ANOTHER "GREAT FEATURE ARTICLE" FROM THE PAGES OF
ANTIQUE BOTTLE AND GLASS COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
THE MAGAZINE OF THE ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTING HOBBY
Colored Hutchinson Sodas
in the United States
by Ted Oppelt
In April of 1879, Charles G. (Doc) Hutchinson, the son of
William H. Hutchinson, a successful Chicago soda bottler,
patented the Hutchinson Patented Spring Stopper. This closure
soon gained popularity and replaced the cork and wire closure on
soda bottles throughout the U.S. The Hutchinson Stopper is an
internal device. It is
made of a loop of stiff wire with a circular metal flange on one
end (Fig. 1). The flange is rimmed by a rubber
gasket that is situated inside the bottle just below the neck. When the bottle was filled
the loop was pulled up forcing the flange into the neck of the
bottle. The pressure of the carbonated soda water kept the flange
with its rubber seal tight against the interior of the bottle. To
open the bottle the wire loop was pushed down releasing the
pressure. The Hutchinson Spring Stopper was the most popular soda
bottle closure from the mid 1880s to around 1908. After the
Hutchinson was introduced there were a number of similar closures
patented. The bottles used for these stoppers are so similar to
the Hutchinson bottles they are considered to be the same type.
The Hutchinson Stopper continued in use by some small companies until 1915 or 1920 when new health laws banned internal stoppers because they were difficult to sterilize after each use. The crown top external closure patented by William Painter in 1891 became very popular after the development of the automatic bottle machine patented by Michael Owens in 1903 came into common use. This closure is still used today but has largely been replaced by screw caps. Hutchinson and Sons ceased manufacture f the Spring Stopper in 1920 (Hoste 1978).
Most of the bottles made for the Hutchinson Spring Stopper were shades of light blue-green known as aqua (Fig. 2). This was the typical color of glass produced in the U.S. Clear glass was produced by the addition of manganese to the glass. When exposed to the rays of the sun these clear bottles became light purple known as sun-colored amethyst (Fig. 3). A few clear soda bottles that contained selenium in the glass became a smoky gray color. These changes of color in clear bottles are not considered by collectors to be colored sodas. Later other minerals were used to produce clear glass.
Some soda bottle makers produced colored sodas by adding various chemicals to the glass. The most common colors and the chemicals added are:
Blue, cobalt and other shades- cobalt oxide
Amber, light to dark- iron sulfide and carbon
Yellow-green- ferric oxide
In 1999, Zang Wood of New Mexico published a valuable book listing and illustrating most of the known colored Hutchinson sodas in the United States and a few from other countries (Wood 1999). The present study draws much data from Woods book and adds information from other sources listed in the bibliography. One problem in studying colored Hutches is in deciding which ones vary sufficiently from the common blue-green aqua to be considered colored. Because the colors shade from aqua to many bluish or greenish shades there is no line demarcing a colored soda. For this study Zang Woods judgement, as indicated in his book, is used to make these decisions. The four color categories used here are: all shades of green, cobalt blue, other shades of blue, and amber (Fig. 4). The number of colored Hutchinson sodas in all states that fall into these categories in Woods book is 341 plus 35 others added later total 376 colored Hutches (Table 1). Bottles which had only minor differences such as base markings are not considered separate bottles.
*Other colors include citron, yellow, turquoise, yellow-green, olive-yellow, and yellow aqua (Fig. 5). (There are also two blue Hutchinson sodas from Canada).
The total number of Hutchinson sodas of all colors in the U.S. is unknown. In the late 1970s and early 80s Joe Nagy began to compile an encyclopedia of all Hutchinson sodas in the U.S. He gathered data on over 10,000 Hutchinson sodas, but tragically died before he completed this monumental task (Nagy 1979). Ron Fowler of Seattle, Washington has Nagys files and, hopefully, will publish this valuable information. Taking 10,000, which undoubtedly is low, as a very rough estimate, the percentage of colored sodas is .038%. This shows these bottles are rare and indicates why they are avidly sought by collectors and are highly valued.
