Newly acquired - Bushwick Glass Works only known maker's-marked style of bottle

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Lbrewer42

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I am a researcher of Brookfield Glass Company. The technical name until the early 190s was the Bushwick Glass Works located in New York City. But since William Brookfield, the owner, was such a prominent figure in the city, newspaper articles of the day etc. use Brookfield Glass Works and Bushwick Glass Works interchangeably at times.
According to online sources, the only known bottle with a maker's mark from Brookfield is the one I recently got an example from off of ebay.
There is only one printed resource having any Brookfield glass history. The rest is mostly unknown. to the masses. Although I have spent the last 7 years amassing huge amounts of info from tidbits here and there on the internet.
Eventually I want to publish at least one history book b/c from the contemporary articles and documents of the day, Brookfield was called one of the largest bottle makers on the East coast. An 1875 article in the Brooklyn Eagle has a journalist who visited the plant and he was impressed with the massive warehouse of bottle molds. Unfortunately he only names a couple of the companies Brookfield made bottles for, but none of those have the Brookfield mark on them. What I find also interesting is that at this time 3/4 of all insulators being used in North America were Brookfield made. It was also said to be no exaggeration Brookfield had a monopoly of the insulator market. They were a very large outfit.

Attached is a pic of my new (to me) glass gem. Being a details person, so far I know these can have a 2, 3, or 4, or no number on the bottom. But I suspect these are shop numbers (used in Brookfield's insulator production) and not mold numbers b/c in the pics I have, the number 2s are different looking.
 

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planeguy2

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I had no idea Brook-field made bottles, it would be interesting to see if one turns up in the near future.
 

CanadianBottles

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I never knew Brookfield made bottles either, that's a great find!
 

DavidW

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Hi all, Hey Lbrewer42, I'm glad to see you post this info here. Forgive me for 'jumping in' on your thread but I wanted to post a few links that might be of interest to some bottle collectors on the forum.

Yes, Brookfield made HUGE quantities of bottles over many years, and here is the actual text of an article published September 9, 1875 in the Crockery and Glass Journal. Note the mention of what looked like HUNDREDS of different bottle molds in the "mold room"!!!
https://reference.insulators.info/publications/view/?id=411

Brookfield almost never marked their bottles with a glassmaker mark of any kind, and many of the companies they dealt with (patent medicine, druggist, soda, beer, bitters etc) and for whom they made the "private mold" bottles, perhaps they felt they did not want consumers to be even slightly distracted by any other lettering on the bottles other than the company/brand name on the front. It would also save money for Brookfield to leave the bottle bases unlettered with ID marks.

There are two types of bottles that we KNOW without doubt were made in large quantities by Brookfield/Bushwick.

They are:
Radways' Ready Relief (but not ALL of them, only some unknown percentage of the Radway bottles, and this would be those made in the period of 1864 to 1906).
Any Radway bottle that is pontiled was probably NOT made by Brookfield, since pontiled bottles were mostly phased out before 1860. This bottle is likely a product of Brookfield, as it is smooth base and the very light aqua so typical of Brookfield insulators:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1860s-radways-ready-relief-rrr-act-1856998048

Dr. J. Walker's California Vinegar Bitters (bottles were made both in New York and in San Francisco, CA), but if the bottle is found dug in the east or Midwest, and is light aqua or light greenish aqua in color, it is most likely a Brookfield-made bottle. Some of the bottles found in the west may have been made in CA.
Here's a labeled example that was likely made by Brookfield:
https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1298308

Also, any light aqua medicine bottles that have a BROOKLYN or NEW YORK business address, and date from the 1870s-1890s have a good likelihood of having been manufactured by Brookfield BUT usually there is no way to be sure!! One bottle that I suspect is a Brookfield product is the Wm F. Kidder medicine bottles. Here is an example:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/5-wm-kidder-york-bottle-medicine-508426266

David
 

Lbrewer42

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David - thanks for the input! I knew Radways were Brookfield made in the years you mentioned, but had not thought about the pontiled ones possibly being before Brookfield would have made them.

As to dates of Brookfield made bottles: I have to disagree they stopped in 1906. I have several document references in my published book (pp.82-83) saying Brookfield was making bottles until they closed the plant there in 1912. Hence they might have been making Radway items for that long.

One of the references also says has, "Beers, minerals, patent and proprietary, electrical goods,” were their products in 1912.

