GXV-25 • Wheeling Va Old Rye
GXV – 25
Possibly Union Glass Works, Quarrier & Co.
Olive Green Pint Lettered Flask
Provenance: Chip Cable Collection
Our pint example of a GXV-25 “Old Rye” “Wheeling Va” is classified as a “Lettered Flask.” McKearin and Wilson list 34 different molds in their charts, some common and some rare. Most authorities agree that some of the ones listed as rare are extremely rare. The flask may have been made at the Union Glass Works in Wheeling, Virginia, in the mid-1850s. The consigner bought the flask from a gentleman who lived in Wheeling, where he dug it in a privy. The condition is excellent.
Wheeling, West Virginia
The U.S. government recognized West Virginia as the thirty-fifth state on June 20, 1863, culminating more than sixty years of heated sectional politics and legislative maneuverings.
A good transportation system made Wheeling an ideal location for a glass factory during the 19th century as it is located on the Ohio River at the river’s intersection with the National Road. During the 1840s, waterways were the best mode for inter-city transportation. America’s railroad network was still in its infancy, especially west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were an easy way to ship products to large cities such as Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, and New Orleans.
Glassmaking requires high quantities of fuel to melt the raw materials used to make glass. Coal was the fuel of choice for making glass during much of the 19th century, succeeding wood and eventually succeeding by natural gas. Wheeling and the surrounding area was part of the Ohio Coal Belt, and coal was mined nearby.
The GXV-25 Flask
The obverse side of the GXV-25 “Old Rye” “Wheeling VA” flask has a large oval frame with narrow molding 2-13/16 inches wide and 3-13/16 inches in height. ‘WHEELING’ is embossed just within the molding, following the top frame contour from upper left to right, ending with the “G” lower than “W”; ‘VA’ embossed in a centered straight line beneath with the “A” opposite “G.” The reverse side of the flask has a similar frame. The top, just within the molding, is embossed ‘OLD RYE’ similarly curved as the opposite side.
The pint has a single heavy rib on the flask edge. The neck is tooled with a broad rounded ring below the thickened plain lip. The base is smooth and oblong with a faint horizontal seam and depressed oval. The known glass colors are yellowish green (light and dark), olive green, and blue-green. The flask is somewhat crude glass having a number of tiny air bubbles and small clusters of impurities throughout.
Van Rensselaer attributed the flask to the Union Glass Works of Quarrier, Ott & Co., Wheeling, Virginia, who were in business from early 1850 to 1853 when they became Quarrier, Jacob & Co. By 1855, Union Glass Works was run by Quarrier & Co. An 1855 newspaper advertisement stated, “The subscribers are now prepared to fill orders for all descriptions of Green Glass ware, such as Druggists Glass of every kind, Fruit Jars, Wine, Porter and Mineral Water Bottles, Flasks, Ink bottles, etc. Bottles for Patent Medicines, and other purposes, made to any pattern desired.” Quarrier & Co. would shut down in the early 1860s as their glasshouse property was sold to another entity.
Primary Image: GXV-25 “OLD RYE” – “WHEELING VA” Lettered Flask imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers, New York, 1978
Support Image: Flask, GXV-25, Mold blown, Olive green glass; mold-blown; applied ring around neck; circular depression on base. Obverse: oval with “WHEELING VA”. Reverse: oval with “OLD RYE.” Edges: vertical rib. Provenance: McKearin Antiques – Corning Museum of Glass
Support: Reference to Appreciate ‘Lettered Flasks,’ Mark Vuono, Antique Bottle & Glass Collector, December 2014
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