Archive for June, 2010

The Glassmakers, Revisited: A History of Owens-Illinois, Inc

June 18, 2010

The Glassmakers, Revisited: A History of Owens-Illinois, Inc

 By Jack K. Paquette

May 17, 2010

272 pages

             I have always had a deep interest in glass, china and pottery. For many generations my family worked in all those industries. I remember several relatives who had kilns at home and would make beautiful pieces, things that would be considered folk art. They did not see it that way; they merely saw it as a hobby.

            So when I found this book a few weeks ago while searching for ‘The Man Behind the Bottle’ I ordered it. I enjoy reading the history of companies; it usually gives you insights into the industry as well as useful information and facts.

Jack Paquette had a 33 year career with the Owens Illinois Glass Company and retired as a vice president. At some point during his career he became the Company Historian and wrote the history of the company. ‘The Glassmakers Revisited’ is an updated revision of the 1984 and 1994 editions. The book covers the history from 1818 to 2009.

     Owens Illinois Glass Company is one of America’s oldest businesses and was one of the industry leaders for many years, especially after Michael Owens invented the automatic bottle machine in 1903.

With the Owens Bottle Machine the industry saw many changes. The Owens machine could produce 10 bottles per minute and up to 14,000 in 24 hours and ran with a two man crew. The way bottles had been made before consisted of seven skilled workers plus several children (Child labor was huge in the glass industry) and could produce 3,600 bottles per day by hand.  The Owens machine could make uniform bottles (unlike the hand made versions) which allowed the U.S. Government to establish the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. The machine also revolutionized the bottle industry and did more to reduce child labor than any legislation had been able to do.

The book also covers the background of the Illinois Glass Company and how these two companies were able to form the Owens Illinois Glass Company, a leading glass manufacturer for many years. The book covers a lot of years on few pages, I would liked to have seen more in depth information, but it is still a good read for bottle collectors. It mentions many advances through the years and when these advances happened which allows the reader to understand bottle production and helps you determine how they were made, which can tell you ages of bottles.

An interesting read with some photos too.

 You can find the book here:

For more information on Michael Owens:


Collectors Weekly

June 17, 2010

I have mentioned Collectors Weekly and my interview on their website. They have added a new feature on the site ‘Show & Tell’.  You can post pictures of your latest addition to your collection.  Not just Coca-Cola bottles, but anything.  People can also post comments on your items.  So if you have a question OR just want to show off something, check it out:

Interesting Article

June 17, 2010

While surfing today I came across this article from June 14th. It covers the new book ‘The man Behind the Bottle’ by Earl Dean.  I know I did a review of the book recently, but this has some very interesting items in it.

Check it out:

The Man Behind The Bottle, Book Review

June 9, 2010

The Man Behind The Bottle; The Origin and History of the Classic Contour Coca-Cola Bottle as Told by the Son of its Creator

 By Norman L. Dean

Illustrated with B/W photos

162 pages

We are all familiar with the famous Coca-Cola Contour bottle. Even if we just see the shape of the bottle we know what it contains. But how many of us are familiar with the history behind the Contour Coca-Cola bottle?  When was it designed? Why was it designed?  Who designed it?  Well, that last question of who designed it is something that hasn’t been easy to answer. Sometimes history gets lost or rewritten along the way.

             Norman L. Dean is trying to clear all of that up for us in his new book, The Man Behind The Bottle.  Mr. Dean is the son of Earl R. Dean, a machinist and bottle designer and mold maker for the ROOT Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, the birthplace of the Coca-Cola bottle.

            For many years a man by the name of Alexander Samuelson, Plant Superintendent for the ROOT Glass Company has been credited with designing the Coca-Cola bottle. How did this mix up come about? The official U.S. Patent listed Samuelson as the inventor. Also, an interview in the 1940’s led to some inaccurate information according to Norman Dean. Then things just snowballed from there. Many books and articles began to quote the 1940’s interview and listing Alexander Samuelson as the man who designed the world famous bottle.

   In Mr. Dean’s book he presents his fathers recollections, analyzes the interview in question and presents detailed information about the subject. He hopes this book will set the things straight and show that his father was the true inventor of the Coca-Cola bottle.

 So, did Earl R. Dean design the Coca-Cola bottle? Well, you will need to read the book yourself and see what conclusion you come to.

 Available in Kindle Edition, Paperback or Hardback

 For some great information on the book and to order directly from the publisher go to Norman Dean’s website.