Louisville Glass Companies



This is a subject of special interest to me.  As an antique bottle collector and amateur glass “historian”, I’ve researched some of the history of the early glass factories that operated in Louisville, Kentucky during the mid-late Victorian era, i.e. the last half of the 19th century.

There were seven separate physical locations in Louisville where these glassmaking factories once stood. (None of the old buildings are still standing…..all have long since been demolished).  A few of the locations saw a succession of owners/operators and involved more than one firm or business name.   All of these glassworks were involved in producing, for the most part, common utilitarian and container glass, or plate and window glass.   A high percentage of their output consisted of ordinary “green glass” (aqua or blueish-green) ware.

(Note: they were not producers of “art glass” or glass for purely decorative use, although some “off-hand” glass items, such as doorstops or “whimseys” were evidently occasionally made by employees, at least at the original Kentucky Glass Works of the 1850s-1870s period.  Little is known about such items, and attribution can be very “iffy” unless strong evidence is shown that an item was passed down within a particular family.)

These firms included the Kentucky Glass Works/Louisville Glass Works (1850-1855;1855-1873),  the Southern Glass Company/Works (1877-c.1885),  the  Kentucky Glass Works Company (1879-1887) and the  Falls City Glass Company (1884-1892).

Other,  much less well-known firms include Falls City Glass Works (1864-1865) on Fulton Street (a short-lived venture unrelated to the much later Falls City Glass Co.),  and Kentucky Cooperative Glass Company (c.1897-c.1901).    Another firm (Louisville Plate Glass Works, 1874-c.1888) which was located in Portland,  produced plate and window glass.

Across the Ohio River,  New Albany Glass Works (1867-c.1872) , and  Star Glass Company  (c.1869-1880, later continuing as W. C. DePauw Glass Company) operated  in the city of New Albany, Indiana (Floyd County).    Jeffersonville Plate Glass Works operated in Jeffersonville, Indiana  (Clark County) circa 1880-1884.

A three-part article discussing all 7 Louisville glass factories that operated in the late 1800s was published in Bottles and Extras magazine in 2005, and these articles are currently available online. They are pdf files and require Acrobat Adobe software.  (Clicking on the 3 links below will take you to another site, not directly connected with glassbottlemarks.com).

Please click here to go to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (this points to “page one”).

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2 Responses to Louisville Glass Companies

  1. Matt says:

    Umbrella inkwell – J. P. W. Seaton Louisville,KY? Would you happen to have any info on these ink wells. Wish I could find one but love your archives, Thanx.

    • David says:

      Hi Matt,
      I really don’t know much at all about these ink bottles. From what I have read, they are typically found with a pontil mark on the base, and are usually in shades of aqua, greenish-aqua or “teal aqua”. From their general “look” they may date from sometime in the 1850-1865 period. I am assuming they were made in Louisville at the Kentucky Glass Works (later called Louisville Glass Works), but at this late date it is hard to be sure, since many bottles of various kinds made for Louisville companies were also made at Pittsburgh, where there were many glass bottle manufacturing companies in business throughout that period. If anyone has more background detail on these bottles, please let us know! Thanks and take care,

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