Milk Bottle Manufacturers
Milk bottle manufacturers usually embossed a maker's mark in the bottle, especially on machine made milk bottles. This allowed the user to keep track of their bottles, especially if they were using bottles from more than one manufacturer. Also remember that dairies often ended up with their competitors milk bottles so it was natural to observe how well they were holding up. Some eastern states also required glass makers to register a seal with the state and this seal was required to be on all milk bottles used in that state. Commonly these seals were in a small round slug plate on the bottles shoulder. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maine used this type of seal. Minnesota used a triangular shaped seal that was often found on the shoulder or the heel of the bottle. Other states issued a number to milk bottle manufacturers that was to be placed on the bottle. Manufacturers often combined the number with their company mark such as L52 for Lamb Glass Company or E4 for Essex Glass Company. The purpose of these seals was to insure accuracy in the capacity of the milk bottle. States did not want their consumers to be shorted on milk if a bottle did not hold its labeled capacity. In early years dairymen had to submit all their milk bottles to be tested for accurate capacity which were then etched with a seal. In later years the glass manufacturers registered with the state and placed a seal on the milk bottle to confirm that it meet that state's requirements. Some states required the milk bottle manufacturer to post a bond with the state to insure accuracy. As an example, in 1916 the Essex Glass Company had seals registered in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maine and Illinois.
In Ohio, the city of Cleveland appears to have issued seals for milk bottles. The city of Cleveland's seal was the letters C.C.S.- followed by another letter. The letters we have seen are C, D, E, F, O, R and W. The city required the milk bottle manufacturer to post a $1000 bond with the city. This mark is found on many early Ohio milk bottles and is not limited to just Cleveland. Many Ohio milk bottles from other cities also have this mark. Possibly other cities adopted the Cleveland system. A1908 publication reported that seven manufacturers had been granted the privilege to use the official letters of the Cleveland city sealer.
Most states issuing numbers to milk bottle manufacturers worked together but unfortunately it was not a perfect system. Some glass manufacturers had different numbers in various states and likewise some numbers belonged to different manufacturers in different states. An example would be the Lockport Glass Company using the number 1 as well as the Thatcher Manufacturing Company using 1 in some states. Thatcher Manufacturing Company used three different registered numbers, 1, 11 and 14, in various states. These seals also help one identify who manufactured a milk bottle. On the other hand just because a bottle has a state seal does not mean the bottle was used in that state.
A manufacturer's state seal was not used in California. A 1919 California state publication just required that the manufacturer's name, initials or trademark be blown in the side or the bottom of the milk bottle. In addition the capacity of the bottle was required to be blown in the side of the bottle. California did require that the capacity of milk bottles be accurate, just like other states, although they did allow some tolerance. The state required that a minimum of 25 bottles from a lot of 100 be tested for accuracy. The published tolerances are given in the table below. The bottles were to be filled to an eighth of an inch below the cap seat. For example if any single quart bottle was off by more than 4 drams it was rejected. If all 25 quart bottles in the lot were off by an average of more than 1.5 drams the whole lot was rejected. Eight drams is equal to one ounce. The numbers in parenthesis would be the allowable error on a percent basis. As you can see, the allowable error increased as the bottles got smaller. An individual quarter pint bottle could be short over 6 percent and still be legal. A whole lot of quarter pint bottles could be short almost 4 percent and still be legal. Compared to other states California was more generous in the amount of error it allowed in its milk bottles.
| Bottle Capacity
||Error on individual milk bottles
||Average error on lots of 25 milk bottles
|6 drams (1.17%)
||2.0 drams (0.39%)
| Three pints
||5 drams (1.30%)
|| 1.75 drams (0.46%)
||4 drams (1.56%)
|| 1.5 drams (0.59%)
||3 drams (2.34%)
|| 1.25 drams (0.98%)
| Half Pint
||2 drams (3.13%)
|| 1.25 drams(1.95%)
| Quarter Pint
||2 drams (6.25%)
|| 1.25 drams (3.91%)
Many later California milk bottles will have the embossing REG. CAL. Click here to go to the page that discusses the REG. CAL. embossing.
The number of factories manufacturing glass milk bottles really contracted over time. In the period of hand made milk bottles, from 1879 when the Warren Glass Works produced the first milk jar to the early 1900's when semi-automatic and automatic bottle machines started to become common, the output of factories was small. A man blowing bottles by mouth did not produce a lot of milk bottle in a day. A typical days production for one blower and a helper would be around 500 milk bottles. The factories often only ran in the day as opposed to 24 hour production and most factories closed for a couple months in the summer heat because it was just unbearable for the men to work. This meant that there were quite a few factories that could manufacture milk bottles and do it profitably. A 1902 census bulletin reported that in 1900 there were 31 establishments manufacturing milk bottles. This compared to 75 companies making soda, beer and mineral water bottles and 47 companies making medicine bottles.
In the early 1900's when machine manufacture of milk bottles became the norm, the output of factories increased greatly. The bottle making machines could manufacture many more milk bottles than a man. Typical production from an Owens bottle machine was in the range of 10,000 to 14,000 milk bottles per day. It was also easier to run a machine for 24 hours a day and there was no need to shut down in the summer heat. The workers that operated the machines did not have to be as skilled as a glass blower making bottles by hand. Because of this huge jump in output and the fact that licenses for milk bottle machines were expensive and restrictive, the profit margins became tighter and the number of factories producing milk bottles fell. The other factor affecting bottle manufacturers in the 1920's was prohibition. Obviously prohibition did not affect milk but if a glass manufacturer was also making bottles for beer or alcohol that market essentially disappeared during the 1920's. Some factories could not compete and went out of business or abandoned manufacturing milk bottles, while others were purchased by their competitors. The trend was towards fewer but larger milk bottle manufacturers, often with factories in multiple locations.
A big player in the rise and fall of milk bottle manufacturing companies was not a glass manufacturer at all. The Owens bottle machine used suction to deliver the molten glass to the mold. The next advancement to deliver the glass to the mold was called a gob feeder. The Hartford Empire Company controlled the patents for gob feeders. The company claimed that the patents they were granted or purchased covered many of the competing glass feeders. Hartford Empire Company used its size, army of lawyers and library of patents to threaten and intimidate smaller glass companies. They claimed that many of the glass feeders in use infringed on their patents and threatened legal actions. They wore smaller companies down with endless legal wrangling or forced the glass companies to accept penalties and restrictive licenses (restricting the type of glass made, geographical sales area and/or limits on the quantity produced) or just denied them out right and forced them out of business. In 1938, 96% of all glass containers were made on Hartford Empire machines. There were only three milk bottle manufactures that held licenses from the Hartford Empire Company that did not have restrictions or quotas. They were the Thatcher Manufacturing Company, Owens-Illinois Glass Company and Liberty Glass Company. By the 1930's Owens-Illinois and Thatcher produced over 70% of the milk bottles made in the United States.
The following is a list of glass milk bottle manufacturers. The list is mainly based on companies that advertised the manufacture of milk bottles or produced catalogs that listed milk bottles. There are some companies that we have not found advertisements for yet, but have confirmed they manufactured milk bottles. The names in bold we have identified as having manufactured California milk bottles.
For a list of manufacturer's marks found on milk bottles go to the page Milk Bottle Marks.
Acme Glass Company
The Acme Glass company was started in August of 1895 and was located in Olean, New York. In July of 1913 they purchased their competitors in Olean, the Olean Glass Company. The transfer of ownership was to occur after the furnaces were restarted in the fall of that year. Soon after in February of 1914, Acme Glass Company closed the Olean Glass Company plant but continued the business at the Acme Glass Company factory. In May of 1926 the Eastern Glass Company, a bottle jobber in New York City, purchased the Acme Glass Company. Soon after, in 1927, a new factory was started in Olean, New York. Around 1928 there must have been some fraud on the part of the new owners and they disappeared to Europe. Acme Glass Company was put into receivership in April of 1929 and in September of that year a group of local investors purchased the company in a receiver's sale and renamed it the Olean Glass Company.
Acme Glass Company employed around 200 workers although at peak times the number increased to 270. In 1913 they were producing 16 million bottles a year. The one advertisement we have seen that listed milk bottles was from 1922. Although advertisements for the Acme Glass Company showed a manufacturer's mark of ACME on the heel of the bottle, we have never seen a milk bottle marked that way and are unsure if the Acme Glass Company marked their milk bottles at all. As a note, there are milk bottles embossed ACME on the base. The Creamery Package Manufacturing Company had a style of milk bottle embossed ACME on the base but that was not a reference to the Acme Glass Company. Rather it was their name for a style of milk bottle in their catalog.
Anchor Glass Container Corporation
This company was formed in April of 1983 as part of a leveraged buyout of the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation and was based in Tampa, Florida. The company operated nine facilities in the eastern United States and was the third largest glass manufacturer in the U.S. with 18% of the market share. Interestingly, in August of 1987, Anchor Glass Container Corporation acquired the remnants of the Thatcher Glass Corporation which at one time had been the largest milk bottle manufacturer in the United States. The ownership of Anchor Glass Container Corporation changed several times and it filed for bankruptcy protection in 1996, 2002 and 2005. In 2012 the company was purchased by the Ardagh Group.
The mark we have seen on milk bottles is a stylized a and G that form an anchor. The bottles would be newer, square milk bottles.
Atlantic Bottle Company
Atlantic Bottle Company was originally a jobber or reseller of bottles rather than a manufacturer and was incorporated in August of 1908 by Edward F. Glacken. The company was located in New York City. A 1914 reference said that their source of milk bottles was from factories in western Pennsylvania (Fidelity Glass Company?) and Clarksburg, West Virginia (Travis Glass Company?). Like many other milk bottle jobbers, Atlantic Bottle Company often referred to itself as a milk bottle manufacturer during the period it was reselling milk bottles.
In 1916 the company became a milk bottle manufacturer when it purchased the Fidelity Glass Company which was in receivership. Fidelity Glass Company had been blowing milk bottles by hand but when Atlantic Bottle Company took over the factory they introduced the use of machines to make their milk bottles. The factory was at Tarentum, Pennsylvania (early Atlantic ads, up to 1924, listed the factory at Tarentum, later ads, after 1925, placed the factory at Brackenridge, they were just a few miles apart). In 1922 the number of employees was listed as 190 and the factory had an output of 600 gross per day. In addition to milk bottles the factory also produced cheese jars and tobacco jars. In advertisements from 1922 the company was soliciting business in Canada, England, South Africa, Australia, South America and Cuba. About this same time the factory was destroyed by a fire and had to be rebuilt. Atlantic Bottle Company controlled the patent granted to Edward Glacken for the Hold Fast Grip Milk Bottle. In November of 1930 Atlantic Bottle Company was purchased by the Owens-Illinois Glass Company for around two million dollars. At that time the plant employed 300-500 men and industry sources estimated that 1 out of every 9 milk bottles was made by the Atlantic Bottle Company. Owens-Illinois only operated the plant for a year, closing it at the end of 1931. However Owens-Illinois continued to use the Atlantic name in their milk bottle advertisements beyond the closing of the factory.
The mark we have seen on milk bottles is A.B.C.2. The Mass., Maine and Rhode Island seal for Atlantic Bottle Company was also A.B.C.2. The Michigan seal was ABC-2 and strangely we have seen a milk bottle with the A.B.C.2 makers mark and a Minnesota seal of 3.
Bartlett-Collins Glass Company
This company would have been the intermediary company between the Premium Glass Company and the Liberty Glass Company. All of these glass companies were located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The Premium Glass Company was started by George F. Collins in 1912 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. In 1915, George Collins formed a partnership with H. U. Bartlett to form the Bartlett-Collins Glass Company which acquired control of the stock of the Premium Glass Company and the Premium plant became Bartlett-Collins factory number two, producing milk bottles. In 1918 George F. Collins separated from Bartlett-Collins Glass Company and formed the Liberty Glass Company at the old Premium Glass Company factory in Sapulpa. Bartlett-Collins Glass Company appears to only have made milk bottles during this brief period from about 1915 when the company was formed until 1918 when Liberty Glass Company started as a separate company at the old Premium Glass Company plant that had been part of Bartlett-Collins Glass Company.
The advertisements we have seen for Bartlett-Collins Glass Company milk bottles were for 1917. The ads showed a trademark of a B and a C in interconnected circles. We don't know if this was used as a maker's mark or not. Advertisements for the Liberty Glass Company reported that they were the successors to the milk bottle business of the Bartlett-Collins Glass Company and the ads from the two companies showed similarities. We have seen amethyst milk bottles from the midwest with a maker's mark of B-C and believe that this was the mark of the Bartlett-Collins Glass Company.
Bell Bottle Company
This is one of the few companies in this list that we cannot find advertisements from. They were located in Fairmount, Indiana and established in May of 1910 by Alvin B. Scott. Bell Bottle Company took over the factory of the Bell Window Glass Company which was formed in April of 1898 and then became part of the American Window Glass Company the next year. The factory had been idle since 1907. Previously Alvin Scott had been the president of the Model Glass Company in Summitsville, Indiana and managed the Dillon Glass Company in Fairmount, Indiana. Bell Bottle Company was a fairly large glass manufacturer starting with 260 employees in 1910 and eventually increasing to 400 employees. The company used non-union workers for much of its tenure. Toulouse reported that the milk bottle business of the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company was transferred to the Bell Bottle Company in 1912. In 1914 the company discontinued making bottles and contracted with the Russian government to manufacture 3 inch shells for use in WWI. Alvin Scott soon after formed the Bell Manufacturing Company which contracted with the U. S. government to manufacture 4.7 inch shells. This new company soon ran into trouble with the war board. Fire damaged part of the glass factory in March of 1916. In late 1916 the Essex Glass Company leased the Bell Bottle Company's former glass factory and made it their fifth location producing milk bottles.
J. H. Toulouse reported that the mark they used on milk bottles was B.B.CO. We have confirmed this mark on an amethyst milk bottle which would date to the short period from 1912 to 1914 when Bell Bottle Company was manufacturing milk bottles. This same mark has been reported as an early mark of the Berney-Bond Glass Company however since Berney-Bond Glass Company did not manufacture milk bottles until 1920 we believe that if Berney-Bond Glass Company ever used the mark it would not have been on milk bottles.
Belle Pre Bottle Company
This glass company was chartered on December 27, 1901 and the fires started on October 30, 1902. However a Washington D. C. newspaper article on October 19, 1901 described the company's patented milk bottle and mentioned the company by name, indicating that a factory would be constructed shortly. The factory was located in Alexandria, Virginia. The initial stock prospectus for the company said that the business was to manufacture their improved, patented milk bottle. They controlled the patent granted to John Miller for the notch lip milk bottle. Although their ads usually featured the patented notch lip milk bottle, some ads mentioned that they also made regular common sense milk bottles. Some references said they manufactured milk bottles exclusively, but a few early references mention additional glassware. However milk bottles were the main thrust of the business and Belle Pre advertised itself as the largest milk bottle manufacturer in the world with an output of 2 rail car loads each day or one million milk bottles per month. They boasted of phenomenal growth in their ads. In 1902 they utilized 4 bottle machines capable of making 20 gross of milk bottle per day. In 1903 they increased to 6 machines, in 1904 they had 10 machines and in September of 1905 they advertised that they were producing milk bottles on 16 machines. The company employed 250 men at its peak. Their success did not last however. The factory closed in November of 1911, then stockholders brought a law suit against the company in early 1912, a receiver was appointed in June of 1912 and the company was sold at public auction in October of that same year. F. R. Horner, an officer of the company and trustee for the bond holders, purchased the assets of the Belle Pre Bottle Company for $15,000. Horner advertised for a buyer or lessee and even announced that the bond holders would reopen the glass factory themselves. However eventually the Old Dominion Glass Company purchased the plant and reopened it on November 3, 1913 and converted it to the manufacture of flasks.
Belle Pre Bottle Company clearly marked their milk bottles with the patented lip. This made sense as they would want to advertise this unique feature that only they could supply. The base marking we have seen on these patented milk bottles was BELLE PRE BOT Co NOV 21 99. We have also seen a second base marking of BELLE PRE BOTTLE Co WASHINGTON DC PATENTED. The Belle Pre Bottle Company registered BP as their Mass. seal and the number 17 in New Jersey and New York. The mark we have seen on milk bottles was B.P.17 or BP-17. These abbreviated makers marks we have only seen on milk bottles with a conventional lip.
Berney-Bond Glass Company
This glass maker was formed from the September, 1904 merger of the Berney Glass Company which had a factory in Bradford, Pennsylvania and the Bond Glass Company whose factory was in Hazelhurst, Pennsylvania. The Berney Glass Company had just incorporated in November of 1900 and the Bond Glass Company had incorporated a year later, in 1901. One 1922 ad mentioned the Berney-Bond Glass Company had entered the milk bottle business in 1919 but experienced quality problems. The ad said that the company replaced machinery and improved quality and was able to solve their problems and reenter the milk bottle market in January of 1921. Although the ad stated that the reason for entering the milk bottle market was due to bottle shortages in 1919 the most likely reason was the loss of beer bottle sales due to prohibition. In 1927, the Berney-Bond Glass Company purchased the Winslow Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio. After the purchase, their ads referred to the Berney-Bond-Winslow milk bottle, capitalizing on the reputation of the Winslow Glass Company's milk bottles. The milk bottle pictured in the ads even featured the BB48 makers mark of the Berney-Bond Glass Company as well as the 5W mark of the Winslow Glass Company. Berney-Bond Glass Company manufactured milk bottles until 1930, when they were purchased by Owens-Illinois. The sale was reported in May, however their last advertisements appeared in June of 1930.
