Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Here is a nice old Nevada soda that is worthy of a post.   As I was reading Warren Friedrich's new book  EARLY GLASSWORKS OF CALIFORNIA,   I was particularly interested in a reference to a soda water manufacturer in Virginia City, N.T.   
Several newspaper articles that Warren documents indicate a "heavy demand for California made bottles".   Quoting from an article appearing in a San Francisco paper on July 24, 1863, and used by Warren in his book -

"Pacific Glass Works Company have just received two very extensive orders.  One for 20,000 wine bottles from a large California wine firm in this city,  and the other for 24,000 soda water bottles for a firm in Virginia City, N.T., who have already received 600 dozen from the works".

Warren indicates that the first ad appearing for the Pacific Glass Works was on June 22, 1863.   So, in approx. the first four weeks,  the fledgling glass factory has delivered 7200 bottles to the soda water firm in V.C., Nevada,  and has an order for another 24000.   That's a lot of bottles!   Were they all embossed?     

We don't know if more orders for bottles followed up these first two groups,  or if 31000 bottles were enough to carry on a soda business in Virginia City.

I guess we might be able to conclude that the W.S. Wright soda bottles are some of the very first bottles blown at Pacific Glass Works.

Most of the examples I have seen of the W. S. Wright soda bottles are this rich "western aqua" in color.   Other colors exist but are very rare,  and usually damaged.   Many years ago I seem to remember a story of a privy or maybe just a big trash pit being dug in V.C. that was loaded with broken and severely damaged Wright sodas.   I heard many of these broken Wright bottles were in some extreme colors.   Anyone have the rest of that story? 

William Wright was doing business at the corner of Mill and B Streets in Virginia City.   His first two orders of  bottles in 1863 may have carried him through the 5 or 6 years he was in business. 


  1. Thanks for the post Roger. These sodas are true pieces of history, and are of as much historical significance as any Western soda. I have seen some DEEP emerald green examples, and one in particular is a deep green with hundreds of chucks of charcoal throughout the glass! It is beyond description in it's color, and crudity. My understanding is that it was the lone survivor in the huge well dug in VC which contained thousands of damaged and broken examples. I was fortunate to dig a perfect W.S. Wright in 1997. It is one of my favorite bottles that I have ever dug due to the location, and "Pacific Glass Works" embossed on the base.

  2. I also wonder if the bottles ordered in 1863 were embossed. The Wrights are certainly early, but 1863 early ? ME, what was the oldest glass in the hole that produced your example ?

  3. The oldest glass in the hole was an open pontil Lyon's powder in puce. Interesting since the discussion on the Bitters blog currently is focused on these.Some other bottles found in the same pit were Baldwin's Liniment Marysville, CRUDE Walker's V.B. in green, a deep cobalt flared top Dickey(60s).

  4. That old well that was trashed out with examples of Wright soda bottles is very interesting. It must have been near Wright's building. May have been the depository for all the "exploders" and other bottles damaged in the course of business.??? I have this thought that maybe that first group of 7200 bottles ordered from PGW (1863) were of such poor quality that they didn't work out very 'well'.

    Are there many other embossed sodas with the same "Pacific Glass Works" embossing on the base? I have seen a damaged greenish soda embossed "Alma Springs" with the same base.

  5. The only other early blob with that base embossing to my knowledge is unembossed everywhere else. This was apparently a "generic" paper label version to meet the huge demand. I think these date from about the same time as the W.S. Wright, and G.P. Morrill.

  6. Several years ago I dug the lower portion of a deep aqua mug base soda bottle with the exact same base embossing as the Wright. I've not seen another and have no idea if the face was embossed, wasn't enough there.
    I'd heard from one of the diggers that the well all the busted Wrights came from was for the Soda Works. I believe only one bottle came out of it without any damage, while there were numerous busted ones and a few that were intact but damaged. Try as I might I've never dug a Wright but I scored a beautiful mint dark aqua bubbly one complete with wire bail from a second hand store, go figure........

  7. I am looking to sell my Wright...It is very similiar to the one here... I dont go to many shows anymore...and lost a lot of bottles in the last earthquake here in Eureka,Ca... what are they going for these days?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.