Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes

Bottle group showing a variety of bottle shapes; click to enlarge.

1916-1917 Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Co.
Bottle Catalog

HOME: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: 1906 I.G.Co. Bottle Catalog

One of the best sources for determining bottle types based on the shape are old glass/bottle makers catalogs.  An assortment of catalogs have been used in the preparation of this website to assist with bottle dating, and in particular, bottle typing - i.e., what a bottle likely contained or was used for.  A very few bottle makers catalog were reproduced in the 1960s and 1970s, but all are long out of print and variably difficult to obtain.  However, there is no better source for determining potential use and period shape names than these old catalogs. 

Because of this utility to archaeologists and collectors alike, I have reproduced the entire 1916-1917 Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Company (KGBCo.) catalog on this website; a catalog never reproduced to the authors knowledge although a few examples of it are known to be in the hands of collectors (empirical observations).  This catalog was titled "The Packers' Handy Reference Book" (cover to the right) indicating the market niche the company was aiming towards.  The KGBCo. was located in Zanesville, OH. and was a large producer of various bottles, though specialized in bottles and jars for commercial packers of various food products.  This catalog shows the large array of food bottles and jars the company produced, as well as a smattering of other bottle types with lesser variety. 

(The image of the company's Barnesville, OH. factory below is from a 1916 postcard. This factory was used from 1912 until it burned down in 1919.  See the linked article on the company below.)

The title page notes that the catalog contains "Machine Made and Hand Blown" bottles although it appears that a large majority of the bottles - in the opinion of the author of this site - are machine-made.  Some of the sauce bottles may have been mouth blown as may have been special orders for those customers who "...prefer shapes and designs of their own." (See page 9 of the catalog.)  The timing of this catalog - 1916-1917 - is important as that was the time where the production of machine-made bottles was clearly dominating the bottle market, with mouth-blown containers an every shrinking minority.  An important study of machine-made vs. mouth-blown production in the early 20th century noted that by 1917 roughly 5 to 10% of the bottles and jars produced in the U.S. were mouth or hand-blown; 90+% were produced by automatic and semi-automatic methods and would exhibit typical machine-made characteristics (Miller & Sullivan 1981).

For a complete history of the Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Co. (and its predecessors) consult the following reference; a pdf copy of this article is included on this website (excerpted from the References Sources/Bibliography page):

Lockhart, Bill, Pete Schulz, Carol Serr, and Bill Lindsey.  2008d. The Kearns Glass Companies. Bottles and Extras 19(4):50-58 (July/August 2008).  Covers the history - and related maker’s markings - of the various Kearns Glass Companies in Zanesville, OH. (primarily).  This article is available on this website at:

For additional information on the bottles this company made, see the recently published book (2011) entitled Zanesville Glass by J. William Barrett II.   Scores of  illustrated bottle catalog pages from the 1908 and early 1910s (approximate; both catalogs are undated) KGBCo. catalogs - those pages which are not repeated in the following 1916-1917 catalog (which is reproduced in its entirety) - are reprinted in the later portions of this book.  Zanesville Glass (an exceptional work!) also includes various bottle listing illustrations from a 1920 KGBCo. catalog as well as information from catalogs published in 1926, 1929 and 1931 after the company was acquired by Hazel-Atlas (1920).  A comparison of these various catalogs makes for an interesting study of the time progression of designs, sizes, finishes, and much more.  (See the References page for an email link to contact Bill Barrett about the availability of this fine work on all the various Zanesville, OH. glass makers and their products.)

Also of notable interest are pages 58, 104 and 122 which in combination outline the details of "The National Pure Food Law - The Pure Food and Drugs Act, June 30th, 1906, as Amended August 23, 1912."  (Page 104 also includes a reference to the Gould Act of 1913 which specified the period for compliance to take place.)  This is apparently an entire copy of the amended law which includes the original act details as well as a discussion of the "The Net Weight Law" amendment from 1912 which "...compels manufacturers to make a clear statement of the weight, volume or contents of their packages of food."  The 1912 amendment, in hand with the Gould Amendment (March 3rd, 1913), required the clear labeling of the contents of bottled products.  This is a useful dating tool for bottles having such (on the label or embossed in the glass) since very few bottled products had such designation prior to these laws which in combination required compliance no later than September 1914 (Lockhart 2006a).

All of the pages in the 1916-1917 KGBCo. catalog are hyperlinked below in the order they appear in the catalog.  Click on each link to view an enlarged and of relatively high quality (around 400-600 KB each) copy of each two page scan (jpeg files).  Each link description consists of the catalog page numbers  and the general subject matter of those pages - as appropriate or useful - with the two pages generally split with a slash (/) mark. 

If a user wishes to search for a particular bottle type  (or other catalog listing) in the catalogs "Index," these pages are linked immediately below.  Determine the page number of the item you are interested in then find that page link further down this page and click on it.  Just be aware that some of the proprietary names that the company (and all bottle making companies) used are not always intuitively clear as to what type of bottle it is referring to:

Page 5 - Albion jars to Massage creams
Page 6 - Moulds to Worcestershire sauce

After viewing an enlarged scan, use the back arrow on your browser to return to this page.  Unfortunately, a user can not move from one page scan to the next without returning to this page (a function of my limited web coding knowledge).

