Baltimore Pontiled & Early Smooth Based Sodas And Beers 1840-1870

On this page I hope to showcase some of the rare Baltimore pontiled sodas and beers from my collection as well as give basic company history and information on rarity of the many different variations. If you have any Baltimore sodas not pictured on this page I would be very interested in buying or trading for them.

Peter Babb


Peter Babb was Listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1853-1857. Even though he was only in business for a short time he is considered to be the most prolific of all the Baltimore bottlers of the pontil era. There are 7 different molds known. These include an early larger, two porters one embossed in a slug plate, three sodas one with a comma after Babb one with out the comma and one embossed in a slug plate, also there is one pony shape mold. All of these different molds come in a wide range of colors ranging from Aqua to teal blue and green to apple and shades of emerald green. He also used several different lip treatments ranging from a rounded blob, the more common rounded tapered and a double taper as well as a tall single taper and the unusual English double taper lip found on the later porter molds. Generally his bottles are found iron pontiled I have never seen any smooth based examples but have seen the rare one of a kind open pontiled porter. I believe this bottle is open pontiled only because the blower used the older pontiling method instead of the current technology of the iron pontil available at the time for what reason he did this we will never know but this did create a choice rarity for the soda collector.

John Boyd & Son


John Boyd & Son are listed as bottlers in the Baltimore city directories from 1842-1851 there address was listed as 9 South Gay Street. John Boyd was still in business after this but was no longer listed as a bottler. During his time as a bottler he produced some of the more colorful Baltimore torpedoes and tenpins as well as several early open pontiled sodas and an early pottery soda. He must have bottled quite a lot of beverages as I know of 5 distinct different molds bearing his company name these being one early open pontil soda mold, one early open pontil porter mold, one ten pin mold, and two torpedo molds. The torpedo and ten pins are not pontiled but do date to the pontil era most Baltimore soda collectors believe that all the Baltimore torpedoes and tenpins date from the 1842-1852 time frame and this is supported by evidence from digs and city directories. The fact that they are not pontiled causes me to believe that they were produced using the aid of a clumsy Dutch device called a clamp. This made the production of these bottles slow and very costly which is probably directly responsible for the rarity today. The early open pontiled Boyd sodas are general found in shades of apple green and the tenpins are found in shades of olive green and emerald. But it is the torpedoes that you have the most color variation. I have documented 8 distinct color variations these included Apple and yellow green, olive green, yellow olive, apricot puce, strawberry puce, light smoky pink puce, yellow topaz, and aqua. General the lip treatment found on these bottles is a sharp tapered collar which is very typical of the early Baltimore torpedoes and ten pins.

John Clark


John Clark is listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1854-1858. John must not have been a very successful business man and this is evidenced by the relative rarity of his bottles. And the fact that after his partnership with J. McKay broke up in 1853 Clark was only in business on his own for another 4 years were as McKay continued on very successfully until the 1870s. I have listings for 3 distinct John Clark molds.  They are a standard Pontil soda shape, a porter shape, and a pony shape embossed in a rectangular slug plate. They are found in shades of dark aqua as well as shades of teal, shades of yellow and emerald green, And there is a listing for a medium cobalt blue example selling in the early 1990s I got a chance to see this bottle in person at the 2003 Baltimore bottle show and its an amazing piece. The Clark bottles are generally found with a rounded taper lip or a tapered lip but on a rare occasion I have seen examples with a doubled taper lip. It is also interesting to note all of Clarks bottles have the letters F.P. embossed on them this stands for Fells Point.

Cole & Co.


Cole & Co were listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1845-1851 there address was listed as 118 North Howard Street. Cole & Co. was a partnership between C.A. Cole and C.F. Brown There business must have prospered because there are a good number of Cole bottles around for today's collectors. There are at least 5 molds and 3 pottery bottles from this company these include two ten pin molds, one torpedo mold one porter mold, one sided soda mold. Of all these bottles the tenpin molds provide the most color variation being found in shades of sapphire blue as well as teal blue green and light apple green. The other Cole molds being found mostly in shades of deep aqua, olive green, olive amber, and yellow green. Cole is also one of the few Baltimore bottlers to experiment with a variety of unusually lip treatments these include sharp tapered, hat top, rounded double taper, and double taper. Also in a rarity for Baltimore tenpins many of the variations in shades of teal are found with an iron pontil base and I have even herd of a sapphire blue example that is open pontiled.

William Coughlan


I don't have exact dates for when William Coughlan was in business but judging by the bottles. I would say from the mid 1840s-1870s his address was listed as the corner of Eastern Ave and Exeter Street. Coughlan was another prolific bottler but I think it is due the the fact that he was in business over such a long period of time that many examples of his bottles have survived rather than selling a high volume of his product. There are 11 different molds that I know of with the Coughlan name these include two torpedo molds, 4 porter molds two embossed in a rectangular slug plate and two in custom molds, two standard pontil soda molds one embossed in a rectangular slug plate and one in a custom mold, and 3 pony molds one embossed in a rectangular slug plate and two in custom molds one with the name of a Savannah Ga. bottler peened out on the back and one with out. The Coughlan molds are generally found in shades of aqua, teal blue and green, emerald green, yellow green, olive green, and olive amber. They are found both iron pontil and smooth base with either a rounded taper lip, a tapered lip or a rounded blob lip.

Gardner & Brown


Philip Gardner and Christopher F. Brown were involved in a brief partnership from 1846-1848. They were listed as mineral water manufactures at 116 North Howard Street. There bottles are quite scarce and not often seen. I only know of one mold with there name that is a torpedo mold embossed simply GARDNER - & BROWN they are found in several shades of green ranging from apple to citron and odd shades of ginger ale and puce. The all have the standard sharply tapered Baltimore torpedo lip.

Christian Gerber


Christian Gerber was listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1847 to 1851 as a manufacturer of Mead And Root Beer. Since he was in business for such a short time that would probably explain the relative scarcity of his bottles. Apparently he only produced these large stoneware bottles for his product. It is doubtful that he ever had any glass bottles produced as these stoneware bottles were the standard for this time and his type of brewed product. His bottles come in brown and gray salt glaze and have a large G. On the shoulder with the C. GERBER stamped on the front of the bottle.

C. Hohnberger


C. Hohnberger circa 1870s. Here is another bottler I don't know much about. I don't believe his business was very successful due to the rarity of his bottles today. I have only seen one distinct mold bearing his name as well as one large pottery bottle. His bottles are generally found in aqua and blue green with a smooth base. But what makes this bottle interesting is the lip treatment on a rare occasion his bottles come with an oversized blob lip with two small dents one on each side to hold some sort of "patent" closure. they are also found with a standard blob type lip with out the dents.



Here's another Baltimore soda that I don't know much about. I believe its from Hynson N. Jennings & Co. I've only seen a few examples of his bottles in a pony form they come embossed in a slug plate and a custom mold in both aqua and a teal color. I was very excited to see this example in an oversized early larger form in the teal color. I believe this bottle dates to the late 1850s early 1860s. Research to follow.

Paul Keach


I don't have exact dates for when Keach was in business but I would say early 1840s-1848. This is one of the more available Baltimore torpedo and in my opinion this is not because Keach was in business for along time but because Keach went out of business very suddenly leaving many empty bottles in the hands of consumers so many of those bottles ended up in attics, basements, and privies because there was no one to return them to. I know of only one Keach mold it is very distinct in that Keach is embossed high up on the torpedo and very close to one of the seams of the bottle rather than being centered like the other Baltimore torpedoes. This bottle also comes in a wide variety of colors including apple green, yellow green, deep emerald green, olive green, yellow topaz, and apricot puce. They are only found smooth base with a sharp tapered lip.

Henry Levies


I don't have exact dates for when Henry levies was in business but I would say early 1850s This is one of the Tougher to find Baltimore pottery bottles as I have personally only seen 2 examples but do know of a couple others. His bottles come in brown and gray salt glaze with a blue glazed top. And should be considered rare. It is also interesting to note that apparently the pottery that made his bottles did not have a letter I stamp to use so they used a number 1 in place of the I in levies and Baltimore.

J. McKay


J. McKay was listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1855-1879. Unlike his former business partner John Clark.  Mckay was quite successful and this is evidenced by the relative availability of his later bottles. I know of only two different molds for J. McKay bottles. They are one soda shape and one pony shape. the later pony shape being considered quite common by Baltimore soda standards and the earlier soda shape is in fact very rare with only a few known examples. His bottles are found with both iron pontil and smooth bases. The come in shades of aqua, teal blue, teal green, emerald green, and yellow green. And they are found with either a rounded blob, or a rounded taper lip. It is also interesting to note that the rare iron pontil soda was actually blown in a reworked McKay & Clark mold were Clark was cut out and a blank slug plate was inserted also the & symbol was recut to make it into a 6 pointed star.

