12. The history of stoneware bottle-making in Germany

The variety of different types of German stoneware vessels made for holding and transporting liquids was extremely wide. Early bottles were pot-bellied in shape, but from about 1803 onwards became more cylindrical11 although Brinkmann described others which were square and what he called ‘bulbous square.’20 He also stated that mineral water from a great number of different local springs, was the most common content.15 Initially it was considered beneficial to health to bathe in it. Then the drinking of spa water medicinally became popular in the 18th and 19th century as the classic remedy for numerous illnesses, including problems of chronic inflammation,10 digestion, kidneys, liver, respiratory problems, rickets, arthritis, diabetes, anaemia and so on.11

Moving away from the long-standing tradition of home production, during the process of commercialisation, the first bottle-making factory was founded in the Westerwald between 1700 and 1750.11 This was necessitated in part by demand, although they were still made by hand. Mineral water was transported to almost all German towns and then exported to other European countries, including Britain and Russia (apparently the Czar of Russia required a personal delivery) and eventually as far away as Africa, America and the East Indies.11