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May 2023 Auction - Closed (Closed #2782678)

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THE GOLDEN GATE (Pictorial Gate) A JAR - Only One Known

  Lot # 161
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North American Glass

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  • Lot # 161
  • System ID # 2817031
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  • Start Date

Size:  QUART

Color:  clear

Closure:  original heavy glass cap that threads into a metal band (nickel plated) which in turn threads onto the mouth of the jar, all parts are original

Appearance:  sparkling glass

Condition:  jar is in mint shape, the glass lid has an edge chip as shown, short vertical split in the band

Embossing:  very strong, including two lines of arched block lettering "THE GOLDEN GATE", above a detailed Victorian style gate swung halfway open, and below that "A JAR"

Base:  unmarked

Age:  c1899

Availability:  Extremely rare, the only example known to exist. Recently discovered in the state of Georgia. Mr. Granville H. Gray of Marion Indiana, assignor to the Golden Gate Fruit Jar Company of California, was issued a patent for a mold to make the jar caps in 1899 and a second patent for the machine to produce the lids in 1901. This was a time period in which efforts were underway by various glass manufacturer's to shift their production to machine operations. This jar was hand blown, probably for use as a sample, and most likely using the mold intended for semi-automatic machine production. The embossing style is very similar to a number of different jars of the period that were produced at plants across Indiana's gas belt district, and particularly THE CANTON FRUIT JAR, as well as others in that series. The distinguishing features being the strongly prismatic lettering style, and the finished product displaying the same tendency for one or two of the letters to be under-filled (note the weaker "N" and "T" on this jar). Mr Gray was employed as a mold maker and it is likely that he was the maker of this mold and others used by the Canton Glass Co. Another distinctive feature of the jar is the departure from the usual sober naming styles typically seen on fruit jars, with it's use of a play on words. We know of no other period fruit jar using this kind of jocular wording in it's nomenclature. Research from period articles indicates that the lids were successfully made by machine. But it would seem that for reasons unknown, the automatic-machine production of this jar never happened. Although the machine for making the lids was indeed successfully tested (see attached article) apparently the machine-production of the jars was hampered by business or labor factors. So we are left with only this single sample jar and it's closure. Any pictorial-embossed fruit jar is a rarity, and this newly discovered example appears to be one-of-a-kind.

Granville Gray's Patent for a Fruit Jar Lid Mold

Granville Gray's Patent for a Glass Manufacturing Machine

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