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    The following article was first published in its' entirety in February,1997 as part of the book "The Milwaukee Antique Bottle & Advertising Club: The Cream City Courier - A Special 25th Anniversary Issue" compiled & edited by Michael R. Reilly, then, Editor, The Cream City Courier. Book was privately published by Mr. Reilly.

Updated 03/22/2009


    Many collectors believe that the only Wisconsin glass works existed in Milwaukee, not true. According to Edward D. Hamilton's article, "The Omro Glass Company", from Badger History, there existed at least two different (?) glass works in Omro, Wisconsin. The following was provided to The Cream City Courier some years back by member Don Mericle.

    Omro was the site of a glass factory in 1853. Although there are no records of its operation, an old newspaper clipping dated December 17, 1852, gives the following account of plans for the project:

    Three miles from Omro, a superior quality of glass sand has been found. Samples of this have been taken to the Lancaster Glass Factory, Erie County, N.Y., tried, and found to be of superior quality. A company has been formed and named the Omro Glass Co., with the announced aim of building a factory. Capital stock of the firm is $7,000 and is all taken by responsible men who will push the project thoroughly.

    The factory is to be built and ready for operation the first of June, 1853. Already are the timbers and material getting out. The factory will be on the Fox River, navigable to Green Bay and Lake Michigan and to the Wisconsin River, and thence to the Mississippi, which will enable the produce to be easily exported.

    No further information on this first factory is presently available. More is know, however, about the glass factory built in Omro in 1870 (same building ?) by Hiram Webster. The materials (to build it or the sand, etc. to run it?) for the factory were obtained in the Town of Nepeuskun, southwest of the Village of Waukau, on what is now known as the Lucas Craig Farm.

    The main output was blown glass. It was made into rolls and sent to the eastern markets (sounds like the investors were Easterners). There it was reheated and made into window glass. The factory operated until *1876. Then it became too expensive to send glass east for reheating. By that time, there were many glass factories in that section of the country.

    The Oshkosh Museum has a large collection of glass made in the old factory in the form of hollow canes. These were made during slack times at the plant, filled with colored water or wine, corked and sold for gift-giving.

    Another short account of the Wisconsin glass industry, which appeared in The Cream City Courier at another time, indicated that after the Omro Glass Company's demise no further window glass was produced in the state. As you read more of this article, you will find this not the case.

* Edward Noyes states in his article that this factory didn't open until 1876 and failed in 1877. He also doesn't mention the early Omro works.


("C MILW"- 1880, "C Co MILW"- 1880, "C V No 1 MILW"- 1880 to 1881)


    Dr. Enoch Chase, a Vermont native, settled in present day Milwaukee in 1835. He was one of the first white settlers in the area and Milwaukee's first practicing physician. He later gave up his practice, in favor of farming and other business, for health reasons. In 1876, he opened a brick making business with his sons, George, on his farm making Milwaukee's famous cream colored colored bricks.

    Dr. Chase was a man of many talents. He was a physician, farmer, brick maker, and with the help of a former Pittsburgh glass maker who was rebuffed by others, an experimenter in glass making. The glass making trial started in 1879 with the construction of an experimental furnace and production of sample clear glass bottles using the sand near Milwaukee harbor which consisted of 60% silica.

    In the Milwaukee Sentinel for March 22, 1880, he announced that he was embarking on the operation of Milwaukee's first glass plant which had begun on March 12, 1880. The site was on his own farm in Bayview (formerly the Town of Lake), now a part of Milwaukee along E. Lincoln Avenue and 1st Street ( then just south of the city limits, and west of Bay View, on the Kinnickinnic Creek). The Chase farm also had the two key ingredients already available to make glass, sand and fuel, from the brick making business. By May, 1880, the works, consisting of two separate buildings, was near completion.

    The two furnaces were small, and probably in separate buildings as stated, in light of later developments. Since he disposed of the larger of the furnaces to a corporation known as Chase Valley Glass Company or Chase Valley No. 2 in June, 1880, before operations started on it in September, the smaller of the two must have been in operation earlier to make the beer bottles lettered on the as "C MILW" and "C Co MILW." After June, 1880, the name for the smaller furnace, which was a four-pot one, became Chase Valley Glass Co. No. 1. It was situated on the north side of Chase Street. Operation of No. 1 was begun on September 1, 1880. The normal glass blowing season, or "blast" ran from September thru June, because as the Sentinel puts it, "the blowers will not work during July and August". The factories were started up on a test basis during the summer, but the start of regular produced was scheduled for September 1. It was noted (Sentinel article?) that at the end of July, Joseph Slimm had returned from a recruiting trip to the east with the last of the experienced glass workers needed to start up the works.

