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Soda/Mineral Water

IMPROVED / TRADE MARK / (crescent moon with three stars) / MINERAL WATER - C. A. REINERS & CO / 723 / TURK ST / S. F. - These type of earlier, pre-Hutchinson, California soda bottles used to "be around" frequently, but that seems to have changed over the past 5 or so years in that the prices/values have gone up proportional to their less abundant availability.  Supply and demand I guess.  I've accumulated a fair number of Gold Rush era California "blob" or (more accurately) "pony" style soda bottles over the years and this one with the cool moon and stars is a favorite although not really "Gold Rush" era...but from shortly thereafter.  It is also a favorite with many Western collectors though not as rare as the earlier, colored and often pontiled "true" Gold Rush sodas from the 1850s in particular (many to be offered in the years to come).

Specifically THE book on the subject "Western Blob Top Soda and Mineral Water Bottles" by Peck and Audie Markota (1994 revised and final edition) notes that C. A. Reiners was a German immigrant who came to the US at age 18 in 1854.  He migrated to California in 1863 after living in NYC for 8 years.  He was apparently a butcher among other forms of employment during the years prior to getting in the soda/mineral water business. From 1873 to 1875 he was in partnership with a John Breig as the Eureka Soda Works which was located at 541 and 543 Bryant St. in S.F.  He was the sole proprietor of the soda works at the embossed address from 1875 to 1882.  After 1882 he moved to Sonoma County where he lived out the rest of his life...doing what isn't noted in the Markota's book...maybe in the wine business? 

The earlier variant of this bottle was blown in the same mold as this example during the partnership days (1873-1875) but had no address embossed just SAN / FRANCISCO below Reiners.  One wonders why the other partner's name wasn't on the original version of the mold?  In any event, the 723 TURK ST / S.F. embossing was added by Reiners using the existing mold by "slugging out" the SAN FRANCISCO and adding the new address.  This created two variations of this bottle with the first version being much less abundant. (Didn't do much business?)  Upon close inspection, the new plate edges can just barely be seen on this TURK ST example.

Given that this bottle has the well known "curved R's" of a still (?) unknown mold engraver on both sides, the original 1873 mold was altered around 1875 with the new address which also contains the curved R (in TURK) and was almost certainly done by the same mold maker/engraver.  Some of the most iconic Western bottles were done by this unknown mold maker/engraver from the late 1860s until sometime the first half of the 1880s when his mold artistry ended and the embossing only sported the straight leg "R".  (Would certainly be an interesting story if anyone ever comes across a name for the guy.)

Anyway, this bottle is a nice SF&PGW "fire aqua" in color - a beautiful variation of aqua that is closely identified with that company and it's predecessors (San Francisco Glass Works and Pacific Glass Works) though certainly this intense aqua glass does show up in other bottles blown in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.  It is 7.25" tall, has an applied "blob" finish or lip and was blown in a period appropriate "post-base" type mold.  Click image of the base to see such.  The bottle has stretch marks and other crudeness in the neck and finish where the bottle was detached from the blowpipe and glass applied to create the finish.  Click upper neck and finish to see a close-up of such.  There is also some whittle to the body and scattered bubbles here and there including some stretched out ones in the neck.  The bottle is in near mint condition with very little staining or scuffing.  There is a tiny bit of very faint sediment line inside at the shoulder on one side which may come out but is almost invisible as well as a small patch of wear just to the right of the address.  There is also a tiny iridescent mark (a few millimeters wide) at the edge of the lip which is essentially invisible and hard to find.  Since it isn't associated with a nick in the glass it may possibly be in-making?  (I try to describe everything in regards to a bottles condition which makes it sound much worse than is.)  Overall this is a superior example which I've had for decades having picked it up at some CA. bottle show long ago.  $195


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


STEINIKE & WEINLIG / SCHUTZ (hand holding stick with snake wrapped around) MARK - SELTERS - (Click close-up view of front embossing to see such.) These are imported mineral water bottles (SELTERS is German for "soda" as in carbonated water) that are often found in the U.S. - including this one which came from the Portland, OR. area.  The vast majority of these bottle - called the "apollinaris" style in glass makers catalogs of the era.  The following is from my educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website at this link: Apollinaris Bottle discussion.

