Day 34-Bryce Brothers

Bryce Amber

Bryce Glass was located in Mt. Pleasant, PA.  It has gone through many incarnations and a few other locations, but all in PA as far as I know.  I owned several of these before someone on eBay identified them for me.  They explained that these were made by employees as gifts for friends and family.  They were never produced for sale.  Retired workers have confirmed that these were made by Bryce or one of its successors.   I have seen one of these in red but do not own one (yet.)   They can be distinguished from Blenko by the optic pattern (if you can see it in the photo) or by the slightly more rounded shoulders or by the spouts which for the most part seem to slope up while Blenko’s spouts are more perpendicular to the neck.   Better than half of what I show here have been purchased from Pennsylvania locations which would tend to verify that they are made by Bryce.  I have not seen a Bryce catalog but the water bottle may not appear in it if they were not made for sale.  Please let me know if you have more information on these.  There are lots of photos so keep scrolling down.

Blog Update:  In response to a comment posted by Skye Miller, I have been doing some