    The opening of the glass works (No.1 and No. 2) on September 1 attracted hundreds of visitors, including local business representatives as well as many women and children. Not much work was done on the first day of regular production as blowers spent much of their time entertaining visitors and creating souvenirs, such as Jacob's Ladders, canes, soup ladles and other fancy items for them them to take home.

    Perhaps a high point of the day came in a conversation between a Sentinel reporter and a blower who philosophically maintained that his job was remarkably intertwined with the whole gamut of man's experience since bottles had a unique significance to the life of the race. A bottle was, according to the workman, the first object an individual saw on this earth- though it may be doubted that appliances played so marked a role in feeding the young in 1880 as today- and often, a bottle was the last object a man saw when his eyes closed forever (beer/liquor drinking?).

    At the time of the opening, there were plans to immediately build a third factory to produce bottles, and possibly a fourth to produce window glass. It was expected that the third factory would be completed by October 1, 1880. However, for some reason it did not materialize.

    He manufactured all kinds of bottle ware, including fruit jars, employing about forty men and boys about the works, including eight glass blowers. Two of Enoch's sons also worked at No. 1, Clarence and Clifford.

    The furnace was kept burning 24 hours a day, but bottles were produced only during the day, starting at 7:00 am. Blowers worked in pairs, one pair per pot. Standing on a platform, one worker would withdrawal a small gather of glass with a five foot blowpipe. He would blow to expand the gather slightly, then roll it on a rough marble slab to shape it for the mold. It was then placed in the mold, closed, and then after blowing vigorously for a few seconds, opened and the bottle withdrawn.

    Blowers were paid by the piece, and made an average of $6 to $7 per day. Glassworkers received good pay in comparison with wages in other occupations. The factory was extremely hot (furnaces ran at 2,600 degrees), and the workers were "wet as drowned rats" according to the Sentinel. It was little wonder that these men , who endured insatiable thirst, drank immoderate amounted of iced water, or sometimes turned to inordinate consumption of the intoxicants for which they produced containers. About 13,000 bottles (from both furnaces) could be produced daily, or about 3,000,000 per season. The bottles sold for between 6 and 8 cents each.

    The neighborhood boys and girls were urged in old Sentinel ads to bring old and broken glass to the plants for supplying cullet, needed to glaze the melting pots.

    He was, at the beginning, unable to supply the demand for his wares, the capacity of furnace No. 1 being 4,500 bottles per day. Bottles with all three lettering (see above title) are known.


("C. V. No 2 MILW", "C Co 2 MILW", C.V.G.Co. No 2 MILW", "C.V.G.Co MILW.',

- 1880 TO 1881 ONLY)

    When Dr. Enoch Chase started a two-furnace glass plant in Milwaukee in 1880, for some reason he sold or transferred the larger of the two small furnaces to another organization in June that year, before the furnace was ready for operation in September.

    Dr. Chase held a controlling interest in Chase Valley Glass Co. No. 2. The remaining members of the corporation were Messrs. Guido Pfister (vice-pres.), Fred Vogel, Moore, and C.J. Meyer. Joseph Slimm was plant superintendent. He had worked at A. & D. H. Chambers for many years and as superintendent of the A.J. Mansfield glass works in Lockport, New York. The plant fireman was Joseph Jones. The organization was incorporated on August 2, 1880. His original Chase Valley Glass Co. became No. 1. Dr. Chase may have made this move to obtain finances, or he may merely have been allowing others to share in Milwaukee's first glass making venture. In any event, both organizations finished out the rest of 1880 and part of 1881 before he reorganized them.

     The works were situated on the south side of Chase Street, and consisted of an eight pot furnace. Fifty men and boys were employed, eighteen being glassblowers. The furnace ran bottle ware, producing 8,000 bottles per day. They advertised the ability to manufacture 50.000 gross (7.200,000) of bottles per year from their two furnaces. ( Wayne Kroll notes that it is safe to say that figure was never achieved.) They specialized in window glass (plain or colored) and hollow glassware (bottles). They advertised the ability "to make any kind of bottle or jar, if sufficient time is given, in plate or private green, amber, blue, olive or dark glass." This included "Mason's Patented Fruit Jar." (From Wane Kroll - It must be noted, however, that their main specialty remained "Bottles for Beer, Ale and Porter." Their "Export" Beer Bottle was guaranteed to stand the "steaming (pasteurization) process." Their "Export" Bottle appears to have been their best seller since it was used by "all Milwaukee brewers."