Apollinaris is the name of a famous German spring the water from which was first bottled in 1852 (Wikipedia 2010).  At that time it was most likely in tall, relatively narrow handled earthenware jugs which were commonly used for other German mineral waters.  It was later (probably by the 1870s) also bottled in the distinctive type bottle shape shown, which is usually olive green in color.  Apollinaris water continues to be sold worldwide today

These bottles were also used and reused extensively - at least in the West - for beer.  See the etched San Francisco beer bottle that I also have for sale down the page a bit.  (It was also purchased to illustrate the multiple use nature of these thick glass bottles.)

This example was certainly made in Germany as evidenced by the base which is embossed with a GLASFAB. / H. HEYE / HAMBURG A/W.  (Click base view to see such.)  This embossing indicates the bottle was manufactured by Herman Heye, Glassfabrick ("glassmaker") Hamburg.  Click Heye Family Glass Works to view the article on the company on my other website.  The bottle is 9 3/4ths" tall, and 2 3/8th" in diameter, blown in a three-piece mold and has an applied short "blob" finish (image to right).  It is commonly found in North America, apparently being popular and imported in quantity.  These probably date from the 1870s to early 1900s.  It is the smaller size apollinaris bottle one sees; most are the 25-32 oz. "quart" sizes (like the beer below) which are essentially never embossed - at least the ones used in the U.S.  These Steinike & Weinlig bottles seem to just come in this 12 oz. + or - size in my experience, but could be found in a larger size also.  This bottle is essentially mint with just a few tiny scratches but hammered whittle, sparkling medium olive green glass, and no staining whatsoever (or chips or cracks or dings) and just a beauty!  $35


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


TWIN CITY BOTTLING / WORKS / LOUIS DECKER / PROP. / LAURIUM, MICH. -  All that is squeezed into a somewhat oval "slug" plate (aka plate mold) on this typical sized (6.4") Hutchinson style soda bottle.  According to Ron Fowlers wonderful www.Hutchbook.com website, this small town (still under 2000 people) on the Keweenaw Peninsula of the Upper Peninsular of Michigan.  Mr. Decker used four different Hutchinson soda bottles - two regular sized (like this example) and two quart sized...all of which Ron rated as "scarce" (11-100 examples).  There were several other bottlers also listed for the town on Fowler's list indicating that maybe the area was more populated back during the heyday of the copper/iron mining in that area.  This is listed on Ron's site as MI0343 and is the variation with R.G.Co. embossed on the back heel faintly.  That is the makers marking for the Root Glass Company (Terre Haute, IN.) whom used it for a relatively narrow time frame - 1901 to 1907 - nicely narrowing down the date range of this bottle.  (The article on this company is available on my educational Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information website at the following link:  https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/RootGlass.pdf  The article notes that the marking may have been used as late as 1912...so the bottle could date a bit later.)

Anyway, this example is of a heavy bluish aqua glass typical of these bottles due to the need to contain the high carbonation.  It also has the typical ring like "blob" finish (not the funnel like one shown for the next bottle below), no embossing on the base, and the original Hutchinson stopper in good shape still present in the bore.  The bottle has no real issues at all - essentially mint condition and appears to have never been buried.  There is a short scratch on the left side and a few faint wisps of apparent dirt inside the bottle; no staining at all.  It does have an approximate 5mm x 5mm chunk of soda ash (?) or silica embedded at the heel which is visible in the image on the lower left side.  There are no radiations or issues related to the "stone" just a cool reminder of what glass is made of and the imprecision of batch mixing even into the early 20th century.  My late father found this bottle when working in that area back around 1970 or so.  I don't know if these are towards the rarer end of the "scarce" rating Fowler gives the bottle or more abundant.  In any event, it is about as fine an example as one can get.  $50





"Liquid Bread" cobalt beer bottle - As the image shows, the base is embossed with A.B.G.Co. / 5 which indicates the bottle was manufactured by the Adolphus Busch Glass Company (Belleville, IL.).  That particular marking dates this particular bottle to between 1886 to 1893 without any other information to refine that dating.  The company also used other markings which are discussed in the article linked below about the company and its connection to the contents.

"Liquid Bread" was a popular product that was - for unknown reasons - bottled in cobalt blue bottles.  It was essentially just beer but marketed as a health product probably due to the increasing pressure from Temperance groups in the late 19th century.  "Liquid Bread" was certainly what this deep cobalt blue beer bottle held as all of them I've seen with labels stated such.  The subject is covered in an article recently updated on my educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website".  In fact, this bottle was acquired as part of the research for the article as well as to illustrate that article; now time to divest it.  A link to the article follows:  https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/AdolphusBusch2.pdf  (See pages 208 to 220 of that article which cover in depth the fascinating history behind the product and the bottles.)  Click on the following link to see a trade card for the product showing a nurse pouring some for a hospital resident (?) or sultan?   https://sha.org/bottle/Typing/beer/liquidbread.jpg

