Some Nice Congress & Empire Spring Bottles – Shags to Riches


SHAGS TO RICHES (not by far)

Apple-Touch-IconAWhen Elizabeth and I first moved into the long vacant house on property we now affectionately call Peach Ridge, it had shag carpet (see above), an old decrepit boat in the garage and had been taken over by mold, bugs and mice. The pool was green with slime and was a frogs dream. Somehow we both saw something with this lump of coal. I had been living in a high-rise in downtown Houston for years and this seemed like a fun challenge. Plus Elizabeth all but demanded we get some property away from the hustle and bustle of the city where my office is located.


After renovating the house and finding the original Saltillo tile beneath (see above) the olive carpet we decided to turn the wasp and mosquito-infested, 2-car garage into a family room with shelves for my large, old metal toy trucks (see below). This left the wall where the garage doors were for us to put in windows, big windows. This was the style of the house and we wanted to maintain the look on this side.


I wanted to put bottles in these windows so I called my father in Delaware and asked him to send me some ‘Old Bottles’. The Bitters bottle bug had not bitten yet and would not until the DELMARVA Antique Bottle Show in late 2002. You can read that story here: Glass Passion and Color Part I : Life Transformation


Anyway, two boxes came and a few were broken. I remember how excited I was to have those bottles in the window. I added a few that I had gathered over the years as I was just a general collector of old stuff. The windows were VERY sparse. Two bottles that stood out were dark green and looked really ‘pretty’ in the window. They were Empire Congress Waters that are pictured above. My notes say I sold the larger one in Memphis in June 2011. I think the other is put away somewhere as other types of bottles now dominate the windows (see below). If you look closely in the mirror reflection, you can see a small portion of the toy shelves.


I still look for these Mineral Water bottles though I don’t buy. I did however see a few exciting lots in the Glass Works Auction #96 that closed this past Monday night that brought back these memories and prompted this post.

Glass Works Auction #96 Mineral Waters

76. “CONGRESS & EMPIRE SPRING CO / E / SARATOGA. N.Y.”, (E-6-A), New York, ca. 1865 - 1875, olive amber quart, “2” on smooth base, applied mouth. Pristine perfect, plenty of bubbles and in a hard to find color, not listed in Tucker’s book.

76. “CONGRESS & EMPIRE SPRING CO / E / SARATOGA. N.Y.”, (E-6-A), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, olive amber quart, “2” on smooth base, applied mouth. Pristine perfect, plenty of bubbles and in a hard to find color, not listed in Tucker’s book. – Glass Works Auction #96


77. “CONGRESS SPRING CO. S.S. N.Y.” (on the base), (C-22 variant), New York, ca. 1870 – 1880, blue green, 8 3/8”h, smooth base, sheared and tooled lip was been expanded out to create a drinking vessel, perfect condition and with crude whittled glass. An extremely rare end-of-day glass blowers whimsy that fits so perfectly in the hand one could easily imagine an 1870’s glass blower at home drinking a porter from it. Early glass blowers whimsies are very rare and this one is exceptional! – Glass Works Auction #96

Congress & Empire Spring_078

78. “CONGRESS & EMPIRE SPRING CO. / COLUMBIAN / WATER / SARATOGA, N.Y.”, (S-15-B), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, emerald green pint, “5” smooth base, applied mouth, about perfect. A seldom offered spring water bottle. When passing through Saratoga Springs, New York, visit the Congress Park where you can still take a sip of the same water from the spring that this bottle was filled with. – Glass Works Auction #96


79. “EMPIRE SPRING CO / E / SARATOGA. N.Y. – EMPIRE / WATER”, (E-11 type 1), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, blue green slopped shoulder quart, smooth base, applied mouth, 95% original wrapper, the bottle is perfect. Only a very few exist with the original wrapper. – Glass Works Auction #96

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
This entry was posted in Advice, Art & Architecture, Article Publications, Auction News, Collectors & Collections, Humor - Lighter Side, Mineral Water, Peachridge Glass, Water, Whimsies, Windows and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply