Unstill Life with Great Basin spring sunrise, bobcat and Mountain of Glass
It was an old, brown-glass, 22oz beer bottle.
And I like beer.
22oz beer bottle from circa 1880-1890s
Consulting the google revealed that John Wieland established the San Francisco brewery in 1856, and it was the City's largest - even larger than Anchor Steam - until it burned down during the 1906 Earthquake. The Wieland family re-built, shut-down for Prohibition, re-opened after repeal, and finally closed the last brewing plant in San Jose in the 1950s.
Cal Bottling Co. John Wieland's Extra Pale S.F.
And each of these re-openings and moves resulted in bottle and label changes.
Allowing me to date my find quickly to pre-1906, Wieland's era of molded bottles with blobby tops, seams, bubbles and raised embossing.
Then I noted a well-formed ring/groove circumventing the inside of the blobby top.
But the google found answers for it, as well.
The culprit was William Painter, a Baltimore metal smith and inventor of the "Baltimore Loop Seal" - a version 1.0 attempt at a removable pressure-proof "cap" for beer and soda bottles.
Painter's disc-like "cap" could be "popped" into the ring/groove in the top during bottling to seal carbonation into beer and soda bottles.
It rolled into production in the late 1880s.
And was obsolete and forgotten by the late 1890s. Thus narrowing my bottle's date.
A date range further confirmed by the letters on the bottom that read "SF&PGW," and indicate it was made by San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works, which was in operation from 1876-1902.
But it was William Painter himself who engineered the obsolescence of his Baltimore Loop and caused the sea change in capping technology. In the 1890s he invented the "crown cap" bottle cap that we all know, love and still use today. Worldwide. Over 120 years later.
John Wieland - Pioneer brewer.
William Painter - Pioneer in bottle caps and KISS.
Cheers to you, guys. Happy 4th of July.
Thanks for leaving your "notes" inside that bottle.
- Wikipedia - KISS Principle
- Wikipedia - William Painter
- Hutchbook - William Painter's 1885 Patent for the Baltimore Loop Seal
- Hutchbook - William Painter's 1892 Patent for the Crown Cap
- Soda & Beer Bottles of North America
- Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website
- Wikipedia - Crown Cap
- Curbed SF - Then & Now - Wieland Brewery
- Old Breweries - John Wieland Brewing Company in SF