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A note on bottle books: Like with all collectibles and antiques, good advice is always to "Buy the book before the bottle." Knowledge is power and even safety (of your money) when dealing with any collectible - bottles even more so than many other fields of collecting because of the incredible diversity of historic bottles. Beyond that, the history behind the glass companies that made the bottles - as well as the individuals and businesses that ordered and used the bottles - is simply fascinating...and isn't that a big part of why we collect bottles?
The bottle books listed for sale here are selected for their utility in the fascinating field of identifying and dating American made bottles generally made by hand, i.e. "mouth-blown" to use Grace Kendrick's term. Virtually all of these books are out of print and variably hard to obtain, but are still of high utility because of the historical information that they contain. There are no old purely price guides here - those types of books become quickly out of date and then are simply useless lists of bottles with no real utility. Bottle books with historical information about the makers of bottles, the processes involved in producing bottles, and the companies and individuals that purchased and utilized the bottles never loose their value, though the information may be later refined or added to by others. Those are the books found here. In the end, isn't it the history behind the bottles that intrigues we collectors (and archaeologists)?
Please note that for most of the books listed I only have the one copy listed available for sale; once it is sold it likely would be hard to replace and may not appear for sale again here for some time. I am offering these books as a adjunct to my work on the Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. It is primarily a service of sorts to those interested in the history of glass containers and I sell them for close to my expense in acquiring them.
THE BOTTLE TRAIL book set by May Jones - Offered here is the COMPLETE set of the First Printing of all 9 volumes of this early, important set of bottle books by May Jones - one of the first real bottle history researchers from the collector realm. I believe most of the books (booklets really) had at least second printings, but they were just that - additional printings with no revisions or additional information added. There are 10 of the books included here as there is the second, 1963 second printing of volume 1 (beige cover) included after the first printing (green cover) visible in the group image.
May Jones lived Bishop, CA. where the first two volumes were published, then moved to New Mexico where the remaining 7 volumes were distributed from (mail order and bottle shows) though were actually printed in Texas. The books include lots of information about various bottles she found or was fascinated by and include the best information published on bottles and their history during the 1960s. The booklets include hundreds of drawings by May and information gleaned from a myriad of sources, including letter writing back and forth with companies that were still in business like Heinz (this was WAY before the internet was even a sparkle in anyone's eye). She was also one of the pioneers in the determination and history behind bottle makers markings predating Dr. Julian Toulouses' work on the subject in 1971. May's work via these booklets was also used extensively by Bill Lockhart, who has now completed his massive work on bottle makers markings just recently. (Click HERE to view the page of my Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website where ALL of Lockhart's makers markings articles are available for free.)
These booklets all have about 40 pages (the first 5 did not have page numbers noted), were all soft bound with a bit stiffer cover than the pages and published originally between September 1961 (Vol. 1) and February 1968 (Vol. 9). I don't know when the last reprints were made and sold, but I believe it was only a few years after the 9th volume was first put out, i.e., into the early to mid-1970s. In my experience, the later volumes are the hardest to find. I managed to put two sets together of almost all first printings long ago when I was actively pursuing such. Still have have this extra set and trying to downsize...so here they are for sale all in one shot.
These booklets are in generally very good condition being tight and sound with no loose pages. About half of the volumes have a past owners name noted inside the front cover; the rest do not. There is some soiling here and there from use, but many volumes are in pristine condition considering their age and general fragility of such booklets. Highly recommended for any student of bottle history and the history of bottle books. $125 + USPS media mail cost
A Bit About Balsams: A Chapter in the History of 19th Century Medicine - by Betty Blasi. This is certainly one of the "good" bottle books in that even though it is somewhat narrow in focus (balsam medicines) it includes a lot of history about a lot of the bottles listed - which is in the hundreds. This is the first (and only I believe) edition (softbound) published in 1974 and printed by Farley-Geopper Printing Company, Louisville, KY. It has about 175 pages with numerous illustrations, bottle photos, advertisements along with great historical information and the things one wants to see in a "timeless" bottle book. This example is in very good condition with only slight soiling and wear, creamy supple pages, the title written by hand on the spine, ex-owners name inside the front thick paper cover and a bit of updated information in pen added to the information about the Californian (Oroville) Abietene Cough Balsam. Other wise the book is basically tight and sound with no other issues. Very hard to find book, especially in this good of condition. $50 + USPS media mail cost
19th Century Medicine in Glass - by Bill & Betty Wilson. Copyright 1971 and published by 19th Century Hobby and Publishing Co., Amador City, CA. Softbound (there were no hardbound versions) larger format (8 1/2" x 11") book with around a 160 pages. As the image shows (a stock image though this offering is at least as good looking) this is the "gold" cover version; others were printed with gray covers but all seem to have been printed at the same time by the same printing outfit. This hard to find and well researched book is an excellent source of information on of the common and not so common medicine bottles made during the 19th century. Profusely illustrated with pictures of all of the covered bottles, advertising, and very large section at the back of the book that describes the history behind the bottles listed. Condition of this example is among the best I've had - very good to with only minor soiling, wear, and no writing inside. It is overall very tight and sound for this book which is prone to having multiple loose pages, there are no loose pages in this offering. The book is has been lightly read and certainly never fully opened up; the spine is uncreased. it also includes a very good copy of the 1971 "Price Guide" included loosely inside, not attached. It in itself makes for entertaining reading with prices we've not seen in decades. As fine an example of this classic, almost 50 year old, book as you can find. $50 + USPS media mail cost
