Sunday, August 9, 2009

E. G. Lyons Manufacturers SanFco

The earliest advertisements for E. G. Lyons & Co was published in the San Francisco Daily Alta California paper on January 7th, 1865. E. G. Lyons was successors to Crevolin & Co; they were wholesale dealers in wines and liquors and manufacturers of syrups, cordials & bitters. The & Co consisted of Jules Hayes.
The above example is apparently one of four, currently in collections in this light pastel green color. There are at this time two different variants known. The differences can be seen on the base of the bottles. The example above has a diagonal mold seam that runs from one beveled edge to an opposite beveled edge. The other variant has a mold seam that runs parallel along the bottom base edge on two adjacent panels, which end up on opposite diagonal beveled edges. The second variant would be my guess as to the older of the two, it shares the mold characteristics of another early made bitters, the G. A. Simon's Medicated Aromatic Bitters which can be pinpointed more accurately to late 1865 thru early 1866 time period thru written documentation.
The lettering style and embossing pattern seem to be identical between the variants, I cannot distinguish any differences. This product bottle most likely contained a cordial or bitters. How long these bottles were being produced is not known. There is strong evidence to suggest that these were made at the Pacific Glass Works. A bottle that appears to be a Lyons is pictured in the stereoscopic view card photo taken of their glassware display at the 1869 San Francisco Mechanics Institute Fair. The above bottle has physical features that distinguish it quite easily from other similarly shaped bottles.


  1. If these were made at the Pacific Glass Works, then they precede the western curve r's found on a lot of their bottles????

  2. The "western R" that so many collectors refer to is an interesting subject to discuss. I know that Eric McGuire believes that its first use in his opinion starts from 1866 on to approximately 1883. I differ somewhat in that opinion, although you have to differentiate what type of curved legged letter R we are referring to in western glass. If you are speaking about the severe curved supported leg R that is seen on some of the whiskies and sodas and medicines I believe that style began around 1873 or so. However, there is the curved leg R of the 1868 Henley's bitters style, which is not the flattened style font with the blunt straight edge or the severe curved supported leg.

    It is not known whether PGW or SFGW brought mouldmakers from the East as they had done with pot makers, and glass blowers. It is known that Pacific Glass Works advertised for a man who is competent to do the blacksmith work of the establishment and prepare the moulds and tools in March 1863 (this research is talked about in my book).

    In an ad, placed one week after PGW begins blowing bottles, states that... "particular attention paid to private moulds. All patterns made at short notice". I would make the assumption that these were made 'in house' instead of using an Eastern mould works. There were 118 metal working foundrymen in S.F. in 1868.

    As far as the curved R letter goes, about the only substantial opinion we know is that there was a pattern maker who did use this stylized letter R during the mid to late '70s and beyond and apparently did work for SFGW and probably for SF&PGW after the merger in 1875.

  3. If you study the San Francisco Glass Works wax sealer jar, I think it will shed some more light on the subject...

  4. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.