Whiskey Flasks, Historical Flasks or Figured Flasks are the rarest and most popular collectible bottles among collectors of bottles.
Early history of American Flasks can be traced to the Pitkin Glasshouse in Connecticut around 1815 and then spread all around the country. Flasks were designed with the intent to be refilled.
Antique Hip Flasks, were made of glass and metals (particularly silver), are now popular with collector's. A hip flask is a thin flask for holding liquor. Its size and shape make them easily fit into a mans hip pocket and generally liquid is drunk directly from the flask.
Many whiskey flask has relief's of famous or important people such as George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Benjamin Franklin and are called Historical Whiskey Flasks. Flask bearing the
embossed pictures of horse drawn trains reflect the pride Americans took in their fast developing transportation system in the early 1800s. Sailing ships and other symbols of
American prosperity are found on other historical flask. Politicians embossed their bust on the side of whiskey flask. These flask were not just advertising, they were sometimes distributed among would be voters at election time in the hope that they would make them vote the right way. Other bottles were decorated with patriotic symbols such as the American eagle. The rarest is the "Jared Spencer Bottle", an amber bottle embossed with a medallion bearing the likeness of the maker himself, Jared Spencer.
1840s Scroll Shaped Whiskey Flask
Eagle Historical Whiskey Flasks
Color is very important for flasks, with aqua's being the most common and cobalt blue the rarest. Some whiskey flask had handles to facilitate drinking straight from the bottle, a widespread custom in the 1800s. Most of these early whiskey flask had the distillers name embossed on the glass, some did not. Saloons sometimes gave away samples in souvenir bottles with interesting shapes such as pigs and pistols that only held a few ounces of liquor. Such oddly shaped bottles are called
figural. Larger size figural bottles held 6 or more ounces.