Monday, July 18, 2011

French Demijohns and Carboys

I love the color of old bottles and I love the texture and color of baskets, so of course I absolutely love French Demijohns and Carboys

Even if you don't immediately recognize the name demijohn or carboy, I'm sure you've seen them.  The names are typically used interchangeably. If you look at home design and decorating magazines and books, I'm sure you've seen them a lot lately.  They are apparently very fashionable and sought after.

By definition, a demijohn is a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork or burlap. Recorded history dates them to the 1700's. During this time period products were sold in bulk (as opposed to individual packaging) and store merchants measured out  quantities being purchased from these large containers. Demijohns were used for the storage of liquids such and wine and other spirits, olive oil, etc. Carboys were also large bottles encased in wicker  but were typically used to store large quantities of strong chemicals, mostly acids such as sulfuric, nitric and hydrochloric acids. Today, manufacturers still use the term carboy for large plastic acid containers. 

Demijohns are often quite large, sometimes up to 10 gallons in capacity. Most of the bottles were hand blown and some have pontiled bottoms. Common colors are olive green and aqua, while amber is apparently rare and cobalt blue the rarest color for demijohns. I've also seen a few grey and clear ones but perhaps they are new reproductions.
I've collected wicker encased demijohns for several years and love them.  They add warmth, texture and interest to any area. I move them around the house but typically keep them in a small bar area.

Three older demijohns, glass ice bucket filled with wine corks and antler wine stoppers.

Demijohn, wicker covered ice bucket and carafe, horn cups and vintage wood and horn corkscrews. These are some of my favorite textures together. 

Demijohn filled with wine corks. Looks like we need to work harder to fill this bottle!

I've been adding a lot of French bleu to my great room and am looking for a few aqua blue demijohns. I've found several on Ebay, Etsy and other ecommerce stores.  Hmmm, maybe some day. Right now though they are quite expensive and I don't know what they should cost.

SO today, one of my projects is RESEARCH.  Before I buy anything, I like to know WHAT I'm buying. I'm not an expert on bottles so I need to research "what to look for" before buying.  How do I know if I'm buying a new or old bottle?  Usually color, shape, glass bubbles, etc. are indicators of age.  I'll let you know what I find out.  We can learn together.

Take care and I'll "see" you tomorrow.

Au revoir, Mitty

1 comment:

  1. I love these! I had heard of demijohns but not carboys so I've learnt something today. x Sharon