SODA/MINERAL WATER & BEER
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C. & K. / EAGLE WORKS / SAC CITY - This is a nice example of a relatively abundant California Gold Rush era "blob" soda bottle from Sacramento or "Sac City" as they abbreviated it back then. These bottles were, according to the Markota's, used from about 1858 to 1866 when Casey & Kelly were in a partnership which included the manufacturing and bottling of soda water. (They were also liquor & wine dealers...something for everyone.) This example is a beautiful, clear medium sapphire blue which is accurately portrayed by the image. Also has some nice big bubbles in the glass. It is a bit over 7" tall, smooth base (not pontiled, none are to my knowledge though they slop over into the era a bit), and has an applied "blob" lip. The condition is near mint as it has no chips or staining (professionally cleaned no doubt) and the only issue is a very minor amount of case wear/tiny peck marks primarily around the lower side/base edge. A fine example and a beautiful window bottle! $165
J. N. GERDES / S. F. - MINERAL / WATER - That is embossed on opposite sides (embossing split on two panels each on both sides as images show) of this pair of nice, 1870s era San Francisco mineral waters in a rare - for the West - 8 sided configuration. Being offered here separately or together, these were both blown in the same mold, certainly by a San Francisco glass works sometime between 1873 and 1877 according to the Markota's great book on Western blob soda bottles. So these were made either at the San Francisco Glass Works or the Pacific Glass Works...or at the combined San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works if blown after their merging in 1875 or 1876 (depending on what source you reference). John N. Gerdes was the proprietor of the San Francisco Soda Works during the noted time period, so these bottle were used by that company during (and possibly a bit after) John Gerdes ownership.
The bottles have the distinctive curved "R's" made by the still yet unknown mold maker or engraver doing work on some of the most legendary bottles made in the West from about 1870 to the mid-1880s. To my knowledge there was only one mold used for the blowing of the scarce bottles and all have applied blob lips or finishes. This pair is in better than average condition for these bottles and described separately here.
The greenish aqua bottle with the original cork securing fitting has a little bit of spotty wear here and there, but no staining and appears to have never been professionally cleaned. As with all of these bottles I've seen, there is some ground wear right at the heel of the bottle on the small lowermost "tip" of most/all of the panel points; apparently due to case wear from the bottles inevitable being reused many times. As is also typical, there is a small nick on one of the reverse panel edges (right below the curved "R" leg in WATER) that is about 4mm by 3 mm in size with a bit of depth. (It is visible in the enlarged version of the second image to the left). Otherwise the glass is largely shiny and clean with very minor wear and not other chips, no cracks or other post-manufacturing damage. $100
The light blue green (deep "fire aqua" to Western collectors) example to the right in the images is also very nice with the same wear at the lower panel corners. It has been professionally cleaned it appears and has a minor amount of "ground" wear here and there on the body and lip but it is limited and non-distracting to my eye. There are also a few (3 I can see) very small (much smaller than the small nick noted for the first bottle) edge nicks or pinprick chips on the side panel edges. As the images show this example has very nice color (the other is no slacker!) and displays very nicely. SOLD!
BERLIN MINERAL WATER CO., BOSTON U. S. A. - This is embossed inside of a large German cross that has a heraldic eagle trade mark. It is also embossed with "REGD. 1873." This is a typical round bottom soda type bottle that unlike the vast majority of such bottles, is actually of American origin - Boston, Mass. to be exact. It is 9" tall/long, has an applied blob finish, and likely dates from the 1880s. The majority of these type bottles found in the United States were imported from Great Britain and frequently embossed with company names and cities from England and Ireland - Belfast being a very common point of origin. However, some were - like the bottle pictured - made in the United States (or made overseas for a U.S. bottler). Condition of the bottle is excellent with just some wisps of faint haze inside (totally non-distracting), a tiny bit of external wear, and a very small indented (3-4 mm) imperfection to the underside of the lip that appears to be in-making as it is smooth (and doesn't appear under a hand lens to have been buffed). Bottle acquired for and used/pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. A relatively rare item I believe. $35
PORTLAND / TRADE MARK / (phoenix bird rising from the ashes) / SODA WORKS P. O. - There is an array of Portland (P. O. = Portland, Oregon) embossed soda bottles that were used by the same basic soda manufacturer, but with different owners, from the 1870s to the 1930s. In fact, this soda works traces it roots back to Territorial Oregon in the 1850s when first founded by Dekum & Bickel in 1856! The embossed bottles of interest and importance to bottle collectors begin with the Cottle & Post blob sodas - the beautiful blue green soda at the top of this section. In 1883, this same soda company was owned and operated by Northrop & Sturgis who produced this bottle. In fact, the base is embossed with NORTHRUP & STURGIS.
