AB (connected) mark on antique glass beer bottles

AB (connected) mark on antique glass beer bottles

AB (connected) mark on base of beer bottle

AB (connected) mark on base of beer bottle

 Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company (1886-c.1926)  and/or  the American Bottle Company (1905-1929)

Most bottles with the “AB-connected” mark on the bottom are mouth-blown (handmade) and were made to contain beer. They date from the circa 1905-1917 time period, and (possibly) primarily from an earlier stretch within those years: c.1905-1909. The mark may have been used only at the two Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company plants (located in Belleville, IL and St. Louis, MO) that became part of the American Bottle Company merger in 1905.  It may be that the mark was originally used by Adolphus Busch, and was later “adopted” (circa 1905) as the standard mark used on the base of generic beer bottles produced by American Bottle Company for some period of time thereafter.

Interestingly, the accompanying base mold code markings (such as A 5,  C 14,  V 9, etc) seen on bottles of this type are also seen on many export beer bottles marked “A.B.G.M.CO.” which points to a strong connection between those two marks.  Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company made huge quantities of beer bottles for their affiliated Busch family company  (the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association),  and marked many, if not most, of those bottles with “A.B.G.M.CO.”     Bottles marked with “A.B.CO” (which we know to stand for American Bottle Company) are also seen with similar letter/number codes on the bottom.

Typical "AB-connected" blue-aqua glass beer bottle. This particular example has the code "B 2" on the base.

Typical “AB-connected” blue-aqua glass beer bottle. This particular example has the code “B 2” on the base.

Again, at the present time, some uncertainty exists on the “AB-connected mark” and it’s proper attribution and the exact period of time when it was being used. This mark was attributed to Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company (1886-c.1926)  by author/researcher/glass historian Julian Toulouse in Bottle Makers and their Marks (published in 1971) and he believed that it dated to circa 1904-1907.

More recent research (by Bill Lockhart, Alamogordo, NM)  seems to indicate the American Bottle Company as the correct attribution for the bottles with the “AB” (letters attached) mark (dating those bottles circa 1905-1909),  as well as the A.B.CO. marks.

However, to be fair, some time ago I received emails from researcher Austin Fjerestad who somewhat disagrees with Bill Lockhart’s findings.   He asserts that the “AB-connected” mark was indeed used specifically by Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company for an uncertain stretch of time before  the incorporation of American Bottle Company in September of 1905, coming to that conclusion from research concerning certain AB-marked hutch soda bottles  (with the AB-connected mark on the heel). He finds that those bottles were used by several bottling companies located in Minnesota and elsewhere before  1905. This would seem to indicate the AB mark was used by Adolphus Busch for an undetermined stretch of time preceding 1905.

(The crown-top closure, as seen on most of these bottles, dates from c. 1892, and the Adolphus Busch plant at Belleville started glass production around that same time.  If the AB-connected mark stands for Adolphus Busch, it could conceivably date as early as 1892, but currently this is mere speculation).   Please see Austin’s Youtube 2-part video at these links: Austin Fjerestad~AB connected mark, part one.

Austin Fjerestad~AB-connected mark,part two.

Perhaps time will settle this question for certain.  (If you have information pointing to the use of the AB-connected mark in or before 1904, please contact me.)

Since the identical “AB connected” mark is also found followed by the letters “CO” that would seem to show the actual name of the company in question would conform to the A B CO  initials’ “structure” i.e.,  American Bottle Company. In other words, Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company, as far as I know, was never known as the “Adolphus Busch Company”!

An additional note:  The “AB” and “A.B.CO” marks are frequently misunderstood by bottle collectors to mean “Anheuser-Busch”, which I think is incorrect.  Although  many of those beer bottles DID contain one of the several brands of beer produced by Anheuser-Busch, it appears as though the initials were never meant to actually stand for the brewery name itself.  However, I would guess that officials at Anheuser-Busch were not particularly concerned about which interpretation was assigned to those letters (by the casual observer) since they do fit the name of both the brewer and the glassmaker.