Other bottles named in other documents:
1875 - "...variety of jars, cans, and bottles. Thousands of gross of these long square pickle and chow-chow jars... ." Also mentioned are Radway, "scores of medicine bottles being made contantly," Mason's Patent fruit jars (up to 400 dozen ground per day on grinding wheel)] and the "celebrated Vinegar Bitters." Another statement says Brookfield is making, " The beautiful purple or amber color we frequently see in wine bottles and heavy glass.
1880 - vials, bottles, carboys, demijohns, insualtors, and green and brown ware of every description.
1881 - Dr. Squibbs "famous preparations" medicine bottles (numerous meds). Radway, "scores of medicine bottles are being constantly made here.
1882 - supplier of Eastern beer bottles.
1884 making from "two ounce vials to carboys containing 15 gallons."
1900 -1910 beer bottle shipments have been, "very brisk during the holidays."
1907 - Brooklyn plant has 14 shops making bottle sand carboys, and high pressure bottles (soda?).

And one last note is there are around 6 fruit jars embossed with Brookfield, and I think, the 55 Fulton St address they had.

I have reason to suspect Brookfield also made Platt Disinfectant bottles, some Lydia Pinkham bottles, possibly Barry's Tricopherous, and also Frank Miller's bottles.

Recently I found a document from the Old Bridge area mentioning brookfield as being one of the largest bottle producers on the East coast.

I won't go into it here (next book!), but I have period references of Brookfield purchasing and renovating working glass companies for their own use! One of those specifically was named as a bottle company.

Brookfield, I continue to find, is a glass industry giant hidden by history.
 

DavidW

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Lee you are absolutely right! Sorry about that 1906 date, 1912 is correct. I was thinking of the date that their Old Bridge NJ factory started. I believe there was a period of about 6 years during which Brooklyn and Old Bridge was operating simultaneously, but Brooklyn was mostly making bottles between 1906 and 1912, right?

And I am sure you are right about the "Frank Miller's Crown Dressing" bottles. I love those bottles even though they are considered pretty common. They were made in large quantities, and many different molds were made and the "CROWN" graphic is so attractive and it's interesting to compare different examples of those bottles.

Also............... (sorry for all the links!)
A couple other bottles marked BGW (amber beer bottles) are mentioned here by Bill Lockhart:
https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/BinghamtonGCo.pdf

Bushwick Glass Works cylinder Whiskey:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/attractive-bushwick-glass-works-1878700039

Bushwick Chemical Works Bottle!!! This has GOTTA be a Bushwick Glass Works bottle:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/bushwick-chemical-works-bottle-early-3830859290

Five different Obermeyer & Liebmann / New York beer bottles, all likely made there:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/different-versions-obermeyer-liebmann-1918927348

And I have tweaked my text just a bit on Brookfield/Bushwick and added a mention of your Minck Bros & Co soda bottle here:
https://glassbottlemarks.com/brookfield-glass-company/
 

Lbrewer42

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Thanks for the tweak David! BTW, I do have pics of the other bases of these if you need photo proof to show the other numbers I have seen online.

Thanks also for the other links. Now that you mention it, I do remember the whiskey, but for some reason it did not come up in my files.

You said:
I believe there was a period of about 6 years during which Brooklyn and Old Bridge was operating simultaneously...
Count it as fact from period documents (listed in my book). The Old Bridge plant was commonly referred to as being where the insulators were to be made. From talking with the diggers (bottle hobby and insulators hobby), I get the impression that insulators were almost (?) the only thing found at the actual site of the factory.

but Brooklyn was mostly making bottles between 1906 and 1912, right?
Yes. All insulator production was moved to the Old Bridge plant, for its opening in September, 1906 and everything else left at the Brooklyn plant for production there. All articles I can find concerning production at Brooklyn stopped at 1912. So I theorize that the Brooklyn plant closed in 1912 (likely at end of burn in June) and sat idle until voluntary dissolution in 1915 (p. 84 in my book). Rumors reported in March 1913 said workers were trying to take over the factory for themselves and keep it going.

From my book pp.84-85
American Glass Review 1911-1918
Reports COMBINING output of the NY and NY plant:
1911 Green glass, beers, sodas, minerals, wines, brandies, flasks," and yet does not mention insulators (the reason the NJ plant was built!).
1912 a mold shop is mentioned - I assume the new one at the NJ location.
1913 battery jars and tells of shutdown of Brooklyn plant listed as IDLE.
1914 NJ plant only listed.
 

jwpevahouse

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Good work, folks like you are a valuable asset to those interested in antique glass. Hopefully your work will inspire others to do the same.
Thanks...
 

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