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Unusual Shaped Milk Bottles

Blake Hart Milk Bottles
These are Blake-Hart milk bottles.  They were named after the patent holders Harry H. Hart and Irva J. Blake of Sacramento, California.  Harry Hart owned restaurants along with his brother William S. Hart.  William was listed as the president and Harry as the secretary.  Sacramento city directories in the 1920's listed his business as Hart's Lunch.  They opened the first Hart's Lunch in 1913.  By 1925 there were three Hart's Lunches in Sacramento, located on K Street, 10th Street and 2nd Street.  There was also a Hart's Cafeteria next to the 10th Street location.  The Hart's eventually added restaurants in Fresno, Stockton, San Francisco and Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Why would a restaurant need a patented milk bottle?  The Hart's restaurants were open 24 hours a day and they advertised that they served 10,000 meals each day.  They went through a lot of dairy products.  They served 11,200 individual bottles of milk each week and they required a minimum of 5% butter fat.  In addition the kitchens required 1800 pounds of butter, 400 gallons of pastry cream and 700 gallons of milk for cooking each week.  This would have required a considerable number of cows to supply and was more milk than many dairies in the area produced.  The Hart brothers owned a hog ranch where they utilized the scraps from their restaurants.  Their logo was the name "Hart's" inside of a heart.  They used that logo along with the slogans "The Sign of a Good Place to Eat" or just "Good Places to Eat".  We have seen that logo and those slogans on some of his Blake-Hart milk bottles.  They also used the slogan "The Finest Dairy Lunch in the West" but we have never seen that slogan on his milk bottles.

Irva J. Blake owned a dairy, named Blake's Dairy, in Sacramento.  Sacramento city directories in the 1920's listed his business under the heading of "Creameries" and showed two addresses, one on L Street and another on 7th Street.  Blake also utilized Blake-Hart milk bottles at his businesses.  Blake used the slogan "Milk that is Milk" on some of his milk bottles as well as his name in script.  Blake bottled the milk for Hart's Sacramento restaurant at his dairy as many of the Hart's milk bottles are base embossed with this fact.

On July 12, 1927 Blake and Hart received a patent for their square milk bottle.  An article in February of 1925, about the time of the patent application, stated that the inventors were Blake and both of the Hart brothers.  However on the actual patent just Irva Blake and Harry Hart are listed as the inventors.  The patent papers state that the square bottle will allow the bottles to be stored in a minimum of space and the flat sides will offer more contact surface to restrain movement.  The patent papers also describe the bottom of the bottle as having a vacuum cup.  They suggest that vacuum could be used on filling machines to hold the bottles more firmly.  Even without external vacuum they suggest that if the bottle is full of cold milk a slight, natural vacuum will be created in the cup to hold the bottle more firmly to the surface it is setting on.  

The Blake-Hart milk bottles are very heavy glass and often have a heart embossed with a milk bottle and the word Blake inside it and the word Trademark below it.  Pictured above are a quart, pint, 3/4 pint, 1/3 quart, half pint and quarter pint Blake-Hart milk bottle.  We have also seen Blake-Hart bottles designated as 12 ounces which would be the same size as 3/4 pint.  One can see that the 1/3 quart bottle pictured above was taller than the larger 3/4 pint bottle.  This was so that it was the same height as a pint bottle and could be used on pint filling and capping machines.  Some of these bottles are found embossed with the patent number and patent date while other bottles will be embossed PAT. APPD. FOR.  One would assume the milk bottles with the PAT. APPD. FOR would date prior to 1927 but we have seen them with manufacture dates as late as 1929.  We have seen one Blake-Hart milk bottle from Blake's Dairy with a date code as early as December, 1925.  The Blake-Hart milk bottle used by most dairies was a slug plate design, utilizing a rectangular slug plate.  However some users, such as Blake's Dairy, Hart's restaurants and Golden State Milk Products Company, used private molds for their Blake-Hart bottles.  Private molds allowed embossing on the sides and back of the bottle.  The Blake-Hart quart milk bottles from Blake's Dairy that are marked PAT. APPD. FOR are highly embossed.  They have embossing on all four sides of the bottle and the base with a total of 166 characters embossed on the bottle.  His later bottles that include the patent date are not as highly embossed.  However the early Hart's 3/4 pint bottles have even more embossing.  These milk bottles have a total of 204 characters embossed on a much smaller bottle.  His later bottle are also much less detailed.  The mold engraver must have loved Harry Hart and Irva Blake.

This bottle was advertised in a dairy publication in June of 1925.  The company that placed the ad was the Blake-Hart Products Company of Sacramento, California.  The ad claimed these bottles would increase the capacity of refrigerators and wagons, reduce bottle breakage and fill, cap and wash on standard equipment.  The bottle in the add had the Blake-Hart trademark and was marked PAT. APPD. FOR.  The ad mentioned that the company sales manager would be in New York for two weeks to make sales arrangement for the eastern territory.  They had great hopes that this milk bottle would catch on in the eastern United States but unfortunately it only found use in the west and even there it was not overly popular.

An article in the Sacramento newspaper around the time the patent was granted shed some light on the history of these milk bottles.  It said that the inventors had used the Blake-Hart milk bottles for 3 years (that would be around mid 1924).  They said that the patent had been pending for four years due to the simplicity of their invention (the patent was actually filed in January of 1925 so it was pending for only 2 1/2 years).  They mentioned that 36 dairies west of the Rockies were using their milk bottle at the time the patent was granted.  This explains the large amount of Blake-Hart bottles that are embossed PAT. APPD. FOR.  They also said that dairies in Chicago were interested in using their milk bottle but we don't think this deal was ever finalized.  The inventors expressed their desire to call the bottle The Sacramento Bottle and emboss that on every bottle.  We don't think that ever occurred but on Blake's early bottles the city of Sacramento is embossed in three locations so he was definitely proud of this city.  They reported that at that time the bottles were manufactured by the Pacific Coast Glass Company of San Francisco.

We believe that the early Blake-Hart milk bottles were manufactured by the Pacific Coast Glass Company as mentioned in the newspaper article.  We have found early Blake's Dairy  and Hart's bottles with that company's mark although most of the PAT. APPD. FOR. bottles will have no makers mark.  Most if not all of the Blake-Hart milk bottles made by the Pacific Coast Glass Company will be embossed PAT. APPD. FOR.  We have seen a Blake-Hart milk bottle from the United Milk Company of San Francisco with the Pacific Coast Glass Company mark but no patent reference at all.  When Pacific Coast Glass Company quit making the Blake-Hart milk bottles is not clear.  At least by 1928 Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation of San Francisco also began to manufacture Blake-Hart milk bottles.  The bottles that are embossed with the patent number and patent date generally will have the IPG in a triangle mark of the Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation.  We have found Blake-Hart milk bottles with the IPG makers mark dated as late as May of 1930.  We also have seen a Blake-Hart milk bottle from Hilo, Hawaii that has the makers mark of the Owens-Illinois Pacific Coast Company with a 1936 date code and another from Liberty Dairy Company of San Francisco with a 1937 date code.  These bottles both have the patent date and patent number embossed on the bottles but no longer have the Blake-Hart trademark.  They were made at the San Francisco plant of Owens-Illinois which most likely was the same Illinois Pacific Glass Corporation plant that was making these milk bottles in the late 1920's.  These milk bottles were probably only manufactured from the mid 1920's to the mid 1930's.

Blake-Hart milk bottles are usually found from California dairies but some out of state ones do exist.  We have also seen Blake-Hart milk bottles from Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  Notice that on the second bottle from the right pictured above the "Z" in SANTA CRUZ is backwards.  When the molds were made the writing had to do done in reverse so that it would come out correctly on the finished bottle.  Could this have been a mistake on the mold maker's part?  Mold engraving errors were not unheard of.  Click here for a picture of a mold error that made it in to production.  The correct embossing was MOSS-ROSE like the bottle on the left however the bottle on the right was embossed MOSS-ROSS.  One wonders if the mold maker made a mistake or if the order sheet was filled out wrong and the mold maker engraved the mold according to the specifications he had.

The following California dairies used Blake-Hart milk bottles:

   Blake's Dairy, Sacramento
   Blue Bird Creamery Inc., Riverside
   Campbell's Creamery Inc., San Diego
   Central Dairy Delivery, Modesto
   Compton's Dairy, Barstow
   Costa Bros. Creamery, Mill Valley
   Crescent Milk Company, Oroville
   Ellis Dairy, Vallejo
   Golden State Milk Products Company/Golden State Company Ltd.
   Hart's, Sacramento
   Hart's, Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento
   Jersey Cove Dairy, Willits
   Liberty Dairy Company, San Francisco
   Meadow View Dairy, Calistoga
   Mission Creameries - Orange, Grape Fruit, Lemon Juice
   Mojave Valley Creamery, Barstow
   Pioneer Creamery Company, Stockton
   Sadler's Dairy, Santa Cruz
   Scott's Dairy, Hanford
   Snell's Dairy, Victorville
   The Holstein Dairy, Santa Maria

   Ukiah Dairy, Ukiah
   United Milk Company, San Francisco
   Wild Rose Dairy, Marysville

This was not the first patent for a square milk bottle.  Charles T. Nightingale was issued a design patent on November 15, 1898 for a square glass milk bottle (picture).  Three years later he would also patent the bowling pin shaped milk bottle discussed farther down this page.  These square bottles were advertised as Climax Square Jars around the turn of the century.  In fact most of the ones we have seen are embossed CLIMAX on the base and some will be embossed CLIMAX PAT NOV. 15TH 1898.  We have seen one bottle that pre dated the patent and was base embossed CLIMAX GRADUATING JAR PAT APLD FOR.  Charles Nightingale was the president of the Climax Stopper and Bottle Company .  The patent drawing showed the bottle having measurements or graduations in the glass and the advertisements said that the bottles could be had with or without this embossing.  They were advertised in half pint, pint and quart sizes.  The prices were $5.50, $6.25 and $8.00 per gross for the three sizes with the tin tops adding an additional dollar per gross.  We have seen these milk bottles with and without a cap seat.  The patent papers did describe an inner annular rabbet at the upper end of the bottle neck.  Many of these milk bottles are found with a tin, bail top, even if the bottle had a cap seat.  They used a tombstone shaped slug plate if there was embossing on the front of the bottle.  These were hand blown bottles and generally the glass had many imperfections.  Sometimes the graduation numbers were engraved in reverse.  These milk bottles were not popular with dairies at that time.

Milk bottles left to right:
Blake's Dairy, quart, Sacramento, California, Pacific Coast Glass Co., 1925
Golden State Milk Products Co., pint, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Corp., 1930
Hart's, 3/4 pint, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, California, Pacific Coast Glass Co., 1926
Snell's Dairy, 1/3 quart, Victorville, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Corp., 1928
Sadler's Dairy, half pint, Santa Cruz, California, no maker's mark, 1926
Golden State Company LTD., quarter pint, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Corp., post 1927

First off page milk bottles left to right:
Del Monte Creameries Moss Rose, Pint, Monterey, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Co., 1913
Del Monte Creameries Moss Ross, Pint, Monterey, California, Owens-Illinois, 1934

Second off page milk bottle:
N.L. Martin, Oak Grove Creamery, Quart, Boston, Massachusetts, Climax, late 1800's-early 1900's

Adohr Guernsey Milk Jugs

Here are four unusually shaped California milk bottles.  These milk bottles are from Adohr Farms and are grenade shaped and meant to resemble Guernsey jugs.  Adohr was located in southern California and advertised itself as the world's largest herd of Guernsey cows although they also milked purebred Holsteins as well.  At one time the herd numbered 4700 head.  The company was started in June of 1916 by Merritt and Rhoda Adamson.  The name Adohr actually came form spelling the name Rhoda backwards.  The cows were finally sold in April of 1976.

The first bottle on the left is the earliest version of these bottles used by Adohr.  It would date prior to 1930 and was manufactured by the Illinois Pacific Glass Company or Corporation.  It is embossed ADOHR GOLDEN GUERNSEY and CERTIFIED  on the front of the bottle.  Adohr must have used these bottles for their certified milk which was processed to higher standards.  They produced certified milk from 1918 to 1948.  The back of the bottle is embossed Adohr Stock Farms, Los Angeles and half pint jug.  These earlier bottle are very heavy glass and slightly shorter and fatter than the later jugs.

The second two bottles are pyroglazed on the neck and embossed on the body ADOHR GOLDEN GUERNSEY.  They are also embossed REG. CAL. but have no city on the bottle.  The first bottle has a Dacro style lip and the second bottle has a cap seat.  Both are also half pints.  These milk bottles were made at the Los Angeles plant of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company and date to the 1950's. 

The bottle on the far right is a bulb shaped quart bottle
.  The front of the bottle is pyroglazed in maroon and light blue ADOHR  EXTRA RICH GUERNSEY MILK and on the reverse ADOHR MILK FARMS  NOT LESS THAN 5% MILKFAT.  The city of Los Angeles is also on the back of the bottle.  These milk bottles also date to the 1950's.

Adohr was known for its advertising slogan "Adohr-able milk for Adohr-able babies". 

Milk bottles left to right:
Adohr, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Illinois Pacific Glass, pre 1930
Adohr, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1959
Adohr, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1954
Adohr, quart, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1952

Arden Easy Grip Milk Bottles

The milk bottles shown above are from Arden Farms, which was also located in southern California.  Arden Farms was started by Edward Robbins in 1904 and was the first certified milk dairy in California.  These bottles had a long straight neck to make it easier to grip.  The long neck undoubtedly made the cream look more prominent also.  They are found embossed and pyroglazed.  They were manufactured by Owens-Illinois Glass Company at their Los Angeles plant and date to the 1940's.

These milk bottles were patented by Troy D. Lewis of Glendale, California on January 9, 1940.  The patent was assigned to Arden Farms Inc. of Los Angles, California (although the patent papers state Arden Farms was a corporation of Maryland).  The patent was a design patent for an ornamental design of a milk bottle with no claims made for the bottle itself.  These milk bottles are sometimes referred to as the Lewis Easy Grip milk bottle.  The patent number is usually embossed on the base of the bottles although we have seen bottles dated 1939 that are embossed PAT. PNDG. 

The milk bottles shown above are two pyroglazed half pints, an embossed half pint and a pyroglazed pint and half gallon.  These milk bottles were also made in a third quart size and marked FOR CAFE USE ONLY.  We do not believe a quart size was ever produced.  Interestingly the latest of these bottles was the embossed milk bottle in the middle.  Two of the milk bottles shown above are WWII bottles with a label urging consumers to; "Speed Victory! Return this vitally needed bottle as soon as empty".  On the pyroglazed milk bottles Arden varied the picture.  Some have the prize winning milk, some bottles have just the boys face and some have the picture of the walking boy.  Certified milk bottles from Arden Dairy are also very collectible.

Milk bottles left to right:
Arden, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1939
Arden, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1944
Arden, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1947
Arden, pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1943
Arden, half gallon, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1944

Carnation Milk Bottles

The milk bottle in the middle of the picture above is unique in that it is shaped like a ten gallon milk can.  It even has handles molded in the sides.  The front of the bottle has 3 carnations as pictured above and the rear of the bottle is pyroglazed "Fresh From Contented Cows".  This milk bottle was made by the Carnation Company for use in the Brown Derby restaurants of southern California.  The exterior of this milk bottle has a frosted texture and it uses a Dacro style cap.  These milk bottles also came in a version that used a Econopor finish.  The milk bottles on either side are conventional milk bottles used by Carnation.

Carnation Company started in business in 1899 in Kent, Washington under the vision of Elbridge Stuart producing condensed milk.  The "Contented Cows" slogan was adopted by Carnation Company in 1906.  Carnation Company's first plant in California was a condensery in Gustine, California that opened in 1921.  Their first fresh milk operation in the state started with the purchase of the American Creamery Company, based in Oakland, Richmond and Hayward, California in 1929.  Later creameries were added in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Stockton and Santa Clara.

Milk bottles left to right:
Carnation, half pint, no city, California, Owens-Illinois, 1949
Carnation, half pint, Los Angeles, California, Owens-Illinois, 1957
Carnation, half gallon, no city or state, Owens-Illinois, 1941

Chattanooga, Tennessee Dairy Bottles

The two bottles in the above picture are from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The size is not marked on the bottle but they measure out to about a third of a quart.  The tops of the bottles take a crown type cap. 

