E.W. & Co. (EAGLE) Works

Provenance: Doug Shutler Collection

The embossed “E. W. & Co.” soda water bottle with the embossed eagle and “Works” was made by Ephraim Wormser & Co. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The very same “eagle” and “Ephraim Wormser & Co. Pittsburgh Pa.” is embossed on the quart GXII-15 and GXII-16 Union Clasped Hands – Eagle historical flasks. A flask example and two sodas are presented in the display case above.

Our blue-green glass cylindrical aquamarine pony bottle measures 7 ¼ x 2 ¾. On the bottle face, there is an embossed motif of a heavily feathered American eagle flying right with a shield and vertical bars. There are three arrows or thunderbolts behind the bottom of the shield. A long embossed banner is placed over the shield and is wrapped in front and above the eagle. There is embossed copy within the bottom banner portion that reads ‘E. W. & Co.’ Beneath all this is an embossed horizontal placard with ‘WORKS’ embossed within. The hand-blown bottle has a smooth base and a rounded applied mouth where a cork would have been used. “E. W. & Co.” stands for Ephraim Wormser & Co. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This specific company lasted from 1857 to 1866 though mutations of the company went all the way up to 1928.

See an example of a “U.S. Monogram Patented May 12 1863” jar in the museum Jar Gallery that is attributed to Ephraim Wormser.

Ephraim Wormser

Ephraim Wormser was one of western Pennsylvania’s pioneer glass manufacturers. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1817 and came to America in 1836 where he first settled in Philadelphia. Wormser would come to Pittsburgh in 1845 where he embarked in the drygoods business with his brother-in-law, William Frank under the banner Frank & Wormser. They had a store on Market Street.

In 1854, Ephraim Wormser partnered with Jacob Burgraff and William Frank as Wormser, Burgraff & Co. to establish the Pittsburgh Green Glass Company.  In the depression year 1857, the firm was joined by William Frank. At the same time, Burgraff left the partnership and the firm became E. Wormser & Company. The glassworks was located on 22nd Street near Pennsylvania Avenue. It is during this time period that the concern put out the GXII-15 (and similar GXII-16) “Union” And Clasped Hands – Eagle And “E. Wormser & Co / Pittsburgh / PA” historical flask with the company’s full name embossed on the flask and our single soda bottle that is the subject of this discussion.

As noted above, the Wormser bottles were sold first by E. Wormser & Company. By 1875 or 1876, the company name had changed to Wormser Glass Company, then briefly Wormser Glass Co. Ltd; then by 1884, again the Wormser Glass Co. Wormser would use Frankstown Glassworks to make his bottles and jars which was named after William Frank who became a glass pioneer himself. His glassworks was destroyed by fire in 1874.

Following the death of Ephraim Wormser in 1903, the firm was carried on by his son Joseph. The plant made a variety of bottles but seems to have specialized in beer bottles during the first and second decades of the 20th century. The advent of Prohibition in 1920 may have adversely affected the firm, forcing its closure for several years. By 1927, the firm again was listed, this time as Wormser Co., Inc., producing a variety of bottles. The final closure of the plant was circa 1928.

Primary Image: The E.W. & Co. (Eagle) Works soda water bottle imaged by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Reference to The American Pontiled Soda Database Project, Tod von Mechow

Support: Reference to Soda & Beer Bottles of North America, Tod von Mechow

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support Images: Auction Lot 28: “(Eagle) / E. W. & Co / Works” Soda Water Bottle, America, 1860-1870. Cylindrical, aquamarine, applied heavy collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 7 1/8 inches; (pinpoint flake from edge of base). Strong mold impression and unusual embossing. Possibly made to commemorate the earlier glass works of “Ensell, Wendt & Company”. Generally fine condition. Charles and Joy Flint collection. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Image: Auction Lot 48: Two “Union” And Clasped Hands – Eagle And “E. Wormser & Co / Pittsburgh / PA” Historical Flasks, E. Wormser and Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1857-1866. Aquamarine and olive yellow, applied round collared mouths – smooth bases, quarts. GXII-15 Two great examples with strong mold impressions. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support: Reference to Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Volume 1, by Weston Arthur Goodspeed, 1898

Support: Reference to Wormser Glass Companies by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, Carol Serr, and Bob Brown

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