Sunday, June 23, 2024



Back in 2012 I wrote an article on the unusual E. Verdier siphon bottles produced in San Francisco. (Bottles & Extras, Jan -  Feb 2012) I mentioned that Verdier had sued the Pacific Glass Works in 1866 for breach of contract. (Daily Alta California, August 14, 1866). The cause of the action was not well explained and I made a guess at the essence of the suit. I noted, “Likely the top finish was not consistent enough to adequately accommodate the siphon mechanism attached to the top of each bottle, but this is only conjecture”. As luck would have it, I was wrong, but another newspaper had a different spin on the action, which clarified the issue. The Sacramento Bee copied an article on this subject that was originally written in the San Francisco Call, and published a few days after the Daily Alta California article. It became available on the Internet several years later.

The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California, August 16, 1866

This article clarifies the reason for the legal action and gets a little closer to which factory may have produced these very rare bottles. I have seen only two of these siphons and one is made of the typical dark aqua glass often produced by both the Pacific Glass Works and the San Francisco Glass Works during the 1860’s. However, the other known example was produced in what the San Francisco Glass Works called their “flint glass”. Colorless glass was not a product of the Pacific Glass Works until the mid-1880s. 

It is not known if Verdier completely junked the first batch of his bottles blown at the Pacific Glass Works, but it is probably a safe bet that he did. Working with bottles that exploded because of the high pressures caused by their contents was a hazard that would be avoided at any cost. Many bottlers were killed or maimed because of this issue. He probably just ordered a completely new batch from the San Francisco Glass Works, which produced some in aqua and some in clear. The color was not nearly as important as was the ability to withstand the necessary requirement of 250 psi.

By the way, I have yet to see any other siphon bottles that have ‘embossed’ lettering. I  am not sure if this is a unique situation, but it is certainly rare.

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