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Since ancient times, people and cultures have been using ink for the purpose of writing, drawing and coloring. Some inks can be traced as far back at the 12th Century BC in China, and India ink dates back as far as the 4th Century BC. Most inks like India ink and other ink recipes were named for the place where we first found them used, such as Greek ink, Roman ink and Egyptian ink. With so much writing and so much ink coming from different places, of course someone had to come up with a vessel to store in, hence an ink bottle.
Glass ink bottles have been around since 1600ís and have come in many different shapes, sizes and colors; making vintage ink bottle collecting both interesting and fun. Vintage ink bottle shapes include the teapot, pyramid, figural and turtle shapes, but the most common shape is the cone shape. Clear glass and aqua colored ink bottles are the most common and easiest to find and subsequently worth the least amount of money. Vintage ink bottles in yellow, purple or black glass are harder to find and therefore more valuable to the ink bottle collector.
Like most antiques and collectibles, the more original and clean the ink bottle is, the more valuable it becomes. Unfortunately, glass bottles of any kind have a tendency to stain because of water or moisture and cleaning them is not an easy task. Some people use a soft brush; others use Efferdent and some use harsher chemicals to clean the vintage bottles, but in most cases these measures are not enough. Collectors sometimes take vintage and antique bottles to a professional for cleaning. Professional cleaners use machines that tumble the bottles in a mixture of solvent and copper shot or pieces of copper wire.