During the period when the Berney-Bond Glass Company was manufacturing milk bottles the company operated the original Bond Glass Company factory in Hazelhurst, Pennsylvania and a factory at Clarion, Pennsylvania that they had purchased in bankruptcy from the Pearl Glass Company in 1912. Berney-Bond milk bottle ads up to 1926 however only mention the Clarion, Pennsylvania plant. In 1927 milk bottle ads, the Hazelhurst plant begins to be listed as one of the factories. Some references report that the Hazelhurst factory produced milk bottles prior to 1927 but it is interesting that the factory does not appear in the company's milk bottle advertisements. Berney-Bond Glass Company also had operated factories in Bradford, Pennsylvania and Smethport, Pennsylvania but these factories were shut down in 1909 and 1918, prior to the company's entry into milk bottle production. The Clarion plant was rebuilt in 1922 after a major fire damaged the plant that year. Berney-Bond Glass Company advertised the new plant as "fireproof". It had a capacity of 350,000 gross of bottles per year and was prominently featured in many Berney-Bond Glass Company advertisements. Most likely the Clarion plant was the source of the majority of Berney-Bond milk bottles. In April of 1923 Berney-Bond Glass Company received an unrestricted license from the Hartford Empire Company to use their glass feeders. After 1927 the Berney-Bond Glass Company also operated the Columbus, Ohio glass plant they purchased from Winslow Glass Company that year.
The mark they used on milk bottles was BB48 or BBGCO48. Berney-Bond Glass Company's Mass. and Rhode Island seal was BB and their Maine and Minnesota seal was 48. As mentioned above milk bottles can be found with both Berney-Bond Glass Company and Winslow Glass Company marks. These milk bottles would have been produced after Berney-Bond purchased Winslow Glass Company in 1927. Berney-Bond maker's marks will also be found on milk bottles dating after the sale of the company in 1930. Owens-Illinois continued to use the Berney-Bond marks on milk bottles made in the former Berney-Bond factories although usually the bottles will also have an Owens-Illinois mark.
Binghamton Glass Company
This glass company was incorporated on August 18, 1897 in Binghamton, New York although the company's history goes back to 1880 when it went by the Binghamton Glass Works. The company made bottles of all types in green, amber and flint glass. They advertised milk bottles in 1907 and 1913. Binghamton Glass Company used glass blowers and never mechanized. The company employed up to 160 workers and output was claimed to be 9 million bottles per year. Their largest customer was Dr. S. Andral Kilmer who used them to manufacture bottles for his Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Kidney Liver & Bladder Cure as well as his other products. Eventually Binghamton Glass Company was unable to compete with glass manufacturers that utilized bottle blowing machines. By 1917 they started to wholesale Diamond I bottles made by the Illinois Glass Company and cut back on the number of bottles they manufactured, concentrating on specialty bottles. By 1925 the company quit blowing their own bottles all together although they continued to wholesale bottles into the 1940's. The marks they may have used on their milk bottles are unknown.
Buck Glass Company
Buck Glass Company started in existence in October of 1909 when they took over the factory of the Nivision Glass Company of Baltimore, Maryland. The founder and first president was George Buck. In 1914 the plant had about 150 employees and the work force increased to 250 by the time Buck Glass Company became part of Knox Glass Company in 1959. In 1927 Royden Blunt joined the company as manager and later rose to president after George Buck's death. Buck Glass Company was based in Baltimore, Maryland. Milk bottles were added to the product line in the mid-teens and then became a major product of the company. In January of 1926 Buck Glass Company received a license to use the Hartford Empire Company's glass feeders although there were some restrictions on output. A 1937 ad stated that milk bottles were the principle product of the company. Buck was the first glass company to use a modern square milk bottle in 1940 as well as the originators of the tooth ache milk bottle based on Royden Blunt's 1953 patent. Knox Glass Company purchased 100 percent of the stock of the Buck Glass Company in July of 1959 after which time Buck Glass Company operated as a division of Knox Glass Company.
The manufacturing mark used by Buck Glass Company was a B. The mark is usually flanked on one or both sides by numbers. The number to the right often proves to be a date code. Some Buck Glass Company milk bottles used the makers mark of B. G. CO. This mark is often followed by the number 31. Buck Glass Company used B1 as its Mass. and Maine seal. Many Buck Glass Company milk bottles will also be embossed SEALED B1.
Burgin and Sons
This glass factory goes back to 1835 when Burgin and Pearsall purchased an idle glass factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the time they operated a glass factory in Millville, New Jersey. The next year they sold the Millville plant to Scattergood, Booth and Company and after a series of different owners the Millville glass factory became Whitall, Tatum & Company. The Philadelphia glass factory was known as the Philadelphia Glass Works. In 1848 Pearsall left the company and the name became Burgin, Fowler and Company. Then in 1853 Fowler left the company and Burgin's sons joined the company. The name of the company became Burgin and Sons. Eventually four of Burgin's sons, George, Charles, John and William would become involved with the glass works. Eventually the company would employ 170 workers. On August 25, 1902 the company incorporated and the name changed again to Burgin and Sons' Glass Company. The company went out of business around 1910.
Burgin and Sons was listed as a milk jar manufacturer between 1890 and 1899 in Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopaedia of the Manufactures and Products of the United States. The 1905 Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers also listed Burgin and Sons' Glass Company as manufacturing milk bottles. The manufacturer's marks that Burgin used on milk bottles are unknown, if they used any at all.
Butler Bottle Company
This company had a milk bottle display at the Michigan Dairyman's Association convention held in February of 1909. They displayed a full line of milk bottles. Newspaper articles stated that the sole product of the company was milk bottles. The company was located in Butler, Ohio and was at one point managed by L. E. Tigner who would later move to the Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company and then Essex Glass Company at Parkersburg, West Virginia. The earliest reference we have found to this company was October 26, 1907 when they filed for incorporation. Glass production started the next year in the summer of 1908. By 1910 the company experienced shut downs due to the scarcity of natural gas and was looking to relocate mainly due to the increasing gas prices and unreliable gas supply at Butler, Ohio. An April, 1910 newspaper article reported that L. E. Tigner had been offered land in Parkersburg, West Virginia and was planning to start a glass factory to manufacture milk bottles. We do not know if he was representing Butler Bottle Company at this time or branching out on his own. We do know that Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company was chartered just a few months later and L. E. Tigner would go on to manage that company. A newspaper article on November 8, 1913 stated that the company had just shipped out a rail car of milk bottles to the Borden Milk Company, it appeared all was well. However on November 14, 1913 four of the five directors of the company petitioned the court to dissolve the business as the company's debts exceeded the assets. A newspaper article in December, 1913 stated that the Butler Bottle Company had secured a contract with the Borden Milk Company for 75 rail car loads of milk bottles. It would seem this might save the company but in July of 1914 the judge agreed to the petition to dissolve the company. The company was sold for 28,000 dollars on September 28, 1914 to a Mr. Brumbach who planned to reopen and operate the plant. We do not think that ever occurred. A 1915 reference said the company was exploring the possibilities of relocating to West Virginia. In May of 1916 the plant in Butler was demolished although in November of that year another reference said the company was rebuilding in Toledo, Ohio.
Butler Bottle Company applied for and was issued a B as their Mass. seal. The state of New Jersey granted the number 24 to a Butler Bros. Glass Company of Butler, Ohio in 1913 and we believe this was the same company, mistakenly listed under an incorrect name. The term Bros. does not seem to make sense. The name Butler came from the name of the town; Butler, Ohio; and not from a family surname of two brothers. We have never found an individual with the surname Butler related to this glass company. Butler Bottle Company also furnished a 1000 dollar bond to the state of Wisconsin to register 24B as their seal within the state. We have located a bottle with the B Mass. seal and it also was embossed 24 B on the heel of the bottle. We have also seen amethyst milk bottles with no seal but heel marks of B 24 or 24 B and suspect that these marks were used by Butler Bottle Company. It is interesting to note that the B.B.CO. mark would fit for this glass company. J. H. Toulouse reported the B.B.CO. mark was used by the Bell Bottle Company but if it were ever found on a bottle along with a Mass. B seal it would have to be attributed to the Butler Bottle Company. We have come across common references to a Butler Milk Bottle Company located in Butler, Ohio and believe that was just a local name for the Buttler Bottle Company.
The Charles Boldt Company
This company traces back to the Muncie Glass Company of Muncie, Indiana which was started by Charles Boldt in November of 1888. As the natural gas fields around Muncie began to lose pressure Charles Boldt looked to start a second glass factory as a precautionary measure. In 1900 a factory was added in Cincinnati, Ohio and the company name was changed to The Charles Boldt Glass Company. In May of 1906 the name was shortened to The Charles Boldt Company. Advertisements explained that the change in name was due to the company's diversified interests, including box factories, corrugated paper works, a lithographing plant and a bottle cap factory in addition to glass manufacturing. About 1910 the Muncie factory was closed and in 1911 a second factory (or major expansion of the first factory) was added in Cincinnati to accommodate the equipment from the Muncie factory as well as the Owens bottle machines that Boldt received a license to use for liquor bottles. At this time the company employed 800 workers. In 1913 a factory was built in Huntington, West Virginia with glass production beginning there in 1914. On November 1, 1919 the Owens Bottle Company acquired a majority of the Boldt company's stock and in 1926 the Owens Bottle Company took over the company completely.
The company's main product was liquor bottles manufactured on the Owens bottle machine but we have seen one ad for milk bottles from 1909. That ad made the claim "The largest manufacturers of high class milk bottles in the world." We have only confirmed milk bottle production at the Muncie plant. If that was the case, Charles Boldt milk bottles would date prior to 1910. We have seen a mark of C. B. CO. on amethyst milk bottles and attribute that mark to the Charles Boldt Company. Milk bottles with the C. B. CO. mark would date to 1906 or later since the Charles Boldt Company name was not used until then.
Chattanooga Bottle and Glass Manufacturing Company
This glass company was incorporated in October of 1901 and the factory was located in Alton Park, Tennessee which was just a few miles from Chattanooga. In 1917 they purchased the Tallapoosa Glass Company in Tallapoosa, Georgia and operated a factory there. Although Chattanooga Bottle and Glass Company is best known for manufacturing carbonated soda bottles, the company listed milk bottles as one of their products in the local Chattanooga directory listings from 1922-1925. In 1930 the company name was shortened to Chattanooga Glass Company. In 1947 Chattanooga Glass Company purchased the Florida Glass Manufacturing Company and in 1958 built a factory in Corsicana, Texas. In 1960 Chattanooga Glass Company was acquired by the Dorsey Corporation which would also acquire the Lamb Glass Company in 1963.
We believe that only the Chattanooga Bottle and Glass Manufacturing Company manufactured milk bottles and that would have been for only a short time during the 1920's. We recently obtained a milk bottle with the manufacturer's mark of CHATT. This was the same mark that Chattanooga Bottle and Glass Manufacturing Company used on their soda bottles.
Chicago Heights Bottle Company
This was a very short lived milk bottle manufacturer, only doing business in late 1912-1913. All the advertisements we came across were from April, May and June of 1913. Their factory was in Chicago Heights, Illinois and they advertised machine and hand blown bottles. They advertised a bowling pin milk bottle called the "Jersey style". Toulouse reported that on December 17, 1912 the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company at Chicago Heights, Illinois became the Chicago Heights Bottle Company. Local newspapers reported the sale in September of 1912 but said the name change would occur in early 1913. A 1913 reference in the American Bottler stated that the Schofield Bros., formerly associated with the Standard Glass Company of Marion, Indiana, took over the business of the Sheldon-Foster Glass Works and would conduct business under the name of Chicago Heights Bottle Company. Perlee W. Schofield was the president and general manager and his brother Charles M. Schofield was the secretary of the company. Sheldon-Foster Glass Company had transferred its milk bottle business to the Bell Bottle Company of Fairmount, Indiana in 1912 so when Chicago Heights Bottle Company took over Sheldon-Foster Glass Company it appears they reentered the milk bottle business. Chicago Heights Bottle Company became part of the Illinois Glass Company in 1913. Some references show the Chicago Heights Bottle Company name was retained while it was a subsidiary of Illinois Glass Company however the period of milk bottle production was only late 1912-1913. We have seen milk bottles with the makers mark of CHB CO and believe this was the mark used by the Chicago Heights Bottle Company.
C. L. Flaccus Glass Company
Charles L. Flaccus started this glass company in 1879 when he purchased the Lippincott glass factory which had went bankrupt since 1875. Originally Charles Flaccus had a partner but he left the business within a year. The original and main plant was in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. At various times the company also operated plants in the Pennsylvania cities of Leechburg, Beaver Falls and California. C. L Flaccus was the first glass company to manufacture glass bottles by machine, making vaseline jars in the mid-1890's. It was a large glass works, at one time employing 400 workers. In 1919 C. L. Flaccus Glass Company merged with the Imperial Glass Company of Charleroi, Pennsylvania, operating under the C. L. Flaccus Glass Company name. The company remained in business until 1928 when it was placed in receivership and soon sold.
Their mark on milk bottles has been reported to be an F in a keystone. They used an FL as their Mass. seal. That mark is often seen on the pear shaped cream jars used by Deerfoot Farms and others. We have also seen conventional milk bottles with the FL Mass. seal. We have seen the mark of F 13 associated with the FL Mass. seal and suspect this was the mark that C. L. Flaccus used on milk bottles. Milk bottles were listed in the company's 1905 product catalog.
Cohansey Glass Manufacturing Company
Cohansey Glass Manufacturing Company was established in 1870 but the factory had a long history dating back to 1836. Originally it was established as Stratton, Buck & Co. and passed through various owners until it became Potter & Bodine in 1857. In 1863 Potter sold his share and the company became F. & J. N. Bodine until March of 1870 when the company was incorporated as the Cohansey Glass Manufacturing Company with F. Bodine as president and J. N. Bodine as vice-president. The company used a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania address but their glass factory was in Bridgeton, New Jersey. They manufactured window glass as well as hollow ware and employed up to 500 workers. They manufactured a fruit jar patented in 1872 and 1876 that they sold for milk delivery. The fruit jar was advertised in 1875 and it's use for milk delivery was reported in 1879. These jars have been found with dairy names embossed on them (picture). Construction of a second factory was started in East Downington, Pennsylvania in May of 1900 because of continuing labor problems in Bridgeton, New Jersey. At the same time the company name was changed to the Cohansey Glass Company. The East Downington factory was in production by late 1900. The Bridgeton glass works was soon closed. The company went out of business around 1911.
Co-Operative Glass Company, Inc.
This glass manufacturer had a factory in Los Angeles and was incorporated in November, 1920. Construction of the factory started in April of 1921 but local newspapers did not report it's completion until June of 1923. We do not know how long they were in business, but probably not too long. An August, 1926 reference had the factory shut down. The advertisements we have seen were from 1924 and early 1925. The president of this company was W. C. Blank who previously had been a manager at Illinois Pacific Glass Company in San Francisco. They used the mark C-O G Co on thier milk bottles.
We have also come across milk bottles from Southern California dairies that would date from the 1920's with a makers mark of the letter C with an O inside of it. We have found this mark on 1/3 quart milk bottles which we have confirmed was a capacity made by the Co-Operative Glass Company. We feel that this mark may have been used by the Co-Operative Glass Company.
Consumers Glass Company
This was a Canadian glass company that was established in 1917 in Montreal. The original factory was in the Montreal neighborhood of Ville Saint-Pierre. Construction of the factory started in 1913 as the Atlas Glass Company but it was never completed. In 1915 a new company, the Premier Glass Company, attempted to complete the factory but they too failed. It was not until 1917 that Consumers Glass Company brought the factory into production. Eventually the company added factories in Milton, Ontario; Candiac, Quebec; Lavington, British Columbia and Etobicoke, Ontario which was a part of Toronto. In 1962 the company headquarters were moved from Montreal to Toronto. In 2002 Consumers Glass Company was acquired by Owens-Illinois.
The maker's mark while the company was based in Montreal was a C in an inverted triangle. We do not believe that any U. S. milk bottles will be found with this mark. After the relocation to Toronto the maker's mark became a C in a triangle with rounded corners (the triangle was no longer inverted). This mark is found on newer, square milk bottles used in California. Consumers Glass Company also used a month and year date code called the progressive box system. To the left of the makers mark is a code for the month that takes the form of a square or box. A single vertical line indicated January and February, a vertical and horizontal line in the form of an L indicated March and April, a horizontal and two vertical lines in the form of a U indicated May and June, two horizontal and two vertical lines in the form of a square indicated July and August, a square with a vertical line bisecting it indicated September and October and a square with a vertical and horizontal line bisecting in to four smaller squares indicated November and December. A single number indicating the last digit of the year was to the right of the makers mark.
Crystal Glass Company
This glass company was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1868. Previously the factory had been a pottery established by Daniel Bennett in 1844. They were the manufacturers of the Crystal fruit jar which they adapted with a bailed lid for milk delivery (picture). This was one of the first glass jars used for delivery of milk to homes. The jar's use was reported in 1879 and the company advertised it from 1880 to 1882. Daniel Bennett was the president of the company and held the patent for the threaded lid. We believe this adapted fruit jar was the only milk jar they made. The jar was embossed CRYSTAL JAR. The plant employed 150 workers but by August, 1889 the facility was offered for sale or rent in the local newspaper. No takers were found and the factory was scheduled to be sold at a public sale on January 21, 1890 however the only bid received was for $20,000 and it was not accepted. The sale was rescheduled for February 11, 1890 and this time a real estate investor bid $21,000 for the factory and equipment and his bid was accepted. Newspaper articles attributed the reason for the closure of the Crystal Glass Company to the death of one of the owners, Joseph Bennett, in August of 1889, the retirement of another partner and the retirement of their chief mold maker, Washington Beck.
Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company
This glass company started in August of 1880 as the Joseph A. Clark and Company in Bridgeton, New Jersey. In 1881 the factory was destroyed by a fire and the company rebuilt at a new location in Bridgeton. The new works were greatly improved and enlarged and a window glass factory was added. On October 5, 1885 the company was incorporated as the Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company. This was a large glass company that expanded rapidly. In 1889 the company had 300 employees, in 1896 employment had increased to 500, in 1899 it was at 1000 and by 1912 there were 1100 employees. Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company was purchased by the Illinois Glass Company on April 13, 1920.
Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company was listed as a milk jar manufacturer between 1890 and 1899 in Seeger and Guernsey's Cyclopaedia of the Manufactures and Products of the United States. The company's 1903 catalog also listed milks as one of their products. The 1905 Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers also listed Cumberland Glass Manufacturing Company as manufacturing milk bottles. The marks they used on milk bottles, if any, are unknown.
Dean, Foster & Company
This company advertised that they manufactured a flint glass milk jar with an improved Lightning stopper in 1895. They listed a Boston, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois address. An 1890 reference also listed the company as milk jar manufacturers. George W. Foster was listed as a glassware manufacturer and dealer in an 1868 Boston directory at 14 Blackstone St. Prior to that, in 1861, he had started the New Granite Glass Works in Stoddard, New Hampshire. Charles L. Dean worked for the Westford Glass Company in Westford, Connecticut which was purchased by E. A. Buck in 1865. He remained with E. A. Buck & Company until late 1874 when he partnered with George Foster to form Dean, Foster and Company at the 14 Blackstone St. address. Around 1883 a branch was started in Chicago, going by the name of Dean, Foster & Dawley. Dawley left in 1889 and in 1893 the Chicago branch was taken over by George Foster's son, Adelbert Merton Foster, becoming A. M. Foster & Company. All three of these companies had non milk bottles with their marks. We have seen Dean, Foster & Company bottles embossed DEAN, FOSTER & CO. BOSTON or D.F. & CO. on the base. Dean, Foster & Dawley bottles used the mark of D.F. & D. and A. M. Foster & Company bottles were embossed A.M.F. & CO. Although all three of these companies sold milk bottles we have never seen a milk bottle with any of these marks.
One piece of evidence that George W. Foster might have been a glass manufacturer rather than a bottle salesman was that he was issued a patent for an improved glass furnace on July 23, 1872 and the patent was reissued on July 11, 1876 and June 26, 1877. However it is most likely that these companies were just reselling milk bottles made for them. Adelbert Foster had ties to many glass factories including the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company (included further down in this list) which was known to have made milk bottles.
There are some references that tie A. G. Smalley, inventor of the metal handled milk jar, to this company. A. G. Smalley was part of the E. A. Buck Company with his name appearing in some advertisements. In an 1873 Boston directory, E. A. Buck & Company and George W. Foster were both listed at 14 Blackstone St. In 1875, E. A. Buck & Company and Dean, Foster & Company were both listed at 14 Blackstone St. In 1876 and 1877, E. A. Buck & Company moved to 18 Blackstone St. but listings for the company end at that time. This meshes with another reference that said E. A. Buck & Company became part of Dean, Foster & Company around 1877.
DuBois Glass Company
This company started in business in March of 1914, when local DuBois investors took over the New York Glass Company factory which was in receivership. Clyde Hatten, who the court appointed as the receiver, remained with the new company as it's general manager. The factory was in Falls Creek, Pennsylvania and employed 115 workers. A 1917 ad stated that they manufactured milk bottles exclusively. One newspaper article stated that the plant was idle by 1918. The last advertisements we have seen for the DuBois Glass Company were from April of 1918. In 1921 it was reported that new equipment was to be installed and the factory reopened, however we believe that glass production never resumed. The factory was sold on July 22, 1921 to the Pittsburgh Lens Glass Company. The mark we have seen on milk bottles made by the DuBois Glass Company is D.B.G.CO. 30. DuBois Glass Company registered D as their Mass. Seal and 30 as their Michigan seal.
Elk Flint Bottle Company
This glass company was certified on July 14 of 1904 and the plant started in operation on October 11 of the same year. The main offices were located in Boston, Massachusetts and the factory was located in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania near the border with New York state. At one time the plant employed 200 men and boys. In addition to milk bottles, they also produced fruit jars. The company produced only hand blown bottles until June of 1909 when they installed some bottle machines. Even with the installation of the bottle machinery they continued to hand blow some bottles. All the milk bottles we have seen with this company's mark were machine made. The company went out of business in 1912 due to financial difficulties. Reliability of the gas supply and a large increase in the cost of gas to heat the furnaces was one of the contributing factors. They used E.F.B.CO. as their maker's mark and registered E.F. as their Mass. seal.
There was an Elk Flint Bottle Company in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania prior to 1904. They advertised that they were manufacturers of flint and amber bottles melted and annealed by natural gas. Their products included flasks, prescription bottles, wines and beers. It is possible that this company relocated to Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania in 1904. That would also explain the name of the company as St. Mary's, Pennsylvania was in Elk county.
Empire Bottle & Supply Company
We mentioned at the top of the page that this list was based on companies that advertised themselves as milk bottle manufacturers and based on that criteria Empire is part of the list. Their ads stated "Manufacturers of Flint Milk Bottles" and listed factories in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia however we believe they were only jobbers or resellers of milk bottles made for them by other glass factories. Charles T. Nightingale was the president and founder of the Empire Bottle and Supply Company.
Charles Nightingale's first company selling milk bottles was the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company of New York, New York. It was incorporated in May of 1890 and resold milk bottles made by other companies. Nightingale was granted a patent in 1898 for the first square milk bottle that is found embossed CLIMAX on its base. The company also sold round milk bottles that are found with the same CLIMAX embossing. Around 1898 Nightingale sold his interest in the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company to Albert Hamilton of the J.T & A. Hamilton Company and the company was renamed the Climax Bottle and Manufacturing Company. Then in 1899, Charles Nightingale petitioned for bankruptcy, claiming his debts far exceeded his assets.
Soon after Charles Nightingale started the Empire Bottle and Supply Company which was also located in New York City. He was granted a second patent on August 13, 1901 for a bowling pin shaped milk bottle. These milk bottles had a smaller diameter at the base than at the shoulder where as a conventional milk bottle had a similar diameter at the base and the shoulder. Even though this was only a design patent and the difference in the milk bottles was only ornamental, Nightingale marketed the patent well and earned Empire milk bottles a good reputation. A 1912 article claimed the company was producing millions of milk bottles each year. Empire Bottle and Supply Company implied that the patent made their milk bottles superior to non patented milk bottles and not just a unique shape. This patent date and the word EMPIRE or KEYSTONE are found embossed on the base of these milk bottles. The Empire and Keystone milk bottles had a slightly different shape but since design patents were only ornamental both types of bottles could be claimed to be covered by the same patent. Empire Bottle and Supply Company also sold conventional milk bottles without this patent date. In their catalog they referred to these milk bottles as the Essx style. Even some of these conventional milk bottles were embossed with the August 13, 1901 patent date. Was this an unintentional mistake or was it done intentionally to imply that a patented milk bottle was superior?
Empire contracted with the Essex Glass Company and the Poughkeepsie Glass Works to manufacture their milk bottles for them. In 1910 Empire Bottle and Supply Company signed a five year contract with the Poughkeepsie Glass Works for all of the output of their factory. Poughkeepsie had quality problems with their milk bottles and soon ran into financial trouble. In December of 1913 they were negotiating with Empire to lease their glass factory. Charles Nightingale signed a lease for the Poughkeepsie Glass Works on January 10, 1914 and committed to pay $500 dollars per month for the factory till August 1, 1914 with the option to renew for an additional year. At that time Charles Nightingale created a new company, the Empire Milk Bottle Company, to run the factory. Empire almost became a true milk bottle manufacturer. This deal appears to have failed though and a receiver took over the Poughkeepsie Glass Works the next month. This may have been the down fall of Empire Bottle and Supply Company itself. In 1913 Empire had failed to pay the Essex Glass Company for merchandise and soon found itself being sued by Essex. Around the same time, Charles Nightingale was going through a very messy and public divorce. After 1914 Empire Bottle and Supply Company seems to have disappeared.
What about the five states that Empire Bottle and Supply Company listed in their ads as locations of their factories? New York could be accounted for by either the Poughkeepsie Glass Works in Poughkeepsie, New York or the Essex Glass Company's factory in Dunkirk, New York. Likewise Ohio could be accounted for by the two Essex Glass Company factories in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and Indiana could have been Essex Glass Company's factory in Fairmount, Indiana. Virginia and Michigan are not so clear. Belle Pre Glass Company had a factory in Virginia but it was out of business by 1911 and Empire Bottle and Supply Company was advertising a Virginia factory in 1912. Essex Glass Company did have a factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia buy why list the state as Virginia? A later Empire Bottle and Supply Company letter head did indicate the company had a factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia however. The Michigan factory listed in the advertisements is also unclear. A possibility is the Michigan Glass Company which incorporated in 1911 and was a known manufacturer of milk bottles.
Empire Bottle and Supply Company bottles usually have EMPIRE embossed on them. This can be found on the base in conjunction with the 1901 patent date or alone on the heel of the milk bottle. The Empire Bottle and Supply Company trademarked the word EMPIRE for use on milk and cream bottles in 1911. They claimed use of the word since August of 1901 which would have been the same month the patent was granted. However since the bottles were made by another company one will often find the E4 mark of the Essex Glass Company or the P-3 embossing of the Poughkeepsie Glass Works or one of these company's state seals. We have also seen some Empire Bottle and Supply Company milk bottles embossed on the base EMPIRE B&S CO. 70 WARREN ST. N.Y. A New York city directory published in March of 1902 listed the 70 Warren Street address for the company so milk bottles embossed with this address were probably some of the earliest milk bottles the company sold.
Empire Bottle and Supply Company also trademarked the words "EROX" and "ESSX" for use on milk bottles but we have never found a milk bottle with that embossing. The did refer to their conventionally shaped milk bottles as ESSX in their advertisements. Empire Bottle and Supply Company furnished a 1000 dollar bond to the state of Wisconsin to register the number 17 as their seal in that state.
Essex Glass Company
Essex Glass Company was started in 1906, a 1914 ad said they had been making machine made milk bottles exclusively for eight years. Another 1914 ad said they were the sole owners of the rights for the United States for the manufacture of milk bottles with the O'Neill Semi-Automatic Blowing Machine. Owen and Rex Lamb were involved in the management of the company and would start the Lamb Glass Company some years later. Charles M. Tigner was the plant manager and had previously worked at the Winslow Glass Company. The company remained in business until September 2, 1919 when a large deal involving five glass manufacturers was struck and it was purchased by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company.
The company had factories at Mt. Vernon, Ohio (2), Parkersburg, West Virginia, Dunkirk, New York and Fairmount, Indiana. One of the Mt. Vernon factories and the Parkersburg factory came from Essex Glass Company's take over of the Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company in 1913. In 1914 the company advertised that they had purchased land for a third factory in Mt. Vernon but this third Mt. Vernon factory was never mentioned again in future ads. Construction of the Dunkirk, New York factory was started in the summer of 1915 and production of glass began on New Year's day of 1916. The Fairmount, Indiana factory was started up later in 1916. Essex's Fairmount, Indiana factory had previously been the milk bottle factory of the Bell Bottle Company which had been converted to a munitions factory for WWI. The attraction of this factory was that it still contained the gas producers and at the time Essex Glass Company was having problems with it's gas deliveries at Mt. Vernon. Essex Glass Company actually advertised that prior to October of 1916 they were going to acquire a site for a sixth factory but we don't believe this came to happen. None the less the company showed exceptional growth, however some of the reason for the new factories was the lack of a reliable gas supply in Mt. Vernon. At one point the company was planning on closing the Mt. Vernon factories due to the lack of natural gas but the town convinced them to stay. In it's first year Essex produced 40,000 gross of milk bottles. In 1914, prior to the Dunkirk factory opening, output was 150,000 gross of bottles per year. Completion of the Dunkirk factory was to push output to 200,000 gross of milk bottles per year. Essex claimed that the output of the Fairmount factory was 500 gross per day.
The company advertised it's milk bottle business heavily in the late teens and prominently displayed its makers mark of E4 which it said would be found on the front, lower edge of the bottle. They used the slogan "The" Milk Bottle. They advertised four shapes of milk bottles that they made called the B, M, K and X-shape. Essex Glass Company used E as their Mass. seal and E-4 as their Maine, Minnesota and Michigan seal and 4E as their Wisconsin seal. They registered the number 4 in New Jersey and New York. Essex Glass Company manufactured milk bottles for the Empire Bottle & Supply Company of New York and Blanke Manufacturing & Supply Company of St. Louis. Both these companies were jobbers or resellers of milk bottles.
There was another milk bottle company that was related to Essex Glass Company. The Crescent Milk Bottle Company was incorporated on October 31, 1911 and was also located in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Charles Tigner and Rex Lamb were among the directors and Charles Tigner was also the manager of this company as well as the Essex Glass Company. The company filed for a dissolution of the corporation on December 31, 1912 so the company was not in business long. The company registered the number 39 as it's seal in New York and New Jersey. We have never seen a milk bottle with this mark but if any one comes across a milk bottle marked CMBCO or CMBCO 39 we would love to hear about it.
Fairmont Bottle Company
This is another company where we have not seen company advertisements but have found references to them producing milk bottles. This glass manufacturer was located in Fairmont, West Virginia and traces its origins back to 1892 when the Fairmont Bottle & Fruit Jar Company was started. This company only lasted about a year and in 1894 it was taken over by Robert Johns and his brothers, John and William, and became known as Johns Brothers. They too ran into financial trouble in 1906 and a group of investors took over the company, changing the name to Fairmont Bottle Company. Robert Johns was no longer an owner but remained on the board of directors and acted as the manager. Fairmont Bottle Company was chartered on October 24, 1906. The company employed around 60 workers and produced bottles by hand and machine. Their specialty was reported to be milk bottles. They claimed to produce 4 carloads of bottles a week. A March, 1914 reference stated that the Monongah Glass Company had acquired the Fairmont Bottle Company factory and was putting it in shape to operate. The company registered the number 6 as their seal in New Jersey.
Fairmount Glass Works
This glass house was started in 1889 by John Rau and Charles M. Tigner in Fairmount, Indiana. However Tigner left in the first year to start the Dillon Glass Company, also located in Fairmount. One of the main attractions of Fairmount was the large supply of cheap natural gas found there. Another initial investor was W. C. Winslow. Winslow died in February of 1895 but his son, Palmer Winslow, took his place and eventually sold his share and left around 1898 to start The Winslow Glass Company in Matthews, Indiana. Around that time the factory employed 130 workers. Initially the company's main product was fruit jars but at some point milk bottles became one of their wares. Toulouse reports that the name of the business was Fairmount Glass Company prior to 1898. We have seen references to both "Works" and "Company" prior to 1898 and this was common when referring to glass factories. In 1904, Fairmount Glass Works built another plant in Indianapolis, Indiana and by 1906 the company had moved all its operations there. This became a fairly large glass company, employing 550 men in 1912.
Toulouse reported that in 1961 the company name changed to Fairmount Glass Corporation. On April 14, 1961 Fairmount Glass Corporation became a subsidiary of Inland Container Corporation, which produced corrugated boxes. However milk bottle production had been abandoned well before this time. In 1964, Toulouse reported the name changed again to Fairmount Glass Company. Fairmount Glass remained in business until 1968 when Inland Container Corporation sold the company and it became part of Glass Containers, Inc. which was based in California. The mark we have seen on milk bottles was F.G.W. They were one of the few glass houses that manufactured amber colored milk bottles. Some milk bottles with the F.G.W. mark will also be embossed SEALED NO. 5. We have never seen any documentation that Fairmount Glass Works registered the number 5 as a seal in any state but it is interesting that the number 5 was registered by the Winslow Glass Company which was started by one of the original investors of Fairmount Glass Works.
F. E. Reed Glass Company
This company was formed in the late 1890's and was in business until September 1, 1956 when they filed for bankruptcy. The company president at that time, Merton Reed, was quoted as saying, "we've just run out of money". The original factory traces back to the Rochester Glass Works which was established in 1862 or 1865 in Rochester, New York (later ads mention both dates). In 1881 the factory was idle and it was leased by a group led by Henry T. Kelly and became known as Kelly & Company. Eugene P. Reed was part of the group and eventually became a partner. By 1886 the company was called Kelly, Reed & Company. About 1888 Kelly had passed away and the company became Eugene P. Reed & Company. Eugene Reed died in 1894 and Frank E. Reed took over the company. Soon after the company was known as F. E. Reed & Company and in 1908 the company was incorporated as the F. E. Reed Glass Company. Many references say that the name was changed again in 1927 to the Reed Glass Company however our observation has been that the company continued to use the name F. E. Reed Glass Company in it's advertisements until at least 1938 and in patents assigned to the company in the early 1930's. The company is well known for it's amber and green colored milk bottles. The company had two factories in Rochester, New York; the original plant on Maple Street and a newer plant on Mt. Read Boulevard. The mark we have seen on milk bottles is REED or on early bottles one will find F.E.R.G.Co. In it's advertisements the company showed a maker's mark of an R in a triangle. The F. E. Reed Glass Company used an R as their Mass. seal. Many Reed milk bottles will have the number 34 on the base. This was not a date code for 1934 but rather a number that the company used to register its milk bottles in various states, including New Jersey and New York. F. E. Reed Glass Company used the number 45 as its seal in Minnesota.
Fidelity Glass Company
This was an early glass company located in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. Often we see references to it being in Brackenridge but the company's advertisements listed Tarentum. Newspapers reported the incorporation of the company in late 1894 but glass production probably started in 1895. The company took over the site of the Challinor, Taylor & Company glass works that were destroyed by a fire in 1893. The company was started by glass blowers that left the C. L. Flaccus Glass Company when it became a non-union shop. Fidelity Glass Company was one of the largest manufacturers of hand blown milk bottles, prior to the days of machine made milk bottles. They also manufactured a general line of bottles, including prescription ware. At one point the company employed 350 men. In 1897 the Fidelity Glass Company contacted the Los Angeles, California Chamber of Commerce about starting a glass factory in that city. Newspaper articles from the later part of 1915 reported that the Fidelity Glass Company was running at record capacity, operating 24 hours per day. However even at this level of productivity the company was not able to make a profit. In December of 1915, because of the company's financial problems, Fidelity Glass Company entered into receivership. In 1916 the Fidelity Glass Company was sold to the Atlantic Bottle Company. The milk bottles we have seen will be embossed FID. 2 or have FIDELITY on the base of the bottle. They registered FID as their Mass. seal, F-2 as their Maine seal and the number 2 in New Jersey and New York.
