The water bottle. All of us use it, whether it’s in the house or on a long car trip to visit family or friends, the water bottle has incorporated itself in the lives of so very many. Today we would specify the water bottle as a plastic container with a narrow neck to offer ease of drinking, but this was not always the case. For the purpose of this article, I would define the water bottle as a vessel for handheld water, as we explore the evolution of this vessel to arrive at the plastic container with all the narrow neck.
Perhaps one of the first water vessels were gourds. Gourds are a part of the cucurbitaceous family, which includes melons, pumpkins and cucumbers. Evidence of gourds being increased dates back to around 8000-9000 BC in Africa. These gourds are known as calabash or”bottle gourd” and if dried were capable of water storage or being used as a utensil or pipe.
Sometime around 5000 BC, the Chinese were among the first to find out how to successfully transport considerable amounts of water through the use of jars. While these are typically not the”handheld vessel for water” these big jars were typically taken by hand for long distances since the ancient china chariot did not appear until 1200 BC. Drinking of the water has been done via pouring into a pottery bowl or cup.
Moving forward to 3000 BC, a more practical method of transporting handheld water in a container was derived by the Ancient Assyrians. Although this method was initially utilized to create floatation devices, it wasn’t long after that water was held using this technique. The method of doing so was to use the bladder of an animal, commonly from a sheep or cow.
By 1500 BC, the first hollow glass container was produced by the Romans by covering a core of sand with molten glass. However, it was not until the first century BC, that glass blowing became more common use in creating vessels for water. Even so, at the moment, the glass was discoloured due to the sheer number of impurities when creating the glass that it wasn’t until the first century AD the glass blowers found ways to remove the impurities and make glass that was apparent and not discoloured. Today glass is still quite popular commercially, and additives are added to offer color in several glass products.
From there on, glass has become the principal material used for drinking vessels, until early to mid-1900s if canteens were utilized for the military, primarily constructed with steel or aluminium. These canteens were found to be poor in design and could easily leak when dented which was quite common in the military. These bottles were one of the first commercially used with screw caps rather or stoppers or corks.
This finally leads us to the plastic jar, being first manufactured for commercial use in 1947 and continues to dominate the preferred vessel for water, whether it be large or small.