Stevens Tin Top – Lewis & Neblett Jar

Provenance: Jerry McCann collection

Here is a prime example of a Stevens Tin Top jar made for The Lewis & Neblett Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lewis & Neblett were known for their distinctive glass and china items. This information is embossed on the face of the jar along with the patent date, July 27, 1875. This variant only comes in aqua quarts. One can only imagine how beautiful the jar looked, full of preserves, sitting on a shelf in a cupboard.

See: Steven’s Patent Tin Top Jar

William Shields Sr., Oren G. King, David E. Stevens, William E. Atkinson, and David C. Winegarner started Shields, King & Co. in the fall of 1871 to manufacture glass in Newark, Ohio. Their plant was called The Newark Star Glass Works and initially consisted of a single, six-pot furnace. It was common during the 19th century to have one name for the glass factory and another for the operating company. They focused on flint glass which is colorless, and other glass items such as fruit jars, mineral and soda water bottles, beer bottles, demijohns, pickle jars, catsup, pepper-sauce, and other food bottles. They would sell their jars in 25 to 5,000 gross lots or by the boxcar.

The firm ran the glassworks until the spring of 1878 when their glass blowers went on strike. They ran out of glass and held against the strikers causing them to wind down for two years. In the summer of 1880, they started up again under the name of a man named Everett from Cleveland who had purchased the manufactory. W. E. Atkinson would manage and they increased their business greatly.

They employed between 105 and 110 employees (men and boys). Sand, soda, and lime were the principal materials used in the manufacture of glassware. The sand was procured at Glenford, Perry County, Ohio, the soda ash from Liverpool, England via Baltimore, and the Lime from Delaware, Ohio.

David E. Stevens and Richard F. Lumley patented two fruit jars in 1875. The pair filed for a patent on March 19 and received Patent No. 165,962 on June 22 that came to be called the Western Pride Self Sealing Fruit Jar. They filed for the second patent on June 30 and received Patent No. 165,962 on July 27 that became the Stevens Patent Tin Top Fruit Jar.

Advertising said that Shields, King & Co. were the exclusive manufacturers of Western Pride Self-Sealing Fruit Jars using glass caps. They said these jars were the lowest priced in the market and that no wrench was required and that is was easy to open. They said that the glass was the only material to come in contact with the fruit or preserves. No tin, iron or cement. Every jar was trimmed and inspected before being packed and shipped. This was a transitional moment in jar-making as the shift from tin to glass caps was in motion.

Shields, King & Co. also made the Steven’s Patent Tin-Top Jars and said they stood without rival as wax-sealing jars. This example is represented in our museum.

Support: Reference to Newark Star and the Everett Factory by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schreiver, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr

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

Support: Images from Greg Leybourne and North American Glass.

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