The area of flasks is, perhaps, the most popular next to bitters bottles. As a result, it can also be a very expensive area to collect in. There is no doubt that a vast array of beautiful creations can be found within this group. It is also an area that allows both beginners and more seasoned collectors the chance to obtain some truly beautiful examples of the glass blowers art.
The most popular era is the early 1800's, and the Americans were the craftsmen. The Americans produced an amazing variety of flasks during the first sixty years of the 19th century, more so then any other country in the world. These early flasks are divide into two main groups, pictorial and historical. Historical flask depict a scene or person of historical significance, while pictorial flasks were generally decorative in nature. The flask on the left top is pictorial, showing an urn on one side and a cornucopia on the other. This particular pictorial was produced in a number of variations and in a pint and 1/2 pint size. The scroll flasks are another example of pictorial or decorative flask. The historical flasks contained images of Franklin, Washington, the eagle, the railroad and a host of other people and symbols. Generally flasks came in pint and 1/2 pint sizes, although large sizes are avaiable. The beautiful calabash flasks, ( pictured on the right ) tend to be larger in size. This area is so extensive that it is not reasonable for me to explore it fully in this space. A better understanding will be acheived through the use of pictures, which I hope to start adding soon. Also, if you decide to enter this particular area of flask collecting you would be well advised to keep an eye out for the book "American bottle and flasks and their ancestry" by Helen McKearin, the definitive book on the subject.
Altough the Americans produced wonderful and varied flasks, the collector shouldn't forget the efforts of the rest of the world. Many countries produced unique and beautiful flasks in various medium. Britian excelled in clay flasks, with many outstanding results. As well, don't ignore the flasks that were made after boom of the early 1800's. A nice collection of flasks can be made of the plainer flasks that bear makers names and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. These bottles are in the price range of most collectors and are often found in local digs. Not as flashy as their early cousins, they have their own appeal and beauty. They also tend to be more local in nature then the early bottles, and can truly reflect an area's history.