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A patent method of sealing the bottle-neck, while enabling re-use

Bottle (right) kindly donated to "The Tilbury Magazine"
by David Tilbury of Oregon, USA


This type of bottle is named after the English inventor and patentee Hiram Codd who was a salesman for a manufacturer of bottle corks.

In 1872 he patented a bottle for use in the aerated water trade (lemonade, soda water, ginger beer, etc.); the bottle was unique in the simple fact that it would never need to have a cork inserted to form the closure, because it had trapped in its neck a glass ball or marble which could not leave the neck chamber, or perish. This allowed the bottle to be used for thousands of times without the expenditure of a cork.

The bottle was filled upside down under gas pressure and the marble was forced into the lip of the bottle meeting an India-rubber washer retained in a groove, with the marble being forced against the washer to form a perfect air tight seal.

Some unopened examples survive today nearly 100 years after they were filled.

Although Codd had the original patent his design was copied by many bottle manufacturers. They were produced in their millions in a variety of colours and sizes, and were still in use some 60 years after their invention.

This bottle was manufactured by Kilner Bros. of Conisborough, Yorkshire, UK. Unlike many Codd bottles, it does not have a patent number so cannot be accurately dated. It is in very good condition and could have been made around 1900 ???

Many of the bottles produced were never returned for re-use but smashed by small boys to get at the marble!


At the moment little is known of the 'Tilbury' company making fizzy drinks in Peterborough, except that two descendants of the Gedney Hill, Lincolnshire, Tilburys, gave their occupation as Mineral water manufacturer in the 1901 census for St. John Baptist Peterborough Within.

Like Tilbury cheese, shoes, gin, tobacco, Pilsener etc, it may additionally have been a trade name adopted because of its association with quality!!

The Tilburys of Gedney Hill

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