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Early Canning Jars made in San Francisco, California

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    Posted 10 years ago

    (4 items)

    To Western bottle (and jar) collectors, there is an allure to any glass containers that have makers markings firmly identifying them as being Western in actual origin, i.e., blown in the West. Unfortunately, there are very few early (pre-1880) glass containers that have the full name of Western glass works embossed on them.

    One of the exceptions to the above is that there are a few late 1860s to 1870s era jars that have the full glass makers names boldly embossed on them. The first image is of a quart jar embossed with PACIFIC / SAN FRANCISCO / GLASS WORK. The "S" is missing from the WORK(S); another variety has the "S" present. The reverse side is embossed with VICTORY - the patented jar type - along with a couple patent dates in the mid-1860s. This is a ground top, externally screw threaded jar (similar to the famous Mason's patent jars) that utilized a zinc band to hold down the slightly cupped glass lid.

    According to Dave Hinson's excellent article on the subject (URL at the bottom), the Pacific Glass Works (PGW) was founded in 1862, first blew bottles in 1863 and operated under that name until merger with the San Francisco Glass Works in 1876. The jars date primarily from the late 1860s to 1870s most likely. The PGW also produced a blob soda bottle with the full company name spelled out on the base.

    The second (quart jar) and third (close-up of the embossing) images are of the "groove-ring wax seal" (sealed with a tin lid and wax in the groove ring lip or finish) jar that is embossed with SAN FRANCISCO / GLASS WORKS. The molds for these jars (quart and half gallon sizes) was a reworking of the original CUTTING & CO. / SAN FRANCISCO molds, with the CUTTING & CO. embossing being covered over ("slugged out" in collector terminology) and GLASS WORKS added below the SAN FRANCISCO. Resourceful way to reuse the mold, eh?

    (Incidentally, the mold engraver who added the GLASS WORKS to this jar [who was not the original mold engraver] was the famous - though whose name is now lost to history - machinist who used a uniquely distinctive "curved R," which marks his mold work - some hundreds of different molds and bottles used in the West from about 1870 to the mid-1880s - to this day as his own.)

    Anyway, that glass works (SFGW) was founded (under that name) in 1869 and merged with the PGW as noted above. The SFGW also produced at least one soda bottle with the same embossing on the body. (Note: Baker, Cutting & Co. was in business in 1859 to 1860 or so; the jars with that embossing are even rarer than the SFGW jars which are rare.)

    It is almost certain that the above noted jars were produced by the combined glass company - the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works (SF&PGW) - using the same molds until the early 1880s. Interestingly enough, at some point (probably early 1880s) the two SFGW jar molds were reworked with the SFGW embossing "slugged out" entirely and the previously blank back half of the mold engraved with M. SELLER & CO. / PORTLAND, O. to fill an order for that company. These jars were blown by the SF&PGW and created the only wax seal fruit jar in the West outside of the couple noted in California...and very rare jars they are indeed.

    ...and if that weren't enough, the mold engraver for the Seller's jar was also the famous - but totally anonymous - "curved R" mold engraver of Western collector fame...

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    1. MsDowAntiques MsDowAntiques, 10 years ago
      I've got the 1/2 gal Pacific/Victory sitting in the window next to me as I write -- a great jar! Thanks for sharing all the info, too.

      Fruit jar collectors -- the summer Muncie Fruit Jar Get-Together is just a few weeks away. See the events calendar here on Collectors Weekly -- or go to the Summer Muncie website:

    2. jfcutter jfcutter, 10 years ago
      Glad you like it!

      I also have a write-up about them on my Historic Bottle Website - on the Food Bottles & Canning Jars page at this link: Sealers

      It also included a short write-up on the half-gallon Victory, which I have an example of that we dug 40 years ago...but alas it was in two pieces that I glued together.


      Bill Lindsey
      Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website

    3. Jeff Klingler, 10 years ago
      hi bill, i have another pretty rare San Francisco jar , a Collins, Wheaton & Luhrs packer jar. also a 1920s? Getzbest qt jar. i love these old calif jars and would love to have a great example of the Cutting and Co or the M Sellers. thanks for sharing!
    4. Jerry Ikeda, 10 years ago
      Bill, Great article and nice pictures. I also collect Western jars. I am looking for an AP Brayton jar. I added a Cutting & Co quart and Dodge Sweeny quart in the last couple of years. You can also visit my website at "".
      Jerry Ikeda
    5. Gary Coffland, 10 years ago
      I've got a Collin's Wheaton & Luhr's as well. I found it under a victorian farmhouse in Redwood City, Ca. The glass is absolutely pristine but a big chunk of the threads (about 1/4 of same are / were knocked out and not to be found...:-(. The good news is that with a band and glass cover the fault doesn't show. Love that jar! I also have a good number of other California jars (Victory, Victory w/Glass Works embossing, California Butter and more) but I don't have either of the wax sealers! Wish I did.
    6. Gary Coffland, 10 years ago
      Another great find and another sad story... I dug an AP Brayton in SF...neck and top are completely gone. Of course I've kept it...unusual color, very hard to describe, kind of a teal/cobalt color.
    7. Jerry Ikeda, 10 years ago
      Gary, You mention a California Butter are you referring to a Dodge Sweeny? I have a M. Seller quart and half gallon has anyone ever seen a pint M. Sellers? Still looking for a AP Brayton jar.
    8. Gary Coffland, 10 years ago
      Hi Jerry, yes, I did mean Dodge Sweeny (which is a quart). We moved into our present house some time ago and (love the coincidence..) I just finished installing a cabinent and got out some of my faveorite bottles, jars. Out came the Victory, Collins/Wheaton/Luhrs, Sweeny, the BROKEN AP Brayton, etc. One product jar I forgot to mention that came out: Cala Bonzest... Very cool applied lip jar. This is the smaller variant. Don't kno if you all are familar? If I get fancy maybe I'll take some you all kno how to upload photo's here?
    9. Jerry Ikeda, 10 years ago
      Glad that you are able to display your jars, you have some nice ones. My Dodge Sweeny is dark aqua. I have also seen in clear, what color is yours? I have not seen a Cala Bonzest jar before. Not sure how to post pictures. You can view some of my jars on my website "".
    10. Warren Friedrich, 9 years ago
      Glad to see an article on western canning jars. The article unfortunately is not accurate on its facts about the SFGW & PGW glass works. A very detailed, factual book written on these glassworks is available. The title is EARLY GLASSWORKS OF CALIFORNIA and can be purchased by contacting the author Warren Friedrich.

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