Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I am intrigued by the tangled web of related bottles from Wilmerding and Kellogg, separately or together. G.O.'s post of the Wilmerding ad for S.H.M., and the chatter about the McKennas got me started. I'm going to just list some questions and assumptions and lets see where it goes.

S.H.M(t-169) The Superior Hand Made is the oldest of the W&K bottles, at least the non C&I SHMs are oldest. Like I noted, we find these in Utah with the early stuff. 1873-74 stuff. The only other place I have seen them in abundance is C-bus, again 1873-75 stuff.
C&I mold variation is much later by my estimation. A digger I know in the Idaho pan-handle area dug one in 1999 with just the lip broken out. He found it in some early 80's stuff. Just recently a C&I was located in the Boise area. Digging context unknown.
The C&I SHM's are very attractive bottles, whittled and light yellow amber color.

McKennas(t-168) Mckennas long lived, say 1876-1883. Kellogg separated from Wilmerding, long before end of McKennas usage. Still, W&K on reverse shoulder.
The C&I McKennas are found in Calif., Nev., and here in Utah. Found a couple of broken ones in a small mill town on Rush Lake. This mill serviced ore from the Chicago Mine out of Jacob City, Ut. That would give this bottle at least a fingerprint in the mid to late '70s. I just purchased one from a digger in Nevada, said it came from Storey County. Digging context unknown.
C&I Mckennas color range from medium amber, orange amber, to fairly dark amber. Not even close to the SHM C&I variants.

United We Stand(t-170) circa 1878-1883, Kellogg gone, Wilmerding is on his own with this one. W in circle on the back. No C&I variant with this bottle. Why not??

C.W.Stuart(t-146) circa 1883-87. Wilmerding definitely the distributor. Sold the brand to Loewe Brothers in 1892. Much later bottle than once thought. Two broken examples found in the Idaho panhandle, both in '80s stuff. All examples have C&I glass works initials on base. Using the back half of the Cassin's Golden Plantation(t-16) mold. Which has the C&I initials on the base of course.

What is the relationship between Wilmerding and the Cassin Bros.?
Golden Plantation fifth is also later than once thought. Whenever it disappeared, was as early as the Stuarts could have started. Using the same mold.
And as if to play with our heads just a bit more, Stuart -(Wilmerding) has the small letter "k" on the reverse. Why a K?? Kellogg was long gone when the Stuarts came out. A "w" - Wilmerding, even a "L" - Loewe Bros, but a "K"
what the...

Kelloggs(t-171) circa 1890's. Red amber - German blown. W.L. Co. -- Wilmerding and Loewe. Some known with W & Co.-- Wilmerding & Co.
My confusion here is with the Kelloggs name. Did I miss something? Wilson indicates that Kellogg left the liquor business to go into the banking business. Did he actually purchase the McKennas name or distillery? No?It's now Kellogg's Nelson County Kentucky Bourbon? Not busy enough counting coins, had time to formulate your own bourbon? Kellogg name on several different bottles of the 90's and tc. Don't know what gives with Kellogg. Must have been involved silently throughout the entire time? Which might account for that little "k" on the Stuarts. Really reaching on that one...

Alright, now that I have confused everyone, even myself, lets talk about the C&I variants.
Cunningham & Ihmsen glass works - Pittsburg (as in PA. not Calif.)
Supposedly C&I glass works stopped production of bottles in 1875. None of the 4 mentioned fifths with the C&I initials were made that early. ??
Lettering style, or font, on the C&I fifths is different than the counterpart W&K fifths. Golden Plantation fifth also with so-called "eastern style lettering". C.W. Stuart bottle has "western lettering", curved leg 'R'. Of course the Stuarts was just using the back half of the Golden Plantation mold. Which means, likely, that the "mold re-use"... Stuart from Golden Plantation was done in San Francisco... ??
The glass characteristics of the 4 C&I fifths appears western to my old eyes, espec. the SHM and the Golden Plantation. Hard to quantify this, but the glass comes out the ground fairly clean with these C&I's. Compare that to other Pittsburg blown glass you find in the west. The amber Rosedale fifth definitely Pittsburg product, MCC - McCulley Glass Works, usually look like hell when they come out of the ground. Beside the fact C & I was out of business before these bottles were blown. Did another Pittsburg works blow these bottles? So what gives? Molds made in Pittsburg, shipped west to be used at SF glass works? Plenty of mold makers in San Francisco by 1875. Why two molds anyway, weren't cranking out that many bottles.
McKennas variants are being used at the same time, SHM variants seem to have quite a time break in usage.
I'm going to let this sit here for your comments and corrections. This is what I like, stir the pot for new ideas and new information. Or maybe just some adjusting of the cluttered mess in my head... Wilmer"ding" has made me ding-eeee!


  1. I would post a few photos, but seem to have the ability to do so through photobucket. I have recently dug a couple of broken older McKenna's, but have not seen the C&I variant locally.

