Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes

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

1930-1935* Owens-Illinois Glass Co.
Bottle Catalog

HOME: Bottle Typing/Diagnostic Shapes: 1930-1935 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 early/mid 1930's (*see "Catalog Dating Notes" below) Owens-Illinois Glass Company (O-I) catalog on this website - a catalog that has never been reproduced.  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 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.

*Catalog Dating Notes:  Unfortunately, this catalog was not officially dated.  The author of this site has gone through this entire catalog several times and not found any printed date within.  This was not uncommon as indicated by the "1920" and "1926" Illinois Glass Company catalogs also posted on this website - one of the companies that combined to form the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. in 1929.  Neither of the IGCo. catalogs were formally dated as they were to be used/in effect for quite a few years.  The 1926 "B" catalog being the update to the 1920 "A" version which was an update of a prior version printed about 1915.  However, those dates were confirmed as being very accurate (1926) or within a year one way or the other (1920) via other sources (Pete Schulz pers. comm. 2009)

There are, however, various clues within this mystery 1930s catalog as to its date or date range.  In short, it appears the catalog was put together over a period of several years beginning in 1930 and ending in 1935.  The evidence is as follows and posted at length here due to the importance of firming up a date for this important catalog:

1. First off, the copy used here had hand printing on a cover page (which was signed by several dozen workers and/or management) 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 or very close.  Also handwritten along the side of that same page is the notation "Catalog finished Dec. 1930." That seems conclusive though could have been added to this O-I library archival copy by someone in later years estimating when the catalog was completed?

2. Also supporting a "begin date" of 1930 or early 1931 is the fact that the catalog's introductory pages xxvi and xxvii note presumably all the "Owens-Illinois Plants" at the time with illustrations of those plants.  Included within this grouping (page xxvii) is listed the Hazelhurst, PA. plant.  That plant, however, was closed and demolished in March of 1931 (Russ Hoenig pers. comm. 2/2019).  (Rush Hoenig is a now retired, long time engineer with the company and student of the history of Owens-Illinois Glass Co..  He is also co-author with Bill Lockhart of the comprehensive articles on the company which are posted on this website and linked further down this page.)

3. However, 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 (a note later in this point).  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 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 those "old familiar shapes" with the relatively new style closure that was smuch less common prior to Prohibition: external metal screw caps and accompanying threaded 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."  All of this strongly indicates that some of the catalog was done just after prohibition and why this author originally used 1933 as the date (and why all page group links below have that date as part of the URL).

Additional information from Russ Hoenig (Hoenig pers. comm. 2/2019) noted the following (edited somewhat):  "The other detail to remember is that OI never quit making beer and liquor bottles during Prohibition.  They were officially for medicinal and export use, as there just was no money available in the US to support volume production."  He went on to note that near where he lives (PA.) that liquor bottlers (aka "bootleggers") purchased and used bottles made by the Clarion, PA. OI plant and "Whether this was normal with all OI plants is not known, but financial reports in the early '30s always commented on limited liquor and beer production, but not prominently."  This doesn't necessarily conflict with the previously noted statements that inferred an end to National Prohibition but does indicate that some plants were ready to increase the volume of a still ongoing production.

4. One piece of information supporting 1933 (or later) is the presence of an array of Applied Color Label (ACL) glassware towards the back of the catalog.  The ACL process was reported to have not been used commercially by the company until at least 1933, possibly 1934 (Lockhart & Hoenig 2015, 2018).  There is one piece of information that may conflict to some degree with the above contention.  Russ Hoenig noted the following information he discovered recently:  "In the 1931 (O-I) end of year report, under new products (it was noted that) "a new decorating lehr has been added at the Huntington, W.V. plant, and colors and designs are being applied to various glass containers." (emphasis added; Hoenig pers. comm. 2/2019).  This may or may not indicate any commercial production of ACL products, but it is certainly possible that such was being made by 1932.

5. There is some additional ACL and company history related information that indicates the catalog has some mid-1930s heritage at least.  In March 2017, Bob Brown (a San Diego researcher of ACL bottles and glassware) contacted this websites author and provided some glassware related information that points to a 1934 to 1935 date for the catalog or portions thereof.  The following is an edited version of his communications (which has been further edited down from what was here prior to this February 2019 revision): 

"I was 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. **

When I searched through numerous newspaper articles (from a site with a data base of several hundred million papers) 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. 

*Russ Hoenig (pers. comm. 2/2019) also confirmed 1934 by noting that in the 1934 End-of-Year report, under "Relations with Employees" - "In all of the plants a voluntary movement has started among employees which has led to the formation of OnIzed Clubs." The term "OnIzed" is mentioned throughout the listings portion (majority) of this catalog but is not noted in the introductory information.
**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 in 1935.)

Given the above information, the company could have been producing/selling ACL glassware (and bottle) products as early as 1933 and certainly by 1934 when Donald Duck was introduced to the public in June of that year.  So what can we conclude?  Russ Hoenig also noted the following (Hoenig pers. comm. 2/2019) which sums it up in regards to it being a multi-year product - "I agree, that it looks like a work in progress.  This thing was bound which I thought a bit over the top for a catalog to be shared.  After the merger (1929), I could see a directive for all branches (and) departments to develop something to showcase what they have/do to supply customers.  Eventually assembled to what we have."  So the catalog is dated from between 1930 and 1935.

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 (2018) 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 references:

Questions pertaining to the products of the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. outnumber many fold the questions this websites' author receives about any other particular glass/bottle maker.  The previous article(s) on the company posted on this website have also received significantly more user downloads than any other makers marking article. 

Given that there is much new information gleaned since the 2015 article (Lockhart & Hoenig 2015), Bill Lockhart recently combined all of the currently known information on the complicated history of the company into two separate articles - Part 1 which is the overall history of the company and various plants and, Part 2 which is an explanation of the various makers markings, date and plant codes and related features f0und on their products.  Both articles follow and are part of the above noted Encyclopedia of Manufacturers Marks on Glass Containers:

Lockhart, Bill, Russ Hoenig, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey and Carol Serr.  2018t.  Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Part 1 - History.  Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website, E-published October 2018.  This is an in-depth overview of the history of this important 20th and still currently operating company, including the myriad of plants the company used and still use. This article is available at the following link: 
Owens-Illinois Glass Company Part 1 - History.

Lockhart, Bill and Russ Hoenig.  2018u.  Owens-Illinois Glass Company Part 2 - The Bewildering Array of Owens-Illinois Glass Co. Logos and Codes.  Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website, E-published October 2018.  (Note: Russ Hoenig is a now retired senior engineer of the Owens-Illinois Glass Co. and a rich source of information.  Thanks Russ!)  This is an important and substantive update that goes further in explaining the array of markings used by the company on its products over the past 90 years.  This article is available at the following link:  Owens-Illinois Glass Company Part 2 - Logos & Codes.

All of the pages of this 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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Bill Lindsey
Bureau of Land Management (retired) -
Klamath Falls, Oregon
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