For an in-depth discussion of the American Bottle Company marks, including this particular variation, see Bill Lockhart’s article here:

http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/american_blockhart.pdf .

In any case, these bottles (the most commonly seen type) are typically marked on the base, along with letter/number combinations placed beneath which are believed to be mold and/or shop codes used at the factory.


I don’t think there is any solid proof on what the codes represent, but I suspect that the letter stands for a particular “shop” (that is, a specific group or team of glassworkers at the factory) and the number is a mold number which identified that particular bottle mold being used by that shop.  There may be other theories on the interpretation of these codes, but that is what I am going with, for the time being!    (Please see a list of confirmed codes I am compiling in this article here).  

A few of these bottles seem to carry date codes, which,  if present, are typically found on the heel, not the base.

Base mark on AB-connected beer bottle, S 16.

Base mark on AB bottle, S 16. (Photo courtesy of ebay seller “cowboyray45”)


These are “generic” crown-top style beer bottles, with no embossed marking on the sides, and in most cases presumably had a paper label affixed by the individual brewery or bottler before sale to saloons and to wholesale distributors / jobbers.  Many of the bottles were re-used multiple times, and could have contained sodas or other beverages later on during their “use-life”.

Nearly all of these bottles are handmade (not machine-made),  with crown-top style tooled lips (indicating  production no earlier than 1892 as the crown style lip was introduced in that year, as mentioned above), and the great majority are seen in light blue-aqua glass.  Being handblown, usually the two vertical mold lines can be seen to “fade out” toward the top of the bottle, and the area immediately below the “crown top” may appear “wiped horizontally”, smoothing out the line of demarcation between the body of the bottle and the lip portion.

Besides blue-aqua, some of the AB-connected bottles are also seen in a light green glass (not aqua), amethyst (light to medium purple) and, occasionally, dark amber (“beer bottle brown”) glass.  They  come in “quart” (actually 24 ounces) and “pint” (12 ounces) sizes.

AB / E 4 on base (Photo courtesy ebay seller "americanrecrafted")

AB / E 4 on base (Photo courtesy of ebay seller “americanrecrafted”)


These bottles were evidently made in tremendous quantities, as they are still quite commonly found, having been recovered in large numbers at various sites especially in the West.  Thousands of them were used in the building of the famous “Rhyolite Bottle House” in Rhyolite, Nevada, which was constructed by Tom Kelly between September of 1905 and February of 1906.    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/tom-kellys-bottle-house 

Note: as  mentioned above, some marked soda bottles are found with the AB-connected mark placed on the heel, as shown in the video by Austin Fjerestad.

If you have information that can help prove which company used the “AB-connected” mark, (or can prove that BOTH companies used the mark), please let me know!

NOTE: For a list I’m compiling of base letter/number codes seen on these AB-connected beer bottles,  click here  (If you have an unlisted code, please email me to have it added to the list.)

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

Click here to go to my  Home  Page.  


57 Responses to AB (connected) mark on antique glass beer bottles

  1. Stephanie Brown says:

    Hi David,

    My husband found an AB Y30 bottle in the pokegama area between Klamath Falls, OR and Ashland, OR. I included a historic article relating to the area that the bottle was found. The bottle has allot of bubbles and is bluish in color.


    Thanks for all the information on the bottles, it was fun to find this.

    Have a great day,

  2. Craig Shotton says:

    I just found an connected AB M7 bottle today on the Gorge Waterway in Victoria BC Canada. Just curious but when I looked up the M7 I saw (CS), what does that stand for?

    • David says:

      Hi Craig,
      Please check out my introductory comments at the top of the page listing the codes recorded so far. The bottles with the “CS” note are examples recorded by Carol Serr, an archaeologist, researcher and “cyber friend” in San Diego. She helped me by sending info on some of the codes she had recorded in various projects she was involved in.
      Take care, David

  3. Terry Williamson says:

    Found a bottle with AB x10 on it.

  4. Leon says:

    I found an Anheuser Busch bottle with A.B. Co on the heel. It has Charleston South Carolina on it. Looks hand made. I could not find if Anheuser Busch had a company here in Charleston.