McKay & Clark


McKay & Clark were listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1851-1854 there address was listed as 130 Franklin Street.  This company was made up of a partnership of J. McKay and John Clark there partnership failed after only 3 years so most of there bottles are quite rare and hard to get. There were three distinct molds used by this company these included a pontil soda shape, a porter shape, and a ten pin shape. There bottles are found in apple green, emerald green, yellow green, deep olive green, deep olive amber, and teal blue. The bottles can be found with both pontiled and smooth base. They also tried several different lip treatments these include the rounded taper, tapered, rounded blob, and the hat top. At the time of this writing I know of only three examples of the McKay & Clark tenpin of which only one is intact the other two had the tops knocked off. What is interesting is that of the three know examples there are all different colors, two are iron pontiled and one is smooth based, and they all have different lip treatments.



Heres a bottle I know very little about. The directories list several Medcalf's but no metcalf so  I believe the name to be misspelled on the bottle. "Metcalf" was involved in a short partnership with Nicholas Rooney in the mid 1850s. Weather this bottle predates this partnership or post dates it I am uncertain of. Further research is needed.

Nicholas Rooney


Nicholas Rooney was listed in the Baltimore city directories as a brewer of porter from 1852-1855 his address was listed as 118 North Howard street. His bottles are found in gray and brown salt glaze and in yellow ware. Currently only a few examples of his large pottery bottles are known but since he was listed as a brewer of porter it is very possible that he had a glass bottle produced but this is just speculation on my part. It is also interesting to note that he is listed as being located at the same address as Cole & Co was the year before.

William Russell


William Russell was listed in the Baltimore city directories from 1847-1861 his address was listed as 22 Light Street. Russell was quite successful in his bottling venture being in business for 14 years which is a long time when compared to many of Baltimore's early bottlers. I have listings for 4 distinct molds and 3 pottery bottles bearing his name. These include an early larger, a pontil soda, a torpedo, and a pony shape embossed in a slug plate. These are found in shades of apple green, yellow green, and emerald green. They come both smooth based and iron pontiled with one of three lip treatments these include, a rounded taper, a tapered, and a double taper. An interesting fact is that on the Russell torpedoes there is a blank slug plate just above the M.RUS on the Russell side this plate is in the exact location on the bottle as the location of the embossing on the Keach torpedoes it is also the same size as the word Keach and the Balt on the back of the bottle is identical on both the Keach and the Russell torpedoes there for it is my opinion that Russell bought the Keach torpedo mold after Keach went out of business and had this mold reworked and his name cut in.

Jacob Schmalzel


Jacob Schmalzel was listed in the Baltimore city directories mainly as a leather worker But he was only listed at 167 Register St from 1868-1872  During this time his primary occupation was of a boot fitter. Though its very likely that he had a small brewing operation at his residence as a second income. Currently only one example of his bottles are known. Its of the form more commonly used during the 1850s Its a large brown saltglaze of the type used to bottle root beer and mead..

Christophf Spengler


Christophf Spengler was listed in the Baltimore city directories as a Schencke Beer and Mead brewer from 1869-1873  his address was listed as 382 Eastern Avenue. Even though he was in business fairly late his bottles are very rare with only a few being known this is probably because of the short time he was in business. His bottles are found in gray and brown salt glaze. His bottles are one of only a few early Baltimore beverage bottles that are marked with the type of product they contained currently only examples marked with Mead are know. Either his other product was not bottled or no bottles have yet been found.

James V'D. Stewart


I don't have exact dates for when J.V'D. Stewart was in business but judging by the bottles known with his name on the I would say Late 1840s-1880s his address was listed as 81 Hanover Street. Stewart was listed primarily as a retail druggists in all the directories I have looked in I have yet to find him listed as a bottler. But during this time it was quit common for a druggists to sell soda water from his establishment. I know of only one "soda" mold embossed with his name that is a ten pin but there are numerous druggists and medicine type bottles embossed with his name check out my pontiled medicines to see an example that is open pontiled. His ten pin is found in dark emerald green with a smooth base and a rounded taper lip. But don't let the smooth base fool you this bottle definitely dates to the late 1840s early 1850s. I was lucky to be able to acquire this bottle two years ago as it is currently the only known example.

Thomas Walsh


Thomas Walsh was listed in the directories as a bottler with an address of 12 south Gay street from 1842 until the early 1860s. His bottles are extremely rare with very few known. Of the known examples they are all gray saltglaze stoneware about 10 inches tall. impressed on the shoulder is T. Walsh or Thos. Walsh.

Unembossed Baltimore Molds


I know this one dose not have a name but I wanted to show that there are many unembossed sodas that can be identified as blown at a Baltimore glass house. There are several 3 piece mold porters and a dip mold porter as well as ten pin and torpedo molds that are found in a rainbow of typical Baltimore colors also many of these have the same lip treatments found on the embossed examples and when it comes to the torpedoes and tenpins that great Baltimore form that make them so desirable.

Return To Bottles From My Collection