I have been boring my friends for the past year or so by incessantly talking about bottle trees. Thanks for the history and for the wonderful pictures. I can probably scrounge up all the bottles I would need for a decent tree. I just don't know how to make the tree itself. (I'm not at all mechanically inclined, let alone handy.) I'll have to check out some of those links. I'm totally inspired now.
Glad to be of service! Yes, there is GOBS of info out there, because everybody who has a tree -- or wants a tree -- has blogged about it. So those links are a good start, especially Felder Rushing's because he has actually thought really seriously about this.
I also don't think I included all the people who want to sell you a pre-fabricated tree, with or without bottles. But if you just search "buy bottle tree" you should have plenty of hits. Have fun!
Dunno if you've ever been to Jackson's Garden Center in Dallas. It's near Love Field. They have 2 very small bottle trees (maybe 3 ft. tall) that they would like someone to buy for $65 each. That's just the price of the trees. Bottles are extra. If memory serves, and it doesn't always, I think the bottles were $5 each. I do like Jackson's for plants, but they also sell some very extravagant things.
I haven't --we fly out of D/FW almost always, so don't really go that way often. But yeah, sounds about right. Read the comments; some people are talking about welding or using a dead tree. And maybe someone will buy their trees for $65!?