R & CO – mark used by
Reed & Company
Massillon, Ohio (1881-1904)
Although this factory was also known locally as the Massillon Glass Works (at least for a period of time during the mid 1880s), the business firm name is given as Reed & Company in most contemporary records. (Please see the “M G W” mark entry on Glass Bottle Marks alphabetical list – page four. )
This R & CO mark is seen primarily on the bases of hand-made, tooled blob-top and “crown” style lip amber or aqua export-style beer bottles. Reed & Company specialized in producing beer bottles, although they are believed to have manufactured several other types of bottles as well.
The “R & CO” mark is most commonly seen embossed in a semi-circle on the base, along with a mold number.
Although Julian Toulouse (Bottle Makers & Their Marks, 1971) attributed the R & CO marking to Roth & Company, San Francisco, I know of no evidence that Roth (a whiskey distributor, not a glassmaker) had ANY bottles made for them bearing this type of mark.
Some Reed & Company beer bottles have the “R & CO” embossed in a straight line (horizontal configuration) near the center of the base, as opposed to semi-circular. The examples with the straight-line embossing are somewhat less common than the ones with the “arc” configuration. Pictured on this page is the base of one of those bottles, with a “36” mold or shop number.
A photo of a typical bottle base (with mold number 35, from an unidentified ebay seller—credit for the pic will gladly be given upon request) is shown here. Another base example carries mold number “49” on the bottom.
Huge quantities of these “generic” beer bottles were made, especially throughout much of the 1880s-1890s, and are frequently found in old bottle dumps from that time period. They are quite often found at old fort sites in the Western states of the US.
They were, without doubt, sold to many breweries around the US, especially those located in the midwestern area of the country. As there is usually no raised lettering on the front, each brewery (or bottler) would have affixed their own private brand label on the bottles before shipment. The great majority of these bottles (usually dug) no longer carry a label, which has long since disintegrated.
If you know of any bottles with “R & CO” on the base which is not of the typical “export beer”bottle shape (as illustrated here), please contact me. Although most “R & CO” marked bottles are of the typical “export style” shape, a few other types of bottles have been seen with the initials. For instance, Jeff Scharnowske sent me a photo showing the mark on the base of an ADLER pint beer bottle from Jackson, Michigan. The bottle is what some collectors call a “Champagne blob” type bottle.
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