We also came across a 1915 advertisement for a Fidelity Glass Company of Chicago, Illinois. They advertised milk bottles made on Fidelity semi-automatic motor driven machines. We do not know if this is a related or separate company.
Florida Glass Manufacturing Company
This glass house was started around 1928 in Jacksonville, Florida by Antonio Scalise who had previously owned the Columbia Glass Company of Fairmont, West Virginia. Columbia Glass Company was not a bottle manufacturer but had manufactured opal glassware such as ointment jars and cosmetic pots. Florida Glass Manufacturing Company manufactured a general line of bottles including beer, soda and milk bottles. The company remained in business until around 1947 when it became a subsidiary of Chattanooga Glass Company. They were sued by the Hartford Empire Company for using glass feeders that allegedly infringed on Hartford Empire's patents. To settle they were forced to sign a license agreement with the Hartford Empire Company in August of 1935. Their license agreement for the Hartford Empire glass feeder kept a restrictive cap on their milk bottle production. Initially it was set at 21,500 gross per year and was later relaxed to 27,500 gross per year.
Toulouse reported this company's mark as FG while Giarde documented F.G. with punctuation and included an additional manufacturer's mark of F.G. CO. We have seen both marks reported by Giarde on southern milks from the correct time period and they are often followed by the number 60. We suspect that both marks were the maker's marks of the Florida Glass Manufacturing Company and that 60 was the seal number the company registered to comply with state requirements. Some Foremost milk bottles will have the F.G. CO. 60 embossed on the heel of the bottle and F.G. on the base. Other milk bottles only exhibit the F.G. 60 mark on the heel of the bottle. The F.G. CO. mark is interesting in that it does not fit perfect for the name of the company, ignoring the word Manufacturing. Toulouse reported the FG Co mark as being used by the Fairmount Glass Works prior to 1898 when they called themselves Fairmount Glass Company. We have seen that mark on bottles that seem to date prior to Florida Glass Manufacturing Company's existence and well out of their sales area so the possibility exists that F.G. Co was used by another milk bottle manufacturer.
Gem Bottle and Supply Company
See information under John B. Brooke.
Glass Containers, Inc.
This company started in 1933 in the Vernon suburb of Los Angeles, California. Prior to 1933 the company was called the Long Beach Glass Company and was located in Long Beach, California and had started in business in 1919 under that name. In 1933 the company relocated to Vernon and soon after changed its name. A second plant was built in Antioch, California and started producing bottles in 1948. In 1955 Hunt Foods purchased Glass Containers, Inc. and Hunt Foods' Hayward, California glass plant, built in 1953, became the third Glass Containers, Inc. factory. We have never seen a reference that Long Beach Glass Company made milk bottles. We also are not sure when Glass Containers, Inc. started to make milk bottles but they definitely were in the market in the 1950's and 60's. At this time the milk bottles were square and many of the milk bottles made by Glass Containers, Inc. were amber in color. The mark they used was a squared off G above and overlapping on a squared off C. The mark is usually associated with a 2 digit date code and a letter indicating the plant location.
In 1965 the company name changed to Glass Containers Corporation. In 1968 Glass Containers Corporation purchased the Knox Glass Company and the Fairmount Glass Works. This turned Glass Containers Corporation into a huge company with factories in numerous cities. After the purchase of Knox Glass Company in 1968, Glass Containers Corporation manufactured milk bottles at the Parker, Pennsylvania (formerly Parker's Landing) plant that had been part of Knox Glass Company. On September 1, 1983 Glass Containers Corporation merged with Chattanooga Glass Company to form Container General Corporation. Two years later, in April of 1985, Diamond-Bathurst purchased Container General Corporation and then just three months later, in July of 1985, they also purchased the assets of the Thatcher Glass Company which was in bankruptcy.
Glenshaw Glass Company
This glass company was started in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania by two glass blowers that had worked at the Tibby Brothers Glass Works. The start date is sometimes referenced as 1894 or 1895. Construction of the factory and furnaces started in 1894 but the first bottle was produced January 7, 1895. A second, larger factory was added in 1900 and soon after the original factory was closed. The company was hit by major fires in 1903 and 1917. The 1917 fire resulted in a long closure. In 1908 the company installed versions of the British, Ashley semi-automatic bottle machines. They operated these with one skilled man and two boys. The use of boys did not please the glass unions. In 1912 the company was reported to be producing milk bottles. In 1914 the company operated a second factory in Swedesboro, Maryland that lasted until 1918. Around 1920 the semi-automatic machines were updated to automatics with Howard feeders. Soon after the Hartford-Empire Company argued that they controlled the patents to the Howard feeders and forced the Glenshaw Glass Company into licensing agreements that forced them to pay royalties and restricted their production of some types of bottles. We believe milk bottles was one casualty of these agreements.
At some point Glenshaw Glass Company returned to manufacturing milk bottles. Advertisements from 1956 promote their square milk bottles. In 1961 they added a factory in Orangeburg, New York which remained in production until late 1983 or early 1984. In this later period, Glenshaw Glass Company was part of a landmark tax case. Because of Hartford-Empire Company's treatment of them, Glenshaw Glass Company ended up wining an antitrust lawsuit against Hartford-Empire Company in 1947 and was awarded 800,000 dollars, part of which were punitive damages. Glenshaw Glass Company did not pay income tax on this money and in 1955 the Supreme Court ruled against them and said the money was taxable. Glenshaw Glass Company remained in business until November, 2004 when the plant was in receivership and shut down. Competition from the plastic container industry and finally flooding due to hurricane Ivan did the company in.
On later square milk bottles Glenshaw Glass Company advertised their mark as a G in a square found on the base of the bottle. This mark has been reported used since 1932. On early Glenshaw bottles the mark has been reported as G. G. CO. but we have not confirmed this mark on a milk bottle.
J. T. & A. Hamilton Company
This glass company was started in 1879 by Albert Hamilton and his brother James T. Hamilton. Albert had worked for W. H. Hamilton & Company prior to that. The original glass plant was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and later factories were added at Butler, Pennsylvania, which operated from 1889 to 1918 and Blairsville, Pennsylvania, which operated from 1895 to 1902. The Blairsville factory was acquired from the Asa G. Neville Glass Company and was operated until it was destroyed in a fire. J. T. & A. Hamilton Company manufactured some amber milk bottles as well as flint glass milk bottles. Thatcher Manufacturing Company purchased the milk bottle portion of their business in 1919. J. T. & A. Hamilton Company resumed manufacturing milk bottles again some time after the sale because in 1937 the company was again listed as a milk bottle manufacturer and in 1938 the company was assigned a design patent for a milk bottle. We have yet to see a milk bottle that has the features of this patent however. The remainder of the company was purchased by the Knox Glass Bottle Company in 1943 and the name was changed to the Seaboard Glass Bottle Company.
The mark they used was J.T. & A.H. Co. or J.T. & A.H. The J.T. & A.H. mark is often followed by the number 14. That was the number the company registered in New Jersey and New York. J. T. & A. Hamilton Company also registered a mark of an H in a triangle in 1915. In the trademark papers they claimed continuous use of that mark, molded into glassware, since January 1, 1900. We have seen the H in a triangle mark on milk bottles, sometimes along with the word Climax. Climax was embossed on milk bottles sold by the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company which was a jobber or reseller of milk bottles. We believe that J. T. & H. Hamilton Company manufactured milk bottles for the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company.
An interesting note is that in the late 1890's J. T. & A. Hamilton Company or it's owners purchased interest in the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company which was the company of Charles Nightingale who patented the first square milk bottle in 1898. In fact Albert Hamilton was murdered on October 17, 1902 by the former president of the Climax Bottle and Manufacturing Company during a meeting to discuss 2700 dollars in missing funds.
W. H. Hamilton & Company
This company was established in 1863 by William H. Hamilton. They advertised flint glass milk bottles in March of 1889. The ad pictured a lightning stopper. They were still advertising flint glass milk bottles in 1900. A 1900 add for druggist bottles mentioned a makers mark of an H on the base of the bottle. We are unsure if that mark was used on milk bottles. The company's original factory was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a second factory was later added nearby in the same city. The company employed almost 300 workers. About 1897 plans were made to relocate the production facilities to Charleroi, Pennsylvania. In the same year the company was incorporated as the W. H. Hamilton Company (the & was dropped). In 1908 the factory was closed and the company went into receivership. The Charleroi plant was leased and eventually purchased by the Imperial Glass Company.
Hazel-Atlas Glass Company
This was a huge glass company formed in 1902 from the merger of four companies; Hazel Glass and Metals Company, Atlas Glass Company, Wheeling Metal Plant and Republic Glass Company. The company was based in Wheeling, West Virginia, although they only produced metal closures at that location, never glass products. Their first glass factory was in Washington, Pennsylvania. Eventually the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company had up to 16 glass factories of which two were in California (Pomona and Oakland). They also had a west coast division, Hazel-Atlas Glass Company of California, LTD. In 1920 Hazel-Atlas acquired Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Company of Zanesville, Ohio and operated it as a subsidiary. In 1956 Hazel-Atlas Glass Company became a division of Continental Can Company, however this merger was challenged under the Clayton Antitrust Act. In 1964 most of the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company factories that were producing glass containers were sold to the Brockway Glass Company.
It appears that Hazel-Atlas entered the milk bottle business in 1932 through their west coast division, Hazel-Atlas Glass Company of California. They targeted the milk bottle market on the Pacific Coast, producing milk bottles at their Oakland, California factory. A November, 1932 advertisement thanks "the Milk Distributors of the Pacific Coast for the enthusiastic welcome accorded The Atlas Milk Bottle." Notice that they used the name "Atlas" for their milk bottles, the same name used for their fruit jars. It seems strange that such a large company with so many factories across the U.S. would target the west coast for selling milk bottles however this appears to be the result of their licensing agreement with the Hartford Empire Company. After 1930 there were a lot less choices if you wanted to buy milk bottles in California. Southern Glass Company, West Coast Glass Company and Co-Operative Glass Company were all out of business and the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation and Pacific Coast Glass Company had merged into one company. The next closest milk bottle manufacturer was Liberty Glass Company in Oklahoma. Hazel-Atlas Glass Company was already a Hartford Empire customer for fruit jars so they must have decided to let Hazel-Atlas get some of the west coast milk bottle business. This may have just been an attempt on Hartford Empire's part to make sure there was some competition on the west coast since they would later be investigated for hindering competition in the industry. Plans for the Pomona, California glass plant were announced in December ot 1945.
The mark Hazel-Atlas Glass Company used on their milk bottles was an H over an A. The mark is often associated with the number 20, 21 or 22. These numbers are often cited as dates but we suspect these may be factory or mold codes.
Illinois Glass Company
This was a large glass company that listed milk bottles in their catalog. They were in business from 1873 until 1929 when they merged with the Owens Bottle Company to form Owens-Illinois. They had factories in Alton, Illinois; Gas City, Indiana; Bridgeton, New Jersey and a factory in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The Gas City plant was either a partnership with or purchased from Thomas Sheldon and Adelbert M. Foster known as the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company. This plant manufactured milk bottles from approximately 1905 to 1912. In 1912 the Bell Bottle Company of Fairmont, Indiana took over their milk bottle business. The Bell Bottle Company manufactured milk bottles until 1914 when milk bottle production there ceased. The Sheldon-Foster Glass Company plant moved to Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1901. In 1912 the plant became the Chicago Heights Bottle Company and a year later in 1913 the plant once again became part of Illinois Glass Company.
The earliest Illinois Glass Company catalog we have seen was 1897 and it contained milk bottles. Both tin top and common sense milk bottles were listed. The only factory listed in that year was at Alton, Illinois so one would assume that Illinois Glass Company was producing milk bottles at that factory. Both tin top and common sense milk bottles also appeared in the 1903-4 and the 1906 catalog from Illinois Glass Company. Milk bottles were also shown in their 1911 catalog and the company was advertising milk bottles in dairy publications in 1914. By the 1920's milk bottles had disappeared from their catalogs. We are unsure what, if any, marks were used on milk bottles. Were the bottles embossed with the Illinois Glass Company's mark or were the marks of the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company and the Bell Bottle Company used on the bottles during the early 1900's? Illinois Glass Company did register the number 7 in New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. Their advertisements showed a milk bottle with a IGCO monogram inside of a diamond however we have never seen this mark on an actual milk bottle and believe it was just used in advertisements. Toulouse did report that a similar monogram was used on fruit jars.
The Illinois Glass Company also owned the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company of San Francisco, California which was a large milk bottle manufacturer on the west coast and was operated as a separate entity (see next entry).
Illinois-Pacific Glass Company
This was the west coast subsidiary of the Illinois Glass Company. It's history traces back to the Abramson, Bacon and Heunisch Company which was established in 1881. Edward Abramson and Gaston Bacon ran a drugstore in San Francisco while Adam Heunisch was a salesman. Together they formed the company, Abramson, Bacon and Heunisch Company, to supply the druggist trade. Eventually the company also supplied the liquor trade and sold bottler's supplies, glassware and corks. In 1893 Bacon sold his interest to the Illinois Glass Company and the Armstrong Cork Company and the company name was shortened to Abramson-Heunisch Company. Abramson eventually bought back the interest controlled by the Armstrong Cork Company. In 1898 Abramson-Heunisch Comapny decided to become glass bottle manufacturers instead of resellers and bought an interest in the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works. In 1899 they purchased the remainder of the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works and changed their company's name to the Abramson-Heunisch Glass Company. In 1902 the Illinois Glass Company, who still had an interest in the company, bought out the company and formed the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company. It was incorporated on July 24, 1902.
The Illinois-Pacific Glass Company remained in business until 1926 when the name became Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation. We have not pin pointed exactly when the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company started to manufacture milk bottles but we have seen milk bottle advertisements as early as January of 1920. The last advertisements for the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company appeared in May of 1926. Illinois-Pacific Glass Company had a factory in San Francisco, California and used the mark I.P.G.CO. and later I.P.G. in a triangle on their milk bottles. The I.P.G.CO. abbreviation appeared in the company's ads until November of 1923. The triangle mark first appeared in the December, 1923 advertisements of the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company. Click here to see a January, 1926 ad with the triangle logo. In fact we have some milk bottles with both marks. In addition we have an early milk bottle that has IPG CO in an elongated diamond on the heel of the bottle although this maker's mark was not common on milk bottles.
Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation
This was the same company as the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company after the incorporation in 1926. Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation was incorporated on January 6, 1926 as a holding company, acquiring all of the capital stock of the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company. However it was not until June 1, 1926 that the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company was merged into the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation. Note that the hyphen between Illinois and Pacific was dropped soon after the corporation was formed. The first advertisements for the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation appeared in June of 1926. The corporation advertised until September of 1930 when it merged with the Pacific Coast Glass Company to form the Illinois Pacific Coast Company. However stockholder reports indicated the Illinois Pacific Coast Company was actually organized on May 31, 1930. In addition to the original glass plant in San Francisco, a second plant was built in Los Angeles. Construction was started in June of 1928 and the factory was completed in early 1929. Advertisements from April of 1929 mention the addition of the factory in Los Angeles. The mark on milk bottles continued to be I.P.G. in a triangle. This company was a very common manufacturer of California embossed milk bottles.
In September, 1926 advertisements, the company came out with the term "Electroneal" to describe their milk bottles. Electroneal was the process where milk bottles were annealed in electric lehrs to the utmost point of durability, case hardening and lustre. Prior to this, the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company had promoted their electrically annealed bottles but never had a specific term for it. Glass houses for years had been arguing whether gas fired, coal fired or electric furnaces were better. Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation coined a word to support the claim that their electric lehrs were superior. They actually were assigned patents in 1925 and 1926 for their process of annealing glass. These patents were granted to Kenneth Henry who was the plant manager at Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation's San Francisco factory.
Illinois Pacific Coast Company
This company was formed by the merger of the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation and the Pacific Coast Glass Company. Their first advertisements appeared in September of 1930 although stock filings indicated that the company was organized on May 31, 1930. Interestingly the first advertisement was just a copy of the previous months ad from the Pacific Coast Glass Company. They just doubled the number of factories. The ad even mentioned each companies trademarked annealing process, Electroneal and Temperite, which had been fierce competitors just the month before! The company had four glass plants, two in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles. In addition Illinois Pacific Coast Company purchased the Southern Glass Company in November of 1930 soon after the merger. They bought Southern's machinery, accounts receivable and inventory and closed down the factory.
Illinois Pacific Coast Company advertised they had 50 million bottles in stock. The mark they used on milk bottles has been reported to be I.P.C. in a triangle but we have trouble distinguishing that from the I.P.G. mark used by the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation. Ads for the Illinois Pacific Coast Company never featured I.P.C. in a triangle. We feel that many milk bottles made by this company displayed the mark of the company that made them prior to the merger. This especially seems true since the new company still advertised the unique processes of the previous companies, Temperite and Electroneal. This occurred throughout the life of the company, there was no attempt to create a new brand. This probably was a wise marketing move. Illinois Pacific Glass Company and Pacific Coast Glass Company were fierce competitors and their customers were very loyal to each company. To phase out one of the brands might have led to some customers leaving the newly formed company. This company was short lived. In late March of 1932 the stockholders of the Illinois Pacific Coast Company approved their acquisition by the Owens-Illinois Glass Company. The Illinois Pacific Coast Company last advertised in May of 1932. At that point the merger of the Owens Bottle Company and the Illinois Glass Company was formalized on the west coast and the company became the Owens-Illinois Pacific Coast Company.
