R. Schmidt & Co. Dayton Ohio

Provenance: Doug Shutler Collection

There isn’t much information out there regarding our example of an “R. Schmidt & Co. Dayton Ohio” soda bottle. The Dayton online city directory records are scarce though we did find Schmidt listed in the 1870 Dayton Ohio City Directory. Under the “S” heading we see “Robert Schmidt, mineral water manufacturer, 131 Richmond.” Further in the directory, we see in bold copy, “Soda Water Manufacturers: R. Schmidt, 131 Richmond.” Two other soda water manufacturer listings occur, one for Metz & Finke and the other for John Klee.

It is odd as the following year, 1871, we see a listing for Robert Schmidt, carver, boarding at Mena Eckstein’s indicating that this is a fairly rare bottle.

Before soft drinks, there was a large mineral and soda water industry in the United States, mostly populated by regional manufacturers. Water quality was a huge concern in the antebellum days of cholera epidemics. Mineral or soda water was considered safer than well or other flowing water.

The difference between “soda water” and “mineral water” during the 19th century was often vague. Soda water was generally considered flavored artificial mineral water with the purposeful addition of carbonation and various compounds and flavoring. Mineral or spring water as it was also called, would generally be natural waters from spring sources that were typically highly mineralized with carbonates like alkaline, sulfurous compounds, and or various salts which often carbonated naturally. The confusion sometimes arises when mineral water was used as a generic term applied to various natural and artificially carbonated, non-artificially flavored waters including many utilized for their perceived medicinal qualities. Please visit the museum Spring & Mineral Water Gallery.

Our 7-3/16″ tall cylindrical soda bottle was hand blown in a rich blue-green glass in a pony style. The bottle has a smooth base and a rounded tapered applied mouth. A cork would have been used to seal the bottle. The copy is embossed in a sans-serif typestyle on the face of the bottle, ‘R. SCHMIDT’ in an arch set over two lines of horizontal copy reading ‘DAYTON, OHIO’ that is somewhat flush-right. The reverse of the bottle is blank. The bottle maker is unknown.

Primary Image: Example of R. Schmidt & Co. Dayton Ohio soda bottle from the Shutler collection. 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 Secondary Image: Example of R. Schmidt & Co. Dayton Ohio soda bottle – John Pastor, American Glass Gallery

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