Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jar or Bottle

Last night at dinner I was opening a small spherical glass container of mustard, and my husband and I got into a discussion on whether it was a jar or a bottle. Then we started thinking of other glass containers and tried to sort them into the jar and bottle camps. Yes, I know, scintillating. Tonight maybe we'll discuss pennies: pros and cons.

Of course then I started thinking of geometry when we hit the unit of being precise with definitions of triangles and squares and such. I looked up the jar/bottle definitions via google, and I'm not completely impressed with the output. The word "wide" is used, and I think that's subjective. And the jury is still out on the mustard bar/jottle.


  1. A cool math-y conversation.

    What has always fascinated me, but I don't even know know how to start investigating it, is the shape formed by a fluid in the state of being poured.

    If I wanted to make a sculpture of milk being poured from a jug to a cup, what shape is the milk? It is smooth, but has little folds that seem to be at regular intervals.

  2. I say if the container has a neck, and by that I mean it narrows at the top with at least some section of negative curvature, then it is a bottle. If it doesn't narrow at the top, or if the curvature is positive, then it is a jar.

  3. Anonymous10:03 PM

    Heidi: hmmmm, and I wonder if the shape of the container top you're pouring the milk from changes the fluid shape. I'll have to start playing with my food and observing. Thanks for a future conversation topic.

    Tony: so even if, say, the container is a total of 2 inches tall, with the bottom 1.5"s being of a round shape, say 3" diameter, and the top 0.5" curves in a wee bit (but is still wide), that would be a bottle in your world.

    Maybe this is one of those fruit/vegetable types of discussions and there are containers that could be in both camps.

    Ms. Cookie

  4. I'm posting an addendum. The narrowing of the container must be a such that it aids in easy pouring of the liquid held within. If it is only narrowing for the lid, then it doesn't count.

    Maybe we should conduct an unbiased experiment. We could post a series of glass containers and let everyone vote. Maybe we will be able to find a pattern.

  5. My husband and I discussed this last night. We talked for a bit about of jar of applesauce. Small top, big container, used for pouring rather than retrieving product.

    Curiosity and observation. Good combination.