Jeannette Glass Company
We have only come across references to milk bottles being manufactured by this glass company. This company was started in 1898 in the town of Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Previously it had been known as the Jeannette Bottle Works which was started in 1887 or 1888. In the early 1900's they installed machines for the production of milk bottles, however the company's product line featured many types of bottles. Some time in the late teens or early 1920's the company shifted it's product line from bottles to pressed glassware. The company remained in business until 1983, however it's period of milk bottle manufacture would have been much shorter, from the early 1900's until 1923 at the latest. Jeannette Glass Company used a J in a square as one of it's manufacturers marks but we have never seen that mark on a milk bottle. They did register the number 36 with the states of New Jersey and New York as their milk bottle seal.
John B. Brooke
John B. Brooke advertised milk bottles in the early 1900's and his ads specified "Maker". We have found newspaper references to John B. Brooke, "a dealer in and manufacturer of bottles", as early as 1894 and in 1896 J. B. Brooke placed a help wanted ad for a salesman to sell milk jars. We have seen a small mouthed bottle with a dairy name that was marked BROOKE on the base. This would probably predate conventionally shaped milk bottles. The milk bottles we have seen from this company are embossed on the base J. B. BROOKE MAKER with an 86 FULTON ST. NEW YORK address. He was located in New York, New York. In August of 1901, he incorporated the John B. Brooke Company and the ads reflected the name change the next month. We have seen milk bottles embossed THE BROOKE CO. MAKERS N.Y. In March of 1902 the name changed again to Gem Bottle and Supply Company. John Brooke was the president of Gem Bottle and Supply Company. We have seen milk bottles embossed on the base GEM with the same 86 FULTON ST. NEW YORK address as well as a bottle embossed GEM-BROOKE NEW YORK. Other milk bottles will be embossed GEM B & S CO. N.Y. on the heel.
Gem Bottle and Supply Company was listed as a bottle manufacturer in 1912 and 1913-14 business directories. A 1901 ad for the John B. Brooke Company offered all styles and shapes of milk jars with or with out metal tops. Their ads listed bottles and jars of all styles but mentioned that milk jars and dairy supplies were their specialty. The company claimed to have the largest factories in the world. We have no idea where the factory would have been. However we have seen milk bottles that were embossed with GEM B & S CO. and also B.P.17 which was the mark used by the Belle Pre Bottle Company. This would indicate that at the time these bottles were manufactured Gem Bottle and Supply Company would have been a jobber, reselling milk bottles made by the Belle Pre Bottle Company. However John Brooke was advertising milk bottles prior to the start of the Belle Pre Bottle Company so the question is did he manufacture them himself or did he use another glass factory? We also have evidence that Gem Bottle & Supply Company did business with J.T. & A. Hamilton Company around 1913. This would have been after the Belle Pre Bottle Company went out of business so possibly Gem Bottle & Supply Company had J.T. & A. Hamilton make their milk bottles after Belle Pre Bottle Company went out of business. It is also interesting to note that there are strong similarities between the base embossing on early J. B. Brooke milk bottles and early A. V. Whiteman milk bottles.
John B. Brooke may have had another connection to glass manufacturing. In the 1890's John B. Brooke shared the 86 Fulton Street address with Aries P. Brooke who advertised himself as a glass mould maker specializing in private and experimental moulds. Aries P. Brooke was issued patents in 1872, 1875 and 1883 for glass molds and presses all of which he assigned to James or William Brookfield of the Bushwick Glass Works (later to become the Brookfield Glass Company) of New York. Bushwick Glass Works had their offices in the early 1890's next door to Brooke at 83 Fulton Street. Aries was the brother of Homer Brooke who was also a glass mould maker and held numerous patents for glass bottle and insulator manufacturing. This connection may explain some of the detailed private molds that John B. Brooke used for his milk bottles.
John W. Ladd Company
This company started in 1901 under the name Ladd Bros. and was a jobber for cheese supplies. In April of 1909 the company was incorporated as the John W. Ladd Company and the business was expanded into all areas of dairy and creamery supplies. One ad in 1913 advertised milk bottles "direct from our factories to you" and listed bottle factories in Saginaw, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio. The company was based in Saginaw, Michigan until 1915 when it moved to Detroit, Michigan. In 1928 John W. Ladd Company was one of seven companies to merge and form the Cherry-Burrell Corporation.
We have seen milk bottles embossed on the base: JOHN W. LADD COMPANY SAGINAW AND DETROIT. A later milk bottle with a 1915 date only listed the city of Detroit. However we have seen similar milk bottles with a 1925 date that were definitely made by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. Other milk bottles used an abbreviated mark of J. W. LADD CO. DETROIT. We listed this company as a milk bottle manufacturer based on their ads but tend to doubt that claim. Most likely John W. Ladd was actually reselling milk bottles he bought from glass factories in Saginaw, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio. The Saginaw factory probably belonged to the Michigan Glass Company and the Columbus factory to the Winslow Glass Company.
Kane Flint Bottle Company
A letter head for this company, dated 1905, showed up on ebay. It said the company was "manufacturers of prescription ware, flasks and milk jars". They were located in Kane, Pennsylvania. The company was chartered on September 30, 1895. A 1911 newspaper article said the company employed 125 workers, however a later report had the number down to 67 employees. There was a fire at the factory in September of 1916 and newspaper reports at the time said the factory had been idle for a couple of years due to an "inability to compete with factories modernly equipped and better situated in the matter of fuel supply". The property was sold in 1918. The marks they used on milk bottles are currently unknown.
Knape-Coleman Glass Company
This glass plant was started in 1934 by two engineers that had worked at the Three Rivers Glass Company. They purchased the plant of the Texas Glass Company which was not in use but ideally located near the center of Texas in Santa Anna. The location was near large sand and gas deposits as well as a major railroad. They started producing milk bottles in May of 1934, soon after Liberty Glass Company purchased the milk bottle business of the Three Rivers Glass Company. The company was small, employing between 25 and 40 workers. They quickly ran afoul of the Hartford Empire Company and were sued for patent infringement on their gob feeders. They settled the case and were granted a 6 month license to manufacture milk bottles under the Hartford Empire patents. In senate testimony they called it a slow death agreement. After the license expired they continued to manufacture milk bottles but hand gathered the glass to get around the feeder patents. They soon could not compete and the Liberty Glass Company of Sapulpa, Oklahoma bought the company and it's assets and then dismantled the factory. Knape-Coleman Glass Company only manufactured milk bottles for about two years.
The company used a mark of a K superimposed over a C on their company letter head and recently a similar mark was reported on a milk bottle sold on ebay. We believe this was the makers mark for the Knape-Coleman Glass Company.
Knox Glass Bottle Company
This glass company was started by Roy Underwood in 1917 in Knox, Pennsylvania. Soon the company acquired many other glass plants around the United States. Knox Glass Bottle Company was making milk bottles in the late 1920's. It has been reported that only four of their plants made milk bottles. They were the original plant in Knox, Pennsylvania, Wightman Bottle & Glass Manufacturing Company in Parker's Landing, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Bottle Company in Sheffield, Pennsylvania and the Knox Glass Bottle Company of Mississippi located in Jackson, Mississippi (Lockhart et. al.). The Jackson, Mississippi factory could not have made milk bottles for very long though since it went in to production about the same time that Knox sold its milk bottle business to Thatcher Manufacturing Company. During this period Knox Glass Bottle Company used a K9 for their Maine and Mass. seal. The mark K9, K-9 or K.9 can also appear elsewhere on a milk bottle not associated with a specific state seal. We have a milk bottle with a K9 mark and also a Minnesota seal number of 57. Knox Glass Bottle Company also registered 09 as their seal in Wisconsin.
Knox also ran into patent infringement troubles with the Hartford Empire Company over their glass feeders. Hartford Empire sued them and forced Knox to agree to pay past penalties and enter into a licensing agreement in August, 1932. Unfortunately the licensing agreement allowed all of the Knox plants to only produce 75,000 gross of milk bottles per year. Prior to the agreement Knox's milk bottle production was between 100,000 and 150,000 gross per year. Because of this situation Knox Glass Bottle Company decided to sell the milk bottle portion of their business to the Thatcher Manufacturing Company in December of 1932. For some period after this time Knox Glass Bottle Company was not involved in milk bottle manufacturing. During this period milk bottles can be found that have the K9 mark as well as a Thatcher Manufacturing Company mark. Bottles marked as such must have been made by Thatcher after it purchased the Knox milk bottle business.
In 1943, Knox Glass Bottle Company itself purchased the J.T. & H. Hamilton Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and renamed it the Seaboard Glass Bottle Company, a division of Knox. J.T. & H. Hamilton Company was producing milk bottles at the time of the purchase so Knox Glass Bottle Company began manufacturing milk bottles again. Milk bottles manufactured at the Seaboard factory will be marked with an S in a keystone. Around 1952 Knox Glass Bottle Company standardized the maker's mark of all its factories to a K in keystone. In 1956 the company changed its name to the Knox Glass Company, Inc. Milk bottle production continued into the 1960's and Knox produced many square milk bottles during this time. In 1959 they purchased 100 percent of the stock of the Buck Glass Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Finally in 1968, Glass Containers, Inc. purchased the Knox Glass Company.
Lamb Glass Company
Lamb Glass Company was started in 1921 by Owen and Rex Lamb who were executives of the Essex Glass Company which had been purchased by Thatcher Manufacturing Company in 1919. Essex Glass Company had two glass factories in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and Thatcher quickly closed one of the Essex plants and soon after the Lamb's reopened the plant as the Lamb Glass Company. Lamb Glass Company advertised in October of 1921 that their factory would be ready to deliver milk bottles in November of that year and the plant would have a capacity of 1000 gross per day. They employed many of the former Essex Glass Company salesmen. The company's factory was in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Lamb Glass Company made a wide variety of milk bottles including dripless, token, baby top, Graduate and Modern Top milk bottles. In November of 1932 they were able to secure a license to use the Hartford Empire Company's glass feeders. They remained in business until 1963 (1964 is commonly stated but newspaper accounts place the change a year earlier) when they became a subsidiary of the Dorsey Corporation. The company under went a major modernization and continued to operate under the Dorsey Corporation who also had acquired the Chattanooga Glass Company in 1960.
Lamb Glass Company had more variations in their bottle marks than any other glass manufacturer. They used an L52 or L-52 as their maker's mark on milk bottles. Lamb Glass Company originally used an O as their Mass. seal, a 52 or L52 as their Minnesota seal and an L52 as their Rhode Island seal. For their Maine seal we have seen L52 or L52 or L-52 or just an L. We have also seen an L.G.CO.52 maker's mark associated with the O Mass. seal and believe this mark was also used by Lamb Glass Company prior to the L52 or L-52 mark (Lockport Glass Company also used an L.G.Co. mark often followed by a 1). In addition we have found an L Mass. seal associated with the L-52 makers mark that would date to the late 30's or early 40's. Possibly sometime after the Lockport Glass Company was sold in 1919 (which had the original L Mass. seal) the Lamb Glass Company changed their Mass. seal from an O to an L. The Lamb Glass Company did not usually put a date on their milk bottles but we have identified a 1939 Lamb milk bottle with the O Mass. seal and a 1940 milk bottle with the L Mass. seal.
Liberty Glass Company
Liberty Glass Company traces back to the Premium Glass Company which was started by George F. Collins in 1912 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. In 1915, George Collins formed a partnership with H. U. Bartlett to form the Bartlett-Collins Glass Company which acquired control of the stock of the Premium Glass Company and the Premium plant became Bartlett-Collins factory number two, producing milk bottles. In 1918 George F. Collins separated from Bartlett-Collins Glass Company and formed the Liberty Glass Company at the old Premium Glass Company factory in Sapulpa. They began producing milk bottles in August of 1918. An ad placed in January of 1919 announced that Liberty Glass Company was the successor to the milk bottle business of Bartlett-Collins Glass Company. The new company advertised heavily, targeting areas west of the Mississippi. In 1922 they advertised their output was 500 railroad cars annually. They had a strong presence in California and were represented here by the Hughes Sales Company of Los Angeles. They controlled the 1937 patent of James Greenwood for his unique milk bottle lip.
Liberty used the marks L.G. and L-G and eventually just LG to mark their milk bottles. The company trademarked the LG mark in July of 1955 and claimed its first use was in March of 1953. Liberty milk bottles will often be embossed SEALED 52 but this should not be confused with the L-52 mark of the Lamb Glass Company. A 1940 reference said that Liberty Glass Company had registered the number 52. That reference did not mention the Lamb Glass Company. Liberty Glass Company used a 7 as their Minnesota seal. Interestingly, Liberty Glass Company is not known to have used a Massachusetts or Maine seal. Their midwest location must have not been conducive to doing business in these highly competitive eastern states. However the Hartford Empire Company did grant them an unrestricted license to use their glass feeders in May of 1926 because of their midwest sales territory. Liberty was a major milk bottle manufacturer in the 1940's and 1950's during which time they made many pyroglazed milk bottles. A 1919 and 1922 ad said they made nothing but milk bottles but in the 1940's they advertised carbonated beverage bottles as well as milk bottles. A 1922 ad mentioned that George F. Collins & Company purchased the glass plant of Hutton Bates Glass Company in Poteau, Oklahoma. Later Liberty Glass Company ads mentioned a second plant in Poteau. The company was purchased by American National Can Company in 1994.
Lockport Glass Company
Lockport Glass Company was organized in July of 1900 and produced its first glass on October 3, 1900. They remained in business until 1919 when the were purchased by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. The company had two factories in Lockport, New York. The first was the original factory built in 1900 and the second was a larger, more modern factory built around 1917. At its inception the company manufactured fruit jars and pickle bottles but eventually added milk bottles as one of their products. Lockport Glass Company also manufactured screw cap cream jars as one of its products. One source said milk bottles were added to the product line around 1908 however a January, 1902 newspaper article about Lockport Glass Company mentioned the factory was manufacturing milk bottles at that time. In 1914 they devoted all of their production to milk bottles. The company employed 190 people at the time it was sold to the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. The Lockport plant continued to produce bottles for Thatcher Manufacturing Company until June of 1942. This company seems to be somewhat ignored as a milk bottle manufacturer. They advertised regularly and an 1918 ad said they were producing 7 rail car loads of milk bottles each day.
They used the L.G.Co. mark on milk bottles although some advertisements showed the mark as L.G.Co.-1 which we have seen on some milk bottles. Sometimes the 1 is below the L.G.Co. They registered an L as their Mass. seal and the number 1 in New Jersey and New York. We have seen milk bottles with a Maine Seal of LGCO 01. Some ads even boasted of sales to the western United States and we have seen California milk bottles with this mark. We have even seen a milk bottle with the L.G.Co.-1 mark and the mark of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company as well as a milk bottle with an L Mass. seal and the Thatcher Manufacturing Company mark. These bottles must have been made after the Thatcher Manufacturing Company purchased the Lockport Glass Company.
Mannington Glass Works
This glass company is a mystery. It was chartered on January 2, 1902 but had been established in 1900 or 1901. Initially the company employed just under 100 workers. In 1903 they obtained the rights to the O'Neill-Gordon bottle machine for West Virginia, becoming the first company to use a bottle blowing machine in the state. The company advertised with large ads in 1905 and 1906 proclaiming it's milk bottles were used by one third of milk dealers and it was the largest milk bottle manufacturer in the United States. This might have been due to the Belle Pre Bottle Company making the same claim at the same time, in the same part of the country. They manufactured milk bottles exclusively. The company was based in Mannington, West Virginia. H. E. Travis, who would start the Travis Glass Company in 1908, was the secretary-treasurer of this glass works until his resignation in 1907. They advertised that beginning in 1905 their trademark, an M with a milk bottle in the center, was blown in the base of every bottle. We have never seen a bottle with this mark. Mannington Glass Works registered an M as their Mass. seal. The factory was destroyed by a major fire caused by a broken glass tank on April 18, 1909. That may have been the end of this glass works.
Maring, Hart & Company
This milk bottle manufacturer got its start in the window glass field in 1879. The company was originally called J. M. Maring & Company and was a window glass wholesaler in Bellaire, Ohio. The company name was then changed to Maring, Hart & Company. In 1888 they moved from Bellaire to Indiana, lured by the cheap natural gas discovered there. They started a window glass factory in Muncie, Indiana and a bottle factory in nearby Dunkirk, Indiana. Some references mention a second bottle factory. The window glass factory was sold in 1899 to the American Window Glass Company but the bottle plant in Dunkirk remained in business, employing 200 people. They produced a general line of bottles including liquor bottles, packers, preservers and milk bottles. Milk bottles were referenced as early as 1904 and as late as 1916. We do not know what maker's mark, if any, was used on their milk bottles.
In the early part of 1918 the company was reorganized as the Hart Glass Manufacturing Company. Modern references have reported that Hart Glass Manufacturing Company produced milk bottles but we have come across no period references to confirm that. The company remained in business until December of 1938 when it was purchased by the Armstrong Cork Company for 1.9 million dollars. At the time the company employed 400 people.
Michigan Glass Company
Here is another company that we have never come across advertisements from but have verified that they produced milk bottles. The company was incorporated in February, 1911 and was located in Saginaw, Michigan. We have found references to them manufacturing milk bottles as early as 1912. At one point the company employed 144 workers. However they did not remain in business long, the factory was closed and the company filed for bankruptcy in June of 1916. The factory was advertised for sale in September of that year and eventually it was acquired by the Northwestern Glass Company in late 1917. The Michigan Glass Company registered the mark M.G. 2 in the state of Wisconsin in 1913. We believe that John W. Ladd Company was a customer of this glass plant and mentioned their Saginaw factory in his ads.
