Patented June 27, 1865

Provenance: Ron Hands Collection

Robert Hemingray, of Hemingray Brothers & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, received Patent No. 48,399 for an “Improved Fruit-Jar” on June 27, 1865. The patent called for a metal clamp that held a “cover” in place by hooking onto “a spiral projection or ledge formed upon the neck of the jar, the arrangement being such that by rotating the clamp it operates like the nut of a screw bolt to compress and retain the cap upon the mouth of the jar.”

See the museum example of a Hemingray Patent Sept. 18, 1860 jar.

Our rich blue-green to teal quart jar could be the finest example of the Hemingray “Patent June 27 1865” jar. It is from the late Bill Dudley collection. When looking at the jar face, there are two lines of embossed sans serif copy of almost equal length. The first line reads ‘PATENT’. The second line reads ‘JUNE 27 1865’ with no comma or period. The jar is hand-blown, has a ground lip and the closure is typically a top seal with a clear glass lid and iron clamp. The jar’s glass clarity, color, condition, and character is excellent. This jar has a replica metal lid attesting to the rarity of that component. There is a variant of the jar using a serif typestyle and “Patented” instead of “Patent” and variants using periods and commas in the date.

Robert Hemingray stated the following on his patent application:

To whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, ROBERT HEMINGRAY, of Cincinnati, in the county of Hamilton and State of Ohio, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Glass Fruit-Jars and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings and letters of reference marked thereon, the same forming part of this specification.

My invention relates to that class of jars in which the top or cover is held in place by a clamp extending across the top and down upon two opposite sides of the neck and then turning inward, so as to form a projection or catch, one upon each side, which is adapted to a spiral projection or ledge formed upon the neck of the jar, the arrangement being such that by rotating the clamp it operates like the nut of a screw bolt to compress and retain the cap upon the mouth of the jar.

My invention relates particularly to the form of the spiral projection upon the neck of the ar. It has been common in making jars of this description to make the spiral projection around the neck of the jar in the form of a bead. This does not in all cases form full, so as to leave fair shoulders for the projections on the clamp; but the greatest objection to this construction is its liability to crumble or break off when exposed to the strain which it is necessary to employ with the clamp.

In my improved jar, the projection which forms the shoulder is set out from the circle of the neck the proper distance for a shoulder, and then the outline is gradually contracted all the way to the mouth of the jar.

Hemingray then goes along to explain his accompanying patent drawing.

Robert Hemingray

Robert Hemingray was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1820. He started out as a grocer and baker before he moved his family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was a glass-making capital before it became the Steel City. In Pittsburgh, he married the sister of Ralph Gray who would soon become his partner in glassmaking. Gray was also from Johnstown and was the first in the glass business in Cincinnati in 1847. In due time, the brothers-in-law were together in Cincinnati and decided on a factory in Covington, Kentucky which would supply their store at the end of the river bridge in Cincinnati.

Ralph Gray died in 1863, and the business name which had been Gray, Hemingray & Bros. became Hemingray Glass Co. In the early years, the company went through numerous and frequent name changes, including Gray, Hemingray & Bros.; Gray, Hemingray & Brother; Hemingray Bros. & Company; and R. Hemingray & Company before incorporating into the Hemingray Glass Company, Inc. in 1870.

Initially, Hemingray was established to manufacture flint and green glassware of all types. Their warehouse and retail outlet were in Cincinnati on Main Street between Columbia and Front Streets. Advertising as early as 1857 listed “Perfumers’ Ware, Telegraph Glasses and Lightning Rod Insulators” among many of the products manufactured by their firm in Covington. Later advertising mentioned apothecary items, bottles, fruit jars, pressed glass dishes, tumblers, battery jars, fishbowls, lantern globes, and oil lamps.

Some other Hemingray made jars include the Hemingray Push-Down Wax Sealer, the Patented Nov 30 1858 (with/H.G.CO. Monogram), Patent No. 22,186, Patented Sep 18 1860 – Patent No. 30,063, Patented June 9 1863 – Patent No. 38,820, Patented Feb 16 1860 – Patent No. 41,657, Patent No 48,399, Patented May 25, 1886 (GLOBE, on lid) – No. 342,602, Royal and Royal of 1876.

See the museum example of a Hemingray Push Down Wax Sealer

See the museum example of a Hemingray Melon Ribbed Jar

See the museum example of a Best & Lothes Mineral Water Cincinnati

See the museum example of a Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th 1858 – Black Glass

See the museum example of a Globe Fruit Jar

See the museum example of a Royal of 1876

Primary Image: The Patent June 27 1865 fruit jar imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio

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

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

Support: Reference to The Hemingray Glass Firms by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr with contributions by Bob Stahr and David Whitten

Support Image: Auction Lot 2459: PATENT JUNE 27 1865 Quart, Blue Green, original clamp and original glass lid that was broken and glued back together, with a missing piece at the edge, shiny, 3 small chips on the neck ramps, damaged lid as mentioned above, Strength of embossing, strong, Base: unmarked, Age: c1870, Availability: scarce Hemingray jar – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass

Support Image: Auction Lot 13348: PATENTED JUNE 27 1865, Quart, Hemingray, Aquamarine, reproduction metal closure, shiny glass, chip under one of the neck ramps as shown, excellent ground lip with very little nicking, Embossing: strong, unmarked, 1860s, a scarce early Hemingray-made jar – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass

Support Image: Example of clamp component top, lip, and underside. – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass

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