poison with a Chemists label drom Londonderry.

Barn find – still full if oil and covered in grease deposits. Rusty but should clean up nicely.

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Bootsale finds Ireland – Greysteel, Derry

Great bootsale today, the sun shined bright and place was 75% full today, around 100 cars.

1st up is this

A large internal screw top dating to the 50’s for The Larne Mineral water Company. I really like these bottles due to the big sailing ship pictorial. I’ve had the smaller one for a while now and missed out on a blob too version on ebay a while back. Still a bit sour about that.

Still in the process of finding out if they did a Stoneware bottle.

Then after a walk around the same guy brought this out.

A Kirker & Co wooden bottle crate. It’s a small one, holds 12 glass bottles I think. They where based in Armagh and Belfast.

And on the bottom inside there are still remnants of neck labels. Cool, hey?

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