American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry - by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, copyright 1978 (implicit first edition, though I think there was only one edition and printing anyway). This is hands down (in my opinion) the best, most well researched book ever done on the subject of American made bottles - particularly those made from the late 18th through late 19th centuries. I consider it one of the top five bottle books every published as it is of use by students of American glass making, archaeologists, collectors and those just interested in the subject of American bottle making. I list it as part of the essential bottle book "canon" on my other, purely educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. This is a very thick (779 pages), larger format (about 9" x 11") book with a hardbound blue cloth cover and a dust jacket (this one neatly price clipped). Condition of this copy is very good+ to fine for the book itself - it is tight and sound with no spine weakness or splits (these large - 5+ pound - books are prone to such), no writing inside, with a bit of foxing to the top and side page edges, and otherwise very minor wear and soiling. The dust jacket has some corner, spine & edge chipping and some short, closed edge tears though overall a pretty nice condition jacket for this book. The dust jacket is in a mylar cover protecting from future impacts. (Note: The image is not of the offered book cover; the offered book's dust jacket is actually in a bit better visual condition so I'm just re-using the image of a previous offering of this book to show what the dust jacket looks like in general.) Overall this is a better than average copy. I advise people who ask that this is probably the first book to buy if interested in the history of bottles and bottle making in America...maybe just the first one period. $40 + USPS media mail cost
Bottle Makers and Their Marks - by Julian H. Toulouse. Copyright 1971, the first edition, first printing (there were only two printings of the first edition). This popular and relatively hard to get book is the best reference on the subject of bottle manufacturers and their markings and desired by archaeologists and collectors alike. Dr. Toulouse was the chief engineer of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company and an acknowledged expert on the subject of glassmaking and glassmakers; he died a few years after publishing this book which was essentially his last work. Condition of this first printing is about fine condition with few "issues" besides a bit of yellowing and some edge wear/chipping to the mylar protected dust jacket; original price is unclipped. The book itself is also fine as it is pretty tight, and sound with no writing inside or major, just a bit of a very faint and fading musty-ness, lower corners slightly bumped, and a bit of light foxing to the page edges. Overall this is a very nice example! I consider this book as part of the essential bottle book "canon" on my other, purely educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. (Note: Photo is not of the currently offered book although the currently offered example has a dj that is in at least as good of condition.) $40 + USPS media mail cost
FRUIT JARS - A Collector's Manual - by Julian H. Toulouse. Copyright 1969 and published by the Thomas Nelson & Sons. This book is an essential one if you are into fruit jars and the dating and history of them, though it also covers lots of related patent and glass making information. This is the second (and last ) printing from September 1970 and is in fine to very fine condition - book itself is very fine+ with just some very minimal soiling on the page edges and is otherwise very tight & sound (little used) with two pages where the previous owner underlined a few sentences with a fine red pen....otherwise no writing inside the book. The dust jacket (not price clipped) is very fine with just some light scuffing and a little bit of chipping at the top of the spine area and a small closed tear on the back with a crease. (Note: The photo is a stock photo of mine and not of the actual book, though the cover condition is at least as good with this offered example.) This book is an important work also from the perspective of glassmaker history and really a companion work to Toulouse's classic Bottle Makers & Their Marks which was published 2 years later. (Note: Fruit Jars was recently reprinted by Blackburn Press, denoting it's importance. However, this new version is softbound and priced at $62.95 + postage. Get the version here for less!) I list this book also as part of the essential bottle book "canon" on my other, purely educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. $30 + USPS media mail cost
The Hedden's Story Handbook of Proprietary Medicines by James Seeley White. Copyright 1974, softbound (all were to my knowledge), 95 pages, with a nice glossy photographic cover. This is a fascinating book based on the contents of an old drugstore in Scottsburg, Oregon which is on the main stem of the Umpqua River in the Coast Range (on Highway 38). The research of the bottles (all photographed) included is excellent, making this book of broader appeal than one would think. Condition is essentially perfect (very fine+) with little to no soiling or other problems; tight and sound. $20.00 + USPS media mail cost
The Bottles, Breweriana, and Advertising Jugs of Minnesota 1850-1920 - Volume 2: Whiskey, Druggist, Medicine. Editor & co-author Ron Feldhaus. First edition 1987 (#131 of 1000), softbound, larger format 11" by 8 1/2", 200 pages, signed by the author on the title page. This is Vol. 2 of a classic two volume work on the bottles of Minnesota. This is also one of those collector based books that is exceptional in providing excellent regional history as well as hundreds of photographs/illustrations of the bottles and lots of related items. Condition is very good with just some cover/page edge wear, almost invisible soiling, and a couple notations of value lightly penned in on one page - otherwise the book is tight and sound. Also includes the 1987 price guide booklet and a flyer advertising the books. SOLD!
