“C B B”, “C B K” and “C B M” marks, as seen on the bottoms of antique glass pickle or “CHOW CHOW” bottles/jars.
Attributed to: 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.
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 in her reference book (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? A city name? 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!
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