    The sand used was obtained by rail from Greenfield, Wis., for furnace No.1 and from the east shore of Lake Michigan for No.2. The sand at North Point, just north of the city limits, had been tested and pronounced fit for bottle work and was undoubtedly used after arrangements were perfected to obtain it in sufficient quantity to supply the works. Between the two operations, 3,600 tons of coal and 2,400 tons of sand are consumed annually to produce 3,600,000 bottles. Other ingredients, such as, soda ash, salt lime, and coloring agents were imported from the East. Large as the production was, it didn't supply the requirements of the two largest breweries of Milwaukee. The quality of goods manufactured was considered equal to the best in the United States.

    The supplies of sand and coal were delivered by railroads from a side track in the yard, and by vessels, which unloaded on the canal dock near the furnaces. Besides the furnace buildings were offices, packing houses, and cottages for the workmen. Brick making was also being carried on quite extensively in the vicinity, two yard being owned by Dr. Chase, one of which he worked, the other was rented and operated by other parties. It was reported that the foundation for another thriving suburb seems to have been laid in the Chase Valley.

    In November, 1880, Factory No. 1 was closed temporarily pending resolution of a dispute with a Mr. Johnson over royalties to be paid for the use of a furnace patent. Dr. Chase settled the claim, then introduced the newer technology, already in use at Factory 2, to No.1. By December the remodeling was finished and No.1 was back in production.

    The glass works operated without major incident through winter and spring. The Sentinel noted that there were many visitors to the plant, that production consisted mainly of beer bottles and fruit jars, and that it was running at capacity. In May, 1881, it was announced that the third factory would be built immediately, but again it didn't happened.

    In 1882 Dr. Chase combined it with his No. 1 company to form the Wisconsin Glass Co., which produced bottles with the "WIS. G. Co. MILW" lettering. The preceding sentence conflicts with Peter Maas's information that in July, 1881, the Chase Valley works closed for the Summer. For unknown reasons, Dr. Chase decided to sell Company No. 1 a well as his interest in Company No. 2. On August 16 (1881) , after only one season of operation, the two companies were combined into a single operation called the Wisconsin Glass Company.

    According to Mr. Maas the reasons for reorganization are not known, but evidence does not suggest that the venture failed. The Wisconsin Glass Company continued on in the same facilities, with basically the same management and initially produced mostly beer bottles, although they later diversified the product line.

    This became the first of several reorganizations and changes of name and trademark that led to the more stable William Franzen & Son in the mid 1890's, and made the products of this glass company, carrying Milwaukee beer to the Western camps and later ghost towns, the perfect dating media for historical archeologists.

    Many Chase Valley Glass bottles have survived. Most are bottom embossed, and the great majority of specimens include the "2" designation. Undoubtedly (Mr. Maas's comments) many of the Chase Valley bottles were unmarked, such as fruit jars, and turn mold bottles. Most marked bottles did not also have a mold number, which became a common practice of the Wisconsin Glass Company, probably for quality control purposes. Some of the marked bottles were probably produced in later years by the Wisconsin Glass Company, as it was a common practice for glass companies to continue using old molds, sometimes without reworking them.

    A twenty gallon bottle was blown for display by the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. It is not known if this bottle survived, but it was undoubtedly free blown and unmarked.

    Some of the imperfect examples of bottles produced were blown in an amber or aqua color, but flasks are occasionally found in shades of olive green and a cylinder is known in brilliant teal blue.

    Many surviving marked forms were beer bottles without the bottler's name (paper labels added? By such companies as Best, Blatz, and Schlitz in the 1880's). There are several varieties of whiskey flasks and several household and druggist bottles. Conspicuously missing are soda and mineral water bottles, with only one known bottle. The market for Chase Valley bottles appears to have been Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Upper Michigan (This editor and Mr. Peter Maas would appreciate any information about Chase Valley bottles from other states.)

From Mr. Maas:

    "Today, the site of the Chase Valley Glass factories is vacant, and had been extensively filled. Several years ago (late 1980's) my wife earned big points with me when she called me at work to say that a back hoe was working on the Chase Valley Glass site. During lunch she picked me up and took me there. There was a large hole, 15' deep, by 10' by 30', and shored up with boards. There was no one there and a ladder was standing in the hole. I immediately saw the glass, and seconds later was picking through a 12" layer of solid glass near the bottom of the hole, all broken and mostly not embossed, and probably from the early 1880's. It was a who's who of glass works. De Stieger, Chambers, Cunningham, McCully's, and a very occasional Chase Valley. Unfortunately I only had a few minutes. I got some very curious looks from the large group of construction workers just back from lunch when I emerged from the hole wearing a business suit. When I returned two days later, equipped to dig, the water main was fixed and the hole was closed." (Editors note - at the time of Edward Noyes writing (1962), only the stables remained, with piles of broken fire brick about the furnace ruins; there are also chunks of cullet from melts of years ago.


