I got an email from James Etheredge on a pair of beer bottles he bought at a local coop. One of the bottles was marked Wm. Penn Brewery of South Chester
(Pennsylvania). I didn't recall that brewery and it was not listed in my database, but that is not surprising as my coverage of Chester Pennsylvania is not all that good.
A check of American Breweries III, (yes there is now a third
edition) turned up nothing. It lists one brewery in
Chester, through much of its history it was known as the
Chester Brewing Company. American Breweries lists this
brewery as starting in 1888 with Franz X. Haser as the
proprietor at 2400 W 2nd and later with several other
operators and finally being incorporated as the Chester
Brewing Company in 1898. It operated until 1953.
Today this location is a vacant lot. My initial
searching found nothing on the William Penn Brewery.
At the Bethlehem show Jim brought his bottles for me to
see. To my surprise, the bottle was an export beer,
bore a great full image of William Penn, and was identical
in size and form to the other bottle Jim bought embossed the
Chester Brewing Company. Dale Van Wieren and Rich
Wagner, both local brewery experts saw the bottles and both
noted that William Penn was associated in later advertising
of the Chester Brewing Company and all agreed that it was
highly unlikely that there were two breweries in South
Chester and there had to be some relationship between the
William Penn and Chester breweries. Another mystery.
Lets see what we can dig out on a deeper search.
I found a number of articles on the early days of this
brewery. These are from the Chester Times:
May 29, 1885 The stakes were driven yesterday for the new brewery that is to be located on the corner of Second and West streets.
May 30, 1885 Thomas Moore, Chester,
to Morwitz Weidman, of Woodale (sic), Delaware-Lot
170x68 at the corner of 2d and West street, South
Chester. Price $2040.
June 9, 1885
The New Brewery. George Weigand, contractor and
builder, of the South ward, has received the contract
for the erection of the new brewery in South Chester for
Morris Wedman, of Woodale (sic), Del, and began work this
morning. The new building will be a brick
structure, 18 by 62 feet
June 27, 1885
A Brewery in South Chester. The temperance people
in South Chester are by no means delighted with the
prospect of having the new beer brewing industry in
their midst. The structure is to be erected at
Second and West streets, and has already progressed as
far 'as having the cellars dug. The building will
have a front of 28 feet and a depth of 65 feet, four
stories high, to be of brick. It will be located
over a run and the refuse will thus be carried into the
Delaware river. The basis of the temperance
peoples' opposition is the allegation that there are
already too many places in the borough when (sic)
intoxicants can be secured.
July 17, 1885 Chester ought to have
a brewery. It will never do to allow South Chester
to ??? brag us that way.
August 13, 1885 South Chester will
make faces at Chester when the new brewery gets in
operation and she is full of beer.
September 2, 1885
The New Brewery. South Chester is soon to
have a new brewery. The building is located at
Second and Ward (sic) streets and is nearly completed.
It is three stories in height and of very moderate
dimensions. the vats have arrived, but are not yet
in place. The brewery will be operated by a
Wilmington man, who expects to move here with his family
and have personal supervision of the business.
October 29, 1885 The new brewery will
soon be ready for business. The manager is getting
in the machinery.
November 2, 1885 South Chester
should ask all hands ??? to see her when that brewery
November 7, 1885 The Plainspeaker we
received this week looks as if it had been loafing in
that new brewery.
December 21, 1885
A STEADY GROWTH
Some of the New Buildings Erected ... During the Year.
Brewery, three stories high, 21 by 65 feet, on Second
street, for Moritz Widman.
January 28, 1886 The proprietor of the brewery proposes to have a beer garden in the rear of the building next summer
From this we learn that this brewery was built in 1885 for Moritz Widman,
who was likely operating it in late 1885 and in early 1886.
That there was only one brewery in Chester and there was an
emerging temperance movement in Chester that strengthened
until Prohibition. Therefor later ads for beer and alcohol
and notes on these businesses were pretty sparse. In today's
world having a creek nearby as the preferred place to
dump your waste so that it would flow into the Delaware
River would be unheard of.
So what do we know of Moritz Widman other than he was
from Wooddale, Delaware? According to American
Breweries III, there was a Weidmair in partnership with F.