Thanks to the efforts of a kind user of this website the entire array of scans of the 1916-1917 KGBCo. catalog have been put together into one single, downloadable PDF file!  It is 90 MB's in size so may take a while to download and view depending on the speed of your internet connection.  It is available at this link:
Complete 1916-1917 Kearns-Gorsuch Bottle Co. catalog

Bottle catalog cover
Page 1: Title page
Pages 2-3: Illustrations of the Zanesville, OH. / Barnesville, OH. plants

Pages 4-5: List of Company Representatives / Index (first page)
Pages 6-7: Index (second & last page) / Introductory statement
Pages 8-9: Allowances and Terms / Moulds (their spelling)

Pages 10-11: Illustration of Various Styles of Finish / Pickle Bottles introduction
Pages 12-13: Olympia & Oval Octagon / Plain Oblong pickles
Pages 14-15: Sexagon & Ring / Flat Fluted Oblong & Taper Decagon
Pages 16-17: Tall Fluted Ideals / Squat Ideas
Pages 18-19: Tall Fluted Ovals / Fluted Triangles
Pages 20-21: Tall Fluted Ovals, Triangles, Octagon / Illustrations of these pickles
Pages 22-23: Horseradish Bottles (both pages)
Pages 24-25: English Chow, Imperial / Illustrations of other styles

Pages 26-27: Our Spring Top Closure / Illustration
Pages 28-29: Improved Spring Top Closure / Illustration

Pages 30-31: Mustard and Preserve Ware introduction

Pages 32-33: Emblem Jars illustration / sizes & detail information
Pages 34-35: Rosemary Octagons / sizes & detail information
Pages 36-37: Virginia Octagons / sizes & detail information
Pages 38-39: Universal Octagons / sizes & detail information
Pages 40-41: Dayton Jars / sizes & detail information
Pages 42-43: Anchor Jars / sizes & detail information
Pages 44-45: Various mustard & preserve bottles (both pages)
Pages 46-47: St. Nicholas & Albion / Mustard Milks (mustard bottles shaped like milk bottles)
Pages 48-49: Mustard Packages (both pages)
Pages 50-51: Mustard Packages / Mustard Pages & Barrel Mustards
Pages 52-53: Pot & Fluted Mustards, Taper Dewey / Squat Octagons
Pages 54-55: Honey Jars - Round & Square / Express Style
Pages 56-57: Jam Jars / Our Bottles and Jars

Pages 58-59: The National Pure Food Law (first page) / Lightning Style Fruit Jars introduction
Pages 60-61: Lightning Style Preserve Jars / sizes & detail information
Pages 62-63: Lightning Style Jars - Regular Mouth / sizes & detail information
Pages 64-65: Lightning Style Jars - Wide Mouth / sizes & detail information
Pages 66-67: Lightning Style Jars - Square / sizes & detail information
Pages 68-69: Lightning Style Jar - Oval, American Fruit Jars / Reshipping Cases (title page only)

Pages 70-71: Packaging introduction & details / Illustrations of packaging
Pages 72-73: Various illustrations of packaging (both pages)
Pages 74-75: American Metal Cap / Olives (introduction only to olive bottles)

Pages 76-77: New York Style Olives / sizes & details information
Pages 78-79: Perfection or Hull Cap Footed Cylinder Olives / sizes & detail information
Pages 80-81: Tall Cylinder Olives / sizes & details information (cork only)
Pages 82-83: Cherry Shaped Olives / sizes & details information, Octagon Shape
Pages 84-85: Varsity Shape, Ribbed Cloverleaf / English Style, Fluted

Pages 86-87: Candy Jars, Tall Fluted / Candy Jars, Straight-Fluted
Pages 88-89: Round Tablet Jars, Large Wide Mouth / Peppers & Salt Shakers (title page only)

Pages 90-91: Peppers and Salts (both pages)
Pages 92-93: Celery Salt, Sugar Shakers, Peppers and Salts / Illustrations
Pages 94-95: Caps for Salt and Pepper Shakers / Individual Service Jars
Pages 96-97: Individual Service Jars sizes & details / Catsup, Vinegar, Grape Juice & Syrup Bottles (title page only)

Pages 98-99: Catsups / styles, sizes & details information
Pages 100-101: Fancy Vinegars / Vinegars, Grape Juice
Pages 102-103: Round & Square Fancy Syrups / Fancy Jug Shape, Decanter Style
Pages 104-105: The National Pure Food Law (page 2) / Pepper Sauce, Salad Dressing, Chili Sauce & Olive Oil Bottles (title page only)

Pages 106-107: Pepper Sauce (both pages)
Pages 108-109: Pepper Sauce (both pages)
Pages 110-111: Salad Dressing & Chili Sauce (both pages)
Pages 112-113: Salad Dressing / Olive Oils
Pages 114-115: Olive Oil sizes & details (illustrated prior page) / Machine Made Packers or Glass Jugs (title page only)

Pages 116-117: Machine Packers or Glass Jugs / sizes & details information
Pages 118-119: Machine Packers or Glass Jugs with Screw Cap / sizes & details information
Pages 120-121: Machine Packers or Glass Jugs / Tall Packers
Pages 122-123: The National Pure Food Law (page 3) / Ammonias, Extracts and Miscellaneous Ware (title page only)

Pages 124-125: Ammonias / Panels & Extracts
Pages 126-127: Panels & Extracts / sizes & details information
Pages 128-129: Sewing Machine Oils / Inks
Pages 130-131: Shellac or Varnish Jars / sizes & details information
Pages 132-133: Round Shoe Polish, Quinine / Square Polish, Round Bluing
Pages 134-135: Massage Cream, Chili Powder / Tablet Jars
Pages 136-137: Shellac and Varnish Jars, Cheese Jar / Apollinaris Shape Water Bottle

Pages 138-139: Listing of other bottles and jars by mold number (both pages; no illustrations)
Pages 140-141: Listing of other bottles and jars by mold number (no illustrations) / Approximate Shipping Weights of Bottles and Jars in Crates and Shipping Cases
Pages 142-143: Shipping weights of different bottles styles (both pages)
Page 144: Shipping weights of different bottles styles (continued)

End of the catalog.

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Bill Lindsey
Bureau of Land Management (retired) -
Klamath Falls, Oregon
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