    • David says:

      Hi Leon,
      That sounds like an American Bottle Company bottle made for Anheuser-Busch, and I am assuming Anheuser-Busch had a local/regional beer bottling plant located in Charleston. Perhaps someone who collects A-B bottles and has better information can chime in.

  5. Tressa Overfield says:

    We have an AB connected bottle with B1 on the bottom found at Lake Tahoe, (West Lake)Ca. Found 1973. Seamed bottle, light green.

  6. Jason says:

    Hay I found a bottle with the markings AB connected with A 19 below it pretty cool bottle

  7. Patti Fox says:

    March 21, 2017 Found this bottle in Gulf of Mexico off the the shore of marathon in the Florida keys. It is marked A. B. Co. A 25

  8. Mayron says:

    Hello david!! My name is Mayron and I live in Panama Bocas del Toro, Isla Colon. And we found a bottle with the initials AB 15 and wanted to know a little more about this bottle.

  9. Steve Hale says:

    Hey David

    Found an “A B G Co” base marked agua-blue beer today. Has the number 6 under the ABGCo. It’s not a Crown Top, but appears to be a sort of Blob Top hybrid. There is a ring directly under the base of the Blob. Like a “ring neck” bottle, but immediately under the “main” part of the top. Standard size “long neck” bottle.
    Any ideas?


    • David says:

      The “A B G CO” bottles were made by Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company. They produced a lot of beer bottles, including some marked “A B G M CO” as well as the marking on your piece. There is no way to be sure on the exact date of your bottle, but I would guess it is from the 1890s.

  10. Jacquie Cook says:

    Hi all,
    I have a bottle with a connected AB and the letter L and number 2. Found in the water at San Luis Beach Naval Base, Guam. Bluish tint. Found on 10/27/2016. Any extra info for that make?

    • David says:

      Hi Jacquie,
      I don’t have any other info on the AB connected bottles, other than what is posted on these two pages about them. I will list the code (on your bottle found in Guam) soon on the accompanying page that lists mold codes found on those bottles.
      Thanks and best regards,

  11. I have an A B Co. Beer Bottle A 3 that looks as if it were double stamped. The AB are not connected. /can you give me some information on it?

    • David says:

      Hi Carlotta, the appearance of the base mark is an example of “double embossing” or “ghosting” which occasionally happened when the molten glass was blown into the mold and shifted very slightly (within a second or two) before solidifying into it’s final position.

  12. Rob Houchin says:

    I found a pint-size AB connected X 8 bottle a few years ago while SCUBA diving in Gull Lake, Hickory Corners, Michigan. I incorrectly assumed that the connected AB stood for Anheuser-Busch, the beer, until just today when I decided to research the bottle and landed on your sight. I am preparing to post it on a bottle collecting site as one of my favorites that I have found through the years. (19th Century Bottle Diggers on Facebook) It must have rolled around the sandy bottom for many years because it is rough on the body and lower and upper parts of the lip. I am researching Gull Lake to see when it was built, but I believe it was around early 1900. There was a dance floor built out over the water and maybe this bottle came from that area. I see that you have recorded a quart-size X8, but not a pint-sized, thus my email. I appreciate the work and effort put forth on this site and will share with others.

    Rob Houchin
    Mackinaw, IL

  13. William Beckenhaupt says:

    my grand father bottled beer in a clear glass bottle his inicials emboss on the side in an oval A/B . he was Adolf Bruckner.My mother had one of his bottles but somehow it got lost when she passed.he and his partner distributedin the 1920s and 30s.when his partner wanted to distribute soda,my grandfather thougt it was a bad product because it was ” sugerwater” and rot peoples teeth ,so he wanted no part of it and sold out his part to him .It was in the Brooklyn/Queens area on long island .

  14. tim hodge says:

    i have a hutchinsons bottle with the AB attached together and the numbers 141 on the heel this bottle says Russellville bottling works Russellville ARK it has a big r on the base aqua in color i have only seen one other in unbroke condition so they are very rare not sure what kinda value such a bottle would bring.

