For the last few years, matt green kidney shaped water bottles have been appearing with some regularity on the collectors’ market. They are all marked ML CT and dated to World War II and beyond that we have all been scratching our heads trying to work out where they were manufactured. They are certainly similar to Indian produced bottles, but the manufacturer has remained a mystery until recently when my old friend Michael Skriletz managed to crack the riddle and prove they are South African in origin. For full details on his research, please check out his post on the Warrelics forum here.
The bottle itself is of the standard kidney shape, but rather than the shiny green enamel of British made bottles, the outside of this example is painted a matt olive green:
The spout of the bottle has a distinct cone shape to it, and a wire loop is fixed at its base to allow a string for the cork to be tied on:
The cork itself is unusual as it has a pressed metal cap attached to the top of the cork (this example has suffered a little over the years):
The bottles have a distinctive soldering seam up the rear:
The base of the bottle is stamped ML C.T. 1943:
Thanks to Michael’s research we now know that this is the maker’s stamp for Maythams Ltd, a subsidary of Metal Box Company which had two factories in South Africa, one at Johannesburg and another in Cape Town. This bottle is obviously from the latter as the letters CT would indicate Cape Town.
These bottles have been a mystery for years so it is nice to finally have their origins confirmed and this bottle will be going into my South African made 37 pattern water bottle cradle to add another piece to that particular puzzle!