Fairmount Glass Works/Fairmount Glass Company
Fairmount, Indiana (1889-1906) & Indianapolis, Indiana (c.1906-1968).
The town of Fairmount, Indiana, located northeast of Indianapolis on Route 26, is probably best-known as the early home of actor James Dean (1931-1955, East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant), but not so well known is the fact that Fairmount was an early and fairly prosperous “glass factory town”, especially in the late 1880s to the early 1900s. A number of glass companies operated there, including King City Glass Works (making electrical insulators with “K. C. G. W.” markings), Marion Fruit Jar & Bottle Company (two of their 3 plants located there for a period of time), and the Fairmount Glass Works.
Fairmount Glass Works was started in 1888 or 1889. Initial investors included John Rau, W.C. Winslow, Frank Taylor and Charles Tigner, although some conflicting information exists on who was the “principal” proprietor in the very earliest days of the firm’s formation. By 1897 (and probably quite some time beforehand) “Winslow & Rau” were the two principal partners involved. A letterhead (dated 1897) exists stating “Fairmount Glass Works / Located in the Natural Gas Belt / Winslow & Rau / Manufacturers of Fruit Jars, Bottles, Etc / Fairmount, Ind” . This is reproduced on page 26 of Indiana Glass Factories Notes by Dick Roller (1994).
A new glass factory was built in Indianapolis and the manufacture of glass was moved entirely to that location approximately 1906. The exact “official” name “Fairmount Glass Works” or “Fairmount Glass Company” was changed several times over the years, (including a short span during the 1960s as “Fairmount Glass Corporation”) but I have not attempted to include a precise timeline of those name changes on this page.
At least 3, possibly four identification marks were used on their containers:
1) F G Co : As far as I am aware, this mark is not confirmed to have been used by Fairmount. Julian Toulouse (Bottle Makers and their Marks, 1971) illustrates this as their mark, used c. 1889-1898. It remains to be seen if this information is accurate. In any case, I am listing the mark here, but with a note that I don’t know for a fact that it was ever used by Fairmount!
2) F G W: Period of use uncertain — perhaps from around 1898 to approximately 1930? (There is probably considerable overlap with the following mark.) The “G” is in larger, taller font than the other two letters on many bottles, but on some containers all three letters are the same size. The FGW mark is found on many bottles, such as cylindrical chemical/bleach/utility bottles of a range of sizes, and (shown here) the popular “WINTERSMITH / LOUISVILLE, KY” rectangular medicine bottles. “F G W” is also seen on the lower heel area on a clear milk bottle embossed “SHELBYVILLE SANITARY MILK CO” (from Shelbyville, Indiana).
3) F: A plain “F” was used circa 1920 to circa 1945, and possibly later in some cases, as there is an overlap on the time frame these marks were used, and much uncertainty on the EXACT range of years involved.
Fairmount Glass Company produced some of the amber figural “fish bottles” of the 1920s which originally contained Cod Liver Oil or a similar product. Those bottles usually carry the plain “F” mark on the base along with mold and bottle style numbers.
(Note: Shards of certain bottles (such as hand-blown strap-side whiskey flasks) with an “F” on the base, undoubtedly of a much earlier vintage, have been found at the site of the Lyndeborough Glass Company, South Lyndeborough, New Hampshire (1866-1888) and are certainly not related to Fairmount. In those cases the “F” may be a “shop letter” and was possibly used by a specific group of workers, i.e. “shop” of glassblowers at Lyndeboro. This is also true of certain early handmade strapside flasks with an “S” on the base which are found at Lyndeboro).
The “plain F” was also used on some Owens-Illinois Glass Company bottles, denoting manufacture at their Fairmont, West Virginia factory. For more detailed information on Fairmount and the marks they used, see this webpage written by researcher Bill Lockhart et al:
4) F in a hexagon: Used from 1933 to approximately 1968, and possibly somewhat later on some bottles. Commonly seen on the bottom of many amber-colored (and clear) medicine, chemical, and other types of generic “packer” jars and bottles that were produced in very large quantities during the 1940s, 1950s and ’60s.
Eventually, Fairmount had 3 separate factory locations including the main plant at Indianapolis, another one at Gas City, Indiana, and a third plant in Atlanta, GA. In 1968 Fairmount was purchased to became part of Glass Containers, Inc. based in Fullerton, California. (see G C marks on this page.)
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