The amber bottle is for a product called Bul-Ga-Lac.  The bottle is embossed MUST BE KEPT COLD.  Bul-Ga-Lac was a Bulgarian buttermilk product.  Bulgarian buttermilk was not the same as buttermilk that was left after making butter.  Bulgarian butter milk was a cultured milk product.  The bacteria commonly used to culture the product was Bacillus Bulgaricus.  This bacteria broke down the casein and lactose in the milk and produced lactic acid.  Bulgarian buttermilk was prescribed by many doctors for intestinal ailments since the milk components were broken down by the bacteria making digestion easier.

The second, aqua bottle is embossed Clover Leaf Dairy Co. and has a clover leaf listing their products (cream, butter, fruit, ices, bread, pure milk and ice cream).  One wonders if Bul-Ga-Lac was also made by Clover Leaf Dairy Co. 

Milk bottles left to right:
Bul-Ga-Lac, third quart, Chattanooga, Tennessee, maker and date unknown
Clover Leaf Dairy Co., third quart, Chattanooga, Tennessee, maker and date unknown

Bowling Pin Milk Bottles

The milk bottles pictured above are described as bowling pin milk bottles since they are narrower at the base than at the shoulder.  This style of bottle is often found with the word EMPIRE or KEYSTONE embossed on the base.  The Empire patent milk bottles are more common than the Keystone patent bottles.  Even the Keystone patent bottles will often have EMPIRE embossed on the heel.  Both will have the same patent date of August 13, 1901.  This design patent was issued to Charles T. Nightingale of Chicago, Illinois and half the patent was assigned to the Empire Bottle & Supply Company of New York, New York.  Nightingale was the president of the Empire Bottle & Supply Company in the early 1900's.  Previously in the 1890's he had been president of the Climax Stopper & Bottle Company. 

The shapes of the Empire and Keystone milk bottles are slightly different so one wonders how they could both be covered by the same patent.  Our guess is that the patent was general enough in describing the shape of the bottle that both bottles could be covered by the same patent.  This was a design patent so it only related to the looks of the bottle where as a utility patent would relate to how the bottle functioned.  The patent only refers to a continuous and uniform curve of the body of the bottle into the base and the shoulder.  There are no actual dimensions or other functions discussed in the patent.  This was not Charles Nightingale's first milk bottle patent.  He also received a patent on November 15, 1898 for a square glass milk bottle discussed earlier on this page (

We have found no evidence that the Empire Bottle & Supply Company was a manufacturer of milk bottles.  They probably were a jobber or reseller of milk bottles made by other companies.  Many bowling pin milk bottles with the Empire patent date on the base will also have EMPIRE embossed on the heel of the milk bottle.  We have seen milk bottles with the EMPIRE heel mark that were made by the Essex Glass Company and the Poughkeepsie Glass Works.  We assume these were milk bottles made for the Empire Bottle & Supply Company.

What about conventionally shaped milk bottles with the EMPIRE August 13, 1901 patent date?  These also exist and were possibly a manufacturing error, the wrong base plate (with the patent date) being used in a conventionally shaped mold.  All the ones we have seen were made by the Essex Glass Company.  The California Milk Company of Oakland, California used milk bottles that had this mistake.  The other possibility is that the mistake was intentional so that users would think that Empire's conventional milk bottle was patented.  The Empire patent was a design patent, solely for ornamental features (the shape), nothing was unique about the function of the milk bottle.  However in the early 1900's a patent was a big deal and many people assumed if a milk bottle had a patent date embossed on it the bottle had unique or superior features.  Surprisingly the Empire patent milk bottles were very popular in San Francisco bay area in the early 1900's.

The milk bottle on the far right has a slightly different shape and is embossed with an October 18, 1898 patent date.  This patent was issued to Robert Burnett who was the owner and manager of Deerfoot Farm in Southborough, Massachusetts.  He used this milk bottle exclusively on his farm.  He advertised the quality of his milk and had a picture of this glass bottle in a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper in November of 1899.  A similar ad was printed in a Cambridge, Massachusetts newspaper until February of 1910.  The only difference was that the 1899 ad said the cows were never fed ensiled or fermented feed but the later ads were missing that statement.  Also the 1899 ad specified Jersey cows whereas the later ads did not specify a breed.  After 1908 the ads referred to inspected milk which meant a veterinarian inspected the cows monthly for tuberculosis.  This bottle does have a cap seat.  H. P. Hood & Sons of Boston, Massachusetts also used a similarly shaped milk bottle that was marked Patent Appl. For.

