Friday, January 6, 2017

Success At The Oakland Glass Works

Apparently the Oakland Glass Works was indeed successful at the manufacture of claret bottles. It is interesting to note that the difficulty in manufacturing this type of bottle was actually with the punt. There is much more information available regarding the Oakland Glass Works that has not been published before, but a fellow collector is in the process of putting together a great article with this "new" information and I don't want to steal his thunder so I will just post these two snippets regarding the claret bottles.

So who has an OGW claret bottle hiding in their collection ?
Pictures from Robgarb


Thanks for the pictures Rob.
So what do you think guys and gals -  could theses be the elusive OGW claret's?


  1. The article suggests that so many were being pumped out, there should be quite a few around. Obviously they must not be base embossed due to the "push up" technique, and the "twist" would mean no mold seams...weird. DM

  2. Dale;

    The second article, posted here, is what I based my original comment on back in Decemeber. It states, "experiment", "could", "thought that they could be", etc. etc. It does not actually state that OGW ever implemented these production techniques.


  3. I have two bottles that fit the description,deep punt (with a dimple) one is a little off clear and the other is wine green ,both are turn mold and found within 20 miles of Oakland.

  4. Maybe I missed something, but why were they so worried about a seamless bottle ? The seamed claret bottles made by SF & PGW seemed to look and work just fine. I can't find my supplement to Warren's book, does it contain more information on this matter ? How about The Campbell Glass Works in West Berkeley, they initially planned on producing beer, wine, soda, fruit, and "other" types of bottles. They were successful at the Wheeler jars, so who's to say they didn't pump out a bunch of wines before they closed down.

  5. The first article above indicates they are "turning out" claret bottles...where are they? I have dug a ton of seamless green wines and have either tossed them back or given them to homeowners. maybe some of these were OGW? I agree with Andrew...on why the focus on seamless wines? It seems to me that OGW was attempting to solve a problem that really did not exist.

  6. It seems to me that y'all are missing the point of the seemless bottle. The glass industry was trying to make their bottles more appealing, less crude and clearer. I understand that the bottle collector today puts a premium on crudeness and color but back when these vessels were being manufactured the companies were trying to improve the appearance of their wares.

    Maybe I shouldn't say this but back then we might have had a similar situation as we do today. Cultured wine drinkers more than likely wanted the containers that they purchased be just a little bit better than the containers the common class of folks purchased and consumed. Lord forbid that a premium wine come in a substandard bottle with a trashy seam going up the side of it. HAR!

  7. I guess I missed to point for sure...I drink wine out of a box. I am common folk. As for the OGW wines, I really do not care whether they had seams, were clear, or cobalt...I just want one of these things handed to me and told, "this is one of the OGW wines".

  8. WGA,what you are asking may be hard to determine if these bottle were meant to compete with,copy the foreign manufactured ones ,how would you distinguish one as being made by the O.GW.'s?.One feature I did note was the very top of the indented punt in the bottom had a significant indent or depression ,I do not know any of the bottles well enough to say they would be a distinguishing feature of O.G.W.

  9. How about photos of these two possible OGW clarets ?

  10. I have taken a few photos but I do not see a way to publish them to the post?

    1. If you can email them to me I can attach them to the post.

  11. It is beginning to appear that the true OGW wines are as rare as an Old Signet. Cannot wait to see a photo of one in captivity or in the wild. DM

  12. When I did my research on the German Connection, I came across several tidbits here and there that were not really related to the whiskies, but were interesting enough to remember. I recall reading that the reason of importance for having seamless wine bottles was because glass blowers/factories were trying to emulate France and the aesthetic of their seamless wine bottles. It further stated that not having a seam, reduced the risk of the label being placed over the seam and having a wrinkle or seam mark in the label. France for centuries, had been the one to match on wines and wine bottles, and most of the very very early (Gold Rush era) wine bottles we dig in the West were made in France.
    As Rick alluded, it's all about the culture and aesthetic when it comes to wines.... then and now.
    The seamless wine bottles that I've dug in the Bay Area and the West, do not resemble the colors I've seen on OGW ammonias. Certainly the bottles with seams do, but the pits those are usually dug in seem to be(pun intended) a little too early to be OGW, and I would lean towards those being SF&PGW (the wider bottles)... and the narrower bottles being before the 1876 merger. Who knows for sure though,,, maybe OGW produced seamed wines as well, and those wider bottles with seams are a little later then thought to be ??

    Also, contrary to the promotional newspaper article above, wine bottles were actually made successfully here in the West in a stationary mold (those with seams) prior to OGW. We dig them from the early 1870s thru late 1870s, and they are very Western.


  13. Tough call on the two wines pictured...could be OGW. As for Tom's comments, I still lean towards some OGW wines having seams early on, until they "perfected" the no seam process later. I still cannot get around the fact that many of the seamed western wines are identical in color to my OGW ammonia's. Absolutely identical.These are not common colors either...deep almost Palmer green, topaz, citrine, lemon yellow, etc. Never seen even one SF or PGW bottle in some of these colors. All of the colored seamed wines in these particular colors I have dug were definitely in 80s context...not saying all but I believe ( and I am likely the only one), that some of these colored wines are OGW.

  14. Dale,
    I believe you!
    Don D from Forbestown called me this morning and has a sealed wine embossed in the seal Paulo Burns Wine Co. Prop. Yerba Buena Wine Yard San Jose Cal US. No seam kickup base claret style. I believe Burns was involved in the Yerba Buena Bitters.

  15. By Jove I think I have one! Dug it on a construction site so had no homeowner to give it to...Will post a pic of this historic vessel soon.The "unicorn" has been found! May actually wash it now. DM

  16. A really interesting discussion and one that will probably have no resolve. I find it interesting that the OGW was so intent on removing the mold seams from their wine bottles. This bottle is a perfect example of that quest even though the apparent horizontal seam is still present from what looks like a three- piece mold. The early French Bordeaux or Claret style bottles that are so prevalent from the 1850's and 60's have no mold seams but were not blown in a paste or turn mold process. They were most likely dip-molded as the shoulder area is generally slightly larger than the diameter of the base. This would easily allow for the extrication of the bottle from the mold. The base push-up would then have to be formed by hand. A band was then wrapped around the top and then the blow pipe with excess glass was snapped off just above the newly applied top. The French were very good at this even though these bottles are all slightly inconsistent.
    Why the OGW was so anal about reproducing this look seems a little odd to me. Perhaps this obsession is one of the reasons why the company was so short lived, for it had failed by the end of February 1885, a run of about six months. I wouldn't expect too many of their special bottles to have been sold in the market place compared to those of the San Francisco factories. If this particular style was actually so important I suspect that many other glass companies were doing the same thing.
    I doubt that the OGW clarets were ever produced in pink as that color is rare even for that glass works. It is interesting to note that the OGW was using some of the best sand known for their bottles, so that the colors should, theoretically, be completely controlled by the colorizing elements. Of course, there would always be some inconsistency in the added minerals which would affect the final product.
    Dale's bottle, as shown here, certainly fits the description of what the OGW was trying to achieve, given the time period of the mid 80's. But without running extensive chemical analyses of OGW glass, we probably will never know if it is from this factory.
    I would love to see some member photos of OGW bottles so that we can all make some better comparisons and perhaps conclusions about their product.