Whitney – Whitney Glass Works Glassboro N.J.
Whitney Glass Works Glassboro N.J.
Patented June 12TH 1866
Whitney Brothers, Whitney Glass Works
Glassboro, New Jersey
Provenance: Phil Smith Collection
Our rare quart “Whitney” jar was hand-blown in aquamarine glass and has a ground lip. The finish and lid of this jar are quite unique. On June 12, 1866, John Focer received Patent No. 55,581 for an “Improved Fruit Jar.” Both the glass lid and the finish of the jar have external screw threads. A ring of thin metal or a metal band with matching threads screwed into the jar finish, and the lid screwed into the top of the metal band. A cork washer completed the seal. Focer assigned the patent to T. H. and S. A. Whitney of Glassboro, New Jersey. The Whitney Brothers were the proprietors of Whitney Glass Works.
The face of the jar is embossed ‘WHITNEY’ in a horizontal straight line in a sans serif typestyle. The glass lid is embossed ‘PATENTED JUNE 12TH 1866′ in a circle. There is an embossed number ‘2’ in the center. The base of the jar is embossed ‘WHITNEY GLASS WORKS GLASSBORO N.J’ in a circle with an embossed number ‘3’ in the center.
On December 28, 1869, Focer’s 1866 patent was reissued (No. 3,781) to Thomas H. and Samuel A. Whitney. This was the exact same patent issued to Focer, but the reissue was in the name of the Whitney Brothers.
Whitney Brothers, Glassboro, New Jersey (1839 to 1885)
Thomas and Samuel Whitney began to operate the Harmony Glass Works as the Whitney Brothers in 1839. This double naming was typical of the early to the mid-19th century when the operating company and factory typically bore different names. In 1856, the plant fired its furnaces with anthracite coal, changing to bituminous coal—much more common in the East, a few years later. The factory made a large variety of druggists’ wares and food bottles for mustard, catsup, pepper sauce, olives, various oils, flasks, preserve jars, snuff jars, porter, ale, and mineral water bottles, wine, and liquor bottles, and demijohns.
An advertisement in the 1872 Glassboro City Directory used the term “Whitney Glass Works,” showing that the brothers had dropped the “Harmony” name at least that early. Their administrative office was in Philadelphia, Pa. at No. 227 South Front Street.
The Whitney’s used the “Kelly & Samuel’s Keystone Grinding Machine for Grinding Fruit Jars, Flasks, etc.,” by at least 1876. The machine was patented on December 28, 1869.
The area around the factory generally called “Glass Town,” officially became Glassboro on March 11, 1878. The firm built a new plant in 1880. In August of 1882, upon the death of Thomas and the retirement of Samuel, the next generation, John Perkins Whitney (son of Thomas) and Thomas Whitney Synnott (nephew of Thomas), dissolved the old firm and created a new company, still under the name of Whitney Brothers.
Wilson and Caperton recorded all beer bottle advertising in The Western Brewer between 1883 and 1890 and samples from issues between 1878 and 1882. The company was advertised in the journal as Whitney Bros. in 1881; as the Whitney Glass Works from January 1883 through November 1884; and again in 1889. The reasons for the inconsistent advertising are currently unknown.
In 1883, it was reported that the Whitney Brothers had the largest green glass furnace in the world and that the daily production of glass exceeded that of any other two furnaces in the United States. The furnace was equal to three ordinary-sized furnaces and supported 12 large pots. Three other furnaces kept a total of 72 glassblowers busy.
In early 1884, the Whitney Brothers leased a plant at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, to manufacture fruit jars. Shortly after, however, they relinquished their lease and instead built a new tank at Glassboro. The name remained Whitney Brothers but had changed to the Whitney Glass Works the following year.
Primary Image: Whitney Glass Works, Glassboro N.J. jar imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio
Support: Reference to Whitney Glass Works by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, Carol Serr, and Bob Brown
Support Image: Auction Lot #129: WHITNEY PATd 1866 Quart Glassboro NJ, Aquamarine, Closure: 2-piece closure with zinc band and glass insert with 1866 patent date, Condition: edge chips on the ground mouth, Embossing: strong, Base: “WHITNEY GLASS WORKS GLASSBORO NJ”, Age: 1860s, Availability: rare – Greg Spurgeon, North American Glass, January 2022
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
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