Norfolk, UK - A rare 19th century 'Hamilton' stoneware torpedo, egg or bomb bottle impressed 'St Ives soda water and lemonade manufactory' one side and 'Stockers superior effervescing gingerade' on the other, 9ins long, sold for £1,300 and was top lot at Gaze's rural and domestic bygones sale on Saturday.
Torpedo or egg bottles were made from glass or stoneware in the early decades of the 19th century by companies in London, St. Ives, Chesterfield, Sheffield and other towns. They were so-named in the 1960s by bottle collectors after William Francis Hamilton, who was granted patents in 1809 and 1814 for ovate bottles. The shape meant the bottle had to be laid on its side which kept the cork wet and swelled and prevented loss of carbon dioxide in the drink. However it is now generally accepted that Johann Jaocb Schweppe, who had started selling soda water in Geneva and moved to London in 1792,was first to use egg or torpedo bottles of glazed earthenware or stoneware - which now are exceedingly rare with less than a half dozen known to be in existence. Plain glass torpedoes are quite common but cobalt blue, amber and emerald green are rare.
Two traps were next highest at the auction - a bear or lion trap at £600 and a Burgess hare trap at £800, a vintage zinc Cornish model boat hull fetched £380, a collared gryphon with ball and claw feet made £240, Colman mustard enamel signs £200 (a historic local Norwich firm whose days in Norwich seem to be numbered), seed drills £280, a copper coper £240, a fan £220 and a dog spike £260.
There were 721 lots in the sale with two auctioneers working simultaneously. Next up for Gaze is modern design on 11 November.
Salvo Directory 09 Aug 2005
Story Type: Auction Report