Root Glass Company

           Root Glass Company

               Terre Haute, Indiana  (1901-1932)

The marks “R.G.CO.”  and “ROOT” were used by Root Glass Company. Both marks were frequently embossed rather lightly on the base, or along the lower heel of bottles, and sometimes the lettering is almost illegible.  Root produced a wide variety of soda, mineral water and beer bottles as well as fruit jars. (Root Glass Company is justly famous for having produced the first “Hobbleskirt” shaped Coke bottles, circa 1915 or 1916).

There were two separate factories in the early years, one for fruit jars and the other for bottles. The fruit jar factory was purchased by Ball Brother Glass Manufacturing Company in 1908, and operated by Ball until it was closed in 1912 or 1913.  Root Glass Company was bought by Owens-Illinois Glass Company in 1932.

Later the plant became part of the American-Wheaton Glass Corporation, in 1962 it was sold to the American Can Company, and then sold again to Midland Glass Company in 1968. After being purchased by the Anchor Glass Container Corporation, the property was closed down in 1984.

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25 Responses to Root Glass Company

  1. Jane says:

    Recently found a Dearborn Bottling Co., Lawrenceburg, Indiana green glass bottle with an embossed ROOT and number (3924), which I am assuming is the mold number. Research tells me that the Dearborn Bottling Co. was established in 1922.

  2. Rich says:

    I have a “root” coke bottle, found it in St.Augustine in the sand of the intracostal waterway, in the 1970’s while working surveying with my dad. Any idea about this one?

  3. Dennis Smith says:

    Root molds were numbered. 1-350 were marked R G Co and numbers above that were marked ROOT. I’m working on matching up mold used for individual bottlers with their start date to create a chronology of when a mold was used. By extension, adjacent molds would have comparable dates helping to date bottles made in those molds where no historical information is available. I have a list of 300 mold numbers to start with from 7 to 1380, along with the bottler name and location. I’ve posted elsewhere asking for more mold numbers to fill in the gaps. I’m just wondering if someone else has already done this.

    • David says:

      Dennis, thanks a lot for the information. Great stuff! I am not really that familiar with the ROOT molds, but was thinking “more along the lines of” Illinois Glass Company soda bottle molds which I understood were used over and over again with slug plates inserted. I would like your view on this also: would you not have a ‘caveat’ that in some cases a particular mold may have been used sporadically, over a period of years, while most of the time it sat on a shelf? Thus it seems to me that some bottles could potentially be newer than others, but it wouldn’t be obvious just from the mold number alone. I invite any comments or light shed on the matter!
      Best regards,
      David

      • Dennis Smith says:

        Most of these molds were slug plate molds. I found one that was used for twelve different bottlers. I understand from my reading that the molds did wear out over time. The one used for twelve different bottlers may have been all small orders over several years. Knowing the year the earliest bottler used the mold will still provide a ‘terminus post quiem’ or date after which for that mold number being placed in use.

    • doug says:

      Dennis, I have an aqua soda bottle that says Monarch Bottling Co on the side in a downwards (‘frowning’) arch, and under that it says MONARCH in big all caps, and under that it says in smaller caps REGISTERED. Then it says WASHINGTON DC in another arch, this one upward (like a smile).

      My point is though that on the lower heel of the bottle (on the other side from the lettering I mentioned above) it says in small letters “236A ROOT 28”. I don’t know if this breaks the rule you posited above – if the model number is 236A, then it should say R G Co?

      The base has a gigantic letter M on it. The only other lettering is above the heel and above the ROOT lettering – it says “CONTENTS 8 FL. OZS.”

      • Dennis Smith says:

        I have found several examples where an ‘RG’ mold number was reissued as ‘ROOT.’ In all of these cases the mold is the same except for RG/ROOT. To me that indicates the bottler used the same bottle over time spanning both mold marks.

    • Ted Lehman says:

      Hello Dennis. I just acquired a straight side, arrow, Coca Cola bottle. I’m not a collector of bottles, just happened upon it. I didn’t see the numbers on the heel, until I read your post, here. My bottle reads, ‘ROOT’ on the bottom. Under Memphis Tenn, there are two sets of numbers. One looks like a 13 and the other 44 3. Maybe this will help your research. I would appreciate any info. Thanks, Ted

  4. Dennis Smith says:

    Has anyone created a list of ROOT bottles by mold number? I’m hoping to date bottles by the operation dates of the companies assigned to the mold numbers.

    • David says:

      Hi Dennis,
      I’m not sure I understand your second sentence. Are you referring to the companies (end users) who had “private mold” bottles made for them by Root that, because of their shape, were unique to a particular product, and thus might have had a unique mold number (style number, catalog number) assigned for that particular bottle?
      Many of the molds Root used (esp. sodas) were “generic” molds that had removable engraved slug plates inserted to make a number of bottles for a particular bottling company.
      Perhaps a reader will chime in with more info on the ROOT mold numbers. Readers?
      ~David

  5. Verdeana Boyles says:

    I have a green bottle that has “Last Day April 30, 1984 and The names of several people on it with Prod supt, Frm Supt, foreman and CPPAW with name for each. And on the back is Terre Haute and 10 peoples names also A>F>G>W>U> Local 134.There are also names on the bottom. Did this come from Midland Glass?

