7. How were Apollinaris stoneware bottles made?

Initially we sought the views of a local potter, John Hedges13 in Newbury, Berkshire to find out how they might have been made. He gave his opinion on the small selection of whole bottles we had at the time, which was that they had been slab-made longitudinally in two halves by hand, which were later pressed together. The join was hand-smoothed externally, but internally by means of a liquid clay finish swilled inside which often hid the join. Later on when we had read more widely, we realised that before around 1879 bottles were hand-thrown and made on a potter’s wheel, using a kick-wheel and was part of the test before a man could qualify as a Master Craftsman.10 After 1879 bottles may have been made as John had suggested as an interim measure, for apparently this was when the cylindrical bottle press was introduced, powered by hand, invented to push up production levels due to the competitive output of lighter weight glass bottles14 which for the same capacity were usually half the weight. We thought that some of our sherds and bottles without a visually obvious join line might have been made later and in a bottle press. The whole progression is still unclear.