Early Whimsey Bottle by Matthias Buchinger
The photos of the bottle pictured here were taken by Alan Rogers, editor of Bottleship Magazine in England and member of the European Association of Ships in Bottles. Alan went to the small museum in Worcestershire and put the bottle on a windowsill to photograph it. Send email to Alan if you would like to know more about the Association.
The bottle is approximately eight inches high and is very dusty on the inside. It came in its own wooden box with an inscription which reads, "GENTLEMEN AND LADIES, Here is to be seen contained in a small glass a wonderful sight of miners drawing up with an engine at a Mill the like of which was never seen before."
The bottle's contents follow the pattern as described by Peter Huber in his monograph on mining bottles: on the lowest level, miners are digging the ore. On the next level up is a wheel used to draw the ore up from the mine. There is also a man sharpening a pole with an axe on the upper level. The small size of this bottle limits it to having only two levels.
Matthias Buchinger was born in Germany without hands or feet, having flipper arms and legs. He was only 29 inches tall. He was renowned as a calligrapher and was also a popular entertainer, juggling and performing magic. He went to England where he was known as Matthew and where he became quite famous. He was married at least twice and is known to have had several children. He died in England.
There is an inscription inside the bottle, pictured at the right, which reads: "October ye 20 1719. This Work in This Bottle was Mendet by me Mathew Buchinger, born Without Hands or Feet in Germany Jany ye 3 1674."
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