    • David says:

      Tim, thanks for the info. If someone did some research on the exact years Russellville Bottling Works was in business, that could potentially shed light on the time period the bottle was made. Although, of course, being a Hutch type soda bottle I would assume it was one of the earlier bottles used by Russellville B.W. assuming they used several different variants over the years they were in business.

      • Diane says:

        We are in Loring, AK and dug up a bottom bottle shard with a very bold mark of an AB connected and K3 underneath it. Under the bold mold marks are a smaller, less bold mark of the connected AB and K3. It is clear aqua in color. We are at the site of an old salmon cannery, active from 1889 until 1930. So much fun finding these things from days of old! Thanks for having this website and helping to educate us!
        Diane & Dani

  15. Peter Greenan says:

    I found a bottle marked ab Connected with co to the right of it a 10 in the middle looks like 05 under that aqua color any ideas 1906?1907? value?
    Thanks—- Peter

    • David says:

      Peter, I assume it dates from sometime in the 1905-1909 period (maybe up to 1917) but no knows for sure…yet. All of the info I have is what is already written on my pages. This site is not intended as an appraisal site, however the value is low (perhaps 1 to 4 dollars) because so many of those bottles were made and they are considered “common” by collectors.

  16. Angela Fico says:

    I found an old bottom with The code DES PAT 900023. Could You Tell me what It Can probably contain?

    • David says:

      Hi Angela, The design patent was 90023. Please search GOOGLE PATENTS with “D90023”. However, that page is produced via OCR (Optical Character Recognition), there are errors, it is incomplete and doesn’t expand on the uses for the bottle. I assume it was a multi-use bottle, most typically for cough syrup and other liquid medicines. Best regards, David

  17. Sylvia says:

    My son found this bottle on a construction site in Eugene, Oregon. It has the connected AB with a u 8 underneath. I checked your list and did not find this code. Thought you would like to add it. Thanks for all the good information.

  18. Katy says:

    I found a glass bottle 2 years ago while vacationing in Cape Cod. I was at the beach and actually stepped right on it. I uncovered it from the sand and realized it was in perfect condition not nicks or anything. However it now has become a sea glass beer bottle, actually quite cool must have been swept on the beach from the ocean. It isn’t a perfect straight shape and has some bubbles within the glass, which i’m assuming because they were hand-blown back then.

    I’d like to get some more information about it if possible and try and determine how old it may be.

    It has

    AB (connected) with c 2 underneath it.


  19. levi says:

    i have a dark brown ab connected with only a 7 on the bottom?

    • David says:

      Hi Levi,
      Apparently some of the AB/connected bottles have only a single number instead of a letter/number combo. Yours might have been an ale bottle, or a bottle made for a particular brewery that insisted on amber colored bottles for their product. Hard to say for sure! Thanks for the post and I will add that one to the list.

  20. Gavin says:

    I found the base of a old bottle marked ABGM CO A3 it is clear blue, any idea on age? Found with a broken piece of glass in a desert in Texas

    • David says:

      Hi Gavin,
      The A B G M CO. (Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company) beer bottles probably date from c. 1886 thru the early 1910s time period, but most of them cannot be dated to a specific year.

  21. Tiffany says:

    I came across one today that washed up on the shores of coastal Georgia. It’s base code is Y 8.

  22. Katrina says:

    I’ve found a bottle that has AB B35 on the bottom of it and 8-9 on the bottom side of the bottle. I found it in the dirt basement of my century home in Ontario, Canada.

  23. Marissa Webb says:

    I purchased an H-7 yesterday at an antique store, crusted with coral all over it!

  24. Derek says:

    I have an AB-marked bottle consistent with your descriptions/images above, with “T25” on the bottom. Please feel free to add that to your list. Purchased in the mountains of West Virginia.

    • David says:

      Thanks Derek!

