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Sea Glass Beach Glass

GLASS FACTORY INFO ~ Antique Bottles Fruit Jars Insulators Tableware Marks used by glass companies in the United States

Glass Manufacturers Marks on Bottles and other Glassware

Glass Manufacturers Marks on Coke Bottles

Hazel-Atlas Glass Company (1902-1964)

Star Glass Works, New Albany, Indiana

Masons Patent Nov 30th 1858 Fruit Jars Summary

Kentucky Glass Works Company, Louisville, KY

Bromo-Seltzer~Cobalt Blue Bottles~Brief History

Indiana Glass Company Hen-on-Nest Dishes

Illinois Glass Company, Alton, Illinois

Maryland Glass Corporation, Baltimore, MD

Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, Muncie, Indiana

Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG)

Artificially Purpled Glass / Irradiated Glass / Altered Glass (Summary)

New Albany Glass Works, New Albany, Indiana (1867-1872)

Sea Glass is the general term used by beachcombers and collectors for pieces of weathered glass found along the shores of large bodies of water, including seas, oceans, large lakes, etc.     The term Beach Glass is more or less synonymous with Sea Glass, but is more commonly used for glass found along inland rivers and other bodies of water where wave action is generally less intense, and as a result, the glass is not usually worn down as heavily.

Beach Glass found along the Ohio River

Sea glass gradually acquires a frosted matte  look by exposure not only to long-continued surf action (numerous microscopic scratches caused by repeated abrasion by gravel and sand particles), but additionallyperhapsin some small measure by contact with the saline (salty) environment of ocean water.

Sea glass tends to be more smoothly worn, more rounded and pebble-like, with less markings still legible on individual pieces.  Beach glass (from shores of inland rivers and lakes) is typically less worn, often with embossed/raised markings that remain clear enough to help identify what type of item (bottle, jar, insulator, tumbler, plate, window pane, etc) the glass was originally part of.

The most common colors of sea glass include clear (flint or white, used for innumerable common bottles and jars of every description, especially made within the last 70-100 years, window glass, tableware, etc), emerald or lime green (typical of older Sprite, 7-up, gingerale and other soda bottles), and shades of amber (including medium brown or beer bottle brown glass.)

Less common are various shades of aqua (light blue-green), which was the typical color of a good percentage of common bottles and jars made (in general) before the 1920s.  Many olderelectrical insulatorswere made in some shade of aqua glass, ranging in depth from a very pale, washed out aqua to an intense dark teal aqua or dark green. Along Pacific Coast beaches, some aqua sea glass could theoretically result from brokenglass fishing net floats.

Other colors, less frequently found,  include amethyst (very light to medium purple indicating the presence of manganese used as a decolorizer, very common in bottles from the 1890-1920 period), cobalt blue (Bromo-Seltzer bottles, Milk of Magnesia bottles, Vicks Vaporub jars, many other products), forest green, sapphire blue, light blue, cornflower blue, olive green (Champagne and many other types of bottles), olive amber, kelly green, dark purple, light green and pink (Depression-era glassware), medium/dark turquoise or dark teal green (stoplight lenses for the green light), teal blue, light yellow or yellow amber (as used inDepression era glass tableware); blackglass (intense olive green or olive amber typically used for some beer, ale, bitters and whiskey bottles pre-1890); white milkglass (salve, cosmetic & cold cream jars, bud vases, decorative tableware, and much more), gray (perhaps television faceplates or other tech/industrial glass products, some thick plate glass), purple blackglass,  true yellow,  ruby red (vehicle taillight lenses, stop light lenses, railroad light lenses, upscale tableware, etc), and true orange, which is very rarely found.  Occasionally, opaque colors are found, including purple slag (marbled white milk and opaque purple), green (Jadite) and other colors.A specific color may be called by different names by different persons,  including some of the colors within the preceding list!!

It is often difficult to ascertain what any particular piece of sea glass came from, which adds to the mystery and fun of collecting.  Many colors found in old glass are also being made in new items (such as various shades of green, olive amber and aqua that are used for certain types of present-day wine or bottled water bottles) so color alone maynothelp identify an age range for any particular piece of glass.   In general, older bottles were made of heavier and thicker glass than present-day bottles.This is especially true of old soda and beer bottles.The presence of many bubbles is usually (but not always!) an indication of some age, as most glass before c. 1920 tends to have more bubbles in it than modern glass.  In the case of modern art glass and other decorative glass, however, bubbles are often intentionally left in it for an attractive effect.