("WIS. G. Co. MILW. "- 1881 to 1885)

    Reorganized as "Wisconsin Glass Co." from the former Chase Valley Glass Co. No. 1, and Chase Valley Glass Co. No. 2 ("C V No 2)" grew during its five years of operation. With increased capital investment and Dr. Chase no longer president (Guido Pfister was president, and C.J. Meyer and Joseph Slimm remained on), capitalization increased and a third furnace was added to the factory. The capitalization rose from Chase Valley's $24,000 (according to records of the Milwaukee County Registrar of Deeds) to $150,000 in 1885, its last year. Why Dr. Chase left is unclear, however, at age 72, and with health problems, a well as other business interests to attend to, he may simply decided to retire. It may never be known if Dr. Chase's reasons were personal, financial, or otherwise.

    It made table glassware, fruit jars, prescriptions, beers, beer cider, ink bottles, pocket flasks, carboys, and window glass. Colors were amber, dark or green, and blue. Blue glass often was thought to possess extraordinary beneficent and curative powers on plant and animal. It became highly diversified for a one-furnace operation. Note that since it did not make flint, each pot could hold glass of a different color, and need not be hooded or covered.

    E. Noyes, writing for the Milwaukee County Historical Society, points out that this diversification was the company's undoing - its costs became high. Making glass was cheaper using Indiana's natural gas than with coal in Milwaukee, and the Indiana factories could undersell Milwaukee. Wages had to be kept low, and finally a wage cut started a series of strikes in the fall of 1885 when the "small help" protested a wage cut and culminating in disagreements with the skilled workers during the raucous labor upheavals of 1886 (see next paragraph). In 1886 the plant closed and remained closed through 1887 into 1888 despite the urgings of the 'Milwaukee Labor Review" to the Knights of Labor to reopen the works.

    "Dr. Enoch Chase, proprietor of the Chase Valley Glass-Works, was mad yesterday. Mad hardly expresses it. Some of the workers wanted a holiday and so they slyly put fresh sand in the working crucibles which compelled a shutting down of the works until the additional sand melted."

(Milwaukee Sentinel, 1886, courtesy - Marty Kupferschmidt)

    In 1888 a group headed by Arthur P. Ayling purchased a part of the plant, capitalized for $20,000 and reopened the plant to make beer bottles exclusively. Ayling was a practical glass maker from Ohio. The new name was "Cream City Glass Co." ("C C G Co."). Wisconsin Glass Co. bottles are not uncommon, particularly the well-marked beer bottles.


    In a The Sentinel Milwaukee article dated April 11, 1886, courtesy of member Larry Kaczmarek, the above company was mentioned as operating in Bay View. The company manufactured stained glass for windows and articles for the table. See article further on, "Blowing Bottles".

    If anyone has additional information on this company, please forward it to this editor.


("C C G Co" - 1888 to 1894)

    On reopening as the Cream City Glass Co., Arthur P. Ayling became president. He capitalized the firm for $20,000 and started to make beer bottles exclusively, possible as a reaction to the fact that the closing of Wisconsin Glass was partly due to too great a diversification. By 1891 its capitalization rose to $50,000. Its output of beers and the fruit jars, that had been added, were valued at $237,000 in 1892. It employed 260 people, with an annual payroll of $117,000.

    The depression of 1893 greatly affected all business branches of the company. In 1894 it was reorganized as the Northern Glass Co. with Ayling remaining as treasurer. It also appears that Cream City Glass continues to use the older bottle moulds from Wisconsin Glass. Many of the Cream City "Export" beer bottles look exactly like those used by Wisconsin Glass (Wayne Kroll).

Sun, 21 Dec 2003 10:01:07 -0800 (PST)

Dear Mike Reilly,

    I am very interested in your research on the Cream City Glass Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whose President and Treasurer was Arthur Putnam Ayling, my ancestor.  In the next couple of months, I will be publishing my Ayling Family History.  I have done extensive research on Mr. Ayling and his family.  Two questions that you might be able to answer for me: 
    1) From what city in Ohio did Arthur P. Ayling come from prior to his becoming proprietor of Cream City Class?  I know that he was born in Boston, MA, and raised there until he finished his education.  My research led me to three wives, and that brings me to my second question. 

    In the 1880 Federal Census, he lived in Toledo, Lucas, OH with mother Amelia, but this wasn't the Arthur Ayling listed above; perhaps his father? Between 1889-90, Arthur P. Ayling, b: ABT. 1853 in Boston, MA, lived in Milwaukee at 181 Howell avenue.


    2)  Do you have any further information on Cora B. Ayling, Arthur's second wife?  I have been unable to locate her maiden name, and from the 1900 census know that she was born in 1870 in Illinois (Chicago), married c 1895, but apparently not in Milwaukee.  I have been to the Milwaukee Historical Society and their public library, but have not found a marriage date/place.  Arthur married his third wife in Washington D.C. and died in Charlottesville, VA in 1928.