  6. Clarice says:

    I have a clear Hollieanna pint canning jar. The Hollieanna is in script in a slight arc above the word MASON. The bottom has ROOT underlined and below the line 32. How would I find the age?

    • David says:

      Hi Clarice,
      I’m not aware of any information that can pinpoint the date of these jars, other than the assumption they were made by Root Glass Company. Because they are clear (not aqua), I would assume they were made in the very late years of Root, sometime in the very late 1920s up to c. 1932. (Although maybe just a jar mold number, it is also possible the “32” is a code indicating the jar mold itself was made in 1932, but I can’t say that is correct). Owens-Illinois Glass Company, who took over the Root Glass Company jar plant, also made some Hollieanna jars, but those examples are presumably those that have the “ROOT” marking erased from the mold, and post-date 1932.
      Best regards,
      David

  7. Amy Button says:

    I have an Amber coca cola bottle ROOT is imprinted on the bottle and Coca-Cola is on the side with Huntsville, ALA. Under it.
    Any info as far as history, rarity, or value?

    • David says:

      Hi Amy,
      Root is known to have made large numbers of Coke bottles including the earlier “straight sides” type and the “hobbleskirt” style bottle. I am not a Coke bottle specialist, so I can’t comment on your bottle, other than to note it is a “straight-sides” type and was made in the 1900s or early to mid-1910s. However, perhaps someone else who lands on this site can offer their opinions. Also, I would suggest you try posting a query on the http://antique-bottles.net site, where many collectors discuss all kinds of bottles and jars. I am sure there are many Coke bottle specialists who frequent that site, and someone may have more info for you, including ideas on the relative rarity of the type you are describing.
      Best regards,
      David

    • Steve Hale says:

      Amy: Your bottle is considered “common” (that doesn’t necessarily mean easy to find!) and in average condition (normal wear – no chips or cracks) would have a retail value of around $30.

  8. Angela B says:

    I have a straight sided green glass coca cola bottle, that says ‘The Jacksonville Fla. Coca Cola trademark registered Bottling Company” across the front. Root imprinted on the bottom,and the number ‘436’ on the back close to the bottom. Any ideas when this was made?

  9. Louis Ketchum says:

    I have a straight side Coca Cola aqua bottle. Below the Coca Cola which is in the middle of the bottle. Right below it says TRADEMARKREGISTERED. On the other side at the bottom it says THIS BOTTLE NOT SOLD. On the base it has ROOT. No other markings, words or city present. I am looking for any information I can get. I believe the Coca-Cola script dates it 1893-1901.
    Thank you

    • David says:

      Louis, your Coke bottle dates from sometime in the 1901-1917 time period. Root Glass Company started in 1901, and most of the straight-sided Cokes were being phased out (replaced by the “hobbleskirt”) around the 1915-1917 time period.
      David

      • Louis Ketchum says:

        Thank you for your information. If you ever come across any information on Shreveport LA bottles I am always interested. I currently have a proximity 200 and in the process of learning and identifying the bottles, people and the growth of this industry in Shreveport.
        Thank you for your helppappy

  10. Sugaraxle says:

    I have a roots light blue mason bottom side marked A this is all wondering about rareity-time produced all I see are people talking about numbers

    • David says:

      They are not rare, but certainly not nearly as common as the typical Ball jars.The “A” on the bottom is probably a mold letter. According to “The Fruit Jar Works, Volume 2” by Alice M. Creswick and Steven B. Creswick (1987), the “ROOT MASON” jars date from circa 1906 to 1909. The most common color is aqua (light bluish-green). Other colors known include shades of amber, and olive green. For current values, check the REDBOOK of fruit jars, or search ebay auctions over a period of time and see what the actual COMPLETED AUCTIONS prices are.

  11. Yogi Bear says:

    Until recently, we all assumed Root never made blob-tops. Myself and one other man each have a ROOT-made blob-top. They look like beers, but were paper labels so we cannot be sure. It’s like my Michigan Bottling Co., Muskegon, bottle: You think it’s one thing, but you will never be sure. He was so excited to find the Root blob, and we all were interested. Later, I became sure they’re not all that uncommon–but I assume there is only a handful of variations; the example I’m talking about being the most common if not the only. My theory is, because they’re not embossed and are large-sized, people who dig them tend to not give them much attention as there are other, better bottles in the hole. I got mine only a short, short while after he did. Be on the look-out, for right now it’s unique still. You’re in luck, gotta cut my post here short: An alarm is screeching. Lol.

Comments/Replies: All comments are moderated so will not be published immediately. Because of mail volume received, and time and energy restraints, some questions may not be answered individually, especially if the subject is already addressed elsewhere on this site. This website is not intended as an appraisal service, but as a resource for background info on glass companies and the marks they used, so I usually delete "What is this bottle worth?" types of queries. Thank you very much for your patience & understanding !!