Wednesday, November 20, 2019


For some unexplained reason the western spice manufacturers had an affinity for a certain style bottle like no other place in the United States. The prototype bottle appears to be the slightly earlier J.W. HUNNEWELL & Co. bottle from Boston, Massachusetts. These bottles generally contained milled, or ground spices of all types. They were manufactured in San Francisco from the late 1860’s through the decade of the 1870’s. Except for the Marden & Folger and Bovee spice bottles, which are too old to have been made in California, the embossed San Francisco made examples are pictured below.

I am not aware of any other embossed California examples and would like to hear from anyone who can add to the inventory of known California spice bottles of this type.



This example is the uncommon half size version of its larger size variant. Perhaps it held a more expensive article, or one that had a tendency to degrade more quickly.

D. GHIRARDELLI & CO / SAN FRANCISCO  This is the regular, or larger size example of the item pictured above.


G. VENARD / SAN FRANCISCO  An obvious completely different variant of the Venard spice pictured above.

H. C. HUDSON & CO. It is not marked with a city of origin but it is a San Francisco company.

W. P.  This spice bottle was difficult to identify for many years but the initials are the unregistered trademark of Wellman, Peck & Co. of San Francisco. The mark is often seen on their early tea boxes as well.

Who can add to the list of these little embossed jewels of San Francisco glass? 

Friday, November 1, 2019


This little barrel shaped bottle is one of the treasures of the early western glass industry. The company that sold it, the Meat & Fish Packing Co. of San Francisco, was very short-lived. Documentation is nearly non-existent save for one reference that put in on the map. The relatively new product was marketed in 1878 and the proprietors decided to enter it into the 13th Industrial Exhibition of the Mechanics’ Institute in September of that year, and noted in the Pacific Rural Press, September 21, 1878.

Literally translated from its German roots, Ochsenmaulsalat means ‘Ox mouth salad’. This concoction was a delicacy (and probably still is) originated in southern Germany and Bavaria. It must be made from meat picked from the cheeks and tongue of a cooked corned beef head. The meat is additionally boiled in a water vinegar mixture for three hours then cut into small pieces with onion, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, with additional spices if desired.

Apparently there weren’t enough Germans in San Francisco to keep the company in business and it silently went away. The business was never even listed in the San Francisco business directory. Left behind were a very few of the “nicest glass barrels” as pictured below.

The barrels are a little larger than most mustard bottles and are obvious contenders for being blown at the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works – in 1878. Measuring about 5 1/2 inches in height, I must agree, they are very nice, and one of my very favorite California made bottles.

If one is really observant it is even possible to find an example blown from the re-worked mold of the Meat & Fish Packing Co., as shown above.  A slugged out arch hiding the area of the previous embossing is a dead giveaway. These bottles are also not very common and I have no idea what they may have contained, but they do look similar to a mustard bottle and may have been used for that product.