    • Danny says:

      I just bought a AB (connected) bottle today at a local antique shop (Corpus Christi, Tx) with the code “Y 67” at the bottom. I can’t figure out what the code means after hours of research on the internet. Can you help? I am guessing it was mouth blown between 1892-1905 (before 1st bottling machine was ready for use).

  25. Gary says:

    I have a clear blue bottle marked AB co v14 on underside of the base. Any idea the year and what the v14 means? It was found with 2 others dated 1888.

  26. Greg Young says:

    Found an AB connected beer bottle buried in ashes under a house built in 1897. The code under the AB is A 12. The part of the house that it was found under was an addition that was constructed appx. 1910.

  27. John... says:

    Thank you for the reply David and for the info on the connected AB mark where it pertains to beer bottles.

    As for the toothpick holder; http://i41.tinypic.com/5v0mr4.jpg

    I did find something that refers to it in a PDF file a friend linked me to, which I believe is posted somewhere on your site and has to do with the American Bottle Company and that connected AB mark, on page 339


    Now someone at the American Bottle Company may have ordered some of the toothpick holders be made for them, to be used for a promotional purpose as it suggests in the PDF file but I have no information to verify that or not.

    I have done further research on the AB mark and it appears that the similarity between the mark on beer bottles and the toothpick holder may only be a coincidence.

    The toothpick holder mold was manufactured by the B. Machine and Mold Company of Cambridge, Ohio in the 1970s, (I’m guessing for the Bicentennial year 1976) given the eagle & stars design, which was a popular theme for many decorative glass producing companies in that time frame.

    The B. Machine and Mold Company owner was Albert Botson, who owned and jobbed out his molds to different glass companies. The connected AB mark is for his name. I can’t say whether or not he was inspired by a mark on a beer bottle or came up with the mark on his own, not knowing that someone else already used that mark.

    What I do have is that items with this connected AB mark were made for The now defunct L. G. Wright Glass Company in the 1970s. L. G. Wright didn’t manufacture glass, but owned many molds or leased them from others and had glass companies like Fenton, Westmoreland, Imperial and others manufacture glassware for them.

    In the 1980s the now defunct Summit Art Glass Company of Ravenna, Ohio used Albert Botson molds to produce some items for their line which have the connected AB mark on them.

    Thanks again David.

    • David says:

      Thanks alot John for your comments and information!!
      I agree that the appearance of the AB mark on the toothpick is purely coincidental, and I am sure it is completely unrelated to Adolphus Busch, Anheuser-Busch, American Bottle Company, or any company connected to the AB-marked beer bottles in question.
      To add a little bit to my previous post, (sorry for steering this back to beer bottles 🙂 but I have been thinking that since the “AB connected” mark is also clearly embossed on the lower heel of a number of different hutch-style soda bottles from around the United States, this would also be hard evidence that the mark could NOT stand for “Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company”; it would certainly stand for the glass manufacturer……either Adolphus Busch Glass Manufacturing Company, or American Bottle Company. Which takes us back to the main question that has some researchers in disagreement.
      Best regards,

      • John... says:

        Hello again David. No need to feel sorry about providing me with more info on the beer bottles. I find it all very interesting even though I’m not interested in collecting bottles. About the extra info for the AB mark on beer and other bottles. That makes a lot more sense David, thanks.

        I’m only speculating that the AB mark was that of the American Bottle Company instead of the Adolphus Busch Glass Company. Mainly because of reading in one of the articles here about how Anheuser beer became so popular that the Adolphus Busch Glass Company couldn’t keep up with the demand for the beer bottles and had to import bottles from Germany to keep up. That kind of says to me that the Adolphus Busch Glass Company didn’t have time to be making soda or any other kind of bottles for anyone else.

        While I’m here again; one other mark on your site is for Akro Agate (Eagle flying through an A) It’s actually a crow, holding a marble in it’s beak. The part of the name “Akro” is for Akron, Ohio where the company was located, but the crow mark was a play on the name. Akro = a crow.

        Thanks again for your help and information David.


  28. John... says:

    Hello. Just throwing this out there: Couldn’t the Connected AB and AB CO stand for Anheuser Busch Company. I mean; isn’t Adolphus Busch the Busch in Anheuser Busch?