There are a multitude of minor color shades that are difficult to define. There are many shades of off-clear tending to lean, for instance, toward peach, straw, gray, green,  blue, lavendar  and other color directions. Clear bottle glass with a faint straw, peach or yellowish tinge was common in the 1910s-1940s as a result of the element selenium being added to the batch as a decolorizer.

Although virtuallyanytype of glass object might eventually wind up as a piece of sea glass or beach glass, a large percentage of this glass originates from containers thrown away in the trash.  A good percentage of these containers have washed into rivers (and ultimately, oceans and lakes) along with driftwood, plastic and other debris after rises in water levels as a result of heavy rains and/or melting snows.  Virtually every river carries floating debris after a marked rise, and oftentimes the bottles and other glass containers afloat on these bodies of water are carried along for hundreds of miles from their original source of deposition in headwaters (minor tributaries, streams and creeks located far inland) before they are eventually carried out to sea,  and ultimately wash ashore.  Winds and waves, combined with abrasion on rocky, gravel or sandy beaches starts the process of breaking up the bottles and they eventually wind up as sea glass.  Sometimes bottles are smashed into pieces by mischievous children (and adults) playing along sea shores, and then the pieces are further weathered by wave action.

Some unknown percentage of sea glass originates from bottles thrown overboard from ships and boats, although I believe that is actually a rather small percentage, and in fact the majority of bottles cast up onto beaches (either ocean, estuary, sea or river beaches) come from trash washed from inland sources.   It can also depend on the exact locality where the glass is found; the location and proximity of nearby rivers and their outflow currents;  whether or not a beach is near a major shipping lane;  how popular a particular beach is (with tourists, who might leave trash behind such as wine bottles);  the frequency of strong oceanic storms in a particular area, and many other factors.

Sea glass /Beach glass that originates from non-enclosed (not floatable)  glass objects may come from trash that was disposed of relatively close to the actual place where it is eventually found. (Any bottle that has floated for long distances would have had the lid intact and tightly closed, otherwise it would have filled with water and sunk).   Some areas along shorelines and beaches were once unofficial dumping areas, landfills or trash dumps, later to be uncovered by shifting beach erosion zones.   In these cases it is not that unusual to find, along with beach glass, worn sherds of pottery bowls and crocks, pieces of ceramic/china dishware, old porcelain doorknobs,  small spool type porcelain home wiring insulators, and other durable (non perishable) related artifacts, remnants of typical household and/or construction-related trash.

Sea glass is collected for its interesting colors and textures, for use as part of craft projects, for incorporating into jewelry, mosaics, art projects, etc.  Sometimes collections are displayed in clear glass jars, bottles, fishbowls, brandy snifters or vases, with the glass grouped by single colors, or with a number of different colors mixed together.

Sometimes the glass is picked up by a casual beachcomber  purely out of curiosity at to where it came from, or what a piece might have originally been part of, and eventually this interest expands into a full-fledged hobby.

NOTE:Alotof the so-called sea glass sold on the internet is not as found, but was artificially created by using a rock tumbler or similar means. Fake sea glass is frequently sold on sites such as ebay, soproceed with cautionif you are buying it online.  The authentic product is very difficult to fake, and fake sea glass can usually be differentiated from authentic, natural sea glass, but only upon close inspection.

Much more information can be found at the North American Sea Glass Association website here:

For an extensive list of marks and symbols that might be seen on pieces of beach glass (some with accompanying illustrations), please check out my Glass Bottle Marks pages..Page one starts here.

This webpage is currently under construction. More pictures to be added later.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Hi! Im trying to identify a thick black glass kickup with partial lettering along the bottom rim. Do the capital letters DDES ring a bell?

Kelly, thanks for the link. Interesting shard. Sooner or later, someone will land on this site who recognizes the full name on the bottle, and can let us know also!

I grew up in Burlington, Ont, a block from Lake Ontario. Id follow our creek out to the water and could find beach glass in slabs that took two hands to carry home. I had no idea what treasures I had.

Ive been collecting sea glass for years and have used your reference site for years. Tonight was the first time Ive stumbled upon your sea glass section. Im always using this site for bottle bottoms that I find on a regular basis. Thanks for the information.

