View Full Version : Bixby Bottles

Bixby Bill
12-23-2012, 05:49 PM
There was some interest in info on Bixby shoe polish bottles, so here starts a series on what I know about them, starting with the first ones covered by Bixby`s March 6, 1883 patent, which covered the bulbous shoulder. In the patent, the applicator sponge would squeeze out any excess blacking at the expanded shoulder so it wouldn`t make a mess on the outside of the bottle when removing the applicator.
The first bottles under this are only embossed "Patent / Applied For" on the base with "Bixby" in the center. These come with sheared lips and for colors I`ve found them in aqua, light green, and teal blue. They date to before the patent was actually granted to Bixby, so they would date to about 1880 to March 1883.


Bixby Bill
12-23-2012, 05:56 PM
Next in line is a Bixby mold that is very hard to find. The bottles are identical to the previous ones but when the patent was granted, instead of waiting for a new mold to be made, they had "Patented / March 6, 83" cut into the side of the mold for the "Patent Applied For" bottles. The side embossing is very crude and large compared to the later ones. The lip style started to change with these, with the rounded tooled lip being the only style these were found with. These I have in clear, aqua, and light green, and probably date to March 1883 to 1885.


Bixby Bill
12-23-2012, 05:57 PM
The bases to the second style.


Bixby Bill
12-23-2012, 06:03 PM
The third style is a fairly common Bixby bottle. It is the last of the tall style, are embossed "Bixby" on the base with "Patented" in an arch over "Mch. 6, 83" on the side. The lips are found as sheared, sheared and tapered, and round tooled lip. The colors are aqua, teal, light greens, dark yellow-olive, citron, and cobalt blue. Here`s a picture of the aquas, teal, and cobalt examples.


Bixby Bill
12-23-2012, 06:04 PM
Here are the citrons and greens. Sorry for the dark pictures, my flash isn`t working so the labels aren`t showing up as well as they shoud.


12-24-2012, 03:06 AM
Great start, terrific pix. Please keep it coming.

Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:38 PM
Here are the 3 basic lip treatments that are found on most Bixby shoe polish bottles. The flat sheared is earliest, then the sheared and tapered lip and the round tooled lip, both of which were used at about the same time, probably depending on the glassworks that made the bottle.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:39 PM
Second picture of lips.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:45 PM
Here`s the next style in the evolution of Bixby bottles. These are basically the same as the previous ones, round with Bixby on the base and the patent date on the side, but these are much shorter and squattier looking. These are the nomn-amber ones, with the cobalt blue one being the hardest to find.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:47 PM
Here are the different shades of amber, with an original round cardboard box for this style.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:51 PM
Here are the squatty ones of this style. Except for the one on the far left, they are smaller versions of this style, and I have found them in shades of amber and aqua. The one on the left is only embossed "Bixby" on the base with no patent date, and I have only found these in aqua. This bottle is earlier than the other 3, as they are usually quite crude and resemble the taller examples more than the previous style.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:52 PM
A close up of the patent date.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 01:53 PM
A close up of the earlier small bottle.


12-28-2012, 03:49 PM
Thank you for sharing all this information Bill. It is very kind of you to share a knowledge that took you a long time to acquire. This is what the bottle forum is all about in my opinion. I love soaking this up. I count myself lucky in being able to add to your collection, I sold you some Bixby blueing bottles last spring. Keep up the good work.....Bill

RED Matthews
12-28-2012, 04:31 PM
Thanks from me also. This FORUM is really a great sharing group of people with common interest. I have a couple BIXBY bottles - kept because I liked-em. Great information and priceless pictures.

In that last picture, what can you explain about the lines in the glass? Best regards, RED Matthews

Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 05:33 PM
Hi Red, The lines are from a bunchload of bubbles and irregularities in the glass, the kind of things we all love.
Justanolddigger, there was a size blueing botle that I didn`t have in the pair I got from you, so that made my day. I`ll be covering those later on. I`m glad that everyone is enjoying this, I hate to see some collectors with a lifetime of knowledge about their special area of collecting and jealously keep it to themselves, afraid that someone might get an edge up on them if they had the info. I`m thinking about starting a Bixby website where all the known Bixby bottles and items would be pictured and described, not only from my collection but from anyone who has a different Bixby item. We`ll see what happens.

Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 05:45 PM
Here`s another variation of this style. The bottle is the same with the addition of a number under the patent date on the side. The bases of these bottles all have "S.M. Bixby & Co." spelled out on the base instead of just "Bixby" like all the ones without a number on the side. I have about 18 different numbers ranging from 2 to 34, and they are almost always aqua except for an amber, apple green, and light green ones in the picture. I don`t know what the significance of the number is, possibly just a mold number.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 05:45 PM
Here are the bases.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:39 PM
Here is a modern machine made copy of the Bixby bottle shape, it`s the light aqua bottle on the left. It is unembossed, and was probably made for gift shops.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:51 PM
Here we come to the style that everybody is familiar with, the squared body and shoulders, "Bixby" embossed on the base, and "Patented MCH. 6, 83" in a single line under the shoulder on the side. These date to the 1890`s, and are found in a very wide variety of colors. Here`s a picture of the different shades of clear, along with a sun colored amethyst one.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:53 PM
The bases, which also shows the color variations well.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:54 PM
Aquas to light greenish aqua, the most common colors.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:57 PM
Here they are from light green to citron, with the second from the left having both colors, which is a scarce one to find. The others aren`t too hard to come by if you look.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 06:59 PM
Here are three of my favorites, the two on the left have so many waves of fine bubbles that it gives them a clambroth type of appearance, especially the clear one. The one on the right is one of the crudest bottles I have ever had.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 07:03 PM
Here are the different shades of cobalt and Prussian blue ones, they are more common than you`d think but you don`t see them often for sale because they are uncommon and attractive. The one on the right is Prussian blue, which is like a mixture of cobalt blue and grey.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 07:06 PM
The ambers that are like a Stoddard amber because of a bit of more brown to the color. I`m only Using Stoddard as a color example, I`n not suggesting that they were made there because they aren`t old enough.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 07:07 PM
Shades of regular amber, which are fairly easy to find.


Bixby Bill
12-28-2012, 07:09 PM
Here`s a nice picture showing the colors of this style.


slag pile digger
12-28-2012, 09:00 PM
ORIGINAL: Bixby Bill

Here`s a nice picture showing the colors of this style.


Thanks for sharing your collection & knowledge with us. LOVE this picture!!

12-28-2012, 09:45 PM
Whoa, Bill,

Me, too! Thanks for this great Bixby Thread, Bill! You've got the Defining collection in my eyes.


12-29-2012, 12:47 AM
Very nice! I used to dig them quite often back in the days...[:D] (70's and 80's)...I miss finding them....The old "radio station" dump was loaded with them....I always brought them home.

12-29-2012, 12:08 PM
Thanks for that history. Great pics, too. You really know your Bixbys. Is there a book out on them because you could probably write one if you haven't already. Very nice collection.

Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:18 PM
Here are my 3 examples of a scarce Bixby bottle. It only has "Bixby" embossed on the base, but the sides of the bottle are indented in the middle to accomodate a wrap around label. I`ve found these in 2 sizes, with the larger one in amber and aqua, and the smaller one only in aqua, so far! There is no patent date on these, the last squared variant that I had is the last style to have the bulbous shoulder as called for in the patent. This is a scarce style to find, and I believe it was used around 1900 or so.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:19 PM
The bases.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:31 PM
The next set is probably Bixby`s most attractive embossing that they used. It has "Bixby" in a circle next to "French / Polish" in very stylized embossing. There are two colors that I`ve found this in so far, aqua and light green, but that doesn`t mean that there aren`t others out there. There are two mold variations for this bottle, one has a backwards "S" in "Polish" and feathered inner legs of the "X" in :Bixby", the other scarcer one has a normal "S" and plain legs on the "X". This bottle dates to probably the late 1890`s and a little later.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:32 PM
The rest of the embossing. The bases are unembossed on these.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:40 PM
Here`s another style from the 1890`s and probably a little later. The bottle shape and style is identical to the common shape of thw Whittemore shoe polish bottles. They are rectangular shaped, plain bases, and an indented front panel that is embossed "S.M. Bixby & Co. / New York, U.S.A." These are found in clear and shades of aqua so far, but the Whittemore bottles are found in several colors, so who knows if these are also. These are also found in 2 different sizes, and aren`t too hard to find.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:45 PM
Here`s another commonly found style used from the 1890`s right up to when they started using machine made (ABM) bottles in the same shape. They are embossed "Bixby" on the base usually along with a mold number. Here are the 4 shades of olive green that I`ve found, ranging from an almost olive-amber on the left to a deep forest green on the right.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:46 PM
Here are the bases.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:48 PM
Here are the other 4 colors I`ve found them in, amber, emerald green, aqua, and clear. These are still all blown by hand with tooled lips, no ABM ones yet.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 05:59 PM
Here is another style that isn`t too hard to find, although the one on the right with all the embossing on one panel is a little scarcer. That one is embossed "Standard / S.M. Bixby & Co. / Shoe Dressing" on one side. The other three are embossed "S.M. Bixby & Co." on one panel and "Standard / Dressing" on the next one. The two on the right show the nicely colored labels that these had, one in green and the other in red. Because of the early design of the labels I think that these were used before Bixby patented his famous bulbous shoulder bottles, since he started in business in the 1860`s and had to have used some kind of cantainers in the 15 years before his patent. That would date these to the 1870`s up to 1881. These have only been seen in aqua.


Bixby Bill
12-30-2012, 06:10 PM
Here is a very rare variant of the last style. It is the same square shape, aqua, and embossed "S.M. Bixby & Co." on one panel and "French Dressing" on the next. I have never seen another one of these that was embossed "French Dressing" instead of "Standard Dressing". I found this on eBay a couple years ago, which goes to show that no matter how long you collect something, something different can always be lurking out there!


12-30-2012, 06:12 PM
Super job on the collection and the chronicle, Bill! Love them all.

12-30-2012, 08:56 PM
great collection thanks for showing

slag pile digger
01-01-2013, 11:44 AM
Kind of pricey, but thought you might like....http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bixby-Bottle-Satinola-Shoe-Leather-Polish-Antique-Green-Bottle-Black-Americana-/321006415955?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4abd793053


05-22-2013, 10:44 PM
Hey Bill do you have one of these?


05-22-2013, 10:45 PM
..I didn't see one in this thread.. or anywhere else..


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 06:56 PM
Yup. I`ve got one plus a couple extras too. That isn`t too hard to find around here, but they are scarcer than the Carter cone inks. I`ll be continuing this Bixby post, and I`ll be discussing inks and mucilage bottles next. Stay tuned....

Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:01 PM
Lets talk about Bixby master inks now. They come in pint and quart sizes, but only the quarts are embossed "S.M. Bixby & Co. N.Y." on the shoulder. The quarts I know of come in aqua and light green, with the aquas being the most common, although both sizes of the master inks are considered scarce. The pints I know of are either aqua or a deep forest green, again the aquas are more common. Both sizes are found with either applied or tooled lips with hand formed pour spouts, which can be very pronounced or barely discernible as a pour spout.
They have a unique shape which makes it easy to identify them, with 4 grooves towards the base, 3 grooves just under the shoulder, and a small flared ridge at the bottom of the neck. When I found the pint green one, I was at our local show, and I had walked past the table a couple times before I realized what it was, and the dealer knew I collected Bixbys, but didn`t realize that is what he had.
Here are my two quarts in aqua and light green.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:03 PM
Here are my two pints.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:08 PM
Here is the front and back of the Bixby mucilage trade card, which shows the master inks. Until I see a labelled one, it`s hard to say if they really were used for ink or mucilage, or glue, like the trade card shows. To keep it simple I`ll just call them master inks, but Bixby did use them for mucilage, although it must have been pretty liquid glue to be able to pour it into the smaller bottles, which I will discuss after the inks.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:14 PM
Next are the two sizes of "schoolhouse" shaped square inks. I have only seen these in aqua, with tooled lips, and "Bixby" embossed in an oval on the front. I have them in 2 1/4" and 2 5/8" sizes. They probably date to the 1890`s and are a scarce ink to find, although I have seen a couple other of the larger size, but mine is the only smaller size I`ve come across.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:36 PM
Now for the Bixby umbrella inks. The first is the oldest Bixby in my collection, it dates to the late 1860`s to the 1870`s, it is smooth base, unembossed, nicely whittled, and has a crude inward rolled lip. It measures 2 5/8" tall, and is the only Bixby ink I`ve seen with this label or is as early as this one is.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:41 PM
Next are two other umbrella inks, they are aqua, unembossed, measure 3 3/4" tall, and have tooled lips. All of the Bixby umbrellas are 8 sided. These are the only 3 Bixby umbrellas that I`ve seen, but there`s a good chance that there are others out there, possibly even in other colors than aqua.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:50 PM
Here are the three different labeled Bixby cone inks that I know of. The clear and aqua ones are fairly common without the label, and the labeled ones can be either base embossed or not. The colored one is dark forest green, is unembossed, and is the only colored labeled Bixby cone that I know of. I`ve found that usually the cone inks have a tooled lip, while the mucilage cones have sheared lips, as I will explain later on. These three all have the same label for Jet Black Ink.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:57 PM
Now for the mucilage bottles, which came in a variety of shapes. The cones come in clear, aqua, and this yellow amber, of which I know of at least 2 others, so it isn`t quite as rare as you`d think. I call this a mucilage instead of an ink because it has a sheared lip, which was needed for the glue applicator to fit, as you`ll see on the upcoming examples.
This one is embossed "Bixby" on the base.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 08:58 PM
The base.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 09:12 PM
Here are the clear and aqua mucilage cones, and they are the exception to the general rule that the mucilage cones have sheared lips, but it does apply most of the time. These are embossed "Bixby" on the base.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 09:16 PM
Here`s a modified, taller version of the mucilage cones, with an added bulbous shoulder to help squeeze the excess out of the applicator brush. These I`ve only seen in aqua, are 3 1/8" and 3 1/4" tall, and one is embossed "Bixby" on the base while the other is unembossed.


Bixby Bill
05-23-2013, 09:22 PM
Here`s a modified, taller version of the umbrella style, with an addition of a bulbous shoulder. They are only found in aqua so far, are 8 sided, and are both unembossed. As you can see, the bulbous portions are different, and the upper portion of the body is slimmer in one from the other. They are both 3 1/8" tall and have sheared lips. The applicator on the one wouldn`t fit on a rounded lip, it needed to have a sheared lip to fit over snug to seal, so I wonder if the cones with a lip had any kind of applicator brush, or were just corked.


05-23-2013, 10:16 PM
Well, that was very educational and enjoyable.. much better than I expected when I was posting my little find.. quite impressive indeed..!

05-24-2013, 01:33 AM
Fantastic post from beginning to end so far Bill, you have some great stuff[;)]... Jim

Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 08:52 AM
Here are the cylindrical mucilage bottles, all of which have sheared lips, stand about 2 7/8" tall, and have "Bixby" embossed on the base. I`ve found them in aqua, which is common unlabelled, and green, which is pretty scarce. The aqua ones are hard to find with a good label. There are two different labels found on these, one with a plain looking label that says "Bixby`s Extra Heavy Mucilage", and this is the only one of these I`ve seen, and another label that has "Bixby`s Ready Glue Liquid Cement" that turns up once in a great while with a label, but the labels are usually in sad shape.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 08:56 AM
Close up of the "Bixby`s Extra Heavy Mucilage" label.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 08:58 AM
Here`s the other more common label.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 09:08 AM
Now for the "mushroom" style mucilage bottles. These two pictured here are identical bottles, except that one has a label that says "Office / Bixby / Stand". They are 9 sided, 1" OD sheared lip, embossed "S.M. / Bixby / & Co. / N.Y." on 4 of the panels. I`ve only seen these embossed ones in aqua and this size, and they aren`t hard to find if you look.