We have seen bowling pin shaped milk bottles from quarter pint up to half gallon in size.  Because of the smaller base these milk bottles were not as stable as straight sided milk bottles when used on bottle fillers and other equipment.  That probably explains why they tend to be earlier bottles and are not as common.

Milk bottles left to right:
Model Dairy W. F. Casady (etched), quart, Watsonville, California, Hart Manufacturing Co.,  approx. 1918
A. Rosa & Co., pint, Oakland, California, Essex Glass Co., pre-1920
Guadaloupe Dairy Co., Pint, San Francisco, California, manufacturer unknown, pre-1920
F.T.B. (etched), quarter pint, Carmel, California, manufacturer unknown, pre-1918
Deerfoot Farm, quart, Southborough, Massachusetts, Lockport Glass Co., early 1900's

First off page milk bottle:
N.L. Martin, Oak Grove Creamery, Quart, Boston, Massachusetts, Climax, late 1800's-early 1900's

Guernsey and 6 Sided Milk Bottles

Some dairies used unusually shaped bottles to promote their milk or even special lines of milk.  This was especially true for Guernsey milk.  Dairies wanted the consumer to identify the shape of the bottle with the quality of the product.  Guernsey milk was known for its deep cream line and golden color thus it commanded a greater price.  The first bottle on the left is a squat pint from Troutmere Guernsey Farm in La Honda Cannon, California.  The second and third bottles are both half pints from United Milk Company of San Francisco, California.  The second, squat milk bottle was for their Golden Guernsey milk and the regular half pint next to it was for their Bossy Brand, which was not breed specific.  In their 1940 catalog, the Creamery Package Manufacturing Company advertised Golden Guernsey milk bottles in pint, 1/3 quart, 10 ounce and half pint sizes.  We assume the dairy had to certified or licensed by Golden Guernsey to be able to purchase this style of milk bottle.

The last milk bottle was used by Safeway stores to sell their milk.  Rather than a round bottle this half pint is 6 sided or hexagonal.  The quart version of this milk bottle is 8 sided or octagonal.  Safeway used the brand name Lucerne for their milk.  Safeway was formed in 1926 but the Lucerne name started in 1904.  In that year the Lucerne Cream and Butter Company was formed in Hanford, California.  They sold milk to Safeway until March of 1929 when they were purchased by the chain and became its private brand.  Safeway used this distinctive bottle shape to identify their milk to shoppers.  In 1938 Lucerne Cream and Butter Company was one of the first dairies to switch to Pure-Pak wax cartons.  Safeway still sells milk under the Lucerne brand today.  Lucerne is another name for alfalfa, a major source of forage for dairy cows.

here to go to the page that discusses Pure-Pak milk cartons.

Milk bottles left to right:
Troutmere Guernsey Farm, pint, La Honda Cannon, California, Berney-Bond Glass Company, 1925
United Milk Co. Golden Guernsey, half pint, San Francisco, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Co., 1921
United Milk Co. Bossy Brand, half pint, San Francisco, California, Owens-Illinois, 1934
Lucerne (Safeway), half pint, California, Owens-Illinois, 1936

Ribbed Milk Bottles

Rather than being smooth glass, the milk bottles pictured above are a ribbed or paneled design.  These bottles are not as common as the smooth glass milk bottles.  Early Borden's milk bottles were like this.  These bottles are usually composed of 22 or 24 flat panels that form the bottle.  These bottles are only found embossed since pyroglazing requires a smooth surface.  The second and third bottles are the only two California bottles with an embossed eagle and interestingly both are panel designs.

Milk bottles left to right:
Suburban Dairy, L. McGugin & Sons, quart, Fresno, California, Illinois Pacific Glass Company, 1922
Eagle Creamery Co., quart, Richmond, California, Essex Glass Company, pre-1920
Eagle Dairy, A. Borba, pint, Woodland, California, maker and date unknown
Paradise Dairy Co., half pint, Los Banos, California, Pacific Coast Glass Company, 1931
Pictured above are two types of unique, patented milk bottles.  The two milk bottles on the left are called token milk bottles.  The shoulder of the bottle has a round pocket or slot.  These milk bottles were patented by Edwin Alexander of Kansas City, Missouri on September 22, 1925.  In the patent papers, Mr. Alexander explains that it is common for restaurants to serve milk to their guests in the original container.  However the milk cap, which indicates the grade of milk and the dairy that produced it, is often removed and the customer has no knowledge of the milk's quality or source.  The idea behind this bottle was that the cap, once removed, could be inserted into this pocket on the bottle shoulder so the customer could view this information.  In reality most of the milk bottles that are embossed with this patent date will have a small metal token in the pocket.  The token is usually about an inch and a quarter in diameter (about the size of a 50 cent piece) and smaller than the milk cap.  The token usually has the name of the dairy or brand of milk stamped on it.  Advertising could also be inserted behind the token so that it could be viewed by looking through the back of the milk bottle.

