Friday, May 13, 2011

Earliest J.F. Cutter

Warren's post regarding the J.F. Cutter whiskey bottle, and a few others is very enlightening. From various posts over the past year or so, this early fifth has been discussed in detail. I believe there are four versions of this bottle beginning with the fatter "barrel top" ( pictured), the "pointed top A" version followed by the "flat top A", and finally the narrower curved R "star base" type from the late 1870s into the 1880s. Have I missed any? From what I recall, Roger indicated the earliest star in shields might pre- date the 1871 timeframe, possible late 1860s.

These great pieces of western history continue to be extremely popular with collectors. The display at the Reno bottle show awhile back showcased the gorgeous colors they can be found in. Have any nice examples been dug this Spring?


  1. I love these early "barrel top" or "fat boy" Star in Shields.
    I have a small run (2) of them, missing a green one like the one pictured of course. I have a number of Star and Shields, and I group them into 4 catagories. The barrel tops are the first examples blown in my opinion. I have started to refer to them as Variant A type 1. They are coming from the same mold as the other 'pointed A' Star in Shields, just a couple of differences. Most noticeable, of course, is that monster top.

    Dating them has been tricky. The J.F. Cutter brand was registered in California in April of 1870.
    In Jan. of 1871, a patent application was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office and a patent was granted in Mar. of 1871. In the application it was stated that the trade mark had been in use for 6 months.

    So, if these dates are close to accurate, the J.F. Cutter embossed fifths could have made their appearance as early as April,May,Jun 1870. ?? However the first adv. that specifically indicates an embossed J.F.Cutter bottle was published in Feb. 1871. Some room for debate, but we're getting pretty close on this bottle.

    One of the things I noticed about these barrel top J.F.'s is that their colors seem to be very similar to the old J.H. Cutter non-crowns (t-49). Mainly in dark ambers, dark olive amber, very rarely in green's. My deduction being that if the J.H.Cutter (t49) was blown in 1868/69 that would mean it was almost certainly blown at Pacific Glass Works. These earliest J.F.'s (t46) being very similar in glass color and character were probably blown at PGW as well, and probably early to mid 1870.

    Solid research trumps unstable deductive reasoning and until someone finds an ad from 1870 highlighting J.F. Cutter in embossed bottles... Feb. 1871 it is!!!

    Also, I just nabbed a bright yellow amber barrel top J.F. This is a color that is unheard of in the old J.H. Cutter non crown, but pretty standard in the J.H. Cutter Hotaling Crown Shoulder (t-47). What does all this mean? Another theory of mine out the window????

  2. Sorry, I realize there is a confusing error in my first comment.
    Comparing the old J.H. Cutter, I refered to the dates of 1868/69. This is when I believe that bottle first made it's appearance. I believe it was blown on through 1870 and probably into 1871. So my thinking was that the mid 1870 period for the barrel top J.F. was that overlap period of the two bottles, both being blown at PGW. Just a theory.

    I believe that Hotaling/Moorman added the trade mark 'Crown' to the shoulder of their first embossing pattern in response to the J.F. Cutter 'Star in Shield' trademark in the marketplace... late 1870, 1871 .... in that neighborhood.

  3. The Pacific Glass Works was out of blast from the middle of July 1870 until October 12th, when the factory resumed.
    The San Francisco Glass Works did not begin their operations until September 12th, 1870.

  4. Great picture M.E.! And I love the topic of discussion on early Cutters, especially the J.F.'s and no crown Cutter fifths.

  5. Hi everyone I have a bottle of jh cutter old bourbon that my grandparents had. It has a label on it that looks like it was hand written that says "new York oct 24th 1872 after this date none genuine "cutter whisky" without a fac-simile of our signature over the top of each bottle. Milton hardy" i was wondering if anyone had some information about it because I could't find anything online. Thanks


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