So you want to know about Viobots
The information on the following pages is reprinted from the new book written by Bob Linden. Nothing from these pages can be used without his permission.
That being said, here we go.
A common question is about the age of these bottles. The problem is, we just don't know when they actually started. A best guess is the 1930's for the most popular style, the LV's and SV's. LV stands for Large Violin and the SV is, of course, Small Violin.
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These are, at this time, the most popular of the violin shaped bottles. Most were produced in the United States by Clevenger Brothers and Dell. There is one uncommon type that was made in Japan and is signed that way. This type dates to 1989.
The question I am most asked is the age of the bottles. I love seeing the descriptions given to them on auctions. These bottles are all originals. They are not reproductions of anything, or copies of any other bottle. The same can be said for the SV's, but that's for later. Eight different LV type molds have been identified. Two of the molds appear to have been altered at least once, but in total, these eight molds were responsible for producing all the violin shaped bottles in this class.
LV's are not known to have come with any contents and were made only for decorative purposes. Many were sold as wall vases and, for this use, a variety of metal hanging devices were available. The Sears Roebuck catalogues of 1945 and 1947 offer them for sale as "wall vases" with the hanging bracket for the huge sum of $1.17.
The size required to be an LV is a height ranging from 9" - 10 1/4". Their greatest body width is from 4 1/2" - 4 3/8" and they are about 1 1/2" at their thickest near the base. They have "ladys leg" neck shapes and the eight sides of the bases tend to be parallel to the opposite side.
Six of the eight LV's are the result of a mouth blown, diagonal, two part mold process, with a hand tooled upper neck and lip. Some display evidence that their gaffers employed a punty rod in the finishing process. While this left a desirable pontil mark, it has misled collectors and dealers alike as to the LV bottle's true age. None are turn-of-the-century pieces. Two LV's are two part diagonal molds which exhibit the traits of machine manufacture. One has the word "Japan" embossed on the base. The other is a product of the "Old Jersey Glass Company", a Dell operation.
On the face of every LV there is an attempt to represent the strings, bridge, tail-piece and sound holes of a violin. A chin rest is not represented nor are tuning pegs. There is an obvious line crossing the strings about half way up from the bridge which has been identified as a mold maker's attempt to represent the end of the fingerboard on a real violin.
I will not attempt to distinguish between the eight varieties on these pages. If an in-depth study is wanted, I urge you to try to find a copy of Mr. Linden's book. (They are sold out.) The most noticeble difference, though, is that some have music on the back. None of these were made by Clevenger, and no other company made LV's without music bars.