Hartell’s Glass PatENTEd 1858 Air-Tight Jar

Provenance: Jerry McCann Collection

Our “Hartell’s Glass Air Tight Cover” example is interesting as it represents a label-under-glass apothecary jar that is rarely found. The condition is excellent in this dark amethyst or almost black glass jar. Period advertising stated that the Hartell Jar lids used glass on all sides and there was no danger of being poisoned by metal.

The patentee was Thomas R. Hartell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The jar was made circa 1858-1863 by the Union Glass Works in Philadelphia. Hartwell teamed up with John Letchworth to form Hartell & Letchworth in 1858 who were the new proprietors of the glassworks. Located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, the Union Glass Works opened in 1826 and remained in production until 1880 or so under various ownership. See the GI-119 Bust of Columbia Liberty Cap – American Eagle portrait flask in the Historical Flask Gallery.

There is a glass cap form variation with spikes around its outside perimeter. These Hartell jars have a history of being used as chemist jars and the caps were used on jars that contained poisonous compounds.

Hartell’s Glass Air-Tight Cover jars were patented in 1858. This patent date is embossed on the glass jar top reading ‘PATENTED OCT. 19, 1858’ while ‘HARTELL’S GLASS AIR-TIGHT COVER’ is embossed on the outer skirt of the glass lid. The jar is found in aquamarine, black (deep amethyst), cobalt blue, and green glass. The container was hand-blown and has a ground lip. The closure is a top seal on a ground lip with three lugged screw caps engaging three inclined ramps on the jar’s neck.

From The Home Manual: Or, The Economical Cook and House-book: Hints on the Daily Duties of a Housekeeper by Elizabeth Nicholson, 1865:

Primary Image: Hartell’s Glass Air-Tight Cover preserve jar imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Hartell’s Patd 1858 Pint in Steel Blue. The closure is aqua with a correct style glass cap (has a manufacturer’s under-fill at the bottom edge). Overall ground wear, normal roughness of the ground mouth, a small burst bubble on the shoulder. 1860s. Extremely rare in this color. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass.

Support: Auction Lot 038: Hartell’s Patd 1858 Air Tight Fruit Jar Quart in a greenish coloration. Original closure. Sparkling glass. Flaking of the ground mouth. Embossing on lid only. Base is unmarked. 1860s. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass.

Support: Auction Lot 1313: Hartell’s Jar w/ Original Glass Pharmacy Label, Quart, Black amethyst, Closure: correct original Hartells style glass lid with 1858 patent date, in the exact matching Black Amethyst color and retaining the original undisturbed sealing gasket, shiny appearance, Condition: No damage, flaking all around the ground mouth. Note that the original glass label is in good shape (the dark area on the label shown in the photo is merely a reflection, the label is in fact a bright and solid gold color all over), base unmarked, age: 1860s, Availability: Rare, especially with the original undisturbed pharmacal label, because most examples had their labels removed by fruit jar collectors and dealers in years past – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass

Support: Quart Cobalt blue example from the Darrell Plank collection. This example only has the embossed patent data on the lid top. The pint cobalt blue Hartell’s Glass Air-Tight jar is also from the Plank collection.

Support: Auction Lot 204: “Hartell’s Glass Air-Tight Cover / Patented / Oct. 19, 1858.” Fruit Jar Lid, America, 1858-1870. Cylindrical with internal lugs, rich aquamarine, ht. 1 1/4 inches, dia. 3 9/16 inches. This lid fits jar L #1211. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support: Reference to Fruit Jar Annual 2020 – The Guide to Collecting Fruit Jars by Jerome J. McCann

Support: Reference to Red Book #11, the Collector’s Guide to Old Fruit Jars by Douglas M. Leybourne, Jr.

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