Mid-West Glass Casket Company
This glass company was one that we never heard of before and came as a big surprise. And yes, glass caskets are exactly what they sound like. James W. DeCamp of Blackwell, Oklahoma had numerous patents for funeral caskets made of glass. This was one of his companies. Why the company decided to branch out from caskets into milk bottles is a mystery. Most likely it gave them a product that could actually be manufactured since producing the glass caskets proved to be near impossible, especially in adult sizes. They were located in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where the city donated them 10 acres of land for their factory and offered a favorably price, 4 cents/1000 square feet, on natural gas. The company was originally organized in Wichita, Kansas in November of 1915 but was enticed by the city of Muskogee to build it's factory there. The company was registered in Oklahoma on December 21, 1916 and started operations there in September of 1917. The sales territory the company controlled for glass caskets were the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. The did not even have sales access to their home state of Oklahoma. The factory was reported to employ over 100 men. All the milk bottle advertisements we have seen were from 1918. They were full page ads in a major dairy publication and stated that their milk bottles would conform to the regulations of any state or city. The ads also stated that the company had no old contracts, so 1918 must have been the start of Mid-West Glass Casket Company in the milk bottle business. This was the same year that Liberty Glass Company started in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and all we can figure is the Mid-West Glass Casket Company decided to compete with them in the central U. S. territory. They called their bottles Mid-West milk bottles and said the plant was built exclusively for the manufacture of milk bottles. However other references stated that they also intended to produce water bottles, plate glass and demijohns. DeCamp had more than his share of legal and financial troubles so we believe that this business did not last too long. A newspaper article from July of 1919 stated that the company had installed oil burners the prior winter when their gas supply failed. They continued to produce milk bottles until two months prior but had to suspend operations because they could not compete on price with gas fired plants. The article added that the company was still waiting for the molds to produce the glass caskets and that if a cheaper source of fuel was not located then the factory would have to relocate. The article said that the plant produced milk bottles for 2 1/2 years but this seems optimistic. A better estimate, at most, would be from September of 1917 to May of 1919 or a total of 1 3/4 years.
We have seen early milk bottles, some amethyst and from California, that are base embossed MID-WEST (on some bottles the hyphen can be very faint). It is possible that this was how Mid-West Glass Casket Company marked their milk bottles.
As an interesting note the Ada, Oklahoma glass plant of the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company was also formerly a glass casket factory. Hazel Atlas bought that plant in 1928 from the American Casket Company, another company that James W. DeCamp was involved with.
Click here for a stock prospectus for the Crystal Glass Casket Company of Washington D. C. that contains information on the caskets and has some pictures of the Mid-West Glass Casket company.
New York Glass Company
This glass company traces its roots back to the Olean Glass Company of Olean, New York that was started by Samuel W. Pancoast. Samuel's son, Vernon W. Pancoast became a vice president of that company and was in charge of their Port Allegany factory. In 1900 he left Olean and started a glass factory by the name of the New York Glass Works in Alden, New York. In late 1912 or early 1913 the company purchased the window glass factory of the Fitzpatrick Glass Company in Falls Creek, Pennsylvania which had been sitting idle for a number of years. On February 26, 1913 they chartered a new corporation, calling it the New York Glass Company of Falls Creek, Pennsylvania, for the purpose of manufacturing glassware, particularly glass bottles. Equipment was moved from the Alden factory to make the Falls Creek plant functional. Unfortunately about the same time Vernon Pancoast was injured when a brick fell from a chimney and fractured his skull. His wounds were very serious and in 1915 they would lead to his death and most likely the failure of his business. Soon after it's inception New York Glass Company ran into financial trouble. A receiver was appointed in January, 1914 and the company was sold to the bond holders in March of 1914. The bonds were held by local DuBois, Pennsylvania investors and they reorganized the company as the DuBois Glass Company even though the factory was in nearby Falls Creek.
New York Glass Company used the mark of N.Y.G.CO. 30 on their milk bottles. We have confirmed this mark on early machine made milk bottles. The number 30 must have been registered by the New York Glass Company as a state seal mark although we have never found state documents to confirm that. The DuBois Glass Company did register the number 30 after they inherited it from the New York Glass Company. We believe that all the milk bottles with this mark were made at the Falls Creek plant of the New York Glass Company. We have never found references to milk bottle production at the Alden factory and that plant was named the New York Glass Works.
North Wheeling Glass Company
North Wheeling Glass Company was established in 1878 in Wheeling, West Virginia. Previously the factory had manufactured window glass. The number of employees fluctuated between 178 and 271. Around 1916 the name became North Wheeling Glass Bottle Company. It is unclear if this was just a change in name or a change in ownership. In 1925 the company was foreclosed on by its bank. In 1926 the factory was purchased by Eastern Glass Company, a bottle jobber based in New York City. About the same time Eastern Glass Company had also purchased the Acme Glass Company of Olean, New York. The original plan was to move all the equipment from the Acme factory in Olean to the North Wheeling factory but the city of Olean convinced them to move the North Wheeling equipment to Olean instead.
The company listed glass milk jars in one of their catalogs from the turn of the century. The milk jar pictured in the catalog was a tin top and it was offered in half pint, pint, quart and half gallon sizes. The milk bottles could be ordered with lettered name plates. The marks used by this company on milk bottles are unknown.
Olean Glass Company (1883-1913)
In October of 1883 Samuel W. Pancoast and some local capitalists started the Olean Glass Works in Olean, New York. S. W. Pancoast left after a few months and the company failed within a year. In 1884 the factory was reopened as the Union Glass Works but this business also quickly failed. The plant remained idle until May, 1887 when S. W. Pancoast returned with his two sons and resurrected the Olean Glass Works. They were the first company to use natural gas to make glass. This time the business met with better success and survived. In late 1894, after a major fire at the factory, the business was incorporated as the Olean Glass Company. In 1901 the company had 260 employees. The company opened a second plant at Port Allegany, Pennsylvania in 1896 (Port Allegany was 20 miles from Olean, New York, just across the state line). Newspaper reports said that this plant was closed in the summer of 1913 due to the lack of gas to fire the plant and the workers transferred to Olean. At the same time the Acme Glass Company, also located in Olean, New York, purchased the Olean Glass Company. The transfer of ownership was to occur after the furnaces were restarted in the fall. At the time the Olean Glass Company employed 175 workers. Soon after in February of 1914, Acme Glass Company closed the Olean Glass Company plant.
In the early 1900's Olean Glass Company was listed as a milk bottle manufacturer. They registered the number 12 as their New Jersey seal. We have seen milk bottles embossed with maker's mark of O. G. Co. #12 and would attribute this mark to the Olean Glass Company. Interestingly the two milk bottles we have seen with this mark were not machine made and were for a dairy in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania.
Olean Glass Company (1929-1943)
Acme Glass, which purchased the original Olean Glass Company in 1913, continued to manufacture glass in Olean after shutting down the Olean Glass Company plant in 1914. In May of 1926 the Eastern Glass Company, a bottle jobber in New York City, purchased the Acme Glass Company. Soon after, in 1927, a new factory was started in Olean, New York. Around 1928 there must have been some fraud on the part of the new owners and they disappeared to Europe. Acme Glass Company was put into receivership in April of 1929 and in September of that year a group of local investors purchased the company in a receiver's sale and renamed it the Olean Glass Company. The new company manufactured a general line of bottles including milk bottles. In July, 1935 the Thatcher Manufacturing Company acquired all the company's stock and operated the Olean Glass Company as a subsidiary under the Olean Glass Company name. While Thatcher specialized in milk bottles, Olean Glass Company continued to make a general line of bottles, including milk bottles. This continued until January 1, 1944 when Thatcher Manufacturing Company took complete ownership and Olean became a division of Thatcher. This relationship continued until June of 1948 when the Olean, New York plant was shut down due to rising costs and unstable labor relations. In 1930 the Olean Glass Company employed 350 people and at its closing in 1948 still employed 285 workers.
Toulouse reported that the Olean Glass Company was making milk bottles prior to their purchase by Thatcher Manufacturing Company. Records indicate they continued to manufacture milk bottles during the period they were owned by Thatcher. As far as how this second Olean Glass Company marked their milk bottles we are not certain.
Owens-Illinois Glass Company
This was a huge milk bottle manufacturer based in Toledo, Ohio that was formed in 1929 by the merger of the Owens Bottle Company and the Illinois Glass Company. However neither company had licenses to produce milk bottles. To gain entry into the milk bottle business they purchased two existing milk bottle manufacturers in 1930. Their first purchase was the Berney-Bond Glass Company, which was reported in May of 1930. The first milk bottle advertisements for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company in August of 1930 referred to the Berney-Bond milk bottle division of Owens-Illinois. The ads pictured a milk bottle with the BB48 makers mark of the Berney-Bond Glass Company and the 5W mark of the Winslow Glass Company that had been purchased by Berney-Bond just three years earlier. Owens-Illinois, being a new entry into the milk bottle trade, was taking advantage of the reputation of both Berney-Bond and Winslow. One difference in the ads was that the Berney-Bond Glass Company's plant at Hazelhurst, Pennsylvania was no longer listed as an operating factory. The next acquisition in November of 1930 was the Atlantic Bottle Company. The first ads mentioning this acquisition appeared in February of 1931. Now the ads referred to the Berney-Bond-Atlantic milk bottle division of Owens-Illinois, again taking advantage of these companies reputations in milk bottle manufacture (and the ad still pictured the 5W mark of Winslow Glass Company). By July of 1931 Owens-Illinois Glass Company was advertising the Hold Fast Grip patent of the Atlantic Bottle Company which was a popular milk bottle patent acquired by Owens-Illinois in its purchase of Atlantic. Atlantic Bottle Company's factory at Brackenridge, Pennsylvania however did not fit into Owens-Illinois' plans and it was closed within a year of the purchase. Owens-Illinois would eventually have numerous factories but the main milk bottle plants were at Clarion, Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio, both acquired from Berney-Bond Glass Company.
Their manufacturer's mark was an I in an oval superimposed on an elongated diamond until advertisements in February of 1954 showed the mark had become just an I in an oval. At the same time the company name was shortened to Owens-Illinois by dropping Glass Company off the end. We have seen milk bottles with this newer mark that have a 1955 date. Currently the company uses a mark of O-I which looks like a bold O and I that are connected. Owens-Illinois filed a trademark registration for this mark on March 29, 2005 and claimed is first use as December 17, 1997. This mark can be found on newer milk bottles, often these newer bottles will also be embossed STANPAC which was the company that applied the ACL. The marks also had a plant code to the left and a date code to the right of the mark and possibly a mold code below the mark. Many Owens-Illinois milk bottles after 1940 will also be embossed "Duraglas" on the base which was Owens-Illinois' process to strengthen the bottles. Owens-Illinois Glass Company did continue to place the Berney-Bond Glass Company's makers mark on many of their milk bottles. Therefore a milk bottle with both Berney-Bond and Owens-Illinois marks should be attributed to Owens-Illinois. Likewise Owens-Illinois continued to use the state seals that previously belonged to Berney-Bond Glass Company rather than apply for their own.
Owens-Illinois Pacific Coast Company
This company was a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois operating on the west coast that was established in 1932, a few years after the parent companies merged in 1929. It was a continuation of the Illinois Pacific Coast Company. Some times the company name was shortened to Owens-Illinois Pacific. The first ads for the company were seen in June of 1932 although it was reported that stockholders had approved the merger in late March. Just like the previous merger of the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation and the Pacific Coast Glass Company, the first advertisement was just a copy of the previous months ad with the company name changed. They even still featured the two competing annealing processes, Temperite and Electroneal, from the original companies before the merger. Initially they had two glass plants in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles, California. Eventually one plant in each city was closed. In 1938 the remaining San Francisco plant was closed and a glass plant in Oakland, California was added. They used the same manufacturers' marks as Owens-Illinois, their parent company. In the early 1940's the company no longer was referred to as a separate company from Owens-Illinois, rather it became a division within Owens-Illinois.
Pacific Coast Glass Works
This glass works was started in 1902 by James Davis and George Newman. They had been partners in the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works when it was bought out by the Abramson-Heunisch Company in 1898-99. They soon left that company and started the Pacific Coast Glass Works on their own. The company operated until May of 1924 when it incorporated as the Pacific Coast Glass Company. A 1918 ad for the company stated that they had been making milk bottles for seven to eight years. This would mean that manufacture of milk bottles started in 1910 or 1911. The factory was in San Francisco, California. The early maker's mark was P.C.G.W. and was shown in advertisements as early as 1906. By May of 1917 advertisements for the company showed the maker's mark as a P and a C in a divided horizontal rectangle. We have some California milk bottles with both marks. Many early California bottles were made at the Pacific Coast Glass Works.
Pacific Coast Glass Company
This is the same company as the Pacific Coast Glass Works after the business incorporated on May 29, 1924. In addition to the factory in San Francisco they purchased the West Coast Glass Company of Los Angeles in January of 1930. Their advertisements in February of 1930 indicated the addition of a factory in Los Angeles, saying that it was being entirely rebuilt and modernized. The same ad also said that the San Francisco factory was being enlarged and completely modernized. Later in 1930 they merged with the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation to form the Illinois Pacific Coast Company. The last ads for the Pacific Coast Glass Company appeared in September of 1930. Their early ads showed the manufacturer's mark as a P and a C in a divided horizontal rectangle but later ads showed the mark as a P and a C in a divided vertical rectangle. However looking at dated milk bottles both marks were used from 1926 to 1930.
Pacific Coast Glass Company used the term Temperite to describe their milk bottles in their advertisements beginning in March of 1928. Temperite referred to the scientific control of the heat in the annealing process used to temper and strengthen the bottles. Pacific Coast Glass Company was a natural gas fired plant and they were competing with the electric ovens of the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation and their Electroneal process. Annealing was very important to the dairyman since its purpose was to strengthen the surface of the glass to reduce chipping, scratching and spalling. Milk bottles were unique in that they made many trips from the dairy to the consumer and each trip required the milk bottle to go through a huge temperature change from the 30-40 degrees when filled with cold milk to the 200+ degrees during washing and sterilization. Proper annealing was necessary for the milk bottle to be able to withstand these temperature changes without breaking.
Poughkeepsie Glass Works
This glass factory was originally started in Poughkeepsie, New York as the American-Anglo Glass Company in 1879. The owners had obtained control of a patent granted to Bashley Britten on December 15, 1874 that explained a process to use waste slag from an adjacent iron smelting works to manufacture glass. This operation did not prove profitable and in 1880 the company was incorporated as the Poughkeepsie Glass Works. A major fire destroyed the plant in 1897 and it was quickly rebuilt, much enlarged and improved. This glass works was reported to have used the first successful continuous feed glass tank in the United States. It was a large company employing 350 men in the early 1900's. A 1906 reference listed milk jars as one of their wares. The company continued to manufacture milk bottles until it finally shut down in 1914. Their biggest customer was the Empire Bottle & Supply Company of New York. In 1910 Poughkeepsie Glass Works installed two bottle machines and signed a 5 year contract to manufacture milk bottles exclusively for the Empire Bottle & Supply Company. In 1913 they had a contract to manufacture 360,000 milk bottles for the Empire Bottle & Supply Company. However they had quality problems and many bottles were rejected by the Empire Bottle & Supply Company. They were unable to make a profit under the terms of the contract and a receiver was appointed to manage the company in March of 1912. In December of 1913, Charles T. Nightingale, president of the Empire Bottle & Supply Company was engaged in negotiations to lease the plant. On January 10, 1914 Charles Nightingale committed to lease the Poughkeepsie Glass works until August 1, 1914 for the sum of $500 dollars per month with an option to renew the lease for another year. He formed the Empire Milk Bottle Company, of which he was treasurer, to run the factory. In January of 1914 the plant was closed and Charles T. Nightingale was reported to be directing a remodeling of the plant. At this time the plant had eight bottle machines and 50,000 dollars was expended in remodeling the plant. This plan must have failed though because the Poughkeepsie Glass Works filed for bankruptcy in February of 1914 and a receiver was appointed on February 20, 1914. The plant was sold at public auction in April of that year. Despite having just invested 50,000 dollars in improvements, the best selling feature of the property was it's frontage on the Hudson River and it was purchased by a lumber company.
One wonders if doing so much business with the Empire Bottle and Supply Company led to the down fall of the Poughkeepsie Glass Works. Empire would have had a lot of leverage in price negotiations and even though the volume was high, the margins could have been very tight. Since Poughkeepsie Glass Works failed to develop other customers for its products it was left in a poor position to negotiate prices. The quality problems were the final blow. It is interesting that the Empire Bottle & Supply Company considered taking over the factory. They must have felt the business could be profitable.
Poughkeepsie Glass Works used P for their Mass. seal, P-3 for their Maine seal and registered the number 3 in New Jersey and New York. We have seen the mark of P-3 or P3 embossed on the heels of milk bottles. The embossed mark, EMPIRE, is sometimes associated with the P-3 or P3 embossing and the P Mass. seal and would indicate bottles made for and sold through the Empire Bottle & Supply Company of New York. Likewise base embossing of H. E. WRIGHT & SONS BOSTON is also sometimes found with the P Mass. seal and would indicate milk bottles made for resale by H. E. Wright & Sons of Boston, Massachusetts.
Sheldon-Foster Glass Company
We have never found any advertisements from this company but have confirmed their maker's mark on milk bottles. The following is some information from J. H. Toulouse. In 1900 the Illinois Glass Company started a glass company in partnership with Thomas K. Sheldon and Adelbert M. Foster. This was the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company and was located in Gas City, Indiana. They began making milk bottles in 1905. In 1910 the plant was moved to Chicago Heights, Illinois. In 1912 the milk bottle business of Sheldon-Foster Glass Company was transferred to the Bell Bottle Company of Fairmount, Indiana. On December 17, 1912 the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company became the Chicago Heights Bottle Company.