Thank you Carmen! I appreciate the nice words!

Awesome information! Thanks. I do have a question. I was out on a beach and found 2 gumdrop looking glass pieces. Well frosted. But for some reason, my mind keeps telling me they are glass dropplets used in fake flower arrangements. Flatish on one side, domed and rounded nicely, but quite frosted. Is anyone finding these on the beach?? TNX

Alan, I wouldnt be surprised to find almost ANY type of discarded glass in the form of beach glass. Who knows, someone could have dumped a handful of them at the beach (sometime in the last few years) just to start the process of making some neat beach glass! Those flattened marbles (gemstones, glass pebbles) have been around for quite awhile, made in many colors and sizes, at least as early as the 1970s. If anyone knows when they were first produced, let us know!

How domed are we talking? I have a very pretty cobalt blue piece that sounds like what you described. It has a flat bottom and a rounded top, which could be described as domed. Davids flattened marbles definitely fits. While I never thought to research their origin, I just thought Id mention that I have a whole container of non-sea,beach glass ones, of various colors (though not cobalt blue) that Id used at the bottom of an aquarium. Now Im curious about them, too, before someone decided theyd look cool in aquariums. It is not uncommon for me to end up on your site, David, when Ive found a bottle bottom on the beach with enough of its markings for me to research, and it all began when I found my first piece of glass insulator last year.

I just discovered your post reply that had been diverted to the website spam folder. Sorry about the delay in answering. Again, I dont know much about the glass pebbles or flattened marbles but I assume they have been used in crafts, floral arrangements, aquariums, etc at least since the late 1960s and probably before that. I found a large green one (about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter) lying on the ground in a neighborhood alley in Tucson when I was a child, and that was in 1969, so we can be sure they were being made at least that early!

I know they are currently sold in large quantities in any hobby or craft store, (such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc) and the crafts/floral section of large department stores. I believe the majority, if not all, are now imported from Asia, especially China.

Hi Alan, sounds like you may have found a kick up or push up The bottom of a wine bottle which was solid (present wine/champagne bottles have these but usually not solid) ends up looking like a gumdrop shape. Is it dark green? Thats the most common color of kick ups.

Thanks for this, a really interesting read. Weve actually made a business out of sea glass by collecting it from the shores of the beach near our house and turning it into jewellery. It always seems to go down well with people because as well as looking very attractive, they immediately question where it came from. Thanks again. Kerry.

Thank you Kerry! I appreciate your post!

I love that bottle collectors are now into sea glass. I know that in our online sea glass group m, shard id is always welcome. We also have a group on facebook and members have made some amazing ids of glass remnants. It really is like archeology, but on the beach. Who could ask for more../

Would you be able to help me identify a large clear glass seal I found along the beach? My husband thinks its a dragon but I say boar. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Its probably the bottom of a Gordons Gin bottle. Most (if not all) of the older versions have a representation of a boar on the base.

Hi David, the salinity of the water does have a strong effect on the patina formation in sea glass. There is a process of hydration where the saline water eventually starts to chemically interact with the glass. Thats one of the reasons (along with less wave action/friction) that freshwater entities tend to take so much longer to create beach glass. The hydration is apparent in the characteristic C shapes you see on true sea glass and is a helpful way to ensure authenticity. Craft glass (artificial sea glass) can be made by acid etching and its probably best not to handle it too much or use it in aquariums unless you know its safe.

I appreciate your input!! Thanks for the information you have posted.

I just wanted to say that I think it is cool that you have a section on beach/sea glass, because finding about a fist size piece of a glass insulator on the beach a couple of weeks ago is what landed me at . I had no idea what I had found, except that it was so very large, such a pretty aqua color, and such an unusual find, but my husband suddenly had a thought that proved to be correct. Unfortunately for an actual identification, I only found part of the upper portion of the insulator, not any of the bottom portion. Besides finding another large, though a bit smaller piece of another, slightly bluer, insulator (again, part of the upper portion), I have also made some fun finds the last few weeks that have had me back here, with your link to yielding me the info I needed for a few pieces of bottles, including a Heinz ketchup bottle made between 1880-1905. (I found 2/3 of a bottle bottom, so I had some good clues to work with, which is good, since I hadnt bookmarked this page yet!) I just happened to notice this page while I was looking at info about the Owens-Illinois Glass Company. All I could come up to describe the funny mark in the middle of the small square brown bottle or jar bottom was that it looked like Saturn. Such a crazy Google search got me hereagain. Next time, Ill just start here! But I just happened to see you also through sea/beach glass into the discussion, which I obviously think is great, since I just wrote this whole long comment.

