Obear-Nestor Glass Company / “N in a square” mark

      “N in a square” bottle mark:

Obear-Nestor Glass Company, East St. Louis, Illinois (1894-1978)


N inside a square mark, used by Obear-Nestor Glass Company

N within a square, used by Obear-Nestor Glass Company, East St. Louis, Illinois


The “N in a square” trademark was used from approximately 1915 to the glass plant closing in 1978. This is, by far, the most common mark seen on glass containers made by Obear-Nestor Glass Company.   The mark is usually located on the bottom of the bottle.  It is often seen on amber (“beer bottle brown”) bottles of many types, including chemical, oil, medicine, general household, food, and beverage bottles. For instance, some amber Orange Crush soda bottles are seen with the “N in a square” mark on the bottom.   Often, (at least on some soda bottles) the mark is accompanied by a date code, usually two numbers located to the immediate right of the “N”, which would stand for the last 2 digits of the year the bottle was made.

There are at least two other slight variations of this mark, specifically, N inside a circle, and just a “plain N“, listed on Page Four of the Glass Bottle Marks pages.

NoteSpecial thanks to SandyR1951 (Ancestry.com member) who states that the Obear-Nestor Glass Co. plant shut down permanently on December 31, 1978.  This info was posted on that site, in response to a query I had posted there back in 2004.  After nearly 9 years, I am correcting my information here!!

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47 Responses to Obear-Nestor Glass Company / “N in a square” mark

  1. Andrew Overal says:

    What about n iside a square with a 6 to far right

  2. I found a bottle that is clear with the N in a square at the bottom. It also has what looks like maullr (could be wrong on spelling) molded in the bottom in cursive and just below the neck is 4 (one on each side) molded in LM marks with the M sitting inside the L.

  3. David Berry says:

    I have several amber “stubbie” beer bottles that have the Anheuser Busch logo embossed in them. All have the “N” in the square markings. They are from the 60’s and 70’s. For definitive dates, all bottles have a number such as 71, 78, 73, 75 on the bottom, so I will go with that. Would you agree??

    • David says:

      Hi David,
      Yes, I would agree that the numbers you mention are date codes. Although sometimes a number such as this might be misinterpreted, in the case of many, if not most, bottles produced by some of the major glass bottle companies in the ’60s and ’70s, it can be easy to find the date code. Many beer, soda and other beverage bottles as well as an array of food and other types of bottles were marked with a two-digit number such as 70, 71, 72, etc on the bottom along with other markings. Most of the amber “stubbies” of that time period were so marked. In most cases (not all), the date code is placed to the right of the glassmaker mark, and/or appears in the “3 O’clock” position on the base.
      If anyone finds a casual bottle dumpsite from the early 1970s time period, it is usually possible to look for the date codes on a variety of bottles (if all in the same area) and get a fairly good idea of when they were discarded, usually within a year or two of when they were made.
      Hope this helps,

  4. Cathy Bennett says:

    I have a brown bottle with the letter N in the square. Above the N is the letter L. Below the N are the letters RTC UY PAT OFF. The number 10 is opposite of the N. All on the bottom of this bottle. On the top of the bottom round ledge it says no deposit*no return. Not to be refilled. Any info would be of help.

  5. Evan says:

    I’ve got a liquor bottle that has the N on the bottom. It also has what seems to be a knight on a horse with the letter C on the side. The bottle itself is a clear 1 quart bottle with a narrow neck.

  6. B.R says:

    Hi David, I’m currently working at an archaeological site in NM and we found a large deposit of bottles that we’re trying to date. Currently they’re ranging from the 30’s-early 50’s. One such bottle is embossed on the bottom with the word wine, then beneath that the N logo in a square and a 9 to it’s right. Beneath those two symbols is a 7, which we are assuming is the mold number (?). Since the 9 isn’t a two digit number, should we assume the bottle lacks a marker for the date, or is this an example of early bottle manufacturers using single digit numbers for dating before moving to double digit?

    • David says:

      B.R., I’m not sure, since I am not familiar with all the date coding practices of Obear-Nestor. I have seen a number of their soda bottles which usually have a two-digit date code to the right of their logo (similar to the way this was done by some other glass companies) but I do not know about numbers on their wine bottles. Perhaps someone has more info on this, or another researcher has more advanced information than I currently have on this site . Readers?

  7. Cole says:

    I have an old amber Purex bottle that has this mark on the bottom. When were these common?

    • David says:

      Hi Cole, I don’t have info on the exact years the PUREX glass bottles were made, but I would estimate most of them date from the 1930s-1960s time period.

