W. T. Rawleigh’s / Freeport, Ill.
This embossed marking is seen on many antique and vintage glass bottles, most dating from the early to mid-twentieth century.
The W.T. Raleigh Company operated in Freeport, Illinois circa 1889 to 1989. (The modern incarnation of the company appears to be still around, and based in West Palm Beach, Florida). This firm was established by William Thomas Rawleigh, who was born in Iowa County, Wisconsin, in 1870. This company sold a wide variety of household products (cleaning agents, flavorings, medicines, ointments, etc) , which were sold by mail-order and by traveling salesmen (similar to the way in which the Watkins products are sold).
The company headquarters was based in Freeport, though there were other manufacturing plants located elsewhere in the US during the heydey of the company, including a huge manufacturing facility located at Memphis, Tennessee.
There are many variants of the bottles with this marking. Typically, they were blown in aqua or clear glass. The earlier types are handblown (Bimal…….that is, Blown in mold with an applied lip), and later ones are ABM (machine made).
It appears that the majority of the bottles that are found were made by Illinois Glass Company, Alton, IL (see “I within a diamond” entry on page two of the Glass Bottle Marks pages) or it’s successor, Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
The height of popularity of this company and it’s products appears to have been during the 1920s , 1930s and 1940s. The bottles are very commonly found, but are still of interest as there are so many slight variations in their exact appearance and lettering arrangement. Many, many individual bottle molds would have been used over the decades during which these bottles were made.
The earlier versions of the bottles have a ‘smooth’ lip designed for a cork closure, and the later variants (probably after the mid-1930s) have a screw-threaded lip.
If anyone knows when the last glass Rawleigh’s bottles were produced, please contact me, and I can add that information to this site!
Currently (2013) all (or most) products sold by Rawleigh’s are packaged in plastic containers of various types and sizes.
For more information on the products currently sold by W. T. Rawleigh Company, please check out their website at http://wtrawleigh.com
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This webpage is currently under construction. I hope to add pictures later on. Thank you!