Air-Tight Fruit Jar. NE Plus Ultra Made By Bodine & Bros. Wmstown, N.J. For Their Patented Glass Lid
NE PLUS ULTRA Air-Tight Fruit Jar
Made By Bodine & Bros. Wms’town, N.J.
For Their Patented Glass Lid
Bodine & Brothers, Washington Glass Works
Williamstown, New Jersey
Provenance: Phil Smith Collection
The Bodine family operated a series of glass companies at two locations in New Jersey starting in 1836 when Joel F. Bodine, a former stage line owner, started the Williamstown Glass Works. Bodine brought his three sons, John F., William H., and Joel A. Bodine (also known as J. Alfred), into the firm in 1846, the same year the family purchased the Bridgeton Glass Works.
One fruit jar made by the Bodines, and our museum example, has been called “the longest lettering found on any fruit jar.” The jar can be found in four sizes with a few lettering variations.
The embossed name, support copy, and geometric shapes of “Ne Plus Ultra Air-Tight Fruit Jar” completely surround and fill the cylindrical jar’s sides. Ne Plus Ultra means the highest point capable of being attained. The jar was made circa 1858 to 1864 by the Washington Glass Works of Williamstown, New Jersey.
The embossing copy encircles the jar in three rows. The top line is embossed in a sans serif copy, ‘NE PLUS AIR-TIGHT FRUIT JAR.’ There is a period after “Jar.” Beneath this top line of the copy are eight (8) linear debossed rectangles used as a motif that surrounds the jar. In the center portion of the jar, the second line of embossed copy is ‘MADE BY BODINE & BROS. WMS’ TOWN N J.’ Typographically, this line is complex as “Made By” is in a sans serif type. With the “Bodine & Bros” copy, the “s” of “Bros” is raised, smaller, and followed by a period. This copy is serifed. With “Wms’ Town N J,” the copy is back to being sans serif. The “s” of “WMs” is raised, smaller, followed by an apostrophe. All words in the second line are slightly italicized or leaning right. Beneath the second line of copy, eight (8) linear debossed circles are used as a motif surrounding the jar. The third and last line of copy near the bottom area of the jar reads, ‘FOR THEIR PATENTED GLASS LID’ in a sans serif copy. Beneath this last line are eight (8) linear top-half embossed rectangles used as a motif that surrounds the jar. These half-squares engage the bottom of the jar.
The Ne Plus Ultra Air-Tight Fruit Jar is hand blown with a tooled applied collar. The closure is a stopper seal glass stopper with a rectangular boss on top and gasket sealing between the stop and inside of the mouth of the jar. The stopper is embossed ‘PATENTED AUG 3RD 1858.’ The patentee associated with this jar was assigned to three men: John F., William H, and Alfred Bodine, all of Williamstown, New Jersey. Bodine & Brothers were the proprietors of the Washington Glass Works.
See the museum example of a Potter & Bodine’s Patent Air-Tight Fruit Jar.
See the museum example of the predecessor Air-Tight Fruit Jar.
See the museum example of the related Ravenna Glass Works Ohio Air-Tight Fruit Jar.
Primary Image: The NE Plus Ultra Air-Tight Fruit Jar Made By Bodine & Bros. Wmstown, N.J. imaged by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio by Alan DeMaison.
Support Images: Auction Lot 212: NE PLUS ULTRA AIR TIGHT FRUIT JAR, full half-gallon; this is the largest of the 4 sizes in which these were made. Aquamarine. Closure: applied ring collar mouth, no lid is present, whittled and sparkling glass throughout, no damage. Embossing: strong, Base: unmarked smooth base, Age: c1860 – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, January 2022
Support Images: Auction Lot 200: NE PLUS ULTRA AIR TIGHT Fruit Jar, Pint, Pontiled, Rare, Green-Aqua, Closure: applied ring collar mouth made for a glass insert lid, Appearance: sparkling glass. Condition: no damage. Embossing: strong. Base: iron pontil scar. Age: c1858 Availability: A rare early pint, and the first pint example we’ve seen with a pontiled base (whereas the circles/squares version is usually pontiled, the smooth-sided version is usually smooth-base). A beautiful example that is fresh to the market. Purchased by the consignor from David Byrd in 1983. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, October 2018
Support Images: Auction Lot 213: NE PLUS ULTRA AIR TIGHT JAR Circles & Squares, Size: Half Gallon, Aquamarine, Closure: missing the usual applied collar mouth, has a ground lip. Appearance: shiny glass. Condition: no chips or cracks. Embossing: strong. Base: unmarked. Age: 1860’s. Availability: Rare. Although we’ll never know why the mouth is missing, the two possibilities are 1) made this way by the manufacturer for reasons unknown or 2) the mouth was broken or damaged and then ground off down to the neck by a previous collector. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, March 2020
Support Images: Auction Lot 180: NE PLUS ULTRA AIR TIGHT Circles & Squares, Pint. Strong Aquamarine. Closure: applied ring collar mouth is made for a glass drop-in lid (not included). Appearance: This rare pint was discovered in a riverbed in New Jersey, and the condition is exactly as found. The jar shows some expected scuffing as well as high point wear on the lettering and around the edge of the mouth. It has not been professionally cleaned or altered in any way. Condition: No damage except for the aforementioned wear. There is a manufacturer’s under-fill in the top edge of the lip. Embossing: strong. Base: bare iron pontil scar. Age: c1858-1860, – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, March 2019
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. Use of Creswick illustration courtesy of Doug Leybourne.
Support: Reference to The Bodine Glass Companies by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Carol Serr, and Bill Lindsey
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