In 1929 The Lamb Glass Company of Mt. Vernon, Ohio advertised that they were licensed to sell these milk bottles and referred to them as the "Gold Seal" milk bottle.  Only one dairy in a city was allowed to use the bottle and they had to qualify based on producing quality dairy products.  How quality was determined is not clear.  At some point other glass companies must have produced these milk bottles as we have seen token milk bottles made by other glass manufacturers.  However different manufacturers placed the token at different locations on the milk bottle.  Click
here for a comparison of token milk bottles made by Winslow Glass Company, Lamb Glass Company and Liberty Glass Company. 

These milk bottles are found in quarter pint, half pint, pint and quart sizes.  Often the bottles will be embossed BROOKE ANDERSON, INC. or BROOK ANDERSON, INC.  We do not know how this company was connected to the Gold Seal milk bottle but suspect that the former was the correct spelling.  The only California creamery that used token milk bottles that we know of was Lakeview Creamery Company of Los Angeles.  Their token milk bottles were manufactured by the Lamb Glass Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio or the Southern Glass Company of Los Angeles, California.

The two milk bottles on the right are examples of a unique cone shaped glass milk bottle.  Compare it to the conventional shape of the token milk bottles on the left.  The shoulder of this bottle tapers from the bottle body to the lip in a straight line rather than having a curve to the shoulder.  This bottle shape was granted a design patent on May 28, 1929 for its ornamental design.  The inventor was Henry Kart of Buffalo, New York.  Henry Kart owned a dairy in Buffalo, New York and the quart milk bottle pictured above is embossed with his dairy name.  Henry Kart referred to his milk products as Sanitarian Dairy Products and one wonders if he shaped his milk bottles similar to wax cone milk containers which were advertised as being more sanitary.  In advertisements for Kart's Milk they referred to this milk bottle as the Strate bottle.  Kart claimed it was more sanitary since it was easier to clean and that it also attracted the attention of customers.

The patent papers showed a milk bottle that had a crown lip like the quart bottle shown above but the bottles can also be found with a conventional cap seat like the half pint bottle pictured above.  We have seen a September, 1933 advertisement for The Strate Side Bottle Company of Buffalo, New York that promoted these milk bottles.  They claimed that various large bottle companies would manufacture the bottles if a small royalty was paid to The Strate Side Bottle Company.  We have seen milk bottles with this patent date that were manufactured by the F. E. Reed Glass Company and also the Thatcher Manufacturing Company.  The Strate Side Bottle Company stressed sanitation and reduced bottle loss due to the distinctive shape as the advantages to this milk bottle.  They claimed that the bottle could be used with existing equipment and it could be capped with any standard cap or hood.  Presumably Henry Kart started The Strate Side Bottle Company to increase the income from his patent.  One dairy even utilized this bottle patent in a green milk bottle (picture).  These milk bottles are often embossed with the patent number as well as the patent date.  We have seen them in half pint, pint and quart sizes.  We have seen this style of milk bottle most commonly embossed but have also seen bottles that are pyroglazed.

In later years bottles of this same general shape were offered as juice or chocolate drink bottles with a frosted or cross hatched surface.  Owens-Illinois offered them in a quart size in their 1949 catalog under mold number ML-1545.