I've made a casual study of the entire sequence of mouth-blown bottles from this outfit (1883 to 1911 according to Ron Fowler's great book on Oregon sodas!) and this bottle is certainly from the second (possibly third) mold used by the company in the 1880s, probably starting about 1884 or 1885 and moving to a second (or third) similar mold in the late 1880s. (The first bottle used by N&S, apparently for a very short time, was the fairly elusive blob soda Portland Soda Works bottle. There was also possibly an earlier Hutchinson soda listed by Ron, but I've yet to see one.) How do I know this is the first (second?) Hutchinson mold? Because I've bottles from this mold in both an applied and tooled blob finish; this example being the tooled finish. Of additional interest (I'm getting into this now!) is that even though both the applied and tooled bottles were certainly made in the same mold, at the time the glass company that produced the bottles (almost certainly the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works) switched to tooled finishing they also shoulder air vented (i.e., drilled small holes) the front and back halves of the mold since the applied ones do not (in my experience) have the air venting. Cool, eh?
Anyway, this bottle is a nice blue aqua typical of the SF&PGW bottles of the era and is essentially mint (don't believe it has ever been cleaned, but not sure) with virtually no visible staining inside or out, no chips or cracks or other issues with the exception of a few very small, light scuffs on the outside and a bit of Hutchinson stopper induced wear on the inside of the lip; typical of Hutchinson's used more than once. Nice example, with good embossing, some decent crudity to the finish, shoulder and body and in better than average condition. $45
CHAMPAGNE / NECTAR - Great name which is boldly embossed on this blob soda ("pony" I think it is referred to) bottle that originates from New Orleans, according to Todd von Mechow's great website on the subject of early soda & beer bottles. Also embossed on the lower back heel is C. I. & Co. which indicates manufacture by the great Pittsburgh glass company of Christian Ihmsen & Co. who operated under that name from 1836 to 1860 according to Hawkin's book on the glassmakers of that area. (Note: There certainly are a LOT of really great, historically based, "bottle books" available now. Be sure to get them before they are out of print!)
Anyway, that makes this bottle a pre-Civil War manufacture though it is a smooth - non-pontiled - base. It does have, however, a "key mold" type base of the style utilizing the rounded flange (instead of squared off) that fit one side of the mold to the other at the base. This is an early conformation and a bit unusual for a heavy glass soda bottle, but not that unusual for the 1850s. Anyway, this example is just under 7" tall, a nice blue-aqua color with neat swirls in the glass, with an applied blob finish with a bit of "slop-over" under the lip. The condition is very good - it has been professionally cleaned almost certainly - with no cracks or staining. It does retain some light ground wear here and there and a few little "ping" marks from having bumped into other bottles during transportation, re-use and re-bottling. There is also a tiny bit of roughness at a few points along the edge of the lip including one pin-head sized iridescence nick in one spot. Neat bottle from antebellum New Orleans, LA. $50
EAST SIDE BOTTLING CO. / PORTLAND / ORE. - This is a pretty rare (first I've seen or had) soda bottle from East Portland (east of the Willamette River) which was at one point a separate city in competition with Portland (west of the river). Yes, it is "just" a crown top soda, but is hand blown (aka "mouth blown") and is a genre of Oregon mouth-blown bottles that have yet to be discovered...maybe? The company was, according to period business directories operating for only one year - 1912. This according to Ron Fowler's great book on Oregon soda bottles. It was located in the "Brentwood Addition" (there were lots of "additions" in that area in the 1890s to 1920s) at the NW corner of Cooper and Spring Avenue. This bottle has a hand tooled crown finish, is embossed in a "slug plate" (really a "plate mold" according to bottle makers), and is a nice greenish aqua color.
It is also embossed at the reverse heel with O - S A B Co. What does that mean? Well, it indicates that the bottle was produced by the American Bottle Company (various plants in the Midwest). More specially the "0" is a certain date code for 1910 and the "S" the plant code for the companies Streator, IL. plant; the old Streator Bottle and Glass Company. (For more on the company see the very recent article available on my other educational website at - http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/AmericanBottleCo.pdf Fowler's book does note that some bottles have the same heel codes but with a "9" instead of a "0" (i.e., 9 - S A B Co). In fact, this particular bottle appears (with magnifying glass) to have the "0" cut over a "9"! So this indicates that East Side Bottling ordered at least two batches of bottles - one in 1909 and one in 1910....cool! Apparently, the company was in business earlier but it wasn't picked up in the business directories until 1912, then likely disappeared by 1913. (Isn't this history sleuthing fun!) The bottle is in essentially mint condition with very little wear (even to the embossing), some very faint wisps of internal haze, and a couple very tiny peck marks which all adds up to very fine shape for a a re-used soda bottle. Rare item from Portland! $30
CAPE ARGO / SODA WORKS / MARSHFIELD, ORE. - Mouth-blown (aka "hand-made") soda bottles from about anywhere in the state of Oregon besides Portland tend to be scarce to extremely rare. There are a couple different soda bottles from Coos Bay/North Bend which are among the more obtainable ones from outside Portland. (Coos Bay was known as Marshfield until the 1930s or so, if my memory isn't failing me.) Hutchinson soda bottles with this same embossing are fairly abundant, though in my experience, these tooled crown top Cape Argo (Cape Argo is a ocean headland nearby) bottles are much less frequently seen although Ron Fowler (author of the Oregon soda bottle book) notes that both are "common." This crown top example has PCGW (or Pacific Coast Glass Works) embossed on the lower front body (as shown in Fowlers book) but also has PCGW embossed on the base...which may be an unlisted variant as he was good about listing base embossing as well as the rest of the body embossing. Click base view to see such. The company was in business in Coos Bay from about 1904 to 1920 with the Hutchinson's certainly being used during first - maybe 1904 to 1910 or so - and these tooled crown cap versions likely being used from about 1910 to 1915.