Thank you Renee, and I am glad you are finding my site useful! If you can take pics of the chunk of insulator, I might be able to identify the type it is from. Contact me directly at the email address as listed on the bottom right-hand corner of any page on this site.

Hi! I came across a piece of sea glass yesterday and have been scouring the internet for answers on what it could be! It is the bottom of a large clear bottle/jar, about 4 inches in diameter. It has large lettering across the center that says S.C.B. Along the side of the bottle, along the bottom edge, it says providence R I (If the bottle was standing up, it reads providence R I along the base, not on the actual bottom of the bottle) If anyone knows what this could be, I would appreciate any clues!

My husband & I started collecting sea glass & pottery I really enjoy the hunt In face last week I found a piece of pottery with a design on it Went back a week later my husband pick a piece of pottery with the same design.. Went we got home to my amazement the both pieces fit like a glove!!

Thank you for the very interesting article on sea/beach glass! I am a newbie in collecting glass and pottery on the beach. I had assumed that the glass and pottery came off off ships. Coming from inland rivers and streams makes much more sense. Thanks for posting so much helpful information.

Thanks for your comment. Yes, tremendous amounts of floating debris, including natural stuff like wood (ranging from tiny sticks to entire huge tree trunks), leaves, grass, nuts seeds, etc is carried down most of the worlds great river systems to the oceans, especially in times of flood, as anyone who lives next to a larger river during a flood event can attest. Alot of that ends up, sooner or later, along beaches as driftwood.

But an increasing amount of debris washing downstream is man-made. Glass bottles, though despised by some as unsightly trash, are relatively benign, and can end up being the much-loved beach glass! And if enough time elapses the glass eventually breaks down to components silica (main ingredient in sand), lime and other natural elements. The relatively modern scourge on our oceans is the proliferation of HUGE amounts of plastics, including plastic bottles, pieces of old plastic toys, styrofoam, plastic bags, cigarette lighters, bottle caps and hundreds of other items made of plastic.

The litterbug mentality of people in times past has actually contributed to much of the present-day fun and neat finds in the field of of sea glass, but the future may not be so bright for beachcombing.. with the increasingly higher percentage of non-degradable plastics being washed ashore!

I think you are right about most of todays sea glass coming from inland sources. I have searched many beaches and find the beaches that have the most sea glass are close to either busy industrial areas or populated residential areas. Not only that I find very few pieces on completely sandy shores. The pebble and shingle type beaches are much better.

Quite an interesting article you write. Well, I should rephrase: Everything here is an interesting reading. I have one piece of beach glass I pulled out of an area of a shallow lake, Im guessing it is early 1900s like most of the bottles I find there; and as there is so little wave-action, it must have taken awhile to create. I have no photos of it, or idea how to post them, but my question is: It is a very bent piece of white-clear glass that forms a kind of triangle and is curved so perfectly on two sides (third side bent inward) I dont think that part was shattered know what it once was? Im guessing part of a window, or the base to a bottle, but do not know. The area was full of broken colored glass bottles, shards of clay roofing tiles, and tiles for walls/bathrooms. It was the only non-jagged piece there. I found a pitted jar-lid (glass) in there to to an Mason Jar. I hope youll be okay if I make many posts through your site as time goes on, as some things my bottle-insulator-pottery-jar friends probably will not know.

Hi Yogi, Thanks for the nice comments. I dont have this site set up for readers to post photos (and it would get loaded down quickly with tons of pics if I did) but if you could, send me pics directly to my email address (listed on lower right hand corner of any page on this site), and I will see if I recognize the piece of glass you describe.

Comments/Replies: Because this site was never intended to be an appraisal service, and due to the volume of mail received (as of 2/26/2018) ALL comments asking about the monetary value of a piece will be deleted. Other questions may or may not be answered, simply because I do NOT have the time and energy to answer all of them. I am only ONE person and have a regular job. Most of the questions I receive are already answered somewhere on this site, or can be answered with an internet search. Thank you for your patience and understanding!!

