Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes

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

1933(-1936*) Owens-Illinois Glass Co. (*note below)
Bottle Catalog

HOME: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: 1933 Owens-Illinois Glass 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.  (These catalogs can also be useful at times for the dating of bottles.)  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 I have reproduced the entire 1933 (*see note below) Owens-Illinois Glass Company (O-I) catalog on this website - a catalog that has never been reproduced to this authors knowledge.  O-I was one of the largest producers of bottles from its formation in 1929 (a combination of many glass companies including the Illinois Glass Company and Owens Bottle Company) to its current manifestation as Owens-Illinois, Inc.©.  This catalog includes what has to be the most comprehensive array of offerings within all important bottle type categories of any bottle maker at that time.  It is simply staggering in scope...and many hundreds of pages long.  Given the manufacturing dominance of this company at that time the bottle styles listed in this catalog - and to a large degree the style names used - are typical of the offerings of most period bottle makers making this one of the most important catalogs to researchers from that era.

Of interest regarding the noted 1933* date of this catalog is that it apparently was not officially dated.  This was not uncommon as indicated by the "1920" and "1926" Illinois Glass Company catalogs also posted on this website.  Neither was formally dated as they were to be used and in effect quite a few years, the 1926 catalog being the update to the 1920 version which was an update of the prior version printed about 1915.

As to this "1933"* catalog, the copy used here (source noted below) had printing on a separate page noting that the catalog was "...the first Owens-Illinois Catalogue."  Since the company was formed under that name in 1929 one would think that the catalog would date from that year?  Also handwritten along the side of that same "cover" page is the notation "Catalog finished Dec. 1930" although that could have been added to this O-I archival copy by someone in later years estimating when the catalog was completed. 

In any event, I have gone through this entire catalog several times and have never found any printed dating within it.  There are fortunately some good clues to the year it was actually completed and issued.  First off there is an extensive array of liquor bottles offered in a section called "Liquor Ware Division" -  something that would have be highly unlikely to exist prior to 1933*.  The first page of the liquor section notes the following:

With the return of legal "Spiritus Frumenti," many of the well known old styles bottles have been revived.  Old familiar shapes again become popular along with newly designed containers more in keeping with modern packaging trends.  Dark green glass, light green, amber and flint, as illustrated above, are standard colors.

The first part of that sentence is certainly a (somewhat humorous) reference to the repeal of National Prohibition which occurred in 1933.  The illustration accompanying this passage (image to the above right) shows what is noted in the second sentence - an array of traditional wine and liquor shapes from the pre-prohibition era along with a few "art deco" types reflecting the "modern packaging trends" common to the late 1920s and 1930s.  It also shows some of the "old familiar shapes" with the relative new style closure that was somewhat common prior to Prohibition - external metal screw caps and accompanying finishes.  Additional confirmation of 1933 is indicated a few times on the following page (not pictured) with a reference to "The selection of containers for the new products of distillers and vintners...", "Naturally, distillers and vintners' first thoughts were of bottles familiar in the pre-prohibition era" and finally a reference to " conditions have changed greatly since 1920."  On other piece of information supporting 1933* is the presence of Applied Color Label (ACL) glassware towards the back of the catalog.  The ACL process was almost certainly not used by O-I until at least 1933, possibly 1934 (Lockhart & Hoenig 2015).

*March 2017 note on the date of this catalog: A user of this website (Bob Brown, San Diego County, CA.) whom is familiar with some of the non-bottle glassware listed in this Owens-Illinois Glass Co. catalog provides the following information which almost certainly dates the catalog to no earlier than 1934 and probably 1935, possibly even 1936.  The information from his emails follows (slightly edited):

Thank you for the speedy reply. Its great to hear from you. I have been enjoying your site for years and continue to learn something new each time I tap into it. I was especially excited to see the inclusion of what I originally thought was the 1933 Owens-Illinois catalog. I am particularly interested in anything related to ACL soda bottles and it was when I opened files #23 and #24 to take a look at the Libby Safedge tumblers that I noticed the Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse examples. It was the Donald Duck tumbler in particular that got me to wondering about the catalog's date. I used to collect some Disney stuff and knew that Donald Duck's debut was in 1934 in "The Wise Little Hen" which didn't seem to jive with the 1933 catalog date. Anyway, one thing led to another and I started researching various things I was seeing in the catalog and eventually came up with the following:

1. The Donald Duck June 9th, 1934 debut in "The Wise Little Hen."
2. As near as I can determine, the Owens-Illinois term Onized/Onized Club was introduced in 1934.
3. As near as I can determine, Owens-Illinois purchased Libbey Glass in 1935. (*See authors note below.) 

When I searched through numerous newspaper articles (the newspaper site I subscribe to currently has 264,839,795 pages) I discovered the absolute earliest advertisement I could find for the Disney tumblers was from 1936. (The Altoona Tribune, Altoona, PA., December 21, 1936.) 

