Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Howdy all;

I received an email from Bill Curtis this morning regarding his acquisition of the C. W. Stuarts, and his observation about the similarity of the embossing area coverage on the Stuarts and the embossing pattern on the SHM. In the email, Bill sent a couple of rubbings along with the possibilty of the Stuarts bottle being a reworked SHM mold. An interesting consideration to say the least.

Bill noted,

Hello Bruce I got a Stuart`s last week after looking at it I dont beleive it is made from the Cassin`s mold you can see the slugged out area on the Stuart`s fits the SHM but not the Cassin`s also the Cassin`s has a different bottom and the shoulders are different and if the Stuarts was made from the SHM that would explain the circle on the front of the Stuart`s let me know what you think maybe you can put this on your site.

First off, congratulations to Bill for having the good fortune to have the opportunity to acquire the bottle and have the funds to do it with (both at the same time). Seems like, at least for me, I have money when there's nothing available or visa versa... The Stuarts is a key piece and Bill should be mighty pleased to add it to his collection!

Rather than offering up an opinion in response to Bills email; I'm going to respond with a number of facts and questions. Maybe we can put our heads together and come up with a reasonable group hypothesis.

As we all know, mold modifications were a common place occurrence and we've seen numerous examples where So and So became So and Co. when the second "So" dissolved the partnership. Same goes for Bottled "For" being peened over, replaced by Bottle "By", etc. etc.

We also know that the glass factories maintained an inventory of blank half plate molds. These blank half plate molds were stocked for two purposes. They were stocked in order to allow the mold cutters ready access to blanks with which to fill an order for an embossed mold. They were also used as the back half (plain label side) of a two piece mold bottle.

We also now know, subsequent to the discovery of the Wilmerding & Co sign that documents both east and west coast distribution, that the firm was actively merchandising C. W. Stuarts, McKenna's, United We Stand, SHM (and a few other brands) concurrently.

John Thomas offered a hypothetical dating of this group as follows; Stuarts - ca. 1875 - 1883 / McKenna's - ca. 1874 - 1878 / United We Stand - 1878 - 1883 / SHM - 1874 - 1878. We discovered that the dating of the Untied We Stand was erroneous and that it was originally produced for the 1876 Centennial celebration. The length of the run, however, is still unknown but the commonality of all four bottles dates to ca. 1876 - 1878.

According to Thomas, the Stuarts was blown excusively by C&I of Philadelphia. The McKenna's and the SHM were blown both by C&I and in San Francisco, the United We Stand only in S.F. since none have been documented with the C&I base mark. Cunningham and Ihmsen remained in business until 1878. The question then begs, if the Stuarts and the SHM were blown at the same time, and by both eastern and west coast glass works, what would be the logic of modifying the mold by slugging out the embossing when both molds were in concurrent use?

We then look at logistics. Assuming that the SHM mold was no longer needed, and that the S.F. glass works decided to created a new half mold for the Stuarts, which makes more sense. Would they 1) Peen out all the embossing and then re-cut the old mold with a new "pattern" or 2) simply take a new fresh half plate mold out of stock and cut in the new "pattern"?
Personally speaking, based on my research, John Thomas assumed a lot without having the facts to back up his statements. As I've stated previously, John did the best with the research tools that he had available and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for giving us the foundation of research upon which we've continued to build. And in his defense, a lot of his assumptions made sense at the time based on the documentation that he had available.

Regardless, when one takes all the facts into consideration regarding the Stuarts, you have to question whether the shield was a reworked mold at all; regardless of whether it was a Cassins or an SHM~


Hi All;

Thanks for catching the mistake in my original posting. I had two draft copy's open and mistakenly posted and emailed the rest of the gang the one with typos and the oops re the SHM being western only. The correct one posted on the tool site. I've now posted the correct one along with a copy of Bills rubbing and a photo of the Wilmerding sign.

I've got two SHM's at this time. Both came from the same base and front and back half molds. Quite obviously blown at different times, though since one is a rich olive green amber with the other being an extremely light yellow orange (like the color of a dried apricot). Both bases are void of glassworks initials so assume they are western. Since their is no plural or possessive words, no seraph is present.

