W. T. Rawleigh’s / Freeport, Illinois

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

Please click here to return to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (page 3).

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This webpage is currently under construction.  I hope to add pictures later on.    Thank you!

8 Responses to W. T. Rawleigh’s / Freeport, Illinois

  1. Came across a bottle in Michigan with a worn, embossed paper label. Molded, with lip, no threads. Label says “TreVere”, with “Rawleigh” over “Freeport” toward the bottom, and underneath that a floral motif over a vertical oval with an “R” inside. Would this have been WT Rawleigh? I’m thinking that it must have been. I’m sure the label had more info probably printed on it, but cannot make out anything except the embossed part now. The shape of the bottle, design of the label, and the name, make me think perfume, although the bottle seems large (5.25″ tall). Bottom of the bottle has a 9 on the left side. I cannot find mention of TreVere anywhere. Do you have any clue as to what might have been in this bottle? I’m stumped.

  2. Chad says:

    I have come accross a few hundred of these bottles in an old family homestead in northern michigan, there are lots of clear screw lids, some clear blue corked openings and i have just started to get into a pile of approximately 2000+ bottles.
    this will be a summer project.

  3. Kathleen Zuidema says:

    I found a small bottle with W.T.RAWLEICHC . Freeport ill. embossed in a depression on one side of it also a number 2 on the bottom is this the same company? The glass is somewhat iridescent. Perfect

    • David says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      It is not uncommon for the embossed lettering on some bottles to appear distorted or hard to read, especially when the letters are in “fancy” cursive style writing. On older bottles, the lettering was engraved into the inside of an iron bottle mold (painstakingly, by hand, using very small hammer/chisel tools) so the lettering may not be quite “perfect”. When the molten glass was blown into the mold, the engraved letters appear in “raised relief” on the surface of the finished bottle. If you were able to compare the embossed lettering closely on a number of bottles made from several different molds (of the same type bottle), it is easy to see that each one may not appear absolutely identical. Yes, it is a W. T. Rawleigh’s bottle. Thanks for writing.
      ~David

  4. Chris howell says:

    I have been helping my father in law dig a leaking water pipe on his farm and found sever bottles with this company name on them, they are in great shape no cracks or
    Deep searches that I can see

  5. David J. Vohlken says:

    I am a relative of W. T. Rawleigh, and I’ve always been under the impression that the Rawleigh company in Freeport manufactured its own bottles for some period of time in its history.
    David J. Vohlken

    • David says:

      Hi David,
      As far as I am aware, Rawleigh never manufactured glass bottles, but if you can point me to any information that might shed light on this, I would love to find out more. It seems to me that the great majority of producers/distributors of medicine and other types of products typically form business relationships with one (or more) glass manufacturers who produce the containers for them. In a good percentage of cases, who the glass company(s) were may not be immediately obvious………the bottles may not carry any glassmaker identification mark. This was very common with “private mold” bottles made only to be used by a specific company (usually with the company name embossed on the front) as opposed to “generic” or common “packer ware” bottles that were sold to, and used by, many companies.

      David

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