Our research has revealed a few differences. Thomas K. Sheldon had a long resume in the glass industry. He had been an apprentice at Whitall, Tatum & Company, the factory manager of the Bellaire Bottle Works in Bellaire, Ohio, moved to the Chicago Glass Manufacturing Company and then the Marion Flint Glass Company. Adelbert M. Foster was the son of George Foster, one of the founders of Dean, Foster & Company. He worked at the Chicago branch of the company and in 1893 took it over under the name A. M. Foster & Company. Adelbert Foster, at one time, was also the vice-president of the Marion Flint Glass Company. A. M. Foster & Company as well as Dean, Foster & Company both sold milk bottles as well as druggists bottles. Though both companies advertised that they were bottle manufacturers they really only resold bottles made by other manufacturers. Partnership in a glass bottle factory was a logical step.
We find references to the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company in Gas City as early as July 11, 1894 when the company filed articles of association in the state of Indiana. One reference implied that the Gas City factory was an off shoot of the Marion Flint Glass Company (Marion, Indiana and Gas City, Indiana are just 5 miles apart). We also find references to a factory site being secured in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1900 and the factory being in Chicago Heights as early as early 1901. The unavailability of gas for fuel at the Gas City location is what prompted the move to Chicago Heights. We also found references that Thomas Sheldon sold the company to Illinois Glass Company in early 1904. Does this mean the Illinois Glass Company was not involved at the inception of the company in 1894 and only purchased it in 1904 or did they just buy Sheldon's share at that time? Based on the information we have it appears that Sheldon-Foster Glass Company started manufacturing milk bottles in 1905 at Chicago Heights, Illinois and continued until 1912 when their milk bottle business was transferred to the Bell Bottle Company at Fairmount, Indiana. Soon after in December of 1912, the Sheldon-Foster Glass Company became the Chicago Heights Bottle Company. A 1913 reference in the American Bottler stated that the Schofield Bros., formerly associated with the Standard Glass Company of Marion, Indiana, took over the business of the Sheldon-Foster Glass Works and would conduct business under the name of Chicago Heights Bottle Company.
This was a large glass company, employing 450 workers in 1908. The mark they used on milk bottles was S.F.G.Co. and we have seen that mark on amethyst milk bottles that would date from the 1905-1912 period that Sheldon-Foster Glass Company made milk bottles. The Sheldon-Foster Glass Company also furnished a 1000 dollar bond to the state of Wisconsin to register the number 7 as their seal in that state.
Southern Glass Company
This glass company was incorporated in California on October 16, 1918 and actually started in business February 8, 1919 in a small plant. They moved to a larger plant on March 7, 1920 and were in business until November of 1930 when the company was purchased by the Illinois Pacific Coast Company. Illinois Pacific Coast Company purchased the machinery, accounts receivable and inventory of the company and quickly shut down the factory. Southern Glass Company was another glass manufacturer that was threatened with litigation by the Hartford Empire Company over their use of gob feeders and it probably contributed to their decision to exit the business. We believe that they did not start to manufacture milk bottles until they had moved to the larger plant. They were definitely advertising milk bottles by 1921. The factory was in the Vernon area of Los Angeles, California. The bottle marks we have seen on milk bottles were an S inside a 5 pointed star, S.G.CO. or just an S on the base of the bottle. Some of their milk bottles will be embossed TRAXTUF on the base, which denoted their extra tough milk bottle. Southern Glass Company made a token milk bottle for one California dairy. We have also seen an amber milk bottle from a Southern California dairy with an S in a diamond that we believe was an early bottle made by Southern Glass Company.
Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company
This glass company was closely related to Essex Glass Company. The company was chartered in mid-1910 and operated until 1913 when Essex took over its glass factories. Lewis E. Tigner, who had worked at the Butler Bottle Company and later Essex Glass Company was one of the original directors and managed the Parkersburg plant. Initially Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company had a glass plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Demand was so great that the plant was being run 24 hours per day. In 1912 a second factory was added in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The company also contemplated a third factory adjacent to it's original factory in Parkersburg but this must not have been completed. The company made milk bottles exclusively and advertised their daily production as 500 gross. The plant operated with semi-automatic bottle machines. All the advertisements we have found for this company were from 1912. A May 1913 press release reported that the Standard Milk Bottle Manufacturing Company had been closed for two months and soon would resume operations as the Essex Glass Company. The earliest Essex Glass Company ad that we have seen was from October of 1913 and it included the Parkersburg factory as part of Essex.
Their manufacturer's mark was SMBMCo and they registered Pe as their Mass. seal and the number 29 in New Jersey and New York. We have also seen a milk bottle marked SMBCO 29 and would attribute that mark to this company also. It is interesting that the M for the word manufacturing is missing but the company was often referred to as the Standard Milk Bottle Company in references and the 29 was definitely registered to this company.
Streator Bottle & Glass Company
This glass company was established in 1881 in Streator, Illinois. In 1898 they purchased the Streator Flint Glass Works and utilized it as a second factory. They were a large company, employing 450 workers in 1895 and over 2000 in 1904. Their advertisements said they specialized in high pressure ware (soda and beer bottles) in light green and amber glass. On August 23, 1905 Streator Bottle & Glass Company consolidated with the Ohio Bottle Company and the Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company to form the American Bottle Company.
Streator Bottle & Glass Company's lone entry into milk bottle production was for the Chicago Sterilized Milk Company. They produced milk bottles for Chicago Sterilized Milk Company that would be more typical of beer or soda bottles. Streator Bottle & Glass Company embossed their maker's mark, S.B.&G.CO., on the base of these bottles. We do not believe that Streator Bottle & Glass Company ever made any conventionally shaped milk bottles.
Thatcher Manufacturing Company
Thatcher was the giant among milk bottle manufacturers. The company traces back to the H. D. Thatcher & Company of Potsdam, New York which introduced it's Milk Protector jar in 1884. Hervey Thatcher and Harvey Barnhart patented the closure for this jar in April of 1886. H. D. Thatcher & Company was not a milk bottle manufacturer but rather used the Whitall, Tatum & Company to manufacture milk bottles for them to resell. In January of 1887, the milk bottle business of the company was purchased by Harvey and Samuel Barnhart and in September, 1889 they patented the milk bottle cap seat and cap.
Thatcher Manufacturing Company was organized in December, 1889 and was still based in Potsdam, New York. In 1900 a major change in leadership occured when Francis Baldwin purchased control of the company and became it's president. Samuel Barnhart retired that same year and Harvey Barnhart retired as general manager in 1902. The company headquarters were moved to Elmira, New York in early 1905 and they began to manufacture their own milk bottles in late 1905 or 1906 at their new milk bottle factory in Kane, Pennsylvania using the new Owens Bottle Machine. Thatcher paid $250,000 in cash and stock plus a royalty of 50 cents per gross for the exclusive rights to use the Owens machine for making milk bottles. Prior to this time the company was selling milk bottles made by another manufacturer. Any bottles embossed with the Thatcher name and Potsdam, N.Y. were most likely not made by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. In addition to the Kane glass plant, factories and more Owens machines were added in Streator, Illinois in 1909 and Elmira, New York in 1912. By 1916 Thatcher Manufacturing Company was operating 14 Owens Bottle Machines between the three factories.
Thatcher originally had the exclusive rights to the Owens Bottle Machine for the manufacture of milk bottles. However in 1916 the Hartford-Fairmont Company (later to become the Hartford Empire company) came out with a competing, patented bottle machine that was quickly adopted by many of Thatcher Manufacturing Company's competitors. Thatcher's solution was to buy up the competing milk bottle manufacturers and remove the threat to their business as well as obtain the rights to the new machine. So in 1919 they purchased the Essex Glass Company, the Travis Glass Company and the Lockport Glass Company. In addition they acquired the stock of the Woodbury Glass Company and the milk bottle business and Hartford-Fairmont license of the J.T. & A. Hamilton Company. After the sale Thatcher Manufacturing Company was operating glass plants in Kane, Pennsylvania; Streator, Illinois; Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Dunkirk and Elmira, New York; Clarksburg, Cedar Grove and Parkersburg, West Virginia and two factories in Lockport, New York. In addition Thatcher also owned the stock of the Woodbury Glass Company which had a factory in Winchester, Indiana. Prior to these acquisitions, Thatcher produced 40% of the milk bottles sold in the U. S., afterwards that percentage jumped to 70. Thatcher Manufacturing Company was later required to divest itself of these acquisitions by the Federal Trade Commission. However upon appeal it was decided that even though the stock was illegally obtained (with intent to reduce competition), Thatcher could not be required to divest itself of real property obtained by the stock purchase.
While Thatcher's purchase of its competitors served its purpose of acquiring the exclusive rights to the Hartford-Fairmont machines it also left them in an inefficient position with ten scattered glass plant, some quite old. During the decade of the 1920's Thatcher Manufacturing Company slowly closed many of the plants it had purchased. The first to go in May of 1921 was the original Lockport, New York plant. Its furnace was in bad shape and it was decided to abandon it and convert the factory to a warehouse. Next in November of 1921 it was decided to stop bottle production at the original Kane, Pennsylvania glass plant due to its age and uncertainty of fuel. It temporarily remained functional as a bottle cap factory. The Mt. Vernon, Ohio glass factory was closed in 1925 and the stock of the Woodbury Glass Company was sold the same year. The Clarksburg, West Virginia plant was closed in 1926 and the Cedar Grove, West Virginia factory was closed soon after. Eventually the factories at Dunkirk, New York and Parkersburg, West Virginia would have the same fate.
In 1932 Thatcher purchased the milk bottle business of the Knox Glass Bottle Company when Knox found itself restricted by its license with the Hartford Empire Company. In 1933 Thatcher purchased the Peerless Glass Company of Long Island City, New York. We have not confirmed if the Peerless Glass Company made milk bottles prior to the purchase but afterwards the plant was converted to manufacture milk bottles. In 1935 Thatcher purchased the stock of the Olean Glass Company and operated it as a subsidiary until 1944 when Thatcher took full ownership and Olean became a division of Thatcher. In 1946 the company name was changed to the Thatcher Glass Manufacturing Company and in 1981 it became the Thatcher Glass Corporation. The Thatcher Glass Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in December, 1984 and was purchased by Diamond-Bathurst in July of 1985. The Thatcher Manufacturing Company was represented in California by the Ware Glass Company which had offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In the 1950's, Thatcher opened a glass plant in Saugus, California which was located in Los Angeles county.
H. D. Thatcher & Company used the mark of H. D. T. & Co. POTSDAM N.Y. however this was a jobbers mark since H. D. Thatcher & Company had Whitall, Tatum & Company manufacture their milk bottles.
Thatcher Manufacturing Company itself used many marks over the years on their milk bottles. However they too started out as a milk bottle jobber, reselling milk bottles produced by another manufacturer. We would consider any milk bottles with a Thatcher maker's mark and the city of Potsdam, N. Y. to have been manufactured by another company.
Some of the maker's marks used by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company when they were producing their own milk bottles were THATCHER MF'G CO., T. M'F'G. CO., T. MFG. CO., TMC, MTC and finally an MTC mark where the letters formed an inverted triangle was adopted after World War II. Thatcher used a T as their Mass. seal, a 1 as their Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota seal, a 14 as their Michigan seal and an 11 as their Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania seal. Thatcher Manufacturing Company was one of the only milk bottle manufacturers to put a number in the Pennsylvania and North Carolina seals. Thatcher had a lot of variation in their state seals however. We have also seen Thatcher milk bottles with a T in the Rhode Island seal instead of the usual 11 and we have also seen Thatcher milk bottles with a Maine seal of 11 rather than the usual 1. Many Thatcher milk bottles are embossed SEALED 1-11-14. Many people consider this as a date and conclude the bottle was manufactured on January 11, 1914 but this is not the case. We believe that this was a seal mark that satisfied multiple states by including the 3 seal numbers associated with the company. We have seen Thatcher milk bottles from the late 1940's were the list of seal numbers was expanded to 1-7-11-14 but we are unsure why the number 7 was added to the list.
We have also seen milk bottles that have a Thatcher Manufacturing Company mark as well as a maker's mark or seal from the Lockport Glass Company or the Essex Glass Company. These were milk bottles manufactured by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company after they purchased Lockport Glass Company and Essex Glass Company in 1919. Thatcher must have utilized parts of molds from the old companies until they could make new ones or the old ones wore out.
The following two companies are an interesting part of the history of Thatcher Manufacturing Company but neither company ever manufactured bottles.
The Baldwin-Travis Company was incorporated in January of 1904 with Francis Baldwin, his brother Erwin and H. E. Travis as directors. One of Francis Baldwin's first interests after acquiring control of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company was in the new Owens Bottle Machine. However it appears that the other directors of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company did not share his enthusiasm. Also since the Thatcher Manufacturing Company had no glass making experience he needed to partner with an experienced glass maker. H. E. Travis had previously ran the Fidelity Glass Company and then moved on to the Mannington Glass Works in Mannington, West Virginia. The Baldwin-Travis Company was set up to get around these problems. The Baldwin-Travis Company did secure the exclusive rights to the Owens Bottle Machine for manufacturing milk bottles in September of 1904. Early press releases from the Baldwin-Travis Company stated that the company was going to use the Owens Bottle Machine at a manufacturing plant in West Virginia and sell the bottles through the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. This would allow Thatcher Manufacturing Company to remain a milk bottle jobber yet Baldwin would have control of the manufacturing end of the business too. Was the West Virginia plant the Mannington Glass Works? Either way it seems that the plans took a sudden change. In October of 1904 the Baldwin-Travis Company no longer listed H. E. Travis as a director, although E. D. Libby of the Owens Bottle Machine Company had become the vice-president and a director of the company. They also announced that they were building a glass plant in Kane, Pennsylvania. In February of 1905, Baldwin merged the Baldwin-Travis Company into the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. There was still resistance from some of the directors of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company as they tried to get a court injunction to stop the merger but the merger was completed despite the resistance. H. E. Travis went on to start his own milk bottle factory, the Travis Glass Company in West Virginia.
The Sterling Glass Company was incorporated in August of 1919 by H. C. Mandeville, a director and lawyer for the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. Much has been written about the Thatcher Manufacturing Company's purchase of the Lockport Glass Company, Essex Glass Company, Travis Glass Company, Woodbury Glass Company and the milk bottle business of the J. T. & A. Hamilton Company in 1919. All of these companies had exclusive licenses with the Hartford-Fairmont Company to use their automatic bottle machine to make milk bottles except for the Woodbury Glass company which had a non-exclusive license to manufacture a general line of bottles. However the idea for this large purchase did not start with the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. It was I. T. Axton, the president of the Woodbury Glass Company, that came up with the idea of merging all the glass factories that had Hartford-Fairmont licenses. In early 1919 he had obtained options to purchase the stock of the Essex, Lockport and Travis glass companies and the milk bottle business and equipment of the J. T. & A Hamilton Company but was unable to come up with the financing to complete the deal. Prior to the options expiring on September 1, 1919, Axton approached Francis Baldwin, president of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company, about exercise the options that Axton held. The Thatcher Manufacturing Company and E. D. Libby of the Owens Bottle Machine Company each put up a quarter million dollars to purchase stock in the Sterling Glass Company to initiate the transaction. The remainder of the money needed was generated through promissory notes. E. D. Libby's interest in the deal was in acquiring the Hartford-Fairmont Company and its patents, not the glass plants themselves. When it became apparent that this would not be possible Libby withdrew from the deal and the Thatcher Manufacturing Company took over his interest in the Sterling Glass Company. The actual sale took place on August 28, 1919 just 3 days before the options were to expire. The companies continued to operate under their previous management till January 1, 1920 when control was transferred to the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. At one point all of the physical assets of the Essex Glass Company, Lockport Glass Company and Travis Glass Company were sold to the Thatcher Manufacturing Company for one dollar each. Eventually the Sterling Glass Company as well as the Essex, Lockport and Travis glass companies were dissolved. The deal would later be challenged by the Federal Trade Commission. It is interesting to note that the Woodbury Glass Company was treated differently in the sale. The Thatcher Manufacturing Company never took over ownership of the company's assets, only its stock. Was this because the deal was initiated by the president of Woodbury Glass Company or the fact that Woodbury's product line was not exclusively milk bottles?
Three Rivers Glass Company
This glass company was located in Three Rivers, Texas where it was able to take advantage of large sand deposits and natural gas reserves. The company was organized in 1921 and operated from 1922 to 1937, when it was taken over by the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company. The company appears to have been started to manufacture milk bottles as a July, 1922 help wanted ad from the company was looking for a "Foreman for a milk bottle plant." The majority of the milk bottles made by this company will be from Texas dairies. Early on the company was very successful in Texas and made many of the milk bottles in the state during the years they were in business. They had a huge freight advantage compared to other glass companies that tried to sell milk bottles in Texas. Their demise was that Hartford Empire Company, which controlled the patents for glass feeders, alleged that the feeders the Three Rivers Glass Company was using infringed on patents they controlled. Hartford Empire Company refused to grant them a license to use the feeders to produce milk bottles (they did grant a license for other glassware) and in the early 1930's the company went into receivership. Three Rivers Glass Company's main competitor in Texas was Liberty Glass Company and they held an unrestricted license from Hartford Empire Company to produce milk bottles. Many people felt that Hartford Empire was protecting Liberty Glass Company. About 1934 Three Rivers Glass Company sold their milk bottle business to the Liberty Glass Company of Sapulpa, Oklahoma for $50,000. The mark we have seen on milk bottles is 3 RIVERS followed by a star or THREE RIVERS with a star between the words.
Tibby Brothers Glass Works
Tibby Brothers Glass Works was established in 1866 by four Tibby brothers, James, John, William and Matthew. Eventually four of their sons also joined the business. In 1901 the business was incorporated as the Tibby Brothers Glass Company. The factory was originally in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1873 a second factory was established in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. Around 1880 the Pittsburg factory was closed and all the operations were based in Sharpsburg. At this time the company employed about 180 men. In the early 1900's the Pennsylvania Railroad condemned part of the Sharpsburg property for a right of way. Tibby Brothers Glass Company tried to fight the process but eventually it forced them out of business. Tibby Brothers advertised milk bottles as early as 1896. In 1900 they advertised flint glass milk bottles for paper cap and tin top. They stated "we aim to make our bottles heavy." Their milk bottles are often clearly marked TIBBY BROTHERS MAKER or TIBBY BROS. MAKER. They are known to have produced milk bottles with the patented Howe bail top for A. H. Reid.
