Saturday, November 10, 2012

S.F. Gaslight Co.

 Here is a gorgeous piece of western blown glass. These ammonia's are a category of collecting in themselves and I love the many colors they represent. This example has the "L" on the base, but "ammonia" is not in a slug plate. I would assume it is an earlier version due to the large applied top.

 Apparently, ammonia was a by-product of the manufacturing process for producing gas for the street gas lights. At least that is my understanding, but not being a chemist, I do not know for sure. It seems that in an age of cholera and other deadly bugs, sanitation was a major concern. This example looks like it is late 1870s, or early 1880s. These come in a myriad of colors with aqua being most prevalent. I have seen examples in every shade of green, amber,yellow, pink and clear with cobalt blue being extremely rare. It is interesting that the cobalt S.F. Gaslight bottles all come with a double roll collar applied top, and have a mold extension making them taller than the regular quart size "fat" style.  To find any colored quart with an applied top is rare, as most of the deeper emerald, yellow, amber and pink specimens have a smaller tooled top. I have seen half gallon sizes, pint and even inside screw thread quarts. Obviously ammonia was a very well used product as there are hundreds of unembossed ammonias found as well.

 I have been very curious for years as to why there are so many colors and styles which were designed for these beautiful bottles. Why are the cobalt examples always the taller double roll style, and the pink specimens always the regular quart size with a tooled top? The deep emerald coloration always seems to come in the tooled style as well. It would seem that these differences were by design, and not by default. Such is the case with the similar U.S.A. Hosp. Dept. bottles...almost the same range in colors, and for as serious of a product as medicines for our troops, one would think that the range of colors is product specific. Such is not the case with ammonia bottles as the product is consistent.
 Many colored ammonias were wrapped in wicker which causes one to think, that these bottles were re-used and needed to appear as part of one's home decor. Every wicker wrapped quart I find, is pretty exciting as you never know what is under that wicker!
 There are some incredible collections of embossed, and unembossed ammonias in collections. let's see your colored ammonias! DM

Cal49er sent along a few pictures of his ammonia's ENJOY!

Thanks for the fantastic pictures!


  1. What color would you call this bottle

  2. When I compared the color plates of Dale's bottle to the color of citron on the internet websites it is a close match in my opinion. The definition of citron puts it as a yellow-green.

  3. This has to be one of the nicest Gas Light bottles I've ver seen. What a beauty!!!

  4. Those are some beautiful bottles! I especially like the "doughnut top" in cobalt. That is the only one I have ever seen. Very nice! Dale M.

  5. Best Gaslight I've ever seen! You must have paid a fortune for that green one. Wow!
    Jeff W.