Another consideration is the back half mold. There's the issue of the shoulder logo on the label half of the mold. The K is vastly different from the W&Co. on the SHM, and much additional effort would have been required to peen out and re-cut it as well. But there's no evidence of a rework on the rear half of either. Finally, assuming that the rear are two different half plates, why re-cut only the front half, but not the rear?

 As far as the point or seraph in between the T and the S goes in regards to the Stuart's, it does have one pictured in Thomas. I'm not sure if that example is the C&I or the S.F. variant. But, according to Bill, the Stuarts was blown only by C&I so it's a moot point. My western McK does not have one but my Miller's, Simmond's Nabob, Blake's and OPS / Hotaling's all do. I suspect that it may have been an intentional omission on the McK mold since it is not present on the sign while the Stuart's on the sign does have it.

Take care & Happy Thanksgiving!


Bill sent the following to Denny so thought I'd attach it as well;

I went to Ken`s this morning and got a rubbing of the C&I SHM. Here it is. Can you send it to somebody to post it? I have been trying to figure out how to down load a picture onto Roger`s site, it is beyond me. You can see there is a little difference in the size of the C&I embossed area due to the smaller size of the C&I SHM bottle. It fits the pattern on the back of the Stuarts better than the S.F. made SHM. The C&I SHM lettering and the 1 has points/saraphs, and straight legged R's. The SF SHM has curved R's.
Denny replied;
You're right, seems like the C&I SHM lettering fits the area of the Stuarts back pattern even better than the SF SHM in your original rubbing.
I'll forward this along to the website guys via this email. I'm not sure I would be successful either in attempting to post your attached picture correctly.

C&I above with straight legged "R's" vs. S.F. blown mold variant below.


  1. Bruce et al;

    Great stuff!!! I love discussions like this. The history is so thick & interesting you can slice it with a knife.
    I agree with everything you offered below, but will also add that there was also a C&I SHM mold too.
    There were 5 C&I western cylinders:
    1. CW Stuarts
    2. F&PJ Cassins
    3. C Jevne
    4. McKennas
    5. SHM
    (The last two also having a separate western/SF mold variant)
    I was fortunate enough to have owned all five at the same time years back. Seems like Roger Terry owned a C&I SHM and/or McKennas at one time? Ken Schwartz has all 5 currently.

    Great information and discussion! Man, makes me miss the western cylinders. We need to have an EC&M insulator discussion like this!! (-:

    Thanks guys,

  2. My observation is that since the Stuart's has the curved "R's" that it was made in Pittsburgh by the elusive "Curved R" mold maker who later could or could not have come and worked for Newman, or it was blown in San Francisco after the mold was shipped to San Francisco, my best guess. Same goes for the McKennas. The McKenna's looks more western in my opinion but they both look like western glass. Or, they aren't the true curved R's, but rather similar but not identical. Two cents. I did videos on both bottles today and they are in my head.

  3. I can't remember,,,
    Does the Stuarts have the points on the S's like the C&I McKennas, SHM and Cassins? (What are those little points on the S's called, seraphs??)
    The western/SF McKennas & SHM do not. Also, the western SHM & McKennas are a wider bottle too.

  4. The above comments were via email and I posted tham to share with all the blog site followers.
    Don't be afraid to jump in with your 2 cents worth.


  6. Thanks for posting the article and emails Roger and Rick! Sounds like we're going to have to ask Ken Schwartz to consider having a review of the 7 cylinders (the 5 C&I and 2 western variants). The Anderson show is right around the corner...
    Personally, I believe the Stuarts back is the re-worked front to the C&I SHM.
    The 2 S.F. produced cylinders (SHM and McKennas) are a wider bottle too. You can really see the difference when you have them side by side.
    Regardless, this is a great exchange of information and my compliments to Bill Curtiss for having a good eye and interest, plus all you website holders for sharing to promote our hobby.

  7. Oops. We stand corrected in the punctuation marks department. Turns out that funny little mark that we incorrectly called a "saraph" is actually a plural or possessive apostrophe. Always nice to have a college English major over to look at bottles and to set the punctuation record straight :-)

  8. I think you are off track on what Denny was talking about. The little points on the S's (that Denny was calling seraphs) are called serifs - the semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. Ain't that right Warren!

  9. Exactly!

    Warren Friedrich

  10. Hey Bill, Seems like your slugged out overlay fits nicely over a "curved R" S.H.M. Now you need to try that rubbing overlay on a "C & I" S.H.M
    I suspect the Stuart's is from that mould.


