Relics of a bygone era: beer, milk, or medicine


Antique bottle collection in the window on a blustery day.

These bottles are usually found buried, and are not scrubbed, in order to preserve the natural patena of aging.

The little milk bottle (clear, half pint) contains my old button collection. Most of these have been found in ruins and old mine sites.

The long-necked dark-colored bottle probably contained medicine such as laudnum; beer bottle on the left.

Common, everyday items like these can tell us so much about the people who made and used them.

Placed top ten in
April Showers Challenge
on Digital Art Compilations

Odd One Out
Complex Simplicity
Nevada: The Silver State
Canon 350d EOS
Canon 18-55mm
Corel PhotoImpact x3

Desaturated and color-balance adjusted

Original full-color image


glass, purple, button, beer, antique, bottles, clear, medicine, containers, collection, relic, milk bottle

Great Basin Life exists … between … high desert expanses and majestic mountain wilderness.

Daily, I watch the winds of change sweeping away what remains of our western culture and heritage, and the land that has produced them.

My mission is to preserve as much as I can, of that which will soon vanish, through my photography.

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  • doubleheader
    doubleheaderover 4 years ago

    This post work makes them look even more aged..No seam marks on these I’ll bet. Well done Arla..

  • Thanks, Bill! I had thought to just convert this to BW, but when I saw the amber turning to purple, I just had to proceed in that direction. I wish they were that color.

    The medicine bottle is oldest of these three, and would date to the 1870-90’s; the beer bottle is newest, and not particularly valuable. The milk bottle may be my favorite, because of where it was found: on one of my granddad’s mining claims. It is only 50 -70 years old.

    The buttons are mostly of cellulose (the original plastic), but there are a few glass and wooden ones. Some are bone, and a few are metal. Buttons remain long after the garments have weathered away.

    My favorite “treasures” are the ones that I have found in Cherry Creek’s old Chinatown.

    Thanks for commenting. I realluy appreciate it.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Lynn Bawden
    Lynn Bawdenover 4 years ago

    Beautiful, Arla. Old bottles should definitely be photographed in color to show their beauty ~ Lynn

  • Thanks, Lynn. :D

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Enivea
    Eniveaover 4 years ago

    Fabulous presentation Arla! Again, you’re inspiring me to set up my collection of old bottles….

  • Thanks, Enivea! I didn’t arrange these or anything — they always sit on the windowsill, sunning. :)

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Karen Zimmerman
    Karen Zimmermanover 4 years ago

    I love this shot and the way you processed the colors. Thank you for all the history and stories you add to your images. It enriches them so much!

  • Thank you, Karen!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Martina Fagan
    Martina Faganover 4 years ago

    Gorgeous image

  • Thank you, Tina!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Thanks so much, Tina!!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Tania1403
    Tania1403over 4 years ago

    Looks great, and what better way to spend a day that is no good for the outdoors………..Stating indoors and creating a work of art! :-))

  • Thank you, Tania!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Lynn Bawden
    Lynn Bawdenover 4 years ago

    Congratulations, Arla~Lynn

  • WOW! Two in one day? Thanks VERY MUCH, Lynn!!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Rainer Muhrbeck
    Rainer Muhrbeckover 4 years ago


  • Thank you, Rainer!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • HannaAschenbach
    HannaAschenbachover 4 years ago

    I find this in the challenge, it is so real and calm….striking the colour.
    I love your portfolio!

  • Thank you so very much, Hanna!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • pat gamwell
    pat gamwellabout 4 years ago
  • Thank you so much, Pat!!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

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