    First or third wife ? - Martha DuVal Quinn, b. abt 1853


    I would greatly appreciate any input you can give me about Arthur Ayling and his wife, Cora.  I enjoyed reading more about the glass companies on your website.  Thank you. Carol Kroeger - Moline, Illinois 


("N G Co" and possibly ""N G W"- 1894 to 1896)


("W F & S MILW"- 1896 to 1929)

    In 1894 the failing Cream City Glass Co., of which Arthur P. Ayling had been president, was reorganized. No new president was yet named, but Ayling remained as treasurer. The move was of little avail, and in another two years the company was again ready for reorganization.

    Besides manufacturing and selling glassware, the company also purchased , sold, and leased formulas and processes for glass making.

    One factor was that the company was attempting to use iron slag, rich in some glass making materials, but high in iron content for the making of good glass. The product was decidedly inferior and Milwaukee's only glasshouse had lost the reputation for good quality it had previously enjoyed. Mr. Ayling, then practical glass maker he was, tried, in view of Milwaukee's high costs, to reduce these costs through the method above. and in doing so not only lost the company its reputation but its backing.

    At this juncture, Cora (Mrs. Arthur) Ayling stepped into the situation. She interested William Franzen, a Milwaukee bottle jobber and second-hand bottle dealer, in the affairs of the company. According to William R. Franzen, his father's interest in questions of Mrs. Ayling, who disposed of inferior product of the Northern factory, as to means of improving quality of output, led him to investigate the problem. William Franzen advertised in the June, 1895, National Bottlers Gazette as a second-hand bottle dealer, doing business at 537 River Street, in Milwaukee. He then led in the second reorganization of the company, capitalizing it for $10,000 - the lowest point in the history of the six company names that had been attached to the plant during a short space of 14 years. He became president of a new Northern Glass Works on June 18, 1896. Arthur and Cora Ayling were listed as incorporators with him, but no active part in the management, though an early ad or letterhead lists A.P. Ayling as Vice-President & General Manager. It was not long before it was Franzen's company.

    During the two years 1894-96 the initials "N G Co" were used. Franzen immediately replaced them on bottles with "W F & S," for "William Franzen & Son." For a time he kept the designation "Northern Glass (Works) Co." on letterheads and advertisements, but soon dropped even that. By 1898 the advertisements in the National Bottlers Gazette were for the "Northern Glass Works, Wm. Franzen, president," and later, as "proprietor."


    In 1900 Franzen became owner, reincorporated, and placed his own mark on the bottles. Things were at a low ebb when Franzen took over but by 1898 the capital stock had risen in value from $10,000 to $100,000 and by 1900, thanks to the use of a tank furnace and semi-automatic machines, to $300,000. Use of a higher percentage of cullet in the batch aided in partial reduction of operating costs. Bottle quality was good, and the factory's most important customers, the Milwaukee brewers, had reentered the fold.

    Prohibition brought about its downfall, but for awhile the reversals suffered were met with bottles for makers of "near beer" and soft drinks. Noyes states that the corporation was dissolved on December 24, 1921 by a vote of six hundred shares of stock in favor and none against, but the City Directory reports it active under O.E. Koehler in 1923 and idle in 1926, never to reopen.

    It appears that Franzen kept the name "Northern Glass Works" as a factory name even after he stopped using it on bottles, according to ads in the National Bottlers Gazette.

     The old building are now gone on Lincoln Ave., only the stables remain (?) standing. Broken fire brick lie about the furnace ruins, also chunks of cullet from melts of many years.

    For collectors, many types of bottles were made over the 41 year span of Milwaukee glass making. Mason's and Standard fruit jars, pickle, packers, vials, panels, ovals, honey, mustard, ink, bluing, and bitters bottles were made. Along with the beers of all sizes and types, a few of which were bulb neck quart, champagne quart, and export quart. Add to the collectors list, mineral water, Hutchinson sodas, apollinaris (quarts, pints German size), flasks, hocks, clarets, brandies, and schnapps, birch beer, and ginger ale bottles. The Wisconsin Glass Co. also advertised using Lightning (Putnam) Stoppers for beer and Hutchinson's Stopper for soda bottles.