This example is a pale greenish aqua and blown in a four piece mold like the Hutchinson's are. The condition of this example is very good with some high point wear on the embossing and around the heel (case wear from reuse) and two open surface bubbles above the CA in CAPE with some dirt in one of them. Otherwise no chips, cracks or noticeable staining (ok, a few internal wisps). Since non-Portland Oregon Hutchinson's are getting prohibitively expensive (evidenced by a Lakeview Soda Works selling on eBay for $520 recently!) this could be a good addition to an Oregon, mouth-blown crown soda collection. Bottle procured for and used on my Historic Bottle Website. $25
ALBANY BREWING CO. / (fancy ABCo. monogram) / ALBANY, OR. - This is embossed within a somewhat oval ("slug") plate on this larger, 24 to 26 oz., blob-top export style beer bottle from somewhere in Oregon that is NOT Portland. Mouth-blown, non-crown top beer bottles from other smaller cities/towns in Oregon are relatively far and few between. Just a bit over 11.25" tall, this example has a tooled blob lip (aka "finish" in glassmaker parlance), is a medium to slightly darker amber with a reddish tint, and was blown in an post-bottom/base mold with several air vents on the front and back shoulder. The base is embossed with S. B. & G. Co. indicating manufacture by the Streator Bottle & Glass Co. (Streator, IL.) who used that marking from 1881 to 1905 prior to be absorbed into the American Bottle Co. (A.B.Co.), which was later (1929) absorbed into the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. where they still maintain a plant I believe (Toulouse 1971).
The Albany Brewing Co. operated under that company name from 1892 to 1906 being operated by William Faber at the corner of 9th & Lyon streets (Van Wieren 1995). On the back heel is embossed the number 98 which is very likely a date code for 1898, which would fit nicely into the two known date ranges already noted above. Streator was known to have used date codes a few years after this when under the umbrella of the A.B.Co., so this is an example of early date code use. (Obviously, I love the history behind bottles...particularly Oregon ones!) This example is in excellent condition - much better than the few other examples I've seen or owned and most re-used beer bottles in general - having almost no scuffing/wear on the body and basically no staining that I can see. There are a couple tiny and hard to find "ping" marks near the base from reuse, a bit of faint and non-distracting scratching and is otherwise an exemplary example of this bottle! Also has some bubbles and minor crudity and almost no wear to the embossing, which is unusual on reused beer bottles. Nice glossy, bright example! $75
FREDERICKSBURG / (emblem with F B Co inside of a shield) / BOTTLING CO. S. F. / THIS BOTTLE NOT / TO BE SOLD. This large (about a quart & 11.5" tall), crudely made, heavily whittled, applied blob finish, bubbly thick olive green glass, champagne style beer bottle is very reminiscent of the "Apollinaris" style mineral water bottles. According to Tom Quinn (in an excellent article in Thomas's 2002 book which was based on a lead in May Jones's books from the 1960s) - these bottles, as well as scores of other different beer (export and champagne) and cylinder liquor bottles, were made in Germany (like most Apollinaris bottles) for various far West Coast brewing and liquor companies (primarily California with some in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). These were usually made for companies with German surnames or themes (like Fredericksburg). These German-made bottles - or at least the ones with U. S. specific embossing - seem to be a phenomena of just West Coast brewing and liquor companies which is believed related to a connection with several importers in the Bay Area of German ancestry (Abramson & Heunisch in the early 1880s; possibly others later). Anyway, this example is in near mint condition with just some very minor wear/scuffing and a very small open bubble on the rear heel. Als0, as one can see in the image, it has the original porcelain stopper and bail; the top of the stopper is stenciled with FREDERICKSBURG BOTTLING CO. S. F. A very nice example of an interesting relic of Western American history. $75