Wednesday, November 4, 2009

California Glass Works

Another glassworks that little is known about is the California Glass Works, a concern that began in 1881 and seems to have slipped into oblivion some time after 1882. I've only found three sources of information for this firm, the first coming from a book published in 1882; in it is written "The California Co-Operative Glass Works were established at San Francisco in 1881 by John L. Kelly & Co., with a capital of $7,000. The industry furnishes employment to 40 men and boys, who are turning out green, amber and white vials, bottles, and demijohns, to the value of $4,000 monthly. The works are located at the foot of Ninth Street."

This article came from the November 19th, 1882 issue of the San Francisco Alta California newspaper, which wrote; "at a recent meeting of the Bottle Beer Protective Association, J. F. G. Eggers, President, a contract for 200,000 beer bottles was awarded to the California Glass Works. The bottles formerly need by this Association were made in France. It is now found that as good if not better bottles for beer can be made in this city as in a foreign country. We stated in our issue of yesterday that it was the San Francisco Glass Works that had been awarded the contract. It should have been the California Glass Works, as above. The California Glass Works is a new and enterprising company, in which some of our most prominent citizens are largely interested."

In the book Bottle Makers and their Marks, Julian Toulouse states this glassworks had started in 1881 but was sold by sheriff's sale in 1882, the new owners made bottles in green and amber glass but again failed after a year. S.F. & PGW bought and closed it in 1883, but the workmen started the Oakland Glass Works in 1884.

It would be nice to know if any identifiable markings are known on any bottles from this firm.


  1. Dick Roller, before he passed, did some excellent research on glass factories, including those in Ca. I believe in one of his articles, he mentioned a jar that was base embossed CGW that he thought was from San Francisco.

  2. Here's an 1890 reference to the California Glass Works, said to be located at 10th and Utah Streets in San Francisco, but failed before 1889:

    "There is a specific duty of 1 per cent per pound upon empty bottles imported into this country from Europe, and an ad valorem of 30 per cent upon bottles containing liquids. In spite of these duties, for the year ending October 31, 1889, no less than $88,368 worth of bottles passed through the San Francisco Custom House, and for the year immediately preceding, $78,976.

    "Several attempts were made, from time to time, to extend the business of manufacturing glass in this State, but they all proved failures. The Pacific Glass Works at the Potrero, and the California, at Tenth and Utah Streets, in San Francisco, the former with a furnace of from six to eight pots, and the latter from four to five, succumbed after a short existence. The same can be said of the attempts to establish glass works in Oakland and Berkeley."

  3. Just found your website. I have found only one reference to a bottle I have with the initials PCGW on the bottom:
    "CLARK'S/CALIFORNIA/CHERRY/CORDIAL Fike 1987:87", in the Midwest Archeological Center of the National Parks Service.
    Can you tell me more about this bottle?

  4. Kristi,
    Your bottle was manufactured by the Pacific Coast Glass Works in San Francisco at Seventh and Irving Sts. This factory started in 1902 by George Newman and James H. Davis who were involved with the S.F.&P.G.W. factory before selling it to the Abramson-Heunisch concern.