  8. Brenda Bryant says:

    I have a small brown bottle (jug) with a screw on top. On the bottom of the bottle is a N in a Square with the number 18. The lower part of the bottle has a white (beige) paint that is easily removable. What can you tell me about this bottle.

    • David says:

      Brenda, it is some type of liquor or wine bottle, but I’m not sure exactly what it contained. I have seen those before, and I believe they were issued in the late 1960s or early to mid-1970s. Sorry I don’t have better info for you.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s a whiskey bottle. I just found one at our local Salvation Army, and it still had some whiskey inside! So unless someone refilled it (always a possibility), then whiskey would be my guess.

  9. Bill says:

    Hello, I have found a round clear bottle. It appears to have a screw top but the cap is missing. It has seams on the sides of the bottle. It’s 7 inches tall. Has an N inside of a square and the number 4 to the right of it. Any ideas??????

    • David says:

      Bill, Obear-Nestor made thousands of different bottles over many years, and many of them are typical, common, “generic” bottles of which there is little information available. The “4” would be a mold number, but little else can be said for sure.
      Best regards, David

  10. raw walker says:

    I found a bottle in perfect condition with the square N and the number 7 on one side and 100 on the other

  11. Tom says:

    I found a bottle with code R-424, 72 n 40. I assume the n is Obear Nester and the 40 is 1940. What are the other codes?

    • David says:

      Tom, I’m not familiar with the code system used by Obear-Nestor. The “40” might be a code date for 1940 but I can’t guarantee that is correct. The “R-424” could be an inventory number assigned to that bottle style, or perhaps (if that is a liquor bottle) it could be a “rectifier number”.

      • Carol says:

        If I may interject. The R# is a rectifier’s permit code – found on liquor bottles. The other codes are: 72 = Obear-Nester’s permit # to make liquor bottles (after Prohibition was lifted) and the 40 IS the date code for 1940. 🙂

        • David says:

          Thanks a lot, Carol! I appreciate any help I can get here.
          Take care,

        • Nancy E Helms says:

          I just found one that has Federal Law prohibits sale or reuse and the marks on the bottom are : D-201. 72 N (It’s in a square) 7

          It is a dark brown possibly half pint liquor bottle. Any idea of a possible date or if it’s even made by this manufacturer?

          Thanks in advance!

          • David says:

            Hi Nancy, sounds like the “72” is a date code for 1972. Typically, most bottles with the “Federal Law…..” phrase date before 1964, but there are some that were made as late as the 1970s and even more recent than that. Yes, I am sure it is a product of Obear-Nestor. No other glass bottle company in the United States used the “N in a square” as their trademark.

  12. The Dittmer Elk says:

    I found a bottle buried with some old brick on our property. It’s a large, gallon-size, amber jug. There is an n in a square on the bottom with the number five just below it. There is a seam on each side of the bottle leading to a textured top of the body with a one-inch horizontal line halfway up on each side of the textured top. The spout has a finger handle and a screw-top mouth. There are no other markers to indicate what this bottle was for or when it was made? Any ideas?

    • David says:

      Obear Nestor made gobs of amber jugs and bottles of many types. I think the jug you found would be a ‘generic’ type, one of many slightly different styles (made by many glass companies) used for such products as bleach, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or other liquid chemicals/cleaning products. Some are used for edible liquids such as apple cider or vinegar. Try doing some ebay searches with keywords such as (jug,bottle,jar) (vinegar,apple cider,bleach,chlorine,coke syrup) (amber,brown) in the search box, and see if you can find similar examples.
      Best regards, David

  13. Amy Self says:

    I have a clear glass bottle. Bottom says Miller High Life, under that the N inside the square and a #2 above the Miller. The middle of the bottle says no deposit, no return, not to be refilled. Trying to find out a year it was made. Thanks

    • David says:

      Amy, if there is no date code on the bottle, I can’t say exactly when it was made. However, just making a guess, it sounds like a bottle from the 1970s. “No deposit, No return” was a very popular phrase marked on bottles during that time period, although similar wording is still used to this day.

    • David Walker says:

      The #2 is probably a mold number. It would be extremely difficult to add a date code to the bottles Obear Nester made. I am not aware of any of the ware (bottles) being date coded.

  14. Reary says:

    I found a quart (marked4 cup) longlife widemouth jar with fruit and vegs design in a circle on one side and the words O BEAR-NESTER GLASS on the bottom. Can you give me more info.