Hermann Biederman at Wooddale from 1884 to 1886. This
"Spring Hill Brewery" was located "opposite" the "Wooddale
quarries" "on the Landenberg branch of the B. & P. railroad"
according to the Morning News on May 7, 1885. Actually his
correct name was Moritz Wiedmaer. Census records
indicate that he came to the United States from Germany in
1880, likely after the Census was completed. The 1888
and 1889 Camden, New Jersey Directories list Wiedmaer as the
proprietor of the Gloucester Brewery and Hotel on Grove
below Charles. Wiedmaer was listed as residing in
Camden in 1891 with no occupation and was naturalized in
Wilmington that same year. American Breweries III
states that Wiedmaer was in control of the Gloucester
Brewery again during 1893 to 1895. He shows up in New
Brunswick in 1896 as a partner in the Waldschloss
Brewing Company, which appear to be only in business for two years.
A Sheriff's sale ordered on December 18, 1897 and advertised the The Daily Times
as to occur on February 9, 1898 several times during the
month of January. It was actually sold to the National
Bank of New Jersey for $3,750 on March 22, 1898 according to
the Daily Times the following day.
After this failure, Wiedmaer was involved with a court case
involving his purchase of refrigeration equipment under a
mortgage and his subsequent sale of this equipment to the Waldschloss
Brewing Company. This case was resolved in 1901.
Wiedmaer disappears, but we find him residing in the Suffolk
County Alms House at Yaphank in Brookhaven Township on Long
Island. His 1916 entry record states that he resided
in the State of New York starting in 1904 and was in poor
health at age 70. He was last listed as living there
in the 1930 Census being 84 years old.
Back to Chester. Having started brewing in 1885 the
question is when did Wiedmaer sell the brewery?
American Breweries states that the owner in 1888 was Franz
X. Haser. An article in the Daily Times for September
8, 1911 recording Haser's death in Germany, states that
Haser founded the brewery in South Chester and had moved to
Chester from Philadelphia. A check of the Philadelphia
Directories finds Haser last listed as "lager" at 3924
Lancaster Avenue in the 1887 directory, which was published
in early 1887. He is also listed in the 1887-1888
Chester directory as the owner of the brewery on Second
Street, which was published mid-year. So the sale of
the brewery by Wiedmaer to Haser appears to have occurred
during the first half of 1887. This article also
states that Haser moved to the "fatherland" after he sold
the brewery to the "present owners."
Haser was listed as the proprietor of the Chester Brewery
and an Adolph Haser was also listed as a brewer in South
Chester in the 1891 Chester directory. Haser was still
listed as the proprietor in the 1895 directory. I was
able to find a newspaper article on a attempt to murder
Haser, by a disgruntled employee, in August of 1895 and
mention that Haser's brewery and home were damaged by a
severe storm on December 27, 1895. The 1896 directory
was not found. The 1897 directory list the Chester
Brewing Company as the firm running the brewery. This
company was incorporated on April 1, 1897 with $25,000 of
capital stock. It also lists John G. Forstburg as
president and manager and William J. McClure as secretary
and treasurer. In 1896, Forstburg is listed as a manager in
Lancaster, Pennsylvania and in 1895, McClure was a
liquor and cigar dealer in Chester.
So who controlled the brewery between January 1, 1896 and
May 31, 1897? In the March 14, 1896 edition of the
Chester Times lists "Haser, F. X., brewery" accessed $7.00
in tax. In March of 1896, the Haser Brewing
Company was incorporated in Camden, New Jersey and South
Chester, Pennsylvania with $50,000 capital for both.
Haser applied for a passport in July of 1896 and he lists
his occupation as a brewer and he and his wife returned to
the United States from Germany on September 1, 1896.
In the 1900 Census, Haser was listed as "beer brewer"
residing on Broad street in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Well that is all the further that I was able to get using
the sources at my disposal and their search tools. But this
did narrow the the windows a bit and I did have another tool
at my disposal, but there was no effective search tool.
One of the newspaper sites had the Chester Times available
form 1896 to 1897, but would require a manual or page by
page search! This could take weeks.
I decided to start backwards to see who sold the brewery
to the group that formed the Chester Brewing Company.
I found several notices and notes during the month of March
1897, but hit gold with the following in the March 8, 1897
The most important industrial deal that
has been consummated in this city for some time was
finished up on Saturday when William J. McClure
concluded arrangements for the purchase of a half
interest in the Chester Brewery, at Second and West
streets. John M. Forstburg, who has been the owner
of the property since it was sold by Franz X. Haser, who
founded the industry, will retain the other half and the
business will be conducted by Messrs. McClure and
It is proposed to form a company under the title of the Chester Brewery
and take out a charter, but Mr. McClure and Mr.
