Collins & Chapman Wheeling, W.V.
Collins & Chapman
William Collins, Wheeling, West Virginia
Aquamarine Quart Wax Sealer Jar
Provenance: Phil Smith Collection
Collins & Chapman Wheeling, West Virginia jars are very rare and not often seen. We display a half-gallon and feature an aquamarine quart. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later the second-largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the American Civil War, Wheeling was the host of the Wheeling Conventions that led to the formation of West Virginia, and it was the first capital of the new state.
Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. The federal government recognized West Virginia as a state on June 20, 1863, while at the same time, Virginia, one of the original signers of the Constitution, remained in rebellion.
Collins & Chapman hinge mold jars are hand-blown with a ground lip and smooth, unmarked base. The closure uses a wax seal channel formed by a fitted metal collar. The collar was meant to be peeled off for ease of removing the lid. The jars were made post-Civil War in 1866 or so by an unknown Wheeling, West Virginia, glass manufacturer. The embossed copy on the straight-sided jar reads ‘COLLINS & CHAPMAN’ in a sans serif typestyle in a convex arch creating a visual top half of a circle. ‘WHEELING. W.V.’ is embossed beneath in a concave under-arch, completing the bottom half of the typographic circle.
In 1867, reoccurring advertisements in The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer announced a new business and our subject jar: “New Queensware Store. Collins & Chapman, Dealers in China, Glass & Queensware, No. 181 Market Square, Wheeling. Proprietors of Collins & Chapman’s Glass Fruit Jar.” The 1867 Wheeling City Directory noted that William Collins was the proprietor. The Chapman name could have been a local grocer or brass founder. James Forbes was a clerk at the store.
The demand for the items they were selling must have been great because Veasey, Forbes & Co. had a similar store blocks away. Donald Forbes was one of the partners and was James Forbes’s older brother meaning the brothers worked at competing entities that year.
By 1868, Chapman is gone, and the new listing is “William Collins, China, Glass and Queensware, 181 Market” in the Williams’ Wheeling Directory.
Another directory listing was for Veazey, Forbes & Co. (Richard Veazey, Donald Forbes and Jas. F. Barnes). They were “Importers and Dealers in China, Glass and Queensware, Lamps, &c. located at 52 Main Street. Veazey was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1825 and died on February 24, 1870. During this period, the molds used to make “Collins & Chapman Wheeling. W.V.” jars were altered to make “Veazey, Forbes & Co. Wheeling. W.V.” embossed jars which are extremely rare.
By 1869 William Collins had shut down his shop. The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer displayed new ads for “Forbes, Collins & Craig, Importers & Jobbers in China, Glass and Queensware! Plated Ware, Steamboat and House Furnishing Goods, Lamps, Oils &c., &c… House Formerly Occupied by Veasey, Forbes & Co., No. 52 Main Street.” These ads continued through 1871.
Primary Image: Collins & Chapman Wheeling W.V. quart jar imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support Image: Auction Lot 2384: COLLINS & CHAPMAN WHEELING WV. Rare Wax Sealer. Size: Half Gallon. Color: Aquamarine. Closure: Sheared and not-ground mouth with an applied metal collar and a tin wax sealer cap. The outer collar looks old but is a well-made distressed replica. The unmarked tin cap is of the period. Appearance: shiny, there is a small area of scuffing on the inside. Condition: no damage, typical rough-sheared mouth that was not ground or fire-polished. Strength of embossing: strong. Base: unmarked. Age: late 1800’s – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, March-April 2011
Support Image: Auction Lot 14442: COLLINS & CHAPMAN WHEELING WV. Rare Wax Sealer. Size: Quart. Rare. Color: Aquamarine. The metal outer ring and sheared inner mouth form a wax sealing groove and comes with an early unmarked tin cap. The outer ring looks old but is made with a finger tab joinery as shown, like a Globe-style neck band, which is suspect. Appearance: Sparkling glass with a nice crude texture. Condition: small open bubble on the interior. Embossing: strong Base: unmarked. Age:c1870 Availability: rare and a sharp example. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, April 2017
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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