  15. Angela says:

    I found a clear rectangle shaped bottle about 2″ tall X 1/2 ” wide, flat, squared off corners, screw top lid-intact- N in square on bottom and number 2 off to the right. Located in mining country in Arizona

  16. We found a bottle with 2 glass post coming out of the neck of the bottle. It’s about a 16 Oz brown glass bottle. It has the N in a square and an 8 about an inch away.

  17. Joanne Scallion says:

    I have an amber glass bottle about 9 inches tall with an N in a square and with the number “4” on the right of it. It also has wings in glass on the top. There is one on e-bay if you put “old amber glass bottle with wings” in the description. What came in this bottle?

    • David says:

      Hello Joanne! That bottle is a typical “generic” shape, usually called a “chemical” bottle by glass manufacturers, and the type was normally used to hold such products as bleach, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and other liquid cleaners and chemical products of the same genre. The thing unusual about that bottle, as you note, is the ‘wings’ on the closure (I might call them “lugs”, “tabs”, “prongs” or “projections’ but I’m not sure what the exact term is which was used at the time). Evidently that closure type was quite short-lived as I haven’t seen them before on a chemical bottle, although on some other types of bottles I’ve seen lugs which are shorter and less pronounced. I’m guessing that the bottle dates from the 1930s or 1940s (possibly 1950s?) but I can’t narrow it down better than that!

  18. sara says:

    If anybody could tell me the year on this bottle because i cant find the same letters and numbers to match up i found pictures that look like this bottle but different letters its a brown anheuser short bottle with 4 anheuser eagle with A logos going around the top and it says please don’t litter above that then at the side bottem going around it says not to be refilled with number 17 after no deposit ☆no return. On the bottom of bottle on to has letters BN-1000 then middle left has the letter N in a square then middle right it has 17x and at the bottom center has the number 71 does that mean its anheuser beer in a nester glass company made in October 17,1971??

    • David says:

      Hi Sara,
      From your description, your bottle was definitely made by Obear-Nestor Glass Company, and I also think the “71” is a date code for 1971. Many beer bottles of the early 1970s had the “PLEASE DON’T LITTER” phrase (or some similar phrase) on them. The “17X” is probably a mold number, and BN-1000 the bottle design/inventory/stock number. As far as I known, no ordinary commercial bottle molds were ever engraved with markings to indicate a specific date a bottle was made (such as October 17, 1971) as that would have been costly, extremely impractical and unnecessary. The engraving was done on the inside of a metal bottle mold, and the mold was then used for months or years. When molten glass is blown into a hollow bottle mold, the molten glass moves against the inside and fills in the engravings which results in the raised embossing (lettering) you see on the glass surface.
      I hope this helps,

  19. kathy Wright says:

    We are finding the slag glass in woods near Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis. Does anyone know the address of the glass factory? Large pieces of brown clear, and bluegreen.

    • David says:

      Hi Kathy,
      It may be a dumpsite used by the glass factory……not sure. I am not familiar with the exact location in East St. Louis but I’m sure someone who is familiar with the history of the area, and has further details, will land on this site sooner or later and let you know. If you have access to older city directories or phone directories (1978 and older), the information on exact address should be easily found. Please let me know! Best regards, David

    • David says:

      Obear Nester was located at 20th & Broadway.

      • David says:

        David, thanks very much for that information!!

        • David Walker says:

          You’re welcome. My father worked at Obear Nester for 37 years, right up until it closed. I don’t believe they ever dumped glass off-site. A certain percentage of cullet was added to each batch. Cullet was valuable to the company. Thanks. David Walker

          • David says:

            Thanks for the info, David! Perhaps Kathy Wright can respond to this…….. looking at a satellite map, it appears the area southwest of Missouri Avenue (generally between 20th and 21nd streets, and northeast of Broadway) could be a likely spot where slag glass was found, since (I assume) that is close to where the factory stood.
            Also……it does seem that some glass companies dumped more of their “waste glass” than others. For instance, it is known that large amounts of broken glass was dumped, both near the factory and at an off-site dump, by the Hemingray Glass Company of Muncie, IN, although this did occur over a very long period of time so the actual amount (percentage-wise) wasted may have been very small (during any given day, or week).
            Best regards,

  20. Kristin says:

    I found a brown jar with the “N in a square”. It is 9 1/2″ tall, wide-mouth, with big dimpled bands across the top and bottom… It still had a steel lid screwed on.

  21. Earnel Rayno says:

    i have a bottle,i think is a 5 gallon water. blue green color and the logo is plane letter N. WHAT YEAR BELONG THIS BOTTLE?

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