Owens Bottle Company: “O inside a square” mark

  “O inside a Square” mark on antique bottles

Owens Bottle Machine Company ~ Toledo, Ohio (1903-1919)

Owens Bottle Company ~

Known as Owens Bottle Machine Company beginning in 1903, and based in Toledo, Ohio, the official company name was changed to “Owens Bottle Company” circa 1919.

Owens’ earlier glass manufacturing plants were located at Toledo, OH;  Fairmont, WV;  Clarksburg, WV;  and Charleston, WV,  but as time went on Owens gradually acquired other plants throughout the 1910s including  Evansville, IN;  Loogootee, IN;  Okmulgee, OK;  Chekotah, OK (Graham Glass Company);  Greenfield Indiana (Greenfield Fruit Jar & Bottle Company);  Glassboro,  New Jersey (former Whitney Glass Works plant);  in 1919, the facilities at Huntington, West Virginia (formerly Chas. Boldt Glass Company) and  others.   Some plants were purchased, upgraded and went on with continued heavy production, while certain other plants were acquired and soon thereafter sold or shut down, as was rather typical for a large corporation trying to remain as profitable as possible.


In 1916, Owens acquired the American Bottle Company (A. B. CO.) plants with manufacturing locations at Streator, Illinois and Newark, Ohio.

Author and researcher Julian Toulouse, in Bottle Makers and their Marks (1971) stated the “O in a square” or “Box O” mark was first used in 1911, but according to U.S. Patent & Trademark Office data, Owens claimed first use was actually in the year 1919, around the time Owens Machine Bottle Company officially became Owens Bottle Company.

"O in a Square" mark as seen on the base of a 1920s ketchup bottle.

“O inside a Square” mark as seen on the base of a 1920s-era ketchup bottle, shown below.

In 1929, Owens Bottle Company merged with the Illinois Glass Company, headquartered in Alton, Illinois, to form the giant Owens-Illinois Glass Company.

Presumably, the mark was phased out around 1929 after the merger with Illinois Glass Company, although it probably took a period of time, perhaps a year or two,  before all molds in then current use would have been re-tooled with the new mark for Owens-Illinois: “O and I entwined with a Diamond”.

Tremendous numbers of machine-made containers of many types are found with the O inside a square (or “box”) mark on the bottom, as shown here, including medicine bottles,  salve, utility, food and beverage bottles,  packer jars, and other types. The mark is typical on many bottles found at dump sites and in old landfill areas that date from the late teens and 1920s. One of the most commonly found bottles found in old dumpsites would be the “fluted sides” ketchup bottles that bear this mark.

Owens Bottle Company ketchup bottle marked "O in a square" on the base.

Typical 1920s-era “fluted sides” ketchup bottle made by Owens Bottle Company. The bottom is marked with their “O in a square” logo, shown above.

See “OWENS” on page four, and the  Owens Illinois Glass Company page showing marks used after Owens Bottle merged with  Illinois Glass Company in 1929.  Illinois Glass Company, headquartered in Alton, Illinois,  used the ” I inside a diamond mark”, as shown on this webpage. 

Click here to see an article (by Bill Lockhart et al), about Owens Bottle Company and it’s associated plants, with much more detailed background information on the history of this company, other marks used, plant locations, periods of operation, etc.:


Click here to go to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (page one).

Please click here to go to my Home Page.

Also, check out my summary page on Sea Glass / Beach Glass.  Sometimes old Owens Bottle Company bottle bases might be found among so-called “Beach Glass”. 

9 Responses to Owens Bottle Company: “O inside a square” mark

  1. ROBERT KAZEE says:

    I have a tiny little 4 sides pyramid shaped bottle with an O inside a bottle. And the #5 below it. Can’t find it anywhere any idea what company this is? Id say it’s 2 1/2 inches tall bottle so I’m assuming it’s a perfume bottle of some sort

  2. robert holt says:

    I have a 5.25″ clear glass bottle shaped like a juice bottle. A square with an “O” on the bottom and a 3 to the left of the square and an 8 to the right of the square. Thick glass with some bubbles in the glass two seams from top to bottom looks like a large suction mark on the bottom.

  3. Gayle DeGregori says:

    I have three small brown glass bottles with the Owens mark on the bottom (circle inside a square) and number “7”…each bottle has a beautiful seashell mounted on top. The bottles themselves are only 3.5 in. tall.

    • Jeni says:

      Could you post a photo?

      • David says:

        Hi Jeni,
        Unfortunately, I don’t have this site set up so pics can be uploaded along with reader comments. However, if you email me directly (my email is on the right hand bottom corner of this site), I could send you Gayle’s email address and you might try contacting her for pictures of the bottles with seashells on them. I assumed they were some kind of homemade “craft” project using vintage bottles, but I am not really sure.
        Best regards,

  4. Debra says:

    I have a round bottle that say’s HCRLICK’S
    Malted milk on it. the bottom has a L-d 10
    Cold you tell me who made it?

  5. Carol says:

    Nice photos!

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