Friday, February 26, 2010

Did Holt Glass Works even exist ??

I'm pretty sure it did, but who founded it and how long it existed needs to be more clearly defined. A while back I tried to research Holt Glass Works and came up with rather inconclusive findings. I started my research by reviewing the Berkeley 1892,1894, and 1897 city directories and did not find ANY glass works in the business section, and furthermore I could not find anyone with the last name of "Holt" living in or doing business in Berkeley during those years. Next, I investigated the 1900 census and found a William Holt (born in England) living in Berkeley with an occupation of "glass dealer". After reviewing city directories and census records, I decided to investigate the 1901 Sanborn Map of West Berkeley to see if I could find any clues and located a vacant glass works on the corner of 2nd and Addison Street. Could that be Holt Glass works ??????? Unknown.

I then turned my attention to 19th century Bay Area newspapers and found the following:

March 23 1885 - Campbell Glass Works of Berkeley about to begin producing glass by May 1st.

May 22 1885 - J. Campbell & Co. (proprietors of Campbell Glass Works) dissolved and J.H. Campbell to continue business in his own name.

January 15 1887 - O'Neil Flint Glass Works of West Berkeley burned and planned to be rebuilt.

November 7 1895 - Vacant glass works in Berkeley.

March 26 1896 - Glass works in West Berkeley to be re-opened or re-built.

1902 - Vacant glass works in West Berkeley on 2nd and Addison Street.

My theory is that the English emigrant William Holt re-opened one of the above vacant glass works between 1896 and 1901. I'm even open to the possibility of Holt Glass Works never existing or being named something else since the phrase "Holt Glass Works" or even "Holt Glass" did now show up in ANY documentation (newspapers, municipal reports, books. ect) published between 1885 and 1922.

Maybe a much more thorough investigation of Campbell and O'Neil glass works could shed light on the true history of Holt Glass Works.

Has anyone researched the years of all the western companies that put out bottles with that base embossed H ?




  2. Someone may want to contact the Holt family in Stockton. They have a Caterpillar tractor dealership out on west hwy 4, and their was a William Holt in there family history. Maybe it is the same Holt.........

  3. Kentucky Gem,

    I was unsuccessful in researching the Holt Glass Works as well, and haven't included any information about it in my upcomming book.

  4. Very interesting information Andrew. Thanks for sharing your research !

  5. I found this reference in:

    The Glass industry, Volume 33; Volume 33‎ - Page 256
    Technology & Engineering - 1952

    "The Holt Glass Works William Holt operated the West Berkeley location from
    approximately 1892 to 1896. In August of the latter year, however, the Holt
    Class Works was sold by sherriff sale . . ."

    -Rob Goodson

  6. Looks like that 1896 Sherriff sale needs to be investigated, but the strange thing is that William Holt is listed as living and working in San Francisco from 1892-1895 with an occupation of "window glass and glazing, 625 Howard". Perhaps he attempted to fire up a glass works in 1896 only and failed. Considering he was in the window glass trade, it is likely that his glass works (if it existed) didn't produce bottles and stuck strictly to window glass.


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