C B B; C B K ; C B M marks on antique jars

“C  B  B”,   “C  B  K”  and   “C  B M”  marks,   as seen on the bottoms of antique glass jars.

  Kilner Bros Glass Company,  Thornhill-Lees,  West Yorkshire,  England

These markings are seen on the bases of handmade (mouth-blown) light green cylindrical food jars/bottles made in England during the late Victorian era.  With applied lips, they are usually of rather heavy, thick glass, and often contain bubbles, in-the-making flaws, and show crudeness typical of bottles of that era.

They are of a type of container generally listed in some earlier glass factory catalogs as a “Chow-chow” or “English Pickle” bottle.  Chow-chow is a type of pickled relish, very popular in the Victorian era and still popular today, especially in the southern states of the US.  (The term Chow-chow covers a wide range of recipes, usually consisting of a combination of chopped green tomato, cabbage, onion, green pepper, along with vinegar, sugar, salt and other spices).  Judging from the original labels still affixed to some examples, these jars were used to contain a variety of products besides Chow-chow, including cucumber pickles, olives and other types of preserved foods.

Judging by their general appearance, these jars appear to date primarily from the 1870s into the early 1900s.  The letters on the base are arranged in a triangular configuration, with the third letter usually centered underneath the first two letters. 

CBM-marked pickle / chutney bottle, type made in Great Britain

CBM-base-marked pickle / Chow-chow bottle, a type made in Great Britain

C.B.M. (Charles Borron & Company? Kilner Bros?)

C.B.M. marking on base of jar to the left.

The  C.B.M. jars were attributed to Kilner Bros Glass Company/Kilner Bros, Ltd, Thornhill-Lees, West Yorkshire, England (c.1857-1937) by Alice Creswick (The Fruit Jar Works, 1995). She attributed the jars to Kilner because they appear virtually identical to a type embossed “KILNER BROS / MAKERS / LONDON” on the lower front and bearing the base marking “C B K 2667”.  The closure illustrated (a glass stopper) was the same shape as those found on Kilner-marked jars, and the stoppers are lettered “J. Kilner & Sons Wakefield” or “KBT”.

The markings “C B M” or “C B B” on the bottom do not intrinsically make sense to me:  so why not “K B T”, “K B Ltd”  or “J K & S” on these jars if they were made by Kilner? (See those Kilner-related marks on Page Three.)

For some time I had wondered if these jars could have been made by some other glass factory (such as Charles Borron & Company, 1866-c.1898?……………….. see “C B & Co” mark entry on page two ),  however,  since the base of the “Kilner Bros / Makers / London” jar, as illustrated in the line drawing in Creswick’s book on page 94, is allegedly lettered “C B K”, that serves to show there is likely a connection- thus Kilner presumably also made the jars marked solely with C B M (and other combinations) on the base.

Another thought:  The markings might stand for Crosse & Blackwell, a well-known and long-time producer/distributor of food products in England (including pickles and chow-chow), although currently I don’t know if there is sufficient evidence to confirm this possibility.   If  “C” and “B” stands for “Crosse & Blackwell”, what do the letters “M”, “K” or “B” stand for?   And, if these were made for Crosse & Blackwell, can we really be sure that Kilner made them?  C&B could have contracted a number of different glass companies during that time period to make jars for them, and could have dictated what, if any, markings were used on the bases of the jars.  But, presently this is all just idle speculation!

If any British bottle collectors have more information or insight that could shed more light on these jars, I would like to get some input from you!  I want this page to be as accurate as possible! Thank you!

"C B B" mark on another example of these Chow Chow jars.

“C B B” mark as seen on another example of these Chow-chow jars.

Another example, this bottle is marked "C.B.M. 656" on base. (picture courtesy of Dee)

Yet another example, this bottle is marked “C.B.M. 656” on base – please see base picture below. (photo courtesy of Dee)

Base of "C.B.M. 656" bottle, (photograph courtesy of Dee)

Base of “C.B.M. 656” bottle, (photograph courtesy of Dee)

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4 Responses to C B B; C B K ; C B M marks on antique jars

  1. Tony Strazzari says:

    I have just found a pickle jar … with C B above K below in a triangular with a series of dots in an arc heading anticlockwise from the base of the K. Found while diving in Swansea Channel NSW Australia. Old green glass

  2. Carl says:

    I have a bottle with the initials CBK in the same configuration as described but, it also has what appears to be a year. 1735 which of course would be too early to be from Kilner.

    • David says:

      Carl, the “1735” on your bottle is a design or style number assigned by the glassmaker to that type of container. Many British-made bottles and jars, especially of the late 1800s and early/mid 20th century, are marked with three- or 4-digit numbers on the bottom which identified the bottle shape or style. Many glass companies in Britain evidently did this……these numbers would have been used in communications between the glass factory and their customers (invoices, letters, catalog listings, etc) and on their in-house inventory paperwork.

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