Whitall, Tatum & Co. 1880 - This is a Pyne Press (Princeton University) reprint from their "American Historical Catalog Collection" series from 1971. Softbound like all versions of this book. Contains the entire 1880 Whitall, Tatum & Co. Druggists', Chemists', and Perfumers' Glassware catalog that is an invaluable guide to bottle types and shapes from 1880. Whitall Tatum was very big in the world of plate mold druggist bottles (lots of plate examples illustrated within) as well as all types of druggist glassware and products. This book is desired and used extensively by archaeologists and researchers in their work, but also is quite useful and informative to collectors as well. Condition is very fine+ and is very tight and sound with virtually no wear and appears to have never been opened. (The image is a stock image - not of this particular copy.) Hard to find and often selling for much more. $17.50 + USPS media mail cost
Bottle Identification (reprint of the 1911 Illinois Glass Co. catalog) - by H. E. Putnam. Softbound larger format (8 1/2" by 11") book copyrighted in 1965. Though not stated, this book is a reprint of the 1911 Illinois Glass Company "Bottles of Every Description" catalog (I have an original and compared) produced during an important time of transition from mouth-blown to machine-made bottles, though most of the bottles listed in this catalog were still mouth-blown. Profusely illustrated with hundreds of bottles, sizes, prices, etc.., this book compliments the IGCo. 1903-1904 catalog reprint (sold). These books tended to weather poorly, though this example (the image is a stock image - not of this particular copy) is in very good+ with very slight cover soiling and wear on the spine and cover edges and a <3" tear to the cover which was taped on the inside. A tight and sound book in great condition inside and which, like the other reprint (and sometimes original) catalogs listed here, are valuable tools for the identification of bottles by shape. $15 + USPS media mail cost
Sarsaparilla Bottle Encyclopedia - by Phyllis Shimko. If you are interested in the history behind sarsaparilla bottles, this is the book to have (DeGrafft's more commonly seen book has no history behind the bottles). Long out of print and very hard to find. Privately published in 1969 with around 200 pages, softbound cover (they were all softbound), first and only edition. Shimko (from Aurora, OR. and a founder of the Oregon Bottle Collectors Association) did an excellent job of researching sarsaparilla bottles and the amount of information in this book is exceptional. Loads of illustrations (line drawings) of the bottles with advertising and lots of company related historical information. Condition is good to very good being very functionally sound and tight for this particular book; these books are notorious for "weathering" poorly. There is no writing inside with the primary condition "issues" with this book is some light to moderate soiling to the spine and the covers near the spine (click on thumbnail to see the front cover), some roughness to the paper at the spine (one <1" spot appear to have been re-glued), and some minor soiling to the page edges. Overall a quite decent copy and better than my "keeper" which I bought from Phyllis in 1969 (and consulted a lot since). $30.00 + USPS media mail cost
The Bertrand Bottles - A Study of 19th-Century Glass and Ceramic Containers - by Ronald R. Switzer. This book, published by the National Park Service (Department of Interior) in 1974 is one of the classic works in the field of historic archaeology as it pertains to bottles. The Bertrand was a steamboat that sunk in the Missouri River on April Fools Day 1865. It was relocated in 1968 on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge lands in Iowa (I think) and subsequently salvaged as it was now in a farm field the river having meandered away. The Bertrand went down with several thousand items of bottled goods destined for the gold fields of Montana and created a "snap shot" in time of bottle types that were in use in 1865. This is an overview and catalog of the items found and the information in this 100 page softbound book is exceptional; also long out of print. The condition of the offered copy (the image is not of the offered copy) is in very good to fine condition with some scuffing to the cover (typical), no writing inside, or other significant problems...and the book binding is very tight and sound. $20.00 + USPS media mail cost
