GXIII-83 • Ravenna Glass Works – Star Flask

Provenance: John and Louis Fifer Collection

Our GXIII-83 Star – “Ravenna Glass Works” flask is considered scarce and was blown with extraordinary clarity and character. The aquamarine pint flask is intriguing with the embossed pictorial “Star” on the obverse side and the crudely made lettering “Ravenna Glass Works” on the reverse.

The embossed five-pointed Star is centered on the flask face and appears somewhat flat as it is in low relief. The reverse side embossed copy occurs in three straight lines reading ‘RAVENNA GLASS WORKS.’ All lettering is poorly drawn. “Ravenna” is arched in the first line in a sans-serif alphabet. In the second line, “Glass” occurs in a serifed typestyle, in a straight horizontal line, and is in larger letters The two “S’s” are upside down. “Works” is embossed in the third straight horizontal line in small sans serif lettering that is widely spaced. The flask edges are smooth and there is a pontil scar on the base and an applied ring collar on the flask mouth. The flask was probably made at the third Ravenna Glass Co. incarnation from 1852 to 1864.

Ravenna Glass Works

The Ravenna Glass Works, or Company, had a troubled history with at least five incarnations during the period between 1857 and 1893. They are primarily known to collectors for their fruit jars and flasks that are embossed with the “Ravanna Glass Works” name or initials, “R.G.W.”

The first Ravenna Glass Company dates from 1857 to about 1860 or even a little later to April 1861. A grocer named Seth Day, his wife, Mary, Ebenezer, and Frances F. Spaulding, plus Samuel H. and Helen F. Terry, under the banner of the Ravenna Glass Co., purchased three parcels of land in Ravenna, Ohio in August and September of 1857 and transferred the titles to the Ravenna Glass Company. Day apparently converted his store into the sales vehicle for the fledgling glassworks. 

An advertisement in the October 31, 1857 issue of the Cleveland Leader called the firm “Manufacturers of All Kinds of Green Glass Ware,” featuring especially druggist’s ware, although it also offered “vials, in every variety, Caster Oil, Packing, flask and globe bottles, Cap Jars, Demijohns, &c. Also Porter, Mineral Water and Wine bottles, Ink Stands, Ink bottles, Glass Milk Pans, &c., &c.” See the museum example of a Ravenna Glass Works Air-Tight Fruit Jar which was produced during this period.

The glassworks was sold at a sheriff’s sale on April 20, 1861, for $2,783.34 to John and George Forder. Just over a year later, the sheriff again sold the property to George Messenger for $2,400 on July 19, 1862. The Ohio Farmer reported on the new arrangement on January 21, 1863, when it reported that, T. J. Terry was in operation producing all kinds of druggist’s ware, wine bottles, and bottles of every kind. This reincarnation, too, failed. In the Portage County Democrat on February 10, 1864, Henry G. Abbey announced, “I shall offer for sale at public auction at the south door of the Federal Court Building . . . on the fourteenth day of March 1864, the Ravenna Glass Co.” 

See the museum example of a GII-37 Eagle “Ravenna Glass Company” and Anchor flask.

See the museum example GXV-17 “Ravenna Glass Works” plain lettered flask

Primary Image: GXIII-83 Star – “Ravenna Glass Works” Flask imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support: Reference to Ravenna Glass Co. by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr

Support Image: Three lettered iron pontiled Ravenna Glass Works pint flasks. GXIII-83, GXV-17, and GII-37 – Louis Fifer collection.

Support: Reference to 1983 Standard Fruit Jar Reference by Dick Roller, Privately published.

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