Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glassy-eyed in the morning

Ah, the innernets! I tracked down the markings on the bottom of the gallon bottles I’ve picked up at Dead Horse Bay, one a while ago and one just this past weekend. Isn’t it kind of amazing that these bottles are in one piece? Much of the beach there is made of broken glass, but a surprising number of bottles are whole. Turns out that glass is actually rather strong stuff. Somewhere in the not too distant past, the industry began to “light-weight” glass, so today’s is more fragile, but old school glass was mucho macho.
Speaking of industry, these bottles were made by Owens-Illinois (now known, in typical corporate creativity-shrinkage, as “O-I”), which is still around, and is one of the largest bottle manufacturers in the world. According to this, the 4 on the left side of the logo suggests these were made in the Brockport (it's just west of Rochester) NY plant, which started circa 1963. “4” earlier meant the Clarksburg, WV, plant but that closed in 1942 and I doubt these are that old. The number on the right is a year number, but duh, just one number? Mine are 0 and 1 (and they are different styles). That could be 1960/61 (how circa 1963 did the Brockport plant open?), 1970/71, or, hell, 2000/01. Here my research breaks down: do they still make these; if not, when did they stop? What were they used for?

The point of this one is much easier, as it’s labeled with both the content (Bromo-Seltzer) and its maker (Emerson Drug Co.) in nice raised lettering. The bottle itself: the M in a circle mark stands for the Maryland Glass Corporation of Baltimore, which seems to have lasted into the early 1970s. They specialized in cobalt blue, and it looks like they put less cobalt into the mix over time, because my Bromo glasses get lighter and lighter and lighter. And I presume that's as time advances, not the other way around, because the golden age is always behind us.....

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