Wisconsin Glass Company Update

    Back in June, 1996 during Wayne Kroll's presentation, he asked if anyone knew the name of William Franzen's son. Well on August 5,1996 I spent a little time down at the Milwaukee County Historical Society paging through the Milwaukee City Directories for a couple of years. Here are some entries I noted:

  • 1896 under GLASS WORKS heading
  • NORTHERN GLASS CO., William Marx, president; John W. Mariner, VP;
  • C.F. Hunter, sec., A.P. Ayling, trea-mgr., Lincoln Ave., cor Chase.
  • (They also had a listing under BOTTLE MANUFACTURER)
  • (There was also a bottle dealer listed - Herman J. Kunkel at 580-582 E. Water; and a bottle stopper manufacturer - Julius Erdmann at 1432 Tomah)
  • 1896 residential listings
  • Franzen, William, rags & bottles, 539 River St., h. 1706 Cedar
  • (so he was in the rags and bottles, Used?, business at the River street address and he lived at
  • (h) 1706. Cedar was probably wrong since the rest of the family lived at 1706 State St.)
  • Franzen, Ida, steno, h. 1706 State
  • (relationship unknown)
  • Franzen, Agatha, (widow of Jacob), h., 1706 State
  • (Jacob, William's father?)
  • Franzen, William R., bkpr, 539 River, h., 1706 State
  • (William's son was William R.; bkpr may mean book printer; there are other Franzens listed including a Franzen Printing.)
  • 1897 Franzen, William, rags & bottles, 539 River, h., 1706 State
  • Franzen, William R., bkpr, 537 River, h., 1706 State
  • NORTHERN GLASS WORKS, William Franzen, prop, Lincoln Ave., cor Chase.
  • (under GLASS WORKS heading)
  • 1900 William FRANZEN & SON, William and William R. Franzen, paper stock, bottles, and bottler's supplies, 537-539 River, h., 1706 State.
  • (Under GLASS WORKS heading the following)
  • NORTHERN GLASS WORKS, William and William R. Franzen, Lincoln Ave nr bridge (near).
  • J.P. BRILL & CO., 1602 St. Paul Ave. ( competitor?).
  • 1901 WILLIAM R. FRANZEN COMPANY, William, pres., William R., VP,
  • E.J. Dahinden, sec-trea, whole paper stock & bottles, 537-539 River.
  • Wm. FRANZEN & SON, INC., William, pres., William R., sec-trea, Northern Glass Works, Lincoln & Chase.


    Remember when using the City Directories, there are time lags and mistakes in information. So events may have occurred earlier ,and that certain people or business's may appear to exist longer than was actually the case.

    The City Directories are a very good source of information and you may use them at the Historical Society for a user fee of only $1 if you're not a member. They list not only an individual's address, but their occupation. You can also track where they moved around to and who lived with them (adults). Business's often listed the company officers.

Think of this source the next time you want to follow up on a person or company involved in your hobby interest. Mike Reilly


    Many of you may be wondering what sort of business William Franzen was in before and during his operation of the Northern Glass Works Co. The following article is a description of a New York second-hand bottle dealer that will shed some light on Mr. Franzen's activities. The article appeared in the November, 1995 issue of Applied Seals (GVBCA) and more recently in the November, 1996 issue of The Applied Lip from The Finger Lakes Bottle Collector's Association (New York state). It was originally printed in an unknown 1902 newspaper.

Where Second-Hand Receptacles Are Cleaned and Prepared for Sale to Tradesmen:

    Of the millions of bottles used every year about one-half are lost, and the other half are used again. They are collected by servants, janitors, rag pickers, dump pickers, and small boys, and sold at a half-cent, a cent, or two cents to a junk dealer, who disposes of them to a bottle dealer, from whose place, when they are cleaned and assorted, they go back again into the trade.

    "The business," said a dealer, "looks simpler than it really is. Collecting is easy, and cleaning presents no difficulties. When a bottle is very dirty, say, when it contains paint, it costs more to clean it than it will sell for when cleaned. Such bottles are never bought. The assorting demands considerable trade knowledge. All bottles which have names blown (embossed) in the glass are put by themselves. They are purchased by the original owners, and sometimes by imitators."

    "Drug store or prescription bottles make a class. We don't care much for them, as they are so cheap originally that the profit is very small. Rhine wines and Moselle bottles are large in demand, as they are nearly all imported. Whiskey and gin bottles make good stock. They go to the distilleries, bucket shops, and cheap saloons. Champagne bottles are not quite so profitable. They are used by American champagne makers, cider bottlers, and mineral-water men. Cologne and fancy perfumery bottles go to the East side (of New York City?), where cheap scents are manufactured. Many patent medicine bottles, especially those of odd design, are bought by the manufacturers. The same rule applies to ink and mucilage bottles, but only to lager sizes. Magnum and extra Chianti always find a ready market."