Travis Glass Company
This company was in business from 1908 until 1919 when it was purchased by Thatcher Manufacturing Company. The company was started by Horace E. Travis who had worked at the C. L. Flaccus Glass Company, was secretary of the West Penn Glass Company, was general manager of the Fidelity Glass Company, was an officer in the Mannington Glass Works and was involved with the Thatcher Manufacturing Company when they received their license for the Owens Bottle Machine. Their plants were in Clarksburg, Weston and Cedar Grove (sometimes referred to as the Glasgow plant), West Virginia. The Clarksburg plant was by far the largest, employing 200 workers in 1917, while the Weston plant employed 50 and the Cedar Grove plant employed 66 workers. The Clarksburg and Weston plants had automatic bottle machines and the Cedar Grove factory had semi automatic equipment. They advertised that they made nothing but milk bottles and referred to their bottles as the Travis Extra Strong. They claimed that much of their production went to foreign countries and in 1916 claimed to have an output of 40 rail car loads per week. By 1918 the output had climbed to 50 rail car loads per week.
The mark this company used on milk bottles was a T in an upside down triangle. The mark was usually very large and faint on the bottom of the milk bottle. This mark is often accompanied by a T, a 19, and some other number outside the three sides of the triangle. Travis Glass Company registered TR as their Mass. seal, T-19 as their Maine seal and T.19 as their Michigan seal. They registered the number 19 in Wisconsin, New Jersey and New York. Travis Glass Company made some milk bottle for resale by H. E. Wright & Sons of Boston, Massachusetts and these milk bottles will be labeled for both companies.
Uniontown Glass Company
This glass company was in business less than two years. It was chartered on May 2, 1893 and started production in August of that year. The factory was the old Warren Glass Works factory in Uniontown, Pennsylvania that investors had bought at a sheriff's sale on September 1, 1892. To solve the gas shortage problems that plagued the former factory the plant was modified to use coal as a fuel source. However they too soon ran into problems when a coal strike cut off their fuel supply in April of 1894. The factory was closed down in 1895 and the real estate sold on August 31, 1895.
The milk bottles we have seen from this company are embossed on the base: UNIONTOWN, PA. GLASS CO.
Universal Glass Products Company
Most references say this glass company was established in 1930 but we have seen milk bottle advertisements from 1925 and other references to milk bottle manufacture as early as 1922. Reference from early 1921 have the Brown Tumbler Company changing its name to become the Universal Glass Products Company. The Brown Tumbler Company was incorporated in March of 1919 by J. L. and T. M. Brown and they commenced construction of a glass plant that same month. With the change to Universal Glass Products Company the management of the company came under Robert S. Davis. Initially the company was small with only 36 employees in 1922 and they were listed as producing tableware in addition to milk bottles. By 1935 the number of employees had doubled to 72 and the company had specialized their product line to milk bottles. Later on they also made many pyroglazed milk bottles and Cop the Cream milk bottles. One of their advertisements pictured a milk bottle made for a dairy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They referred to their milk bottles as Universal Super-Strength milk bottles. They were based in Parkersburg, West Virginia, right on the state line between West Virginia and Ohio. Some of their ads referred to plants in plural, indicating more than one plant, and we have found references to a Universal Glass Products Company plant in Vienna, West Virginia which was just a few miles from Parkersburg. The company was licensed to use the Hartford Empire Company's glass feeders in September of 1932. Universal Glass Products Company was taken over by the National Bottle Corporation in 1960 and was operated as a division of that company. That same year a Borden's ad stated that their milk bottles were only supplied by the Universal Glass Products Company.
The mark found on embossed milk bottles is often UGP in a diamond with a 51 outside. This mark was pictured in their early ads with periods although on actual milk bottles the punctuation is not seen. The mark found more commonly on pyroglazed milk bottles was UGP or UGPCO, often followed by the number 51. Universal Glass Company used UG as their Mass. seal. and 51 as their Maine seal. Interestingly we have seen milk bottles with a Minnesota seal of 10 that were also embossed with UGP 51.
Warren Glass Works Company
In September of 1880, Louis P. Whiteman and his two brothers, Warren and Abram Whiteman, started the Warren Glass Works Company and opened their own glass factory. The factory was listed as being in Cumberland, Maryland while the sales office was in New York City. They manufactured the Warren milk jar under the patent granted to Louis Whiteman in 1880. The company was listed as having 73 employees in 1882 and the number had increased to 90 in 1884. The company advertised regularly until March of 1885 when the company name in the advertisements changed to A. V. Whiteman. The milk bottles we have are embossed WARREN or WHITEMAN on the base.
L. P. Whiteman did advertise the Warren milk jar prior to the opening of the glass factory in September of 1880 and there were reports of the jar's use. The ads used the name Warren Glass Works (no Company) but during this time period the Warren Glass Works must have had another glass factory making their milk jars for them and they were just jobbers or resellers.
West Coast Glass Company
This company was started in early 1918 (other references place the date as 1908 but we think that is wrong) and remained in business until January 8, 1930 when it was purchased by the Pacific Coast Glass Company. Initially they manufactured milk bottles and tumblers but after one year they exclusively made milk bottles. They advertised in 1922 that they had a capacity of 250 rail car loads/year and in 1924 the ads increased the capacity to 300 carloads or 30,000 milk bottles/day. They advertised heavily, with the same ad, in regional publications from 1922 to 1927. They sold milk bottles most heavily in southern California. The mark on their milk bottles was WCGCO. The factory was in the Huntington Park area of Los Angeles, California.
West Penn Glass Company
This glass company was located in Blairsville, Pennsylvania and was built in late 1889 or early 1890. In February of 1890 there was a severe storm and workers were trying to strengthen a brick wall of the factory. The wall fell down and killed two of the managers of the company. New management was brought in, including H. E. Travis as secretary of the company. H. E. Travis had much experience with milk bottles, working at C.L Flaccus Glass Company, Fidelity Glass Company, Mannington Glass Works and eventually starting his own glass company, Travis Glass Company, that made milk bottles. West Penn Glass Company employed between 170 and 190 workers and produced a car load of bottles a day. The factory seems to have closed in 1892. The plant sat idle for a couple years and in 1894 the Whitney Glass Works of New Jersey took over the factory but they too closed it within a few years.
We have no concrete data that West Penn Glass Company made milk bottles so you would have to call this one a hunch. We have documented blown milk bottles that would date to the 1889-1892 period that have base embossing of W.P.G. Co. The involvement of H. E. Travis with this company, as well as the W.P.G. Co. maker's mark, is what makes us suspect they were a milk bottle manufacturer.
Whitall, Tatum & Company
This company reportedly manufactured the Thatcher milk jar as well as their own Crystal Milk Jar that they patented in 1888. They listed milk jars in their 1892, 1896 and 1902 catalogs. By 1902 they also listed common sense milk jars furnished with paper tops or metal fittings in their catalog. In the Glass Factory Directory they listed milk jars as one of their products up until the 1926 edition.
The Whitall, Tatum & Company was formed in 1857, although the factory had history back to 1806 when James Lee started it as a window glass factory. The factory had a series of owners until 1838 when John Whitall became a partner in Scattergood, Haverstick & Company. John Whitall was related by marriage to Haverstick who had married his sister. In 1844 Haverstick left and the company became Scattergood & Whitall. Then in 1845 Scattergood left and John Whitall's brother, Franklin, joined the company, the name changing to Whitall & Brother. In 1848 Edward Tatum became a partner and the company name changed again to Whitall, Brother & Company. In 1857 Franklin Whitall left the company and Whitall, Tatum & Company was formed. In January of 1901 the company was incorporated as the Whitall Tatum Company, dropping the & in the original name. The company was in business until June 20, 1938 when they were purchased by the Armstrong Cork Company. The company had two glass factories in Milllville, New Jersey known as the Upper and Lower Works. Eventually most of the production was transferred to the Lower Works. They also had a rubber products factory in Keyport, New Jersey. This was a huge company with the payroll exceeding 1500 workers at various times although the number had dropped to around 700 employees at the time of the company's sale in 1938.
Whitall, Tatum & Company was known mainly for their druggists, chemists and perfumers glassware. A 1896 newspaper release stated that the company owners were Quakers and they did not believe in war, litigation, nor the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquors. Because of these beliefs the company had a rule that they would never make a whisky flask nor any bottle intended to contain malt, vinous or spirituous liquors. Likewise any business from the army or navy was turned down due to these same beliefs. Thankfully milk bottles did not fall under this ban.
The Crystal milk jars we have seen were marked W. T. & CO. After the turn of the century when the company name was changed to Whitall, Tatum Company and the mark was shortened to W. T. CO. They used WT as their Mass. seal and registered the number 10 in New Jersey and New York.
A. V. Whiteman
Starting in March of 1885, A. V. Whiteman was listed as the company name for the Warren milk bottles instead of the Warren Glass Works Company. Many of his milk bottles are marked WHITEMAN MAKER with either a 72 Murray St. or 144 Chambers St. address. Abram V. Whiteman's business was based in New York City. Based on his ads the change in address occurred in June of 1889. The Warren Glass Works Company factory at Cumberland, Maryland continued to operate and manufacture the Warren milk bottles until September of 1888. The Cumberland factory had problems with its coal supplier and this lead A. V. Whiteman to open a glass plant at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, enticed by a low cost contract for natural gas. Almost immediately the Uniontown factory had problems with its gas supply that curtailed glass production. In October of 1890 the plant was forced to close when it's gas supply was cut off and the next month the factory was damaged by a fire. This put the company into financial stress. The Whitemans sued the gas company in February, 1891 and asked the court to appoint a receiver and stop a sheriff's sale of the factory. The sale was delayed but glass production never resumed at a significant level. The glass works was eventually sold on September 1, 1892 to a group that would reopen the factory as the Uniontown Glass Company.
Whiteman controlled many patents for milk bottle closures as well as the patent for his Standard Indicating milk jar which was designed to show the amount of cream that the milk contained. After 1890 we believe he has buying his milk bottles from other glass factories, one of which was the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. In the early 1900's he started to sell milk dealers supplies, such as cases, baskets, bottle fillers and brushes, in addition to milk bottles. His business was listed in New York city business directories into the early 1900's and we have found his advertisements for milk jars as late as 1906. A.V. Whiteman sold the building at 144 Chambers St. in August of 1907.
A. V. Whiteman was one of the most prolific advertisers of his day. He advertised in newspapers, dairy and farm magazines and even women's magazines. He must have had a large advertising budget. He obviously was very proud of his milk bottles because many of his ads proclaimed "None genuine unless stamped on bottom of jar." One of our favorite ads was from 1901 where he claimed that using his milk bottles "absolutely prevents milk from turning during thunder storms". There was a long held wives tale that milk left out in a thunder storm would curdle. We have found references to it as far back as the 1850's. Some hypothesized that the electrical currents in the air would react with the metal container the milk was in and cause the milk to curdle. A. V. Whiteman saw that as a chance to promote his glass milk bottles.
Whitney Glass Works
This company advertised glass milk jars with Lightning stoppers in late 1887 and 1888. At the time this was a fairly large glass company, employing 600 people in 1888 and increasing to 1200 in 1891. A 1904 catalog still listed milk bottles. In their ads they claimed they were established in 1775. This year would have been when seven Stanger brothers left the glass factory of Casper Wistar and started their own factory in what would become Glassboro, New Jersey under the name Stanger Brothers. The Stanger's ran into financial trouble towards the end of the Revolutionary War and their glass factory was purchased in a sheriff's sale in 1783 by Thomas Heston and Thomas Carpenter. The factory became known as Heston's Glass Works or Heston and Carpenter depending on the account. In 1813 some of the company's glass blowers went out on their own and started a second glass factory just down the street called Rink, Stanger & Company. In 1824 after many changes in ownership, these two factories merged and the original glass plant established in 1775 was torn down. Thomas Whitney, a grand son of Thomas Heston who had worked at the factory since he was a boy, bought an interest in the firm in 1835. The company name was changed to Whitney Brothers Glass Works in 1839 when Thomas Whitney acquired full ownership and was joined by his brother Samuel. Around 1882 the name was shortened to Whitney Glass Works and it was incorporated as such in 1887.
Their factories were located in Glassboro, Camden and Salem, New Jersey. In 1894 the Whitney Glass Works also took over the idle factory of the West Penn Glass Company in Blairsville, Pennsylvania however this venture only lasted a few years. The Owens Bottle Company acquired a controlling interest of the stock in 1915 and took over the company completely on July 1, 1918. The factory was closed at the time of the merger of Owens Bottle Company and Illinois Glass Company in 1929. Most of the milk bottles manufactured by this firm would be hand blown and date to the 1880's, 1890's and the early 1900's. By 1909 Whitney Glass Works received a license for the Owens automatic bottle machine but milk bottles would not have been included in that license. Their marks on milk bottles are unknown but the company did use a mark of a W in a diamond on some of it's other bottles.
The Winslow Glass Company
Palmer Winslow left the Fairmount Glass Works in Fairmount, Indiana in 1898 and soon after, on September 9, 1898, filed articles of association in Indiana to form the Winslow Glass Company in Matthews, Indiana. Actual production of glass probably started in 1900. A 1921 ad mentioned they had manufactured milk bottles for over 20 years. Palmer Winslow passed away in April of 1927 and later that year the company was sold to the Berney-Bond Glass Company. Palmer Winslow also owned part of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.
The original factory was in Matthews, Indiana. In June of 1902 the city of Columbus, Ohio offered the company 10 acres of land to build a glass factory there. By the end of the year Winslow Glass Company had built a second glass plant in that city. In 1903 the Matthews factory employed 216 people and around the same time period the Columbus plant employed 150. Around 1908 the Matthews, Indiana factory was closed and its production capacity was transferred to the Columbus plant. In 1908 the Columbus factory employed close to 400 workers. In 1913 they advertised liquor ware and machine ware in addition to milk bottles but at some point they manufactured milk bottles exclusively. In fact their ads in 1915 only mentioned machine made milk bottles. In late 1913 Winslow Glass Company had eleven Teeple bottle machines with Miller automatic feeders that were running 24 hours per day. Every 6 hour shift one machine could produce 2500 quart milk bottles, 3100 pints or 3300 half-pints. Winslow Glass Company received a restricted license to use the Hartford Empire Company's glass feeders in 1926.
Their bottle mark was 5W although some ads showed it as a 5 over a W. It appears they sold a lot of their milk bottles through jobbers or resellers. Their ads stated that the Creamery Package Manufacturing Company was the national distributor for their milk bottles. The Ohio Creamery Supply Company of Cleveland, Ohio also carried Winslow milk bottles. Many California milk bottles made by The Winslow Glass Company will also have DeLaval embossed on the base. The Winslow Glass Company trademarked the slogan "Seek-No-Further" and used it in their advertisements. The Winslow Glass Company registered W as their Mass. seal, 5W as their Michigan and Wisconsin seal and a 5 as their Minnesota, New Jersey and New York seal. For their Maine seal they used a 5 over a W.
W. J. Latchford Glass Company
This is one of the glass companies in the list that we have not seen milk bottle advertisements from but have seen California milk bottles with their mark. W. J. Latchford was the president of Southern Glass Company but resigned in August of 1925 and started this company in December of 1925. His step-son, William Baird Marble, was the general manager of Southern Glass Company and he too left to be part of the new company. The original factory was located in Los Angeles. Another of W. J. Latchford's step-sons, John McKinley Marble managed the Monarch Glass Company in Compton, California. Around 1932 this factory was combined with W. J. Latchford Glass Company but we do not believe the Compton plant ever made milk bottles. The company employed up to 245 men at its peak. The mark the company used on milk bottles has been reported to be an L in an oval but sometimes it looks more like an L in a circle, especially on smaller bottles. Their mold for quarter pint milk bottles had a distinctive shape. This company remained in business for a many years, changing names to Latchford-Marble Glass Company in 1939 and later in 1957 the name was shortened to Latchford Glass Company. Latchford Glass Company was acquired by Vitro SA, a very large Mexican glass company, in 1989. Only the initial company, W. J. Latchford Glass Company manufactured milk bottles.
Woodbury Glass Company
This company started in Parker City, Indiana in July, 1893 and moved to Winchester, Indiana in November, 1904. The factory in Winchester burned down in July of 1917. An advertisement from October, 1917 showed their new glass factory that was rebuilt in Winchester. They also had a factory at Shirley, Indiana that was sold around 1915. Advertisements referred to their milk bottles as Woodbury Long-Life Milk Bottles. The ads we have seen for Woodbury milk bottles date from 1916 and later. Toulouse reported that Woodbury Glass Company purchased milk bottle manufacturing equipment from Bell Bottle Company after Bell discontinued glass making in 1914. However an 1898 Woodbury Glass Company catalog from Parker City, Indiana listed milk jars as one of the company's products. They were a large glass manufacturer with 500 workers at one point and produced a general line of bottles, highlighted by whiskey and condiment bottles. Milk bottles were a minor part of their product line. They were producing about 8000 gross per year in 1919.
The common stock of the Woodbury Glass Company was purchased by Thatcher Manufacturing Company in August of 1919 in a deal that found Thatcher purchasing four milk bottle manufacturers. It was I. T. Axton, the president of Woodbury Glass Company, that approached Thatcher Manufacturing Company with the idea for the sale. In 1921 the Woodbury factory was purchased by Turner Glass Company and eventually became part of Anchor Hocking. Woodbury Glass Company used the mark W.G.Co. on their milk bottles and they registered 8 as their Minnesota and Michigan seal.