specialising in South Australian antique bottles







articles page

If you have an article you would like to share with other people, please email me here.


This article compressed from the book ‘The Adelaide Bottle Co.Pty.LTD-The first 80 years 1897-1977 written by F.B.Reed.



wanted to buy...

Always looking for bottles from South Australian companies, prefer items to be clean and with no damage









the Adelaide bottle co operative company ltd

When companies hired out bottles rather than selling them to customers, there was no way they could prevent refilling of these bottles by other factories until the inception of trademarks or property clauses. The trademark became an easy way of identifying their property and many companies began using trademarks. In Queensland the Brisbane bottle exchange used binoculars, in Western Australia it was horse shoe and beer barrel trademarks while others included maps of Tasmania and the spade within Victoria. In South Australia that trade mark was and still is the pickaxe.

The Adelaide bottle cooperative society was formed in 1897 when a number of brewers, producers and aerated water manufactures grouped together for better buying power of new and secondhand bottles and therefore share the associated costs. When propriety branded bottles emerged in the early 1900’s the Adelaide bottle cooperative society considered production of their own branded bottles.

In 1908 the society registered the Pickaxe trademark and its earliest trademark bottles were secondhand ring seal champagne type bottles that had the pickaxe trademark sandblasted or etched onto them and were introduced around 1910. In 1912 the Society changed its name to the Adelaide Bottle Company Pty and to protect their interests had bottles made with both society and company embossing and were used during the transition period from 1912-13.

Crown seal embossed bottles were used from 1912 and some sandblasted crown seals from 1914. Branding of spirit bottles also occurred in 1912 with the manufacturing of Gin bottles, while trademark whisky, claret and brandy were released in 1916 and featured Southwark (now Thebarton) or Kent town embossing reflecting the bottles place of manufacture. Interestingly Kent Town wines in green glass must have been made using the old molds as no wines were manufactured before 1916 well after the move to premises at Southwark.

Other recorded embossing changes include:

1922 cork mouth bottles in amber for wine and clear for whiskey with small trademark not in circle near base.

1928 shouldered beers (lager) and amber beers small circled embossing near base.

1938 Amber cork top wines small circled embossing.

1942 Screw top wine small circled embossing.

1947 Clear glass screw top whiskey & clear glass beer small circled brand near base

1953 Similar style to today’s long necks with rounded bottom in amber and clear dates on base between 1953-55 PX on base for the next years after.

1954 Middies 10 oz bottles.

1958 13 oz tall older style beers used for Coopers.

1961 13 oz short style for Southwark and later Coopers brewery.

1962 6 & 2/3 oz bottles for stout Southwark brewery.

1963 Name change to The Adelaide Bottle Co.Pty.Ltd.

1968 Premium 13 oz pickaxes for Southwark brewery.

1968 To comply with Postal address the suburb name of Southwark is changed to Thebarton which includes the old area of Southwark.

1977 returnable 375 ml bottles are introduced, replacing the non refundable bottles.

This article compressed from the book ‘The Adelaide Bottle Co.Pty.LTD-The first 80 years 1897-1977 written by F.B.Reed.

Of interest to pickaxe collectors, the author states there is no significance to the placement of the hands on the pickaxe, but would occur do to the use of new molds where no instructions were given to the engraver as to the placements of the hands.