    "Another important point is the attitude of a customer. Many bottlers, saloons, and drug stores will receive our goods delivered in open baskets. It does not hurt their trade for the public to know that they are second hand bottles. Others are very different, and insist on their bottles being packed in boxes and large crates, as if they came from the glass works. Formerly, we did a large business in beer and milk bottles, but these trades have organized an excellent system of cooperative collecting and distributing which was, of course, at our expenses. We do not utilize broken bottles. In Europe they are mixed with mortar and laid on top of low walls, where they make an insurmountable barrier. They are also broken finely, mixed with plaster of Paris, and poured or rammed into rat holes. When the plaster sets, no rat will ever gnaw it. Mixed with cement, broken bottles make a good concrete for military walls.



J S B Monogram, letters imposed over each other or (J S B) circa 1900

Normally the Schlitz trademark is a globe, upon which the name is superimposed. Bottles have been found, made by William Franzen & Son, of Milwaukee, 1896-1929, in which the monogram of the initials for "Joseph Schlitz Brewing " (omitting "Company") were used as a decoration.


"HORLICK'S", "TRADE M.M. MARK" (The Ms in script), "J", "W", "T"


Horlick's bottles are quite common and vary from hand to machine-made. I (Julian Harrison Toulouse) do not know if the company started in England or in the United States. Some bottles have only the Racine name, while others have both addresses.

The true trademark is probably only the script Ms above. It appears within a circle formed by the full name of the company. Other bottles have the name "HORLICK'S" (never with an apostrophe for a possessive) as a straight line on the shoulder.

The pairs of letters, one over the other, are only examples of what must have been an elaborate code of the facts concerning the individual bottle; date, size , place and time of purchase, etc., but this is only conjecture.

N MAKER UNKNOWN - initials are on a Horlick's Malted Milk bottle of English manufacture, D since Horlick's English factory is mentioned. The bottle was made on an Owens or Owens-

c. 1910-30 type machine, which places it ( in England) after 1910 and probably after 1920.


The Glass Industry in the Kinnickinnic Valley

    About 100 glass-blowers find employment in the Milwaukee and Bay View. The works of the Wisconsin Glass Company on Lincoln Avenue are primarily an American green bottle concern, while the Standard Art Glass works in Bay View manufacture stained glass for windows and articles for the table. Green glass is less expensive than flint glass which is absolutely colorless. The former too, is without color when its density and mass is slight, but even in a common window pane the edge distinctly reveals the tint of the sea. It is principally blown into bottles of every variety and shape, beer bottles for the brewers predominating. The substances which form the the basis of all varieties of common glass are silica as the acid element; soda or potash as the alkaline earths. To the latter ought to be added baryts and alumina, the former being used in the place of lead, and the latter being a common ingredient in certain kinds of glass.

The Crucibles

    The melting pots are made of the finest clay, great care being necessary in the selection, as the presence of any foreign particles will injure the crucible. A fine powder procured by grinding old pots is generally mixed with virgin clay. The ingredients are worked into a paste in a large trough, and afterwards trampled upon until the admixture becomes as tough as putty. It is then made into rolls and wrought, layer upon layer, into a solid and compact body, which shrinks about two inches in drying. In the construction of a furnace, the principal objects to be kept in view are the production and maintenance of an intense heat, and its uniform distribution throughout the oven. The form is generally square or oblong and circular.

    Bottle glass varies in tint from the dark green, almost black, to the semi-transparent claret bottles to clear and transparent qualities. The materials ordinarily employed are common sand, gas-lime, brick clay, common salt, and soap-boiler's waste. In a common bottle house the furnace is oblong, and is erected in the center of the brick cone , above a cave, which admits the air to the grating. The working holes of this furnace, opposite each pot, for putting in the materials and taking out the liquid glass, are each about one foot in diameter. At each angle of the furnace there is also a hole about the same size communicating with the arch and admitting the flame from the main furnace.

 Blowing The Glass

    After the metal has been skimmed, the person who begins the work is the gatherer, who, heating the pipe, gathers on it a small quantity of metal. This pipe or blowing tube is of iron about seven feet long. After allowing the first dip to cool a little, more is gathered until there is sufficient for one bottle. The gatherer then puts the metal into a brass or cast-iron mould of the shape of the bottle wanted, and , continuing to blow through the tube, brings it to the desired form. The blower then hands it to the finisher, who touches the neck of the bottle with a small of iron dipped in water, which cuts it completely off from the pipe. He next attaches the punty, on which is a little metal gathered from the the pot, to the bottom of the bottle, and thereby gives it the shape which it usually presents. The finisher then warms the bottle at the furnace, and taking out a small quantity of metal on what is termed a ring iron, he turns it once round the mouth, forming the ring seen at the mouth of bottles. He then employ's shears to give shape to the neck. One of the blades of the shears has a piece of brass in the center, tapered like a common cork, which forms the inside mouth; to the other blade is attached a piece of brass, used to form the ring. the bottle is then lifted by the neck on a fork by a boy, and carried to the annealing arch, where the bottles are placed in bins above one another. This arch is kept a little below the melting heat, till the whole quantity, which amounts to ten or twelve gross in each arch, is deposited, when the fire is allowed to die out.