This bottle is a typical (excluding the blue color) 11-12 oz. export style beer bottle.  The style first originated in the early 1870s and was closely identified with the products of Adolphus Busch who built or acquired glass manufacturing facilities just to make bottles for his even then popular Budweiser.  My other educational website also has an article by Bill Lockhart on the origin and use of the export style of beer bottle.  It is available at the following link:  https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/ExportBeerBottles_BLockhart.pdf 

This bottle is 9.5" tall, has a crudely applied "mineral" finish (aka "lip"), and dates as noted and discussed in the article linked above.  Click image of neck and applied lip/finish to see such.  Condition of the bottle is very good with no chips, cracks, dings, or other post production damage.  It does have a bit of faint haze in a couple places on the outside and inside as well as a few minor scuff markings.  However, the bottle is largely glossy and pleasant to look at as the images show.  Makes a great window bottle!  $50


FREDERICKSBURG (arched) / (dashed line) / BOTTG Co / S. F. CAL. - That is all etched on the body of this medium olive green, "Apollinaris" style beer bottle.  These etched San Francisco beer bottles seem to be pretty rare in my experience.  I remember seeing images of a few etched "export" style beer bottles in Grace Kendrick's book from the early 1960s, but had seen very few in real life.  Until this example I had never seen this style etched though I have had and sold several of the similar shaped but embossed Fredericksburg Bottling Co. beer bottles in past years (see SOLD BOTTLES below).  I picked this one up years ago at a California bottle show to illustrate the style on my other educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website."  The Apollinaris style of bottle was used extensively for both beer and mineral water - particularly in the West. 

These, like the embossed examples, were likely blown in Germany although American bottle makers listed these in their catalogs implying they made them.  See the following linked page from the 1906 Illinois Glass Company catalog I have scanned and posted on the noted website:   https://sha.org/bottle/Typing/IGCo1906/IGCo1906page250.jpg   The right page at that link shows these available in several sizes including this offering which is the "quart" size which really only held about 25 ozs.; what was called a "scant" size.  The catalog also notes that the company did sell "Full Measure" 32 oz. quarts also.  I believe that the offerings in those catalogs were actually imported from German and sold as though they were actually produced by the American company.  But who knows...

Anyway...this example, like those noted in the catalog, was produced in a turn mold which is very evident as the horizontal spinner rings are pretty noticeable - they can be seen on the enlarged examples of the images to the right.  (The guys that produced these bottles were called "twister" blowers in the trade.)  This example has an applied "blob" finish (lip) with the usual short conformation typical of these bottles and likely dates from the 1890s to maybe early 1900s.  It has no chips, cracks or other post-production damage but does have some wear and scratching on the outside indicating that it was reused many times.  This is also obvious on the base which has a lot of wear around the resting surface; click base view to see such.  It also has a sediment stain ring inside (visible in the close-up shot above) which is a bit detracting but not too bad.  In any event this is still a nice example of a rare and historic type beer bottle that as far as I can tell, was only used in the West.  $45


NORTH WESTERN BREWING CO. / CHICAGO, ILL.- This "quart" (approx. 25 oz.) aqua champagne style beer bottle is embossed as noted - with a monogram that includes a buffalo head - inside of a raised circle (likely plate) on the shoulder.  The bottle is made of a heavy/thick pale greenish aqua glass and is almost 11.5" tall.  This bottle is another obtained and used for illustrating my Historic Bottle Website - specifically, on the beer and closures pages.  Below is most of the write-up from my other website dealing with this bottle:

This bottles base is also embossed with S. B. & G. Co. indicating manufacture by the Streator Bottle & Glass Company (Streator, IL.),  in business under this name from 1881 to 1905.  This beer bottle has a Baltimore loop seal closure accepting finish.  Click Bottle Finishes & Closures, Part III: Types of Bottle Closures to move to the... page which covers this closure type. This bottle also has a tooled blob finish (with the distinctive Baltimore seal "groove" inside the bore), multiple air venting marks on the back shoulder, and was produced in a post base mold.  This brewing company was in business with this name from 1888 to 1909 (Bull et al. 1984).  The makers mark and company information in combination gives a pretty positive date range for this bottle of 1888 to 1905, entirely consistent with the manufacturing features noted.  Click on the following links to view more images of this bottle: base view showing the makers mark; close-up view of the embossing and shoulder.  Streator's cross-state rival the Illinois Glass Company (Alton, IL.) offered a very similar champagne style "Monogram Beer" in their early 20th century catalogs, though this shape of bottle also fits the "select" beer style definition noted earlier.   Click IGCo. 1906 catalog - pages 254-255 to view an almost identical bottle which was offered with any finish (including the Baltimore seal) and as a plate mold like this Streator example.

Condition of the bottle itself is essentially perfect with no chips or cracks though the bottle does have a couple small scratches and scuff marks on one side, a little case wear, and some splotchy whitish staining on the outside on maybe 1/3rd of the bottle.  Interesting bottle with the raided "medallion" that has the embossing contained within it.  $15 

E. HINCKEL / BREWING CO. / ALBANY N.Y. / BOSTON MASS. / MANCHESTER N.H. / REGISTERED - I wasn't sure what this script lettering read - Kinchel or Hinchel or something else - as the first letter is quite stylized and hard to read.  However, I was recently notified that it is for Hinckel who made a variety of bottles from the 1890s until Prohibition (thanks Ted!).  This is a nice example of a "pint" (i.e., 11-12 oz.) Eastern beer bottle from the early 20th century and pre-Prohibition, ca. 1905-1915 I would estimate.  The embossing is largely diagonal across the front and in script.  The bottle also has C. G. W. embossed on the rear heel which certainly stands for the glass works/company that made the bottle, though which one that starts with a "C" is unknown...although it is unlikely to be any Western producer like Colorado Glass.  The bottle has a tooled crown finish, a medium amber color, thick side mold seams, is 9.25" tall, and in near mint condition with a few very minor wear marks on the body.  The brewing company is listed in Van Wieren's "American Breweries II" book as being in business from 1884 to 1920 though this bottle would be from the latter end of that lengthy span.  $15


JOHN GRAF / MILWAUKEE, WIS. - This is one of the more interesting beer bottles I've owned; procured to add to my Historic Bottle Website as an example of a different style of beer bottle.  This bottle is octagonal with each side equal to the other seven at exactly 1" wide with each side embossed from top to bottom.  The full embossing reads:  JOHN GRAF / MILWAUKEE, WIS. / THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD / PLEASE RETURN / WHEN EMPTY / TO THE OWNER / COR 17TH & GREENFIELD AVE / TRADE - THE BEST WHAT GIVES - MARK.  Pretty busy bottle in regards to the embossing; wonder if they used or even needed a paper label?  Not sure what "The Best What Gives" means but must pertain to the brew being the best in the mind of Mr. Graf anyway.  Quite a claim in the most famous brewing city in the US.

According to the book "American Breweries II" by Van Wieren, John Graf began business with a partner (Philip Madlener) in Milwaukee about 1874 under the name "Weiss Beer Brewery."  By 1883, Graf was without Madlener operating the "South Side White Brewery" - I think "white beer" is just Weiss (wheat) beer by another name.  He was located at 901/903 Greenfield Ave & 17th Street (the location embossed on the bottle) from 1883 until Prohibition in 1920, with the company called the John Weiss Co. from 1913 to the end.  That was the kiss of death for the company as Van Weiren notes no revival of the brewery after Prohibition ended in 1933.  Given that information, this bottle would date from 1883 to 1913 when it was likely that Graff was using machine-made bottles which would have been much cheaper than these heavy glass bottles.

The bottle is just about exactly 8" tall, has a tooled "blob" type finish, is a dark amber glass and was blown in a post base mold.  Click base view to see such; the "post" plate is indicated by the raised circle inside the outside diameter of the base.  Given the tooled finish and the fact that beer bottles often had true applied lips or finishes until about 1890 I think it is safe to narrow the date range of this bottle down to 1890 to about 1910.  It is a heavy glass bottle - it weighs 1.5 lbs. - and a rare example of a non-cylindrical beer bottle. 

The condition of the bottle is that of one that was used multiple times until tossed eventually.  It has no cracks or chips of note, but does have wear to the multiple edges and base corners as well as little "peck" marks here where the bottle bumped others during the handling and bottling.  The bottle also has some splotchy haze to the outside and inside.  Not too bad but it is there.  Just underneath the blob lip base is some wear where a likely lightning closure was affixed securely but now long gone.  Click on the images and links to see the condition of the bottle - they speak for themselves.  Click reverse side to see the other side of the bottle with similar wear as well as a bit more of the embossing.   It is not pristine mint but is not too bad either; I've seen worse but rarely any that were anywhere near mint...a common circumstance with these bottles intended to be used over and over.  $25



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