Of course this doesn't necessarily date the catalog to 1936 but it does lead me to suspect the production of the Disney tumblers started soon after they were made available by Owens-Illinois. Hence, my reasoning is that the tumblers might have started being produced in 1935 and began hitting the marketplace in 1936. I checked and I have not been able to find a single Disney tumbler advertisement earlier than the one noted above. 
Based on the above, and compiled with your own observations, my somewhat educated guess is that the catalog was published in 1935 at the earliest or 1936 at the latest. 

*Authors Note:  According to Toulouse (1971)
"Owens-Illinois became the sales agent for Libbey in the 1930s, and in 1935 absorbed the company into its own organization."  This implies that O-I was selling Libbey products prior to being "absorbed" into O-I sometime in 1935. 

Given this, the company (O-I) could have been producing/selling ACL glassware (and bottle) products as early as 1933 and certainly by 1934...and when Donald Duck was introduced to the public in June of that year.  This information, in hand with the Prohibition related information described earlier, points to the catalog being most likely being published sometime in 1935 and possibly 1936.  Thanks Bob!

Another of the great features of this catalog is that it includes scores of art deco type bottles scattered throughout the various bottle types.  I've used this catalog many times for the conclusive identification of bottles produced during that era by O-I.  It also also helped generally date the similar products of other glass companies that emulated the O-I offerings (or vice versa).

A bit of thanks is in order.  The photocopy of this catalog reproduced here was kindly provided by a couple long-time (but now retired) Owens-Illinois Glass Company glass manufacturing engineers interested in the history, legend and lore of their employers.  Much thanks must be given to both Phil Perry and Russ Hoenig, the latter a co-author of the recently [2015] updated OI article with Bill Lockhart linked below.   Thanks to both Phil, Russ and O-I for making this catalog available for inclusion on this website! 

For a complete history of the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. (and its predecessors) consult the following reference; a PDF copy of which is included on this website (reference from the References Sources/Bibliography page of this website):

Lockhart, Bill and Russ Hoenig.  2015.  A Bewildering Array of Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Logos and Codes.  Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website, E-published March 2015.  This is an important and substantive update to the now long-in-the-tooth article (Lockhart 2004d) on the Owens-Illinois Glass Company and its markers markings co-authored with Russ Hoenig, a now retired senior engineer for the Owens-Illinois Glass Co.  This is another exclusive article published only on the Historic Bottle Website, but which is destined to also be included in a pending SHA book on historic bottles.  This article is available at the following link: 
Updated Owens-Illinois Glass Company article.

All of the pages of the 1933 O-I bottle catalog are hyperlinked below in the order they appear in the catalog (an exception noted for File #11).  Each of the 25 separately linked PDF files contains anywhere from 10 to 28 original catalog pages combined.  Click on each link to view an enlarged and of relatively high quality (a bit over 2 MB's per file) scan of group of catalog pages.  The file numbered hot links below also has a brief description of the general subject matter of that grouping of catalog pages.

File #1: Introductory Information (27 catalog pages) - This includes company history, glass making science, processes and machines, factory locations and lots of other company information.

File #2: Introductory Information and beginning of bottle styles (24 catalog pages) - Additional introductory information including a mold number index and "classified index" of bottle styles.  Beginning of the specific bottle style listings starting with the "Proprietary and Pharmaceutical Division" products, various druggist/medicinal bottles.

File #3: Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (18 catalog pages) - Continuation of  various styles of druggist and medicinal bottles.

File #4: Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (17 catalog pages) - Includes more styles of druggist and medicinal bottles, ammonia & bluing, polish, embalming fluid and miscellaneous styles.

File #5: Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (20 catalog pages) - Cylindrical "rounds" of various sizes, handled jugs, peroxides, serums, bluing and washing fluids, tablets and other wide mouth rounds.

File #6Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (19 catalog pages) - Square and oval tablets, paint jars, castor oil flasks and rounds, citrate of magnesia, and various paneled medicines.

File #7Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (17 catalog pages) - Includes a continuation of various paneled medicines, machine oils, various extract shapes, and a wide array of toilet shapes.

File #8:  Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (18 catalog pages) - Includes a few more toilet styles and a myriad of perfume shapes.

File #9:  Continuation of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products (10 catalog pages) - Includes more toilets, perfumes, and bath salts.

File #10:  End of the "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products and the beginning of the "Liquor Ware Division" products (25 catalog pages) - Includes more toilets, perfume shapes and bath salts, round, square and paneled polish bottles, inks, pastes, cream and ointment jars, pomades, and oil containers.  Introduction to the liquor and wine bottles section.

File #11:  Continuation and completion of the "Liquor Ware Division" products and beginning of the "Prescription Ware Division" products (28 catalog pages) - Includes an array of traditional and new styles of liquor, liqueur, bitters and wine bottles.  (NOTE: The liquor section of this file was scanned backwards with one of the pages on liquor bottle finishes at the end of File #10 above.) Beginning of the "Prescription Ware Division" products.  (A different array of bottles than found in the somewhat similarly named "Pharmaceutical and Proprietary Division" products.)

