Help with Hobbleskirt ID

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SODABOB

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Still in the Dark / 1913

Since I can't find any actual documentation from 1913 that gives an account about the hobble-skirt being conceived that early, I found it necessary to rely on later accounts. Please keep in mind while reading the newspaper articles that they were published long before Cecil Munsey's book was published in 1972, as well as the Norman Dean book that was published in 2010. The attached articles were published between 1955 and 1961. This was also before Earl Dean was recognized as the designer of the hobble-skirt. As you will see, the articles attribute Alexander Samuelson as the designer. However, that was only because his name was included in the original 1915 patent filed by the Root Glass Co.

Additionally, in the 1950s and 1960s I doubt there were very many Coca Cola bottle collectors. I mention this because I think it adds some validity to the accounts. In other words, I see no reason why the individuals in the articles would make false claims about a bottle that was as common as dirt at the time.

Notice the 1958 article is identical to the 1961 article I posted yesterday. I don't know why it was published in two different years in two different newspapers, although I find it interesting. The 1955 article is the earliest one I could find that talks about the conception of the hobble-skirt. Of particular interest is that all three articles mention the phrase about "in the dark" as well as the year 1913. Based on everything I have seen, I'm now more confident than ever that something did indeed occur in 1913 in connection with the conception of the iconic hobble-skirt.

This link is to a file written by Linda M. Mathews in 1973. On pages 16 and 17 she briefly discusses some similar information as those in the newspaper articles.


Bob
 

Attachments

  • Hobbleskirt 1958_Daily_Republican_Register_Tue__Sep_9__1958_.pdf
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  • Hobbleskirt 1961_The_Durham_Sun_Mon__Nov_20__1961_.pdf
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  • Hobbleskirt 1955_Sidney_Daily_News_Fri__Jan_14__1955_.pdf
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SODABOB

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In Search of ...

Any information about the apparent connection between the hobble-skirt and the Mellon Institute. I have seen several references, including in the newspaper articles I posted that said the Mellon Institute had something to do with the hobble-skirt. All I have found so far are snippets like the one I attached from 1950. It's also possible that the Mellon Institute had something to do with "Parti-Colored Glass" mentioned in the April 26, 1915 letter that was sent to Coca Cola Bottlers.

If anyone has or comes across any information, please share it with us. Thanks

Bob
 

Attachments

  • Coca Cola Mellon Institute 1950.jpg
    Coca Cola Mellon Institute 1950.jpg
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  • Coca Cola Mellon Institute 1950 Harold Hirsch.png
    Coca Cola Mellon Institute 1950 Harold Hirsch.png
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SODABOB

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I bought another patent 1915 hobble-skirt today. Even though it's not in great condition, it has just enough going for it to make it interesting.

It's marked ...

North Wilkesboro, N.C. (Base) 3
576 G 20 (Heel)

Note: Even though there is some confusion about the various marks, the following is based on my best guess.

1. The 576 is attributed to Graham Glass.
2. The G is also attributed to Graham Glass, but I'm still not sure what it stands for.
3. The 20 is likely a code for 1920.
4. Apparently, Graham Glass didn't start dating their hobble-skirts until 1920.
5. If accurate, then it is one of the first dated hobble-skirts made by Graham Glass.
6. According to Bill Porter's Checklist, it is considered rare.
7. I could only find five other examples.
8. The attached 1920 newspaper ad is the earliest one I could find from Wilkesboro that depicted a hobble-skirt.

I will know more about it after it arrives in about a week. The attached photos are from eBay. It appears to have a blue color to it, but that could be due to the way it was photographed.

Bob
 

Attachments

  • Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023).jpg
    Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023).jpg
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  • Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023)(Seam).jpg
    Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023)(Seam).jpg
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  • Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023)(Base).jpg
    Coca Cola Patent 1915 Bottle 576 G20 Wilkesboro N.C. (eBay May 2023)(Base).jpg
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  • Coca Cola North Wilkesboro N.C. 1920_Carter_s_Weekly_Fri__Jul_2__1920_.jpg
    Coca Cola North Wilkesboro N.C. 1920_Carter_s_Weekly_Fri__Jul_2__1920_.jpg
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hemihampton

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I got one so I guess I'm in the only 5 member club. LEON.
 

SODABOB

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576 EP

Time to get Technical / What if?

Based on some earlier hypothesis we have seen the following as the possible deciphering for the Graham Glass codes. The most important of which are the ...

P = 1916
Q = 1917
R = 1918
S = 1919

Those letters were based on the hypothesis that P is the sixteenth letter in the alphabet and so on to S that is the nineteenth letter of the alphabet. However, we discovered later that there may have been dual meanings for some of the letters, such as ...

P = Private mold / Proprietary
S = Standard / Specialty

And then we have the codes for the various Graham plants as follows ...

E / EG = Evansville, Indiana
L / LSQ = Loogootee, Indiana
CH = Checotah, Oklahoma
O / OG / OP / OS / = Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Not to mention some of the actual marks we have seen on the bottles themselves ...

576EP = Ivy's bottle
576ER
576 EG etc. etc.
G20 etc.

Hence, the entire litany is rather confusing to say the least. However, what if the P-Q-R-S are not date codes. But if not date codes, then what are they? Putting aside the letters for a moment and focusing only on the numbers, it seems the most reliable are the double-digit numbers that range from 20 to 28. I'm confident those are date codes, such as 20=1920 and 28=1928. Even though we may not have found every example, I believe there are additional numbers that range between 21 thru 27.

