Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

On and About Glass Bottles—the effects of technology on the evolution of bottle language

On and About Glass Bottles—the effects of technology on the evolution of bottle language

Kathryn Meloche

Glass bottles have long been an important source of packaging for products ranging from food and medicine to household and industrial chemicals. This paper explores the ways in which the wording on and around glass bottles has changed over time, including bottles, labels, tags, boxes and print advertisements. These changes result from the mechanization of carton technology, tin cans, and bottle production between 1879 and 1902 relating to the mass production and sale of branded food, medicine, personal and household products in America. The infiltration of brand names into the American vocabulary is discussed.

The advertisements and labels are classified according to Simpson’s (2001) discourse on the linguistic classification of advertisement. Most of the early ads and labels were found to be ‘reason ads’ with the number of ‘tickle ads’ increasing throughout the 20th century with the advances in print technology and ‘luxury’ product production.

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April 23, 2010 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. Just out of curiosity, from where are you drawing your sample of bottle language? How representative is it of the changes you are examining?

    Comment by H. Hatch | April 28, 2010 | Reply


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