File #12:  Continuation of the "Prescription Ware Division" products (24 catalog pages) - Includes more druggist/prescription bottle styles, nursing bottles, citrates, dropper and iodine bottles, bathroom bottles, various specialty bottles including salt & pepper shakers, show globes (for druggists), powder jars and a few other oddities.

File #13:  End of the "Prescription Ware Division" products and beginning of the very large "Food Container Division" products (27 catalog pages) - Includes some more unusual bottles like refrigerator bottles, various toilet & perfume types, pantry jar sets, more salt & pepper shakers, and others.  Beginning of the "Food Container Division" wares including and introductory section, water bottles, jug packers, olive oils, cruets, vinegars, preserves, honey, mayonnaise, candy, mason packer jars, and other packer jar styles.

File #14Continuation of the "Food Container Division" products (23 catalog pages) - Includes a wide array of packer jars, "Lightning" canning jars, barrel jars, mustards, horseradish, pickles, "Presto" canning jars, preserves and jams.

File #15Continuation of the "Food Container Division" products (23 catalog pages) - Includes more packer jars, cheese and honey jars, olive and cherry bottles, coffee and candy jars, more "Lightning" style jars, mayonnaise, pickles and relish, horseradish, and mustard.

File #16:  Continuation of the "Food Container Division" products (24 catalog pages) - Includes more olive jars, clam juice, meat jars, various cruets and jugs, jug packers, catsup bottles, chili sauces, salad dressing, cocktail sauce, club sauces, olive oils, vinegars, grape juice, syrup, and tomato juice.

File #17Continuation of the "Food Container Division" products (20 catalog pages) - Includes pepper sauces, various specialty ware like shelf jars, glass buckets and pails, barrel jars, "modernistic" jars, more juice and sauce bottles, fancy vinegars and cruets, more packer and coffee jars, mustard, jellies, preserves, pickles, peanut butter, candy, relish, and a few others.  (Yes, this is a fairly messy catalog with similar items scattered around within and between sections.)

File #18:  End of the "Food Container Division" products and the beginning of the "Large Ware Division" products (24 catalog pages) - Includes more packers, coffee jars, display jars, mustards, the "Washington Flask" (a figured flask reproduction of sorts), decanter types, and catsups. Beginning of the "Large Ware Division" of the catalog which includes large water and fuel oil bottles, large grape juice and other liquid bulk bottles/jars.  Also includes large boxes and crates to store and protect such items

File #19: End of the "Large Ware Division" products and the beginning of the "Beverage Division" products (26 catalog pages) - Includes wicker covered bottles (still doing this in the 1930s!).  The beginning of the "Beverage Division" products includes an introductory section followed by water bottles, a variety of sodas and ginger beers, export, champagne and select style beers, malt tonics, then a large array of "art deco" style "licensed patented" soda bottles.

File #20:  Beginning of the "Milk Bottle Division" products (23 catalog pages) - Includes an introduction followed by milk bottles of various types, cottage cheese and sour cream jars, store bottles, milk bottle finishes, and illustrations and descriptions of various molded decorative elements and embossing available for milks.

File #21:  End of the "Milk Bottle Division" products, the entire "Package Division" section and the "Closure Division" section begins (26 catalog pages) - Includes milk bottle finish information and various bits of information about milk bottles.  Beginning and end of the "Package Division" section covering an array of box types and packing materials. The "Closure Division" section starts noting it produces "Metal and Molded Caps for Glass Containers."

File #22: Continuation of the "Closure Division" section (17 catalog pages) - Contains a lot of illustrations and information on a myriad of metal and molded closures for the O-I products.

File #23End of the "Closure Division" section and beginning of the "Tumbler Division" section (16 catalog pages) - More information on closures followed by the "Tumbler Division" section covering an array of non-bottle glassware, including Mickey Mouse/Disney glassware with ACL labeling.  (Since O-I didn't use the ACL process until about 1933, this pretty much dates the catalog to 1933.)

File #24:  End of the "Tumbler Division" section (19 catalog pages) - Includes more glassware including beer glasses with ACL.  This section also includes information on production tolerances, specifications and a large section on their various finish and closure types available (nicely illustrated). Ends with the beginning of an index of mold numbers.

File #25:  Continuation of the index of mold numbers as well as a large "Classified Index" to products contained within the catalog with page numbers by section.  Note: This index is useful but a bit hard to use.  It takes one a bit to figure out the page numbers in the catalog since they are alphanumeric and not particularly intuitive or in order.  Also, many of the catalog page numbers are often missing in whole or part largely due to the photocopying.  However, with a bit of time one can figure it out...I even could. For instance "L" followed by a number is a page in the liquor bottle section; "F" for Food, and so forth, although the letters are not in alphabetical order in the catalog.)

End of the catalog.


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