Forstburg will retain the great bulk of the stock.
The business will be pushed to its fullest extent and
every effort will be made to build up a large business
for the establishment and its product.
Mr. Forstburg came here last year from Lancaster, where for many years he
was the brewer at Reikers' brewery. He made a
splendid rescord (sic) at Lancaster and established for
Reicker's product an excellent reputation throughout
that section of the State, increasing the business of
the brewery several times over. He is a practical
man and understands the business thoroughly, and his
establishment has been spoken of as a model for
cleanliness and purity of product. Every effort
will be made to establish a great reputation for Chester
beer, and Mr. McClure will push the sale o fthe (sic)
beer among his patrons and friends. Every
appliance will be added to the establishment which will
increase its efficiency.
Mr. Forstburg will be president of the new corporation: Mr. McClure,
secretary and treasurer, and the other directors will be
Edmund J. Oliver, Robert Chadwick and John Paul.
That provided some insight to the ownership of the
business just prior to the Chester Brewing company. but
when did Haser sell the business to Forstburg?
This article indicates it was sometime during 1896.
The search backwards of the Chester Times continues.
November 2, 1896
On petition of Josiah Smith the license of the South Chester Brewery,
formerly held by Frank X. Haser was transferred to
John G. Forstburg, the new owner of the brewery.
October 19, 1896
NOTICE is hereby given that John G Forstburg has filed
his petition in the office of the Clerk of the Court of
Quarter Sessions of Delaware county, for the transfer to
him of the license heretofore granted to Franz X. Haser,
for the Chester Brewery, situated at Second and West
streets, in the borough of South Chester, in said
county, and that the same will be heard by the Court on
the first Monday in November, A. D. 1896, at ten
o'clock, a. m., at the County Court House in the borough
of Media in said court
W. L. MATHUES
October 16, 1896
South Chester-Frank X. Haser, of South Chester to John G. Forstburg, of
Lancaster, brewery plant, brick building, ice house, stable and other
improvements, and lot 239 by 170 by 71 by 168 feet, at northwest corner of
Second and West streets subject to a $34,000 mortgage, $34,500.
October 12, 1896
For several months there has been negotiations going on for the sale
of the brewery of Francis X. Haser, at Second and Palmer streets, South
Chester. The parties interested in the purchase have paid a
forfeit and the business of the sale is being pushed by attorney William
B. Broomall for the past three weeks to the point of filing the papers
and advertising the transfer of the license. The business of the
transaction is not not ready to give to the public, but it has been
learned that the parties who have made the purchase come from Lancaster
and that the head of the concern is an energetic men (sic), who will
push business as soon as he gets possession. The price paid for
the plant is in the neighborhood of $75,000. Notwithstanding the
fact that the transfer is being advertised it is impossible for the deal
to fall through, as there are one or two things depending on the sale of
the plant at Lancaster which may result in the setting aside of the
whole business. The matter is in the hands of Mr. Broomall, but he
will not give out any information until he hears from the Lancaster
lawyer, who is attending to the business at the other end.
Well that identifies the owners of this brewery, but
there are a couple of loose ends. American Breweries
III list a firm by the name of Fossberger & Killinger as
operators of this brewery between Haser and Forstberg.
It could be that Fossberger is actually Forstberg. I
could not find a Killinger in Chester or Lancaster that was
involved in the brewing industry. It could be that
this was a brief purchase or failed purchase that occurred
after Haser attempted to Incorporate. No further
record of the Haser Brewing Company could be found.
Both these should be run down. A page by page search
of the April 1 thru September 30 Chester Times may provide
some more insight.
Why is one bottle marked Chester and the other South
Chester? South Chester was a borough in Delaware
County. Chester was a City, and had its eyes on
incorporating South Chester into its boundaries. A
public petition was circulated and in early 1897, Chester
annexed South Chester to make it part of Chester City.
This was not without some level of drama and controversy,
with those politicians in South Chester doing all they could
to stop the annexation. William McClure was a
politically connected and a mover and shaker in the
Republican party of Chester and his interest in the South
Chester Brewery and its naming of the "Chester" Brewing
Company, during this time of annexation rebellion only
served to cement the fact that this brewery was in a
What about the William Penn Brewery. The statue of
William Penn was hoisted to the Top of Philadelphia's City
Hall on November 28, 1894. This event was just under
two years before Forstburg purchased the brewery form Haser
in October of 1896. At the same timeframe, the
following article appeared in the Chester Times:
October 28, 1896
THE LANDING OF
Anniversary of His First Visit to Chester Soil in Days Gone By.