  11. Speaking of serifs... years ago many collectors said that the C & I 1/5's had to be "eastern blown" because of the "eastern style" lettering (letters with serifs). I dont think that is any longer the general consensus.
    There is enough evidence now to convince most collectors that every one of the C & I 1/5's with Western agents' names and distribution were blown in S.F.
    Evidence that I can think of off the top of my head:
    * These C & I 1/5's usually come out of the ground clean, which in most cases wouldnt happen if they were blown in Pitts. PA

    * The obviously Western made Stuart's "curved R" mould is also a C & I bottle

    * The Castle flask has serifs and is obviously not an Eastern blown bottle. So, the Eastern-style lettting theory thus holds no water...

    I've always wondered if the Castle flask mould maker is the C & I connection?? After all, he made the only other seriffed Western Whiskey that I'm aware of. Only thing is.... the C & I seriffed 1/5's are approx 15 yrs later than the Castle flask (it is my opinion that all of those 1/5's are post 1880). Could that guy have still been around at the SF & PGW?? I think so...



  12. I wish I had one think I`ll go to Ken`s good idea

  13. After reading these posts i have what is probably an odd thought,just wondering from a scientific perspective if the composition of the glass of each of these various different manufacturers could be analised to determine distinctly different compositions of material(or whatever)in/of the glass itself to point to specific factories using the same consistent sand,therefore being able to then tell which factories manufactured what companies bottle?(using only verifiable companies fragments of course!)

  14. I proposed exactly the same thought as you awhile back. In my book EARLY GLASSWORKS OF CALIFORNIA in two different references there is talked about the fact that S.F.G.W.was using salt cake as a substitute for soda ash in their mixtures for glass melting. P.G.W. never makes mention of using a substitute for soda ash in their glass making.

    Warren Friedrich

  15. A.P.HOTALING I went to Ken`s did a rubbing of his C&I SHM I had to send it to a friend to download it onto this site I am computer stupid as suspected the slug on the Stuart`s fits the C&I SHM a little better seems the lettering is smaller and the bottle seens a little smaller also.

  16. Grind up the broken shards and find out which companies match...

  17. Assuming that the Stuarts mold is indeed a reworked SHM, and not a fresh half plate...,

    According to Thomas;
    Stuarts - ca. 1875 - 1883
    SHM - 1874 - 1878.

    C&I last known to be in operation ca. 1878.

    C&I blew both the C. W. Stuarts & SHM for Wilmerding.

    C&I bottles have straight legged R's. S. F. The curved legged R's seem to have become the preferred font style on the west coast by the time that C&I shut down.

    The straight legged C&I SHM mold's, (the brand supposedly ended production in 1878), would no longer have been required.

    Some glassblowers are known to have migrated to the S.F. glass factories after C&I shut down.

    Is it possible then, that the C&I molds for both the Stuarts and the no longer needed SHM brands migrated west with said glassblowers and rather than being discarded, were modified and re-used?

  18. In my research on glassworks, both western and eastern, as well as mould makers from trade journals, whether the glasshouses commissioned the moulds for their customers or the customer had the mould(s) made directly and then brought to the glassworks for using, the moulds were the property of the customer.

    Warren Friedrich

  19. That great Wilmerding & Co. advertising graphic sign in the above post (which by the way I have a framed 26x36 reprint hanging in my dining room), holds some clues, as well as more mystery here.
    Because it says "Wilmerding & Co.", it is my opinion that the sign dates between 1879-94 (most likely early to mid 1880's would fit there still being bottles for the brands)..

    From the product line shown on the sign, we can see McKenna's is still active, C.W. Stuart's is also there, as well as S.H.M with a twist...promoted as "Superior Old S.H.M Bourbon United We Stand Divided We Fall".

    Why doesn't the United We Stand brand have its own barrel on the sign? Could the brand have not made its solo debut yet? Could the S.H.M brand been renamed and transitioned into becoming the United We Stand brand? (that would've rendered the S.H.M mould useless and available to become a C.W. Stuarts??
    Thomas theorized that the United We Stand may have been promoted after the assasination of Pres. Garfield, which was in 1881. He also states that it could reference the Civil War.

    With this group of bottles, it seems as soon as a few mysteries are solve, several more develop !



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