The sale in New York featured six rare examples which each achieved impressive six-figure results.
Thomas Edison Battery Oil bottles are antique and vintage glass bottles originally used to contain battery oil produced by the Thomas Edison Manufacturing Company in New Jersey.
The bottles are cylindrical clear glass bottles, featuring the company name and details. Bottles manufactured before 1911 will feature a label that reads ‘Edison Manufacturing Company’, and those after 1911 will read ‘Thomas A. Edison Inc.’
Until 1915 the bottle were produced in the town of Orange, New Jersey, but a fire at the plant saw the operation moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Edison bottles will reflect this change in their labels.
Battery oil was used in conjunction with glass battery jars, which contained a battery surrounded by a conductive solution of either acid or copper sulphate. Battery oil was used to create a thin film of liquid on top of these solutions, to prevent them from evaporating. Thomas A. Edison Primary Batteries were widely used on railroads to energize track and signal circuits. The battery consisted of a glass jar 6" in diameter and 10" high. Each cell produced 0.8 volt. The elements had to be renewed at various times due to train density and other factors. The new elements consisted of zinc and lead plates, a can of caustic soda, and these small bottles of oil.
The earliest patent date is July 23, 1908
The batteries were predominantly used on the railways, to power track and signal circuits, and the vast majority of used Battery Oil bottles have been recovered by collectors from sites near railway tracks.
Value of Thomas Edison Battery Oil bottles
Although popular with collectors, the vast numbers of bottles available means that a good condition example can be found for $2 - $5. The most common are the post 1915 ‘Bloomfield’ bottles, but rarer ‘Orange’ bottle may fetch a slightly higher price due to their comparative rarity.
Often entire cases of unused bottles can be found for sale for around $200 - $300.
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