05-24-2013, 09:13 AM
I think I know why the Baltimore show didn't acknowledge you request Bill.
That's too much awesome for one table. That or they didn't want a hands down winner of the best in show display. [:)]
Very, very nice!!!

Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 09:16 AM
Here are the three different unembossed ones that I`ve found. The first one is smaller with a ground lip and a screw top with an unusual design on it. The next two are the same body size as the embossed ones, except that the aqua one has a smaller 7/8" OD sheared lip, and the other one is clear glass, which is the only color other than aqua that I have seen these in.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 09:18 AM
a Close up of the screw top on the smaller one.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 09:40 AM
Here we have the six sizes of laundry blueing bottles that I know of. They are aqua, have either applied or tooled lips, and are embossed "French / S.M. Bixby & Co. (in an oval) / Blue". I have them in sizes 4 1/2", 5", 5 3/4", 7" (the most commonly found one), 8 7/8", and 9" tall. I found the my last addition to them a couple months ago, and I`ll probably find other sizes too eventually. The two larger ones I have are very close in height, almost too close to count as different, but the body heights are definitely different.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 09:55 AM
That`s it for the Bixby bottles, I`ll end this with a few rare Bixby pieces that are possibly unique, or at least very interesting! This isn`t the place for all the advertising, wooden boxes, and trade cards, but if anyone is interested, they can send me a PM. Here we have a tin shoe polish bottle with the same applicator as the early, tall style bottles. The top is concave so any excess would run back into the can. The label is for "Bixby`s Royal Polish" with patent dates of Nov. 14, 82; March 6, 83; and Aug. 16, 87 on the label. I never even knew this can existed until a club member brought it in to our local bottle club meeting this past winter. This just proves that no matter how long you specialize in something, you`ll never see everything!


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 10:01 AM
Here are 3 of my rarer shoe polish tins, "Three Bee" Blacking, "Three Bee" Plumber`s Soil Blacking, and Bixby`s Best Shoe Blacking. The Plumber`s Soil Blacking was probably a heavy duty, water and grease resistant blacking, and the other two have paper labels and a March 22,1887 patent date, so they are probably two of the earliest ones.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 10:06 AM
Here`s my favorite, and probably the rarest, shoe polish tin that Bixby had. The cover is embossed with a guy holding a sign that says "S.M. Bixby & Co.", with "No. 4" above him and "Standard Blacking / New York" underneath him, all embossed in the tin. This is the only blacking tin of any brand that I`ve ever seen that was embossed like this.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 10:13 AM
Stove polish was another Bixby product. The two cakes of "Standard Polish" turn up on eBay every so often and aren`t very rare. The "Iron-Shine" tin I picked up when I was 13 from an ad I had in Bottle News magazine (I`m showing my age now!), and I`ve never seen or heard of another one.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 10:19 AM
Bixby also sold their laundry blueing in wooden and cardboard round boxes. The French Laundry Blue and The Blue Elephant are wooden boxes with tin tops and paper labels, the French Laundry Blue is scarce, but can be found. The Blue Elephant is rare, but I`ve seen a couple of those floating around also. The Cannon Ball Blue is a cardboard container, and is the only one that I`ve seen, and is one of the more interesting pieces that I have.


Bixby Bill
05-24-2013, 10:23 AM
Last but not least is an advertising alarm clock with the face advertising "Three Bee" Blacking and Royal Polish, with a picture of two kids with a blacking tin and bottle. I have a large advertising card showing this clock in the background on a shelf, so I had hoped that one existed, and then this one turned up a few years ago, and I had to have it!


05-24-2013, 11:42 AM
That clock is sweet! [sm=thumbup.gif]

06-21-2019, 05:24 PM
I just found one of these Bixby mucilage bottles on my forest berm. The berm is made from dredge of the Chesapeake Bay and the ground hogs dig the bottles for me. I have never seen anything like it since I am not an accomplished bottle collector. No label, bottle is aqua and in good condition. I'll add it to my little bottle collection. Thanks for all the information!