The Mouth-Blown Bottle - by Grace Kendrick. Edwards Bros., Ann Arbor, MI., copyright 1968, hardbound yellow cloth cover with dust jacket, 200 pages, first edition. This example is signed by the author on the front loose endpaper along with the usual first edition stamp & hand written number (FIRST EDITION BOOK NO. 251). Another classic long-out-of-print book that is one of the best, easy to read, discussions of glass blowing using hand and mouth techniques. Scores of pictures showing all aspects of the blowing process, molds, pontil rods, etc. The condition of this copy - book and dust jacket - is the one of the better I've had. It is in essentially near-new condition and appears to have little been used. These books typically do not "wear" very well, but this is the exception. It is essentially perfect with no writing inside (besides signature and the authors stamp/numbering), little or no scuffing to the dust jacket (which was put in a mylar covering long ago), it is not price clipped, quite tight binding and overall very sound. (Note: The image is not of the actual book dust jacket which is in better condition.) If you want the best copy available this is it (it is better than my "keeper" one). Great addition to any bottle collectors or archaeologists library. $25.00 + USPS media mail cost
Glassblowing - The Technique of Free-Blown Glass - by Frank Kulasiewicz. Watson-Guptill Publications/New York, Pitman Publishing/London. First printing (only printing I think), copyright 1974, hardbound red cloth cover with dust jacket, 215 pages, larger format book (8.5" x 11"). In my years of doing the Historic Bottle Website this book on glassblowing has been by far the most useful in understanding materials, processes, tools, etc. of the process of glass bottle blowing. If you want to understand the actual nuts 'n bolts process of how bottles were manufactured by mouth-blown or handmade methods, this is the book. Text is comprehensive but easy to understand and follow and it is all illustrated profusely with hundreds of large b&w images (some color). Condition is very good or better with few issues - a bit of bumping to the hardbound cover corners, name written in ink on the front & back attached endpapers, a slightly toned dust jacket with only a bit of edge/corner bumping and wear but with little in the way of the typically common short edge rips. The book is tight and sound, with supple pages, no staining, a strong binding and no other writing in side....and a great dust jacket for this book. SOLD!
Handbook of Glass Manufacture - Volume II - The following from the title page of this volume: Handbook of Glass Manufacture Volume II. Complied and Edited by Fay V. Tooley, Industrial Consultant and Professor of Glass Technology Emeritus, Department of Ceramic Engineering, University of Illinois. A book of reference for the plant executive, technologist and engineer. Published by Books For Industry, Inc. and The Glass Industry Magazine, Division of Magazines For Industry, Inc., 777 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10017. This example of Vol. II is copyrighted 1974 and apparently the first printing of this totally revised edition of the classic manual for industry glass makers first published in 1953. I have never seen an example of Volume I of this edition (or until this example, Vol. II) though I believe this is the last version of the set published. The "Contents" page of this version does list the 9 chapters for Volume I and fortunately, the best chapter from the original set of books discussing bottle making and bottle making machines IS included in this Volume II of the revised set versus towards the end of the first volume in the original. This 100+ page chapter is the most valuable one for students of bottle making and is entitled "Section 10: The Processing of Bottles and Other Hollow Ware Articles" and is more or less an update of the original books "Feeding and Forming" chapter although in looking through both versions of that chapter, this most recent version does contain quite a bit of new information and illustrations including machines invented since the early 1950s.
Condition & other details: This book has no dust jacket (as issued) and is in very good, tight condition, though was part of a Pittsburgh glass makers library so does have some of the usual library additions, i.e., a small stamp inside the cover, pocket in the back for the check out card, catalog number on the lower spine, and the like. The pages are an off-white and not as "yellow" as the image of the title page would indicate (that was my lighting for the image). Very limited wear and soiling (but some) and a true hardback book (the originals were a soft hardback). If a person wants to really understand glass making processes and terminology, this is the book to have (though having Volume I of this set would also be useful). I used - and continue to use - my copies of the earlier printings of this book extensively in my work on the Historic Bottle Website. Fantastically detailed with great illustrations of machines and glassmaking processes, in depth information on the chemistry of glass, and SO much more. Check the internet used book places and you'll see these are typically priced much higher than what I'm asking here. This is one of the more important books for any serious student of glass and bottle making to have...really. $35 + USPS media mail cost
WESTERN AMERICAN BOTTLES
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