Whittemore / Boston / U.S.A.
Whittemore / Boston // French Gloss
Whittemore Bros. & Company (later known as Whittemore Brothers Corporation), Cambridge, Massachusetts (1852-c. late 1930s??) was a large producer of shoe polish and related products, launched in 1852 by David and Joshua Whittemore. (Cambridge is now part of the greater metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts).
The majority of Whittemore bottles are marked with either of the two embossing variations listed at the top of this page.
Most bottles with the “Whittemore” markings contained shoe polish (“shoe dressing”) and date somewhere between 1870 and 1930. There are many minor variations among the Whittemore bottles; most are of a rectangular shape, and some are cylindrical. They have been found in many colors, including aqua (most common), light blue aqua, green-aqua, clear, pale (sun-colored) amethyst, light green, shades of amber including a dark “chocolate amber”, citron and other shades.
One of the earlier lines of shoe dressing sold by Whittemore was their so-called “Gilt Edge Dressing”, and some bottles from the 1890s are found with this embossing on the front. This decorative style of Gilt Edge Dressing bottle has a repeated maltese-cross-style raised design vaguely reminiscent of the “finecut” pattern popular in some Early American pattern glass tableware.
A nice collection of different Whittemore bottles can be assembled because of their variety in color, size, age, and exact lettering arrangement. Earlier versions, of course, are handblown. Most later versions (generally, after the 1910-1920 period), are machine-made.
Although there is no absolute proof concerning glassmakers, I have been told that it is highly likely that some, if not many, of the earlier bottles were made at the Lyndeborough Glass Company works in South Lyndeboro, New Hampshire (1866-1888).
A number of unidentified glass bottle manufacturers made these bottles over the several decades they were produced. Most of the earlier versions have mold numbers, or arrangements of bumps or dots on the base which served to identify the molds in use within the factory, but (in general) cannot indicate any specific glass manufacturer. There are many early Whittemore bottles that have no markings at all on the bottom.
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