Home » Period/Culture » Modern » Mystery Object – Jeff’s leather bottle

Mystery Object – Jeff’s leather bottle

If you were following the Costrels thread, you probably saw Jeff’s comment down the page. Following some correspondence, Jeff to sent me these photos of his leather bottle.

Leather bottle - front view

Leather bottle - side view

Leather bottle - other side

Jeff notes in his email:

“I’ve attached some pictures with the bottle next to a 12″ ruler. After further research my best guess at this point is an early wood canteen or bottle covered with leather. I don’t know enough at this point to try to date it or where guess where it originates from.”

At a really rough estimate, the volume is 2.5L/0.5 gallon. I’m making stuff up here, but by the way the loops are done, the work appears to be that of a saddler, I have no idea to the origin or age of the item. Does anybody else have any information? We’re looking for something a bit firmer than my supposition.

Thanks to Jeff Steere for his kind permission to publish his photos here.

I saw this glass example in the National Gallery of Victoria recently and was struck by the similarity in the shape. Height is about 250mm, it’s late seventeenth century although the shapes all hung around for hundreds of years.


English standing flask, 1688. NGV D176-1973

4 thoughts on “Mystery Object – Jeff’s leather bottle

  1. (1)I do not see any stitching so assume it is covered with leather, but do not see how the cover is attached!?
    (2)Is this leather over leather or over wood?
    (3)The strap loops are an odd shape, and do not see why they should be. Are the loops leather or wood?
    (4) I would say glue has been used, but I do not see anyone using hide glue on a water container. The missing loop tends to support a glue theory!?
    (5) The neck looks offset?
    No idea at this stage, but it does seem to echo some stoneware/pottery ones I have seen. I have read that this often happened, the copying of a water vessel in a different medium.
    Very interesting, and many thanks for these photos and your notification. Very much appreciated.
    Regards, Le Loup.

    • The way the “foot” is done reminds me of the earthenware maniform costrels of the early 17th century from near London, but the loops don’t fit that. The loops appear to have been done as paired slits in the leather and the loop stretched away from what I’m assuming is a woodern core.

  2. It does look like it gets its shape from a outer wood ring. There are no seams that are visable either from wrapping or stitching. From the location of the leather loops, it appears that it could have been slung over the shoulder with a strap or as the ware would indicate on one side straped onto something for transport. Any more ideas on where this might have been made and age would be appreciated.

    • Based on this picture and a few others I’ve seen like it, I think it’s a German-style leather flask, the design seems to be a simple version of those from the Rhineland and Tyrol region. It could also have been made in the US by German immigrants. I couldn’t put a good date on it, but it may be late ninteenth century, possibly earlier.


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