Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stamp of the Day: American Glass

In honor of our visit to the Wheaton's American Glass Museum in Millsville, NJ, two days ago, I selected some American stamps about glass. We will post some pictures from the Wheaton Glass Factory later. It was interesting to read that the British forbade all glassmakers to emigrate to America and that it was illegal to make glass in colonial America. The colonialists, who needed glass badly for containers and windows, imported glassmakers from Germany, so the American glass tradition is more based on German techniques than British. Wheaton was founded by a pharmacist that needed glass bottles for his products. The oldest bottles didn't have labels, instead it said on the glass itself with raised letters what the contents where (like Strychnine, Dr. Spocks Liniment, Sarsaparilla, etc.). I didn't really think much about glass before but after seeing this museum I have a new appreciation for it. More on this topic later.


O.K. said...

Some unconfirmed trivia about beer bottles:
The change from traditionally brown bottles to green happened when the glassmakers at a brewery were striking. The brewery called in strikebreakers in their place, but they failed to make the bottles the right color, brown, and instead they became green. These bottles were frown upon by workers so how they caught on is a mystery really.

Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?

LS said...

No idea if the color change story is true, but I know that the quartz sand from New Jersey used for glass making is slightly green due to iron. They used to have giant magnets to get the iron out of the sand to get clear glass.

Wikipedia has lots of info on beer bottles, where I just learned that "The first nationwide standardised beer bottles were introduced in Sweden in 1886".