    My interest in the connected AB mark has nothing at all to do with beer bottles. The same connected AB mark has also been used on an art glass (the kind Fenton made) toothpick holder with an eagle and stars design, which I’m pretty sure isn’t very old, maybe 1960s-70s. Some sellers on eBay and other online auction sites are applying information from this site to items (not bottles, insulators etc.) but decorative glassware they have for sale and which have similar or same initial maker marks, which is what brought me to your site today. I’ve been seeing the art glass Toothpick holder I mentioned attributed to the Adolphus Busch Glass Company. Another name used is Albert Boston, but that hasn’t led me anywhere yet.

    Anyway; I collect and produce drawings of glass maker marks and share the collection with anyone who cares to have and use them for their own purpose, mainly antique glassware collectors and sellers. The marks I do are only those used by glass makers who have made table, kitchen and decorative wares and only marks that were pressed into the glass. I leave the bottle marks up to you all unless the same company, (like Hazel Atlas for example) also produced the wares of my interest.

    BTW, nice job on this site. I don’t collect anything glass anymore, but I love reading history on just about any subject and I have enjoyed reading all of the history on your site.

    • David says:

      Hello John,
      Your comments bring up some interesting aspects to this question! Yes, Adolphus Busch was the “Busch” in “Anheuser-Busch”. I (and other researchers) have usually looked at the question “What does AB (connected) mark stand for?” under the assumption that the initials stand for a specific GLASS MANUFACTURER. However, it seems possible the initials could be merely standing for Anheuser-Busch, the brewing company itself, rather than a glass company. However, that still brings up questions. For instance, the “exact” name of the brewing company was “Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association” (after 1879), according to Anheuser-Busch’s own website history page. Their official trademark which has been used for many years, is an “A entwined with an eagle”. http://www.anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-heritage/history/. Here is a selection of bottles, distributed just in the St. Louis area, on Bruce Mobley’s beer bottle site: http://brucemobley.com/beerbottlelibrary/mo/stlouis/anheuser.htm. As you can see, a number of glass manufacturers made these bottles. A few are marked with “A B CO” as well as “A B G M CO” and other glassmakers.
      Of course, the bottles discussed on this webpage, the “AB Connected” bottles are almost always UNMARKED on the face, so this would indicate 1) A generic bottle that could be sold to ANY brewery, and/or 2) a bottle that would only carry a paper label as brand identification. It seems to be unclear whether Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association sold their PRIMARY beers ONLY in marked (face-embossed) bottles during the general time period (c. 1895-1910?) that the AB-marked bottles were made. Perhaps certain (minor?) brands produced by Anheuser-Busch during that time period were bottled in unembossed bottles?? It is quite certain that a very, very large number of bottles was made BY Adolphus Glass Manufacturing Company FOR Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, over a period of quite a long time. They were, needless to say, very closely connected operations, both based in St. Louis. The Adolphus Busch Glass operation was formed, in the beginning, specifically to make bottles for Anheuser-Busch. But the question now seems to be: Does the AB (connected) mark represent the glass company, or the brewery? I think that it is more logical to assume that the mark on the base represents the glass factory that made the bottle, but this is certainly open for debate and interpretation. Perhaps, in a sense, it really makes very little practical difference, since virtually all of these bottles were made right there in the St. Louis area.

      Concerning the toothpick holder, I would like to see a picture of this, if possible? Please email to davidrussell59 “at” att.net. It has been my observation that many ebay sellers include info in auction descriptions that do NOT apply to the item they are selling. It is common for sellers to do a quick superficial search of the internet, grab some info, often taken entirely out of context, and add text to their auction descriptions that may or may not have any relevance whatsoever to the item at hand. Ebay and other sites are awash in incorrect, misattributed, and outright false information. Alot of it is posted in innocent sincerity, and some with purposeful intention to deceive. There is very little I can do about such listings but complain here on my site!
      Thanks very much for your comments, and thanks for the kind words about this site!!

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