Glass Manufacturer Profiles / Glass-related Articles

AB (connected) mark on antique glass beer bottles

AB (connected) bottle base mold codes list

Anchor and H entwined mark: Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation

Atterbury Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company

Bixby bottles (S.M.Bixby Company)

Boyds Crystal Art Glass: B in a diamond

Boyds Genuine Porcelain Lined Cap

Brockway Glass Company (B inside a circle marking)

Brody Co. Cleveland, O. U.S.A. (E.O.Brody Company)

Bromo-Seltzer~Cobalt Blue Bottles~Brief History

Brookfield Baby Face Milk Bottles

Brookfield Glass Company, Brooklyn, New York

Caldwells (Dr. W. B. Caldwells, Monticello, Illinois) ~ bottles

California Glass Insulator Company, Long Beach, CA

Capstan Glass Company , Connellsville, PA

CBB; CBK ; CBM marks on pickle bottles

Crackle Glass Insulators

Depression Glass ( What is Depression Glass?)

Diamond Glass Company, Royersford, Pennsylvania

Diamond I or I inside a Diamond : Illinois Glass Company

EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass)

EUREKA design on base of unidentified tumbler / jelly glass

Fairmount Glass Works, Fairmount, Indiana Indianapolis, Indiana

Falls City Glass Company, Louisville, Kentucky

Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reuse of this Bottle

Fenton Art Glass Company, Williamstown, West Virginia

Fletchers Castoria / Pitchers Castoria

Frank Millers Crown Dressing

Frederick Heitz Glass Works, St. Louis, Missouri (FHGW mark)

Glass Containers Corporation, Fullerton, California (GC mark)

Glass Manufacturers Marks on Coke Bottles

Great Western Glass Company, St. Louis, Missouri (GW mark)

Hazel-Atlas Glass Company (1902-1964)

Hemingray Glass Company, Muncie, Indiana Covington, Kentucky

Hobnail Votive Candle Cups / Candle Holders

Indiana Glass Company, Dunkirk, Indiana Hen-on-Nest Dishes

Interstate Glass Company, Kansas City, Missouri

Kentucky Glass Works Company, Louisville, KY (KYGW)

Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corporation

L in cursive script mark: Libbey Glass Company

Lynchburg Glass Corporation, Lynchburg, Virginia

Lyric Brand Glass Medicine / Prescription Bottles

Maryland Glass Corporation , Baltimore (M inside a circle marking)

MASONS PATENT NOV 30TH 1858 Fruit Jars Summary

McKee Glass Company/ S. McKee Company, Pittsburgh

McLaughlin Glass Company, Vernon, California

M.G.CO. ~ Mississippi Glass Company, St. Louis, Missouri

New Albany Glass Works, New Albany, Indiana (1867-1872)

Newark Star Glass Works, Newark, Ohio

Numbers on the bottoms of glass bottles and jars

Obear-Nestor Glass Company. East St. Louis, Illinois: N in a square mark

Ohio Valley Glass Company, Pleasant City, Ohio (O.V.G.Co.)

Owens Bottle Company: O within a square mark

Purple Glass: Artificially Purpled Glass / Irradiated Glass / Altered Glass

Rawleighs (W. T. Rawleighs / Freeport, Illinois)

R CO mark: Reed Company, Massillon, Ohio

Root Glass Company, Terre Haute, Indiana

S G mark on glass containers: Saint-Gobain / Verallia

Southern Glass Works, Louisville, Kentucky

Star Glass Works, New Albany, Indiana

Surname-oriented Antique Bottle Collecting

Thatcher Glass Manufacturing Company

Vaseline Jars / Chesebrough Manufg Co

Wax Sealer Type Fruit Jars List of Primary Markings

Whitall Tatum Company, Millville, New Jersey

Whittemore Boston U.S.A. / Antique Bottles

WEB LINKS to some other sites / Other interests (Not glass-related)


onC B B; C B K ; C B M marks on antique jars

onList of AB (connected) bottle base mold codes

onList of AB (connected) bottle base mold codes

onC B B; C B K ; C B M marks on antique jars

onList of AB (connected) bottle base mold codes

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NOTE: Because of time and energy constraints, I can no longer answer all emails personally, but you can contact me directly at: david__russell59 at . (Remove underscore within first part of address).

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