The States and
Their Colored Hutchinsons
I noticed over the years that some states have many more colored Hutchinson sodas than others. This was verified by tabulating the colored Hutches in Woods book. Table 1 shows the number and color of Hutchinson sodas by states. All shades of green are lumped together in this last and all the blue, except cobalt, are also listed under blue. There are 11 states that have no known colored sodas (Table 2). Taking 1900 as near the height of use of Hutchinson sodas, the number of manufacturers of mineral and soda water in this year are also shown. These data are taken from the 1900 U.S. Census. As can be seen, the states without colored Hutches generally have small numbers of manufacturers of mineral and soda water. The exceptions to this are Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi and North Carolina with populations of over 1 million persons in 1900. These states have from 11 to 36 soda manufacturers and it is surprising none of them used colored sodas. As known by collectors, and verified by the data in Table 1, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and New York all have relatively large numbers of colored Hutchinson sodas. I was not aware that California also has 25 such bottles. The various shades of green from this state may not be as evident as the amber and cobalt bottles. Pennsylvania is by far the champion user of colored Hutches, as there are 77 from this state. Three factors relate to this unusually high number, these are the high population of over 6 million, the 233 mineral and soda manufacturers and the fact that more Hutchinson bottles were produced here than in any other state. Green and amber are the most common colors from this state. Most serious Hutch collectors have one or two colored sodas from Pennsylvania. New York had 525 mineral and soda water manufacturers in 1900. This huge number is probably partially due to the many mineral springs in this state. Mineral water was not usually bottled in bottles with Hutchinson stoppers because the carbonation was not usually bottled in bottles with Hutchinson stoppers because the carbonation was not sufficient to seal the bottle. Sixty two percent of the colored Hutches from Michigan are cobalt; most of these are from the Detroit area where this color was popular among some bottlers. Michigan companies which frequently used cobalt Hutches were Guyette and Company, G. Norris (City Bottling Works) of Detroit and G. Andrea and J. Zuber both of Port Huron (Fig. 4). Michigan has 34 colored Hutches but only 75 soda manufacturers in 1900. New York bottlers favored amber and green over the other colors. Oregon has eight colored Hutchinsons all various shades of blue. This is a relatively large number for a state with a small population and only 18 mineral and soda water manufacturers in 1900. These ice and teal blue Hutchinsons in Oregon range from common to very scarce (Fowler 1981). Illinois 38 colored sodas are distributed among the four colors with 15 greens the largest number. All of the colored Hutches from Illinois, except nine, are from the Chicago area. Three states, Texas, Missouri, and New Jersey had relatively large numbers of manufacturers but only seven, six and five colored Hutches respectively (Table 1).
The Midwest region of the country with its large population and numbers of soda water manufacturers has the largest number of colored Hutchinsons. The seven states in this region have a total of 137 or 36.4% of all these bottles in the U.S. The seven states in the Rocky Mountain region including Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona have only 5 colored Hutches. The small populations and few soda water manufacturers in these states account for this scarcity. Colorado has two colored Hutches, the most of any Rocky Mountain state. Both of these were used by the G.A. Montag Company in Buena Vista, Colorado. One of these is an amber bottle with the town misspelled Buennavista. The other is an attractive green bottle with a whittled surface and many tiny seed bubbles (Fig. 3). These are both very rare bottles and were used circa 1887-1889. They were made by the Colorado Glass Works, Golden, Colorado.
Seven states in the southeast U.S. region have only 18 colored Hutchinsons with Tennessee leading with six. Except for Connecticut, the northeast is also short of colored Hutchinsons with a total of only eight.
Makers of Colored Hutchinson Bottles
Twenty-four glass companies are known to have made colored Hutchinson soda bottles. Seventy four percent of the 376 colored Hutchinson sodas do not have a makers mark indicating where they were made. The twenty-four companies that made colored Hutches are listed in Table 3 with the number of bottles, locations, years of operation, colors produced and the states in which they were used. Only the four major colors are included here.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the center of production of colored Hutches with four major companies operating there. The most prolific maker of these bottles was the Cunninghams and Company in Pittsburgh. There are 24 of these bottles of the four major colors marked with the C&Co trademark and three of other colors. Cobalt was the color produced most frequently by Cunningham. A number of cobalt Hutches from Illinois and Michigan were produced by this company.
They also produced a number of amber bottles. The second leading producer of colored Hutches, McCully and Company, also of Pittsburgh, produced at least eight cobalts plus greens and blues. Their bottles were used in eight different states mostly in the Midwest. The Illinois Glass Company produced blue, green and cobalt bottles but no ambers.
The author hopes that the information in this article will be useful to collectors of colored Hutchinson sodas and encourage them to keep an eye out for new examples of these rare bottles.....
Fowler, Ronald R. 1981, Ice-Cold Soda Pop 5 Cents, An Illustrated History of Oregon Soda Pop Bottling, Seattle, Washington.
Hoste, Ray 1987, The W.H. Hutchinson Company: Their Closures and Their Bottles. Old Bottle Magazine Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 6-9.
Nagy, Joe, 1979, Report on Nagys International Hutchinsons Encyclopedia. Old Bottle Magazine Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 8-10.
Oppelt, Norman (Ted), 2002, Soda and Mineral Water Bottles and Bottlers of Colorado, 1860-1915. Unpublished manuscript, Greeley, Colorado.
Toulouse, Julian H., 1971, Bottle Makers and Their Marks. Thomas Nelson Inc., Camden, New Jersey.
Wood, Zang, 1999, Colored Hutchinsons. Sunbelt Publications, Flora Vista, New Mexico.
|Table 1 -
Colored Hutchinson Sodas by States
|Table 2 -
States with no known colored Hutchinson Sodas
|Table 3 - Glass
companies producing colored Hutchinson Sodas.
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