Reed and Company, Massillon, Ohio - "O" variant

One complete bottle and two basal fragments of amber-coloured American “Export Beer” bottles (what we would today consider a lager bottle) were found at False Creek Flats with “R & CO” in an arch on the base. This mark was from Reed and Company of the Massillon Glass Works, Massillon, Ohio (Lockhart et al 2017). All were mould-blown and the complete bottle has an applied crown finish. The glass is thick – 5 mm or more mid-body. Diameter is 6.5 cm, height is 23.8 cm. Volume would be approximately 12 oz - smaller than most other bottles with this mark.

Export Beer bottle made by Reed and Company #51 

     Bottle bases #51, 52, 53 – digitally altered to show the less obvious “O” below the numbers.

All three are marked with “R & Co” in an arch over a number – the two base fragments are “34” with an embossed dot above it, while the complete bottle is “41” with no dot. Basal fragment #52 has a ghost “34” above the final “34”, and all of them have a faint capital “O” below the numbers. The “O” has not been recorded by the Society of Historical Archaeology Bottle Group before now (Lockhart et al. 2017).  

Reed and Co. merged with the Massillon Bottle & Glass Co., the Wooster Glass Col, and the H. Everett Glass Co. on October 11, 1904 to form the Ohio Bottle Co. In August and September of 1905, the Ohio Bottle Co. became part of the larger American Bottle Company merger (Lockhart et al 2017). I propose due to the nature and age of this site and the use of the crown finish (used more commonly after about 1900  [Bill Lockhart, Elec. Comm.]), that the “O” may be an indication of when Reed and Co. was part of the Ohio Bottle Company between October 1904 and September 1905. If I'm right, this would make them some of the last bottles made before the American Bottle Company merger. This is just an hypothesis and further historical research and archaeological study will be needed with larger and more extensive samples from various locations to prove the American Bottle Company immediately stopped using the R & Co. mark - some glass house mergers kept the old company marks for a period of time.

Reed & Co., or the Reed Glass Works, was begun by David Reed, Charles W. Reed, and John Miller in 1881. At the height of production, Reed & Co. covered five acres, had 12 buildings, and employed 300 people on average. The Massillon Museum website mentions that the company sold bottles to many western and southern states as well as Mexico. This indicates that the bottles likely came to British Columbia containing American beer. One bottle found at Fort Bowie in Arizona has a Schlitz Brewing Company label still attached.

Reed Glass Works ca.1900 Collection of the Massillon Museum (91.7.431)


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