It is 214 years to-day since William Penn landed on the shore of the
Delaware river, at the foot of Penn street and laid the
foundation for the great Commonwealth which we now
enjoy. Justice John J. Hare, who represented
"Uncle Billy" some time later, was in Chester to-day
looking looking to see what he could do to remind the
city authorities of the event and get them to hoist the
flag on the city hall. Justice Hare thinks Chester
should celebrate the event every year at least, by
hoisting the flags on the public buildings.
The unusual coincidence of this request and the recent
installation of William Penn to the top of City Hall,
perhaps motivated Forstburg to call his brewery the "William
Penn Brewery" to celebrate this fact. The image on the
bottle is the identical to the sculpture atop of City Hall,
even down to the garb and tree stump. The just later
Chester Brewing Company bottle is identical in form and
measurement to the Penn Bottle. I believe that when
the McClure jointed the firm, that the Front leaf of the
mold, containing the image of Penn, was replaced with that
of the "Chester Brewing Co." The reverse of both
bottles from this private molds are identical.
In summary, this South Chester brewer was founded by
Moritz Widman, a iterant brewer from Wooddale, Delaware, in
1885. During the early part of 1887, Franz X. Hauser,
a Philadelphia lager beer saloon owner, who was from a
brewing family, purchased this brewery. In 1896, Haser
sold the brewery to John M. Forstberg, the brewer at Reicker's
brewery of Lancaster. Forstberg, perhaps lacking the
capital needed for improvements and modernization, took in a
partner William J. McClure, a liquor and tobacco dealer in
March of 1897. The pair incorporated the brewery as
the Chester Brewing Company on April 1, 1897. This is where
my research stopped. This brewery continued to operate
into the 1950s. The location is now a vacant lot.
The following are the needed updates to American
At the Elkton Bottle Show, I saw an aqua porter bottle
simply marked "SOLN HAAK." The bottle was purchased
with a grouping of South Jersey bottles. Who was
Solomon Haak and where was this maverick from?
Solomon Haak was born on Jan 26, 1835 in Shenandoah,
Pennsylvania to was George and Mattie (Sarge) Haak. On January 15, 1857, Solomon married Catharine Shaud. In the 1860 Swatara Census of Lebanon County, Solomon Haak
was listed as a 28 year old boatman with a net wealth of $100.
Solomon served in the Civil War. He enlisted as a
private on October 3, 1861 for a three year tour of duty
serving in Company C of the 93rd Regiment
of the Pennsylvania Infantry. He was wounded at Fair
Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862 and rose to the rank of 1st
Corporal. He was discharged on October 28, 1864.
Interestingly enough, another corporal named Charles. D. Kaier was discharged on the same day from the same unit.
The later would become a proficient brewer and bottler noted
for his many highly collectable Kelley green bottles.
The following are records for Solomon S. Haak that track
his whereabouts after the Civil War:
1869 Haak Solomon S. teamster, h rear 144 W Norwegian,
1870 Solomon Haak driving a beer
wagon Pottsville Census
1871 Solomon Haak sarsaparilla, c. Sunbury near Fifth,
1875 Solomon Haak bottler, Second ab Patterson, St. Clair
1877 Solomon Haak shoemaker, Second ab Patterson, St. Clair
In April of 1880 Solomon and Catharine Haak baptized
their child Le Roy Lewis at Christ Lutheran Church in
Schuylkill Haven. For the next decade, we loose track
of Haak and his family.
In a 1890 Census Publication, Solomon was listed as a 55 year old merchant on South
Main Street in Shenandoah. The following records
record his time in Shenandoah:
1891 wines and liquors, 120 S Main, Shenandoah
1893 wines and liquors, 120 S Main, Shenandoah Directory
1895 wines and liquors, 120 S Main, Shenandoah Directory
1897 wines and liquors,
120 S Main, Shenandoah Directory
In August of 1897, he vacated his
property at 120 S. Main and moved down two doors to 116 S.
Main. and shortly thereafter in April of 1898 his wife
Catharine died. On Friday afternoon January 6, 1899, a twin house owned
by Haak and T. R. Beddall in Brownsville exploded and was
almost totally destroyed with just a rear wall of the
kitchen remaining. At a nearby school, all of the
windows were blown out and some students were injured by
flying debris. The following directory listings were
found after the move to the new location at 116 South Main:
1899 wines and liquors, 116 S Main, Shenandoah Directory.