  2. Soleagent,
    The first to come to my mind is remembering that Wilson stated that Cunningham & Ihmsen had an agent in S.F. for this glassworks, has anyone seen proof of this? Second I have recently been researching the later years of the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works years of 1876 and beyond. This particular period seems to indicate that the glassworks could not keep up with demand and have found some articles which talk of a German consortium forming among saloon keepers and restaurant-eers to import there bottles from the East.

  3. Warren,
    This "German consortium of saloon keepers" were looking to the east for bottles and not to Germany? Maybe this was too early for the German connection? What say AP?

  4. It is now appearing that MANY glob top whiskeys were produced later than originally thought. With much reference material from the past being confirmed as conjecture. It becomes absolutely amazing to me that at the beginning of the hobby, collectors were seriously collecting bottles that were at the time 70 years old or so!!!!! in 1969 a red whittled fifth was young enough to have been drank by someone still alive to dig it up! Incredible. That would be the equivilent today of us digging up, and seriously collecting 1930s bottles. Hard to believe this hobby ever got off the ground. Ever think about it? Thankfully time has passed and these beautiful whiskeys are all over a hundred years old now.Are'nt they?

  5. Ain't THAT the truth. When I started fooling with bottles 100 yr old one were usually pontilled. Some of the bottles we dug were younger than I am now. Wait a minute, that does not sound good, does it? We used to tell folks that we were looking for "hundred year old bottles" and now I don't even want that "new" junk. HAR

  6. M.E. it seems like some were produced a little later, not a lot later. They still are glob tops!! It is a shame the red amber German bottles seem to have taken a bit of a credibility hit. The reason the early collectors held them in such high esteem is because they are so beautiful. They're still just as beautiful. Made for the west, sold in the west, embossed glob top whiskey bottles. Fits the bill for me. How many of the pre '65 bottles were actually made in the west? I'm not going to shit-can my Jockey Club Gins because they weren't blown in S.F.
    Sorry M.E., some of us old fossils are always thinking in the terms of who's older.

  7. Remember,,, some of the Reds go back into same golden early 80's era as the classics we've been talkin about, ie: Nabobbis, E. not very Commins, and Roth !

  8. Oh, I am completely addicted to all Western applied stuff...just putting the age of much of it in perspective. In the 1920s,and 30s collectors were going after historical flasks, and they were over 100 years old at that time. Interesting that the 1880s bottles we covet, were heavily collected even at a time when they were less than 100 years old. I would not go heavy after something made in 1909 today. I have some pretty red whittled globbys in my collection too. My favorite is a mint William Kline. It was thrown in an outhouse around 1898. Still.. blood red, and whittled beyond words. I love it!

  9. I hear ya' as I used to think about how collectors, or even more so, diggers, could even dig in trash that was only 60-70 yrs old in the 1960s-70s. Like you said, that would be like us now finding 30s bottles or even worse, a WWII dump to dig in !
    I think the CLINE you have was dug in SoCal around S. Monica. Do you have any other info where it was dug? The only other example I am aware of is the one w the base chip (since repaired) that was dug in S.F. about 15 yrs ago. The broken one I have also came from SoCal, so there seems to be a stronger SoCal distribution here on this rare one.

  10. AP
    It came from around LA. it was actually found in a pile of debris on a construction site, as the heavy equipment had ripped a lot down about 4 feet, and piled everything to be taken away. The Kline was perched in a pile of brush, and lumber along with an LA hutch. I cannot believe the whiskey was mint, but it is. This was in 1995.


  11. Sorry I keep mis-spelling the Cline...I am at my office, and it is not in front of me. My olsd regional manager was actually named William Kline.

  12. aphotaling,
    I recently found an article that proves the German connection that you wrote about in the Thomas book. This article appeared in the S.F. Alta California paper on November 2nd, 1889, it's titled "Glassworkers Complain.
    The glassworkers of this city complain that their business is fast falling off because the same kind of goods, such as beer bottles and demijohns, are shipped from Hamburg and Antwerp and laid down in this city at much less rates than they can be manufactured here, notwithstanding the specific duty of one cent a pound on these articles".

  13. Warren, You made 'the connection' too. Wow that's great stuff ! That 1889 date is right about the height of activity on the red 1/5's too. Could you copy that and send it to me pls?

  14. TQ, you can read this information over on John O'Neill's San Francisco Brewery History site.

  15. Just found your website and thought you might be interested in this Wilmerding Lowe Kelloggs bottle. I'n NOT trying to sell it as we just sold it to a friend who lives in SF in a home built right after the 1906 quake. We are mainly looking for some information/history on the bottle as he is really excited to have it now.

    My husband found the bottle in an abandoned and very remote logging camp in the Humbolt mountains near Blue Lake Ca. He found it in 1963, when he was a teenager and has had it ever since.

    Here are some links to photos at photobucket



    Neck and cap


    Just thought you might be interested and perhaps give us some information for our friend.


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