This is part one of THE SENTINEL MILWAUKEE article dated April 11, 1886, courtesy of Larry Kaczmarek, re-written by the Editor.

     The following article concludes the Sentinel story, dated April 11, 1886, on the glass industry in the Kinnickinnic Valley.

Sheet Glass

    Sheet-glass making involves the blowing of the cylinder and the opening and flattening of the glass. Radiating from the work holes and raised about seven feet above the floor, are long stages with an open space between each to allow the workman to swing about his long tube in forming the elongated cylinder of glass. When the metal is ready, the blowers take their stations, each having his own pot and an assistant. After gathering about twenty pounds of metal, the workman places it in a horizontal position in the large hollow of a wooden block, and turns it into a solid cylindrical mass. In the meantime, the assistant, with a sponge in his hand, and a bucket of water by his side, lets a fine stream of water run into the block, which keeps the wood from burning, and also gives a brilliancy to the surface of the glass. The water, the moment it comes in contact with the glass, is raised to the boiling point, and in that state does no harm to the metal. But it is only when the metal is at a high temperature that such is the case; for whenever the glass is cooled to a certain degree, it immediately cracks upon coming in contact with the water.

    When the workman perceives that the mass of metal is sufficiently formed and cooled, he raises the pipe to his mouth at an angle of about 75 degrees, and commences blowing it, at the same time continuing to turn it in the wooden block, till he perceives the diameter to be of the requisite dimensions, which are usually from eleven to sixteen inches. The workman then reheats the cylindrical mass, and when it is sufficiently softened, commences swinging it over his head, continuing to reheat and swing till he has made it the desired length. The ends of the cylinder are cut off, and then the tube is ready for flattening.

    To accomplish this the practice is either to lay the cylinder horizontally on a bench, and draw a red-hot iron two or three times along the inner surface, or to split it with a diamond cutter fixed in the cleft of a stick and guided from end to end by a straight edge. The cylinder is then taken to the flattening kiln, and placed in the oven with the split side upwards. In a short time it becomes softened by the heat, and by its own weight falls out into a flat, square sheet. The flattener, with a piece of charred wood, rubs it until it is quite smooth, and then places it on the edge in the annealing arch, where it remains about three days.

Colored Glass

    Colored glass is produced by adding small quantities of various metallic oxides and other mineral substances, while the ordinary materials are in the melting pot. Blue is obtained by the use of cobalt; yellow by uranium and salts of silver; green by oxide of chromium; red by cuprous oxide; ruby, carmine and pink by a compound of gold with a tin oxide. Colored sheet glass may be either composed of pot metal or it may be of "flashed" colors. Pot metal consists of glass uniformly colored throughout, while in "flashed" colors the body of the glass is transparent sheet metal; covered on one surface only with colored glass.

Contributed by Marty Kupferschmidt



Secondary Sources: Bottle Makers and Their Marks by Julian Harrison Toulouse, copyright 1971.; "An 1881 Account of the Town of Lake, Milwaukee County", courtesy of Don Mericle; Plus additional information from The Cream City Courier by an unknown submitter; Milwaukee Bottle Club Presentation on 6/11/96 by Wayne Kroll - Early Wisconsin Glass Industry; Wisconsin Glass Company Update, The Cream City Courier, August, 1996 by Mike Reilly; "The Omro Glass Company" by Edward D. Hamilton, from Badger History, courtesy Don Mericle.

Lake Michigan Glass Marbles

I'd like to convey a "lakeglass" mystery which I haven't completely unraveled, which perhaps you'll enter in a second addition of your book.  During our first year of marriage, my wife and I rented an apartment in Racine Wisconsin overlooking Lake Michigan.  As we walked the beach, we began to find pale green glass marbles of varying sizes.  We collected well over a hundred in 1991, and when were back to WI several years back we combed the beach and found still more.  These are not marbles like the kind you play with, but glass of the "soft green/sea foam" variety used for old soda bottles.  We were puzzled about these marbles, then one day a neighbor mentioned that there used to be a bottling plant located on that stretch of beach (near Higgins Hob Nob).  We believe that raw glass was delivered there by barge and unloaded.  While no one has ever confirmed this for me, I believe the raw glass was shipped in marble pellets.  This is how iron ore is shipped around the lakes still pellet form in large cargo ships.  I suspect that these raw glass pellets spilled into the water during unloading at the plant, where they were turned into various soda bottles. 

Would love to send you digital photos of some of the marbles..., and perhaps have you help me explain them.
Brooks Minnick
Frederick, MD



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