Colburn’s Fountain Stopple Jar
Colburn’s Fountain Stopple Jar
George F. J. Colburn, Newark, New Jersey
Provenance: Phil Smith Collection
George F. J. Colburn was a Doctor of Dental Surgery, a leader in his field, and an esteemed author and inventor. He left his impression in many areas, including our feature “Colburn’s Fountain Stopple Jar.”
The subject jar is a hand-blown aquamarine quart with a tooled applied collar. The closure is a stopper seal using a hollow glass stopper embossed ‘G.F.J. COLBURN’S PATENT NOV. 1ST 1864’ around ‘SEAL WITH WAX.’ George F. J. Colburn of Newark, New Jersey, patented the jar. The glassmaker is unknown.
Colburn’s invention allowed syrup to flow through the in-place hollow stopper to fill any space in the jar left over when the fruit cooled. The hole in the stopper was sealed with a cork, and then a coating of cement (wax or rosin) was overlaid in the recessed area on the stopper’s top surface.
The jar is embossed on the face in four centered lines in a sans serif typestyle. The top line is arched and reads ‘COLBURN’S.’ Embossed beneath in three horizontal straight lines is ‘FOUNTAIN STOPPLE JAR.’ The embossing is weak, which is typical for this jar.
George F. J. Colburn
George Fitz James Colburn, of Irish heritage, was born on October 12, 1822, in Salem, Massachusetts. He married Mary Ann Young on May 6, 1846. Colburn lived and practiced dentistry in Newark, New Jersey, until he moved in 1873 to Washington, District of Columbia, where he resided, except for a few months, up to the day of his death in 1897.
G. F. J. Colburn was a prolific writer and researcher with periodic articles like “The Effects of Acids on Teeth” in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal on March 1, 1848, or in the July 28, 1851 issue of Scientific American, where he wrote a column called “The Teeth.” He also provided testimonials for products like “Van Buskirk’s Fragrant Sozodont.” He would address his testimonials as G. F. J. Colburn, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Newark, N.J.
He published Popular Dentistry. Practical Knowledge of the Teeth that Should be Possessed by Every One. In Order to Preserve These Organs from Infancy to Old Age. Colburn was pitching the same “Van Buskirk’s Fragrant Sozodont,” a dental paste that promised to whiten, protect, and preserve teeth. Judges, doctors, and an ex-Governor of New Jersey; all provided glowing testimonials. Before pushing the product, Colburn gives a brief history of dentistry and then opines on dentures, toothbrushes and toothpicks, care and protection, etc.
Colburn was also an inventor with too many inventions to fully recount. A sampling includes:
• G. F. J. Colburn, of Newark, New Jersey. Evaporator Air Pipes. Specification forming part of Letters Patent #31,152 dated January 22, 1861; Reissued April 2nd, 1861, No. 1,170
• George F. J. Colburn, of Newark, New Jersey. Improvement in Lamp-Chimneys. Specifications forming part of Letters Patent No. 38,150 dated April 14, 1863. (Application filed May 1, 1876) Washington, District of Columbia. Witness W. H. H. Colburn
• George F. J. Colburn Improvement in Bird-Cages No. 177, 924, Patented May 30, 1876 (Application filed May 1, 1876) Washington, District of Columbia
Primary Image: Colburn’s Fountain Stopple Jar imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support: Reference to Fruit Jar Annual 2020 – The Guide to Collecting Fruit Jars by Jerome J. McCann
Support: Reference to Red Book No. 12, the Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars by Douglas M. Leybourne, Jr.
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