Milk bottles left to right:
Colvert's Selected Milk, half pint, Ardmore, Oklahoma, Liberty Glass Co., date unknown
Sorge's Selected Milk, quart, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Lamb Glass Co., date unknown
Henry Kart Inc. Sanitarian Dairy Products, quart, Buffalo, New York, Reed Glass Company, date unknown
Fikes Dairy, half pint, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, Thatcher Manufacturing Co., 1934

First off page milk bottles left to right:
Hartman, half pint, location unknown, Winslow Glass Company, pre-1927
Fox's Guernsey Dairy, half pint, Waukesha, Wisconsin, Lamb Glass Company, date unknown
Colvert's Selected Milk, half pint, Ardmore, Oklahoma, Liberty Glass Co., date unknown

Second off page milk bottle:
Alta Crest Farms, quart, Spencer, Massachusetts, Reed Glass Company, date unknown

Stoneware Milk Bottle

Even though this is a bail top milk bottle we listed it here because it is unusual in that it is not made of glass but rather stoneware.  Mackworth is a small island, about 100 acres, that sits off the coast of Maine.  In the late 1800's Jersey cows grazed on the island and the milk and cream was bottled in these stoneware bottles and shipped to the mainland to be sold.  The milk bottle pictured above is a half pint but they are also found in pint and quart sizes.

We have recently seen another half pint stoneware milk bottle that is decorated BRUNELLE BROS.  PURE JERSEY CREAM. 

Baseball Shaped Milk Bottle

The baseball shaped milk bottle pictured above was used by Crab Tree Dairy.  It is a third quart bottle and would date to around 1910-1920.  Crab Tree Dairy was owned by Mrs. Grace Durand and sold milk into the Chicago market.  The herd consisted of Guernsey and Holstein cows and was started in 1894 in Lake Forest, Illinois.  In 1905 the dairy was moved to nearby Lake Bluff, Illinois.  Mrs. Durand had the highest standards for her dairy and the milk that was produced there.  The farm was a model dairy and was kept immaculate.  After a fire destroyed the dairy in 1910 or 1911, Mrs. Durand had the new farm buildings and grounds designed by the best architects of the period.  Crab Tree Dairy continued to bottle their own milk until 1943.  After the dairy quit bottling it's own milk it continued to produce milk to sell to other creameries for 3 or 4 more years.

Mrs. Durand questioned why some dairies sold a high quality milk for children and invalids but then sold a lower grade milk for the general consumer.  She felt that all the milk produced by a dairy should meet the highest of standards.  This was really quite innovative thinking for the early 1900's.  We came a cross an article that poked fun of her habit of playing music while the cows were milked.  Her belief was that it made the cows give more milk.  We now know that it is important that the cows are calm and relaxed at milking in order to have a complete let down of their milk.  This milk bottle was probably a way to market her top end product in a distinctive package.  In addition to the third quart size this shape of milk bottle has also been reported in a quarter pint size.

We have also seen this style of milk bottle embossed Congress Dairy in a third quart size.  In addition the Ohio Dairy Co. also used this style of milk bottle in the same size for a product called Dairy-Lac.

Hood Oval milk bottle

At first glance this early milk bottle from H. P. Hood & Sons of Boston, Massachusetts does not look that unusual.  What makes it different is that it is oval in cross section (picture).  Oval was a very rare shape for milk bottles.  It was more common for druggist and liquor bottles.  This bottle is base marked with a 1911 date and L G CO, the makers mark for Lockport Glass Company of Lockport, New York.

Avery Tractor Oil Sight Bottle

We get a lot of questions about this cast iron milk bottle and there are some wild explanations for it on the web.  It had nothing to do with milk or milk delivery.  This bottle is cast iron and is embossed USE TO REPLACE GLASS BOTTLE IF BROKEN on one side and 3781 on the other side.  It is the size of a half pint milk bottle.  Avery Tractors used a half pint glass milk bottle mounted upside down as a sight glass for the oil system.  The oil pump would pump the oil through the milk bottle and then on to the bearings in the engine.  By glancing at the oil inside the milk bottle, the driver could tell if the oil pump was pumping oil.  However if the glass milk bottle broke in the field, the oil would leak out of the engine and the engine would be damaged.  As a back up, Avery tractors came with this cast iron milk bottle that could be kept in the tool box for just such an emergency.  Since this bottle was cast iron it could withstand being bounced around inside the tool box in rough fields.  The cast iron milk bottle was only a temporary patch since the operator could no longer see if the oil was flowing, but at least it would allow one to drive back to the house to get another glass milk bottle.  An extra glass milk bottle in the tool box would have just broke.  The number 3781 was the Avery part number.