According to various sources the Root Glass Company was the only manufacturer that produced hobble-skirts in 1916. The most reliable source I am aware of is Earl R. Dean's recollection as stated in the book his son Norman Dean published in 2010. There is also the September 19, 1916 Evansville, Indiana newspaper article to consider that states the new trial bottles were made by Root Glass. Even though both of those accounts may be subject to scrutiny, other authors over the years have made similar claims. If those accounts are accurate, then it tosses out the window that the Graham P stands for 1916 - which raises the question again as to what the P-Q-R-S stand for. Without revisiting every minute detail that may only add more confusion, let's just focus on Ivy's bottle again which is marked 576EP. For the time being let's also discount the possibility that the P on Ivy's bottle was originally an R that was altered. Earlier I posted a bottle that was marked 576ER. It was clearly an R and not a P - which I call empirical evidence. In addition to this I think the majority of us agree that the letter on Ivy's bottle is definitely a P. Even though it can be argued that the P is an altered R, there is no empirical evidence that I am aware of to support that. Furthermore, one of the strangest aspects of all is that Ivy's bottle seems to be the ONLY known example that has the EP. But regardless of that, we are back to deciphering the P again. Assuming for the time being that the P does not stand for 1916, this is where the expounded "what if's" come into play ...

1. What if the EP stands for Evansville 'Plant'
2. What if the P stands for 'Private' mold
3. What if the P stands for 'Proprietary'
4. What if the P stands for something currently unknown
5. What if nobody knows what the P stands for and we never find out

All things considered, what do YOU think the P stands for? When I say "YOU" I mean anyone and everyone who reads this. At this juncture it seems that one hypothesis is just as good as any other. As for myself, my current favorites are ...

576 = Graham Glass designation for Coca Cola hobble-skirts
E = Graham Glass designation for their Evansville factory
P = Evansville "Plant"

Even though my hypothesis might seem too rudimentary, I subscribe to what is referred to as Occam's Razor - which basically means the simplest explanation is usually the best one.


As for the word "Plant," it was a common term used by numerous manufacturers who had factories, including bottle manufacturers such as Graham Glass. As evidence of this I attached four articles related to Graham Glass - all four of which are from 1916. Although I do not think it necessary, I could probably come up with dozens more that are similar.

Like I said previously, without any conclusive evidence to the contrary, one hypothesis is just as good as another. So now you know mine. What's yours?


576 EP = 576 Evansville Plant

Bob

P.S. None of this is etched in stone nor on the bottles themselves. Hopefully with time and more research the undisputed facts will turn up.
 

Attachments

  • Evansville Plant_The_Evansville_Courier_Fri__Jul_21__1916_.jpg
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  • Graham Glass Plant_Evansville_Press_Sat__Dec_2__1916_.jpg
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  • Graham Glass Plant_Evansville_Journal_News_Thu__Jul_20__1916_.jpg
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  • Evansville Plant_Evansville_Journal_News_Thu__Jul_20__1916_.jpg
    Evansville Plant_Evansville_Journal_News_Thu__Jul_20__1916_.jpg
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SODABOB

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Inconclusive Conclusion / Food for Thought / Majority Rule / Questions

The only bottle manufacturer I can think of at the moment that used letters for date codes was the Glenshaw Glass Co. located in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania. The following link will tell to more about them. I also attached a couple of items related to them. However, the vast majority of bottle manufacturers who marked their wares with any form of date codes used numbers. This raises a number of questions, the most prevalent being is why Graham Glass would use such a complicated set of letters when numbers were universally used for dates? Root Glass started using numbers in 1909. I realize this doesn't mean that Graham Glass didn't use letters, because maybe they did. It's just that you gotta wonder why anyone, including Glenshaw Glass, would use letters when numbers were a lot easier to understand and keep track of. For me, this harkens back to Occam's Razor in that the simplest explanation (system) is usually the best one. By the way, even the Glenshaw codes are somewhat confusing and subject to controversary. But that, my friends, is another story for another place and time.


Bob
 

Attachments

  • Glenshaw Codes From 2002 Rick Sweeney ACL Book.jpg
    Glenshaw Codes From 2002 Rick Sweeney ACL Book.jpg
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  • Glenshaw Mark Upper 10 ACL Soda Bottle .jpg
    Glenshaw Mark Upper 10 ACL Soda Bottle .jpg
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SODABOB

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More food for thought / More research required ...

Offset seams are often the result of the machine parison and blow molds not being aligned together. Offset seams are often seen on earlier machine-made bottles - 1910s to maybe 1930s.

Bob
 

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hemihampton

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Bob, I read somewhere in my research the first new contour/hobbleskirt bottles were made in a Johhny Bull Machine. What ever that is????? LEON.
 

SODABOB

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Leon

The first hobble-skirts were made on a Johnny Bull semi-automatic bottle machine. The front cover of the Dean book shows Earl standing in front of one which also shows a Coca Cola mold. I don't know the whole story about the Johnny Bull other than it was a nickname for the H.M. Ashley machine that was patented in England in the 1800s. There are numerous patents related to it and it was improved on many times. Apparently, Graham Glass also used them, and it was the basis for their own patented machines that I posted links to yesterday. Johnny Bull was the name of some type of folk hero in England. The apparent connection between Johnny Bull and the bottle machine is that they were both considered as reliable. I attached several articles that discuss the Johnny Bull.

Bob
 

Attachments

  • Johnny Bull Machine Earl Dean Root Glass circa 1915.jpg
    Johnny Bull Machine Earl Dean Root Glass circa 1915.jpg
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  • Johnny Bull Machine Graham Glass 1925.png
    Johnny Bull Machine Graham Glass 1925.png
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  • Johnny Bull Machine Text 2016.png
    Johnny Bull Machine Text 2016.png
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  • Johnny Bull Machine Text Source 2016.png
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  • Johnny Bull Graham Glass.jpg
    Johnny Bull Graham Glass.jpg
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