Hi! My name is David Whitten. I’m interested in the general history of the glass manufacturing industry in the United States, but especially within the sphere of container glass, electrical insulators and tableware (both pressed and blown).
EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass), bottles, jars, insulators, fishing net floats, mugs, and other items are some of the forms of glass I enjoy studying. There is a huge body of information already available on the web, as well as in books and magazines, but I’m trying to gather some of the very basic info together onto this site, in particular, concentrating on identification marks on bottles, insulators and tableware. I’m also in the process of adding various articles to this site, discussing different types of glass and glass items.
The glassmaking industry in the US is a huge field that dates back to the 1600s, and covers a vast array of items and applications, including both handmade and machine-made glass.
According to historian Rhea Mansfield Knittle (Early American Glass, 1927), one of the earliest glass manufacturers in the United States (not counting the unsuccessful attempts at Jamestown in 1607 and 1621) who may have produced considerable quantities of glassware and actually met with some degree of success, was Johannes Smedes (or Jan Smedes), who operated an establishment (probably making bottles for the most part) sometime in the period of 1654-1664 at New Amsterdam (now known as New York City) .
Every glass object, even the most lowly, commonplace glass bottle, has a story behind it, although all of the precise details may never be known. Where was it made? What was the name of the company or factory where it was produced? How old is it? Is it handmade? Was it mass-produced by machine methods? What type of glass is it made of? What elements/chemicals are included in the glass “recipe”? Why is it a certain color? If an older hand-blown bottle, who was the glassblower who fashioned it? Who was the last person who used it and handled it before it came into your possession? Where was the physical location of the sand supply that eventually was turned into the glass piece that you hold in your hand? Is it foreign-made, or a product of the US? Can the company / maker be identified by the markings on it? What do the markings mean?
All of these questions might come to mind to the collector, or layman, historian, archaeologist, or casual hobbyist……..and my site attempts to answer, in at least in some cases if possible, one of these questions: Where, perhaps, might this item of glass have been made?
Three of the webpages within this site list glass manufacturers’ identification marks (alphabetically listed) found on container glass (bottles, jars, flasks, etc) and, in some cases, on other types of glassware. Examples would be “I G CO” , “OWENS”, “B in a circle” and “K in a hexagon”. Click here which will take you to the first page: GLASS BOTTLE MARKS.
On this site are several individual webpages with basic information on a number of glass factories that operated in the United States. To read any of the “glass manufacturer profiles” I have written (so far), and other articles pertaining to glass, please look along the right-hand side of any page for the list of Glass Manufacturer Profiles, and click on any link in that list. I hope to add more information as time and energy permits!
One page in particular within this site is a list of glass factories that manufactured, or are believed to have produced, glass electrical insulators for telegraph, telephone and/or power lines. Although mainly listing U.S. factories, a few Canadian and Mexican factories are listed also. Click here to go directly to that page.
If you have additional information, please contact me (at the email address listed elsewhere on this site) as I’m continually looking for the most accurate data available on these companies. Sources of some of the information is included after each entry if I have it available. This is an ongoing project, started in 2004, and I’d appreciate any additions, corrections, or suggestions you may have!
Some of the information on glass insulators is from research originally compiled by N. R. Woodward, creator and administrator of the “CD” (Consolidated Design) numbering system now used worldwide by collectors for identifying and cataloging insulators.
A portion of the info in this site pertaining to insulator manufacturers is drawn from various articles in the 2-volume reference book “INSULATORS: A HISTORY AND GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN GLASS PINTYPE INSULATORS ” by John & Carol McDougald (published in 1990).
The glass insulator pictured on the right, an aquamarine CD 257 “Mickey Mouse”, a type made principally for electric power lines, was made by Hemingray Glass Company at their factory that operated in Muncie, Indiana and dates between 1900 and 1920.
I hope this site will be a help in your quest to discover more information concerning the wide world of glass manufacturing. Please be sure to bookmark this site, and return often!