1901 wines and liquors, 116 S
Main, Shenandoah Directory.
In the 1900 Census , Haak was listed at 116 South Main St
as a Liquor Deeler (sic). In 1902 he petitioned for a
wholesale liquor license in Shenandoah, but in 1903 Joseph Kupeczinski was
selling liquors at 116 S Main. So Haak appears to have
sold his business as no further records of him in the liquor
business could be found.
In 1893, Haak advertised was an agent for Charles Rettig's Celebrated Beer and
porter and Bergner & Engel's celebrated India Pale Ales and
Old Stock. In 1894 he was the agent for Rettig & Son's
Bock Beer, In 1896 he received two car loads of
Feigenspan Bock Beer. In 1898, he was advertising he
was the agent for the "celebrated Feigenspan Bock Beer" at
his store at 116 S. Main Street. In 1899 he advertised
he was agent for Bergner & Engel's Philadelphia Stock Ale,
Sparkling Still Ale, Bottled Pale Ale, Brown Stout, Half and
Half, Beer and Porter and Lorenz Schmidt's Bock Beer "on tap
at all its customers to-day."
On June 5th & 6th 1907, Solomon participated in the
41st Annual Pennsylvania Encampment of the Grand Army of The
Republic in Easton, Pennsylvania. Maybe due to a lack
of funds, Solomon moved to Philadelphia in 1907. The
following directory record was found:
1908 Haak Solomon, shoemkr, h 618 E
Cornwall, Philadelphia Directory.
Solomon died of paralysis and stomach cancer on April 26, 1908 in Philadelphia.
He was listed as a shoemaker and buried at the Odd Fellows'
Cemetery at Shenandoah Heights, Schuylkill County.
The Haak bottle has the appearance of a mid-1870 bottle
when Haak was listed as a bottler in St. Clair. His
later business in Shenandoah appears to have been only a
wholesale business and he was not in the business of
bottling beer. Unless come compelling evidence can be
found with Haak being a bottler during the 1880s, I will for
now, consider this to be a St. Clair bottle.
I got an email from Harry Eichman pointing out that the
date of the patent my web site for the A. B. C. Co. bottles
did not match the patent date on the bottles. I did a
double check and he was right!
The patent I have listed is
45,373 and its illustration
shows a bottle identical those currently known and states
that the patent was for stoppering bottles of "still
liquids" and "liquids not charged with gases." I took
this to mean that these bottles were used exclusively for
the bottling of beers, which are not carbonated, but there
was another possibility that I did think of; there was a
patent that covered only carbonated liquids. This
patent was issued to Josiah Beard and Moses Fairbanks, well
known bottlers, of Boston who also used bottles with the A.
B. C. Co. stopper.
An improvement to this patent, number 46,658 was issued
on March 7, 1865 to Henry B. Goodyear. Basically this
patent mechanized the process that Beard and Fairbanks
proposed in the earlier patent.
The patent date on the A. B. C. Co. marked bottles is
January 5, 1864. The patent associated with this date
is number 41,067. It was granted to Edward Hamilton of
Chicago, Illinois and Henry B. Goodyear of New Haven,
Connecticut. This patent was for carbonated waters.
Hamilton also patented his invention in England thru John
Henry Johnson and was issued patent 225 in 1864 on January
26 for "stoppering bottles containing aerated liquids."
There was another patent issued to Hamilton and Goodyear
during 1864. This patent was numbered 42,188 and was
dated April 5, 1864. It was issued between the above
two patents in 1864. This patent involved a machine to
fill bottles with the rubber ball stopper. It is
noteworthy that this patent has a description of the bottles
that used this patent:
The bottle is made of the usual form.
The neck I prefer to make shorter than in bottles which are
to be closed by corks. In the latter it is preferable
and perhaps necessary to give the neck sufficient length to
afford great frictional hold of the cork in the neck of the
bottle and also to prevent the escape of gases from within
or the penetrating of air from without. With my
improved method of closing bottles the long neck may be
dispensed with as the closing and hermetic joint does not
depend on the length of the neck."
Collectors of these early bottle are all to familiar with
the unusual short neck that they display. Now we
have some evidence as to the unique and strange appearance
these bottle. The question is who were the players,
what was the A. B. C. Co., and how are they related?
We learn from the Fairbanks and Beard patent that they
assigned their rights to the Automatic Bottle Closing
Company of New Haven Connecticut. Now we know the name of
this company. A check of the New Haven city
directories reveals that this firm was first listed in 1864
"over 223 State" street. From 1865 thru 1867, the
company was listed at "221 State" street. After 1867,
there are no further listings for this company. The
company did publish an advertisement in the April 15, 1865
edition of the Boston Daily Advertiser as follows:
OFFICE OF THE AUTOMATIC BOTTLE CLOSING COMPANY
New Haven, Conn., April 6, 1865.
WHEREAS, FAIRBANKS & BEARD, COBURN, LANG & COMPANY, AND VINCENT &
HATHAWAY, Manufacturers of Mineral Water and bottlers in
the city of Boston, Mass., have become licensees to
make, use and vend upon certain conditions the
inventions of E. HAMILTON and others for closing
bottles, under letters patent, owned by the Automatic
Bottle Closing Company.
Public notice is hereby given that the bottles owned and used by
each of the above named parties respectively and marked
"A. B. C. Co., New Haven, Ct., Pat. Jan. 5, 1864."
together with the name or trade-mark of each of said
parties respectively, are not salable or transferable,
and that the use of the bottles and the sale of their
contents by others than the owners thereof, constitutes
an infringement of the exclusive right secured by the
grant letters patent and the laws relating to the
trade-marks and any party thus violating said rights
will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
H. B. GOODYEAR.
Treasurer and General Agent.
We learn several interesting facts from this
advertisement. First we learn that the Automatic
Bottle Closing Company was supporting those firms that
licensed its patent, by claiming that it would pursue
legal prosecution of anyone who improperly used bottles
of these Boston firms. This was over and above any
legal action these firms could pursue under State
bottling laws. Second, we learn that the "A. B. C.
Co." embossing on the reverse of these bottles, was
considered a trade mark. That explains why all of
the bottles of this form have this embossing on the
reverse. Third, we learn that Vincent & Hathaway
were using bottles marked "A. B. C. Co." and using this
patent along with their trademark on the bottle.
There have been rumors that this bottle existed, but no
tangible proof to date. There is now documentary
evidence that it exists, but we need to see that an
actual bottle survived. If you have one please
contact me so that we can get it recorded. Finally
we learn that Henry B. Goodyear, who is listed on the
patents was the treasurer and general agent or salesman
for this company.
So who was Henry B. Goodyear? We learn for the New
Haven city directories that he was Henry was listed as
having an office at 221 State street from 1863 thru 1867.
This was the same address as the Automatic Bottle Closure
Company and interestingly they both are no longer listed in
directors for 1868 and beyond in New Haven. A quick
Internet search on Henry reveals that he was born on
December 28, 1802 in New Haven Connecticut as Henry
Bateman Goodyear and died on February 11, 1879 in Paris
France. He was connected with Charles Goodyear and was
involved in the manufacture of vulcanized rubber
throughout his life. In 1843, he established a rubber
mill in Naugatuck, Connecticut with Charles Goodyear and
patented a machine for making rubber boots in 1879 shortly
before his death. There is much material on Henry, the
Goodyear patents and is life that is worthy of more
research. It appears his foray into the bottle closure
business was a short one from 1864 to 1867.
The idea for this rubber ball stopper appears to be the
brainchild of Edward Hamilton of Chicago. According to
Census and death records, he was born in May of 1815 in
Canada and died on July 4, 1877 in Chicago and was survived
by his wife Margaret. There are no marked Hamilton bottles
from Chicago, so it does not appear that he was a bottler.
A search of the Chicago city directories and newspapers
reveals that he was involved in the brass foundry business.
He worked for Thomas George & Company as early as 1853
and until 1858, was a member of Hamilton, Fuller & Company
until they got burned out in 1860, and was with Hamilton & Fuller
from 1860 to 1863 or 1864. Thomas & Company advertised
that they manufactured "soda fountains, draught pipes and
coolers" and the firms he was associated with manufactured
items for breweries and saloons. This is likely were
he got his ideas on bottling and improvements to the
process. Hamilton seems
to have retired from the foundry business in 1863 or 1864
and lived off of royalties of his patents. In addition
to the bottle stopper patent, he had a patents starting as
early as 1857 for steam and water cocks, breech-loading
cannons, snap hooks, a method of extracting gold and silver
from quartz, car ventilators, dusters, and an improvement in
the construction of bridges.
From all this we learn that the idea for this stopper
came from a brass founded in Chicago named Edward Hamilton,
who was a prolific inventor. Needing the associated
patents for vulcanized rubber and likely expertise in making
round hollow rubber balls for the stoppers, he teamed up
with Henry B. Goodyear of New Haven to form the Automatic
Bottle Closing Company in 1864. The closure enjoyed
some measure of success in New England and the Mid Atlantic
States with bottlers in New Haven, Boston,
Lockport, New York City, Easton, Philadelphia, and
Georgetown using this closure for soda and beer bottles.
This stopper was embraced by some of the most prominent
bottlers of the day, but they are relatively rare and
collecting them all would be quite the challenge. So
we have to conclude that their use was quickly abandoned one
they were put into production. Their heyday looks to
have been 1864-1866.
The Glass Works Auctions' Colors of Fall Sale contained
an interesting grouping of F. & L. Schaum / Baltimore Glass
Works porters. These come in a great array of colors
including greens, reds and puces of various shades.
I had reported these with a plain
reverse, but one of examples in this auction had a clearly
visible blank plate on the
There is a plate molded pony (MP01I), a plate molded soda
bottle (MS01G), and a plate molded porter bottle (BS02W)
generally attributed to the Baltimore Glass Works (see
bottles below and click on the plate codes above to see bottlers who
names appear in the plate). These were used by
bottlers in Maryland, Delaware, and several other Southern
states. However, none of these are marked with the
glass works on the reverse. Glass manufacturers just
up the Delaware & Chesapeake Canal in Southeastern
Pennsylvania and New Jersey abound with their names embossed
on the bottle and that of a bottler in the removable plate.
A quick chat with Chris Rowell, Baltimore bottle expect,
pointed out that actually all of these Schaum porters have
the blank plate on the reverse. It is often barely
noticeable and missed unless you were looking for it.
Why would the Schaums go to the expense of having a mold
made with a removable plate if they never intended to have
plates made for a least one of their customers?
We can only hope that one or more of these turns up.
If one does, it will be quite a find and with all of the
super Baltimore colors that these porters come in the
imagination can run wild with the possibilities?
Or did the Schaums never get a paying customer to have a
plate made. Maybe the vast array of colors was the
result of the Schaums using the small quantities of glass
remaining in the pot after filling other orders to blow
these porters and selling them as general stock
Thanks to Cory Stock for tracking down the the proprietor
and location of this maverick Saratoga half-pint mineral
Cory found two ads in the The New York Herald dated
October 5, 1873 touting the preventative and curative
properties of the Aletic China Water. The proprietor,
A. W. Lavender,
claimed that this water would cure cholera, yellow fever,
rheumatism, sick headaches, sea sickness and brain and
From these same ads, we find that Lavender was taking
orders at 165 Maiden lane in New York City. A quick
check of the New York City Directories finds that a William
Lintz was operating a grocery store at 165 Maiden in 1872
thru at least 1878. No A. W. Lavender was found listed
in the New York City Directories.
There were two Albert W. Lavenders who may have been the
proprietor in the New York City area. The first Albert
was born in Massachusetts about 1842 and was listed as a
seaman. He shows up in Southport on Long Island as a
shopkeeper in 1870. He remained in New York until
about 1875, when he relocates to Yankton, Dakota Territory,
where he was a grocer. The second Albert W. Lavender
was listed as a shipmaster and storekeeper form at least
1862 to 1873 in the Brooklyn Directories. The later Albert
appears to have been an old "sea salt" who had traveled in
Which of these two Alberts or another A. W. was the
proprietor of the Aletic China Water may have continued to be a mystery until I found
advertisements in a paper called Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly
that was published in New York City. One of the ads in the
August 5, 1871 edition pins the second Albert W. in Brooklyn
as the proprietor. This ad addresses "Captain" A. W.
Lavender and records an address as 195 Leffert place, which
matches Lavender's Brooklyn Directory listing of Lefferts
near Franklin. I am going to give this bottle a dual
location of New York City and Brooklyn and a time period of
production of 1871 to 1873. There were two runs of
this bottle. The earliest is an olive green color with
a tapered top. The later example is from the same
mold, but is aquamarine in color with a rounded tapered
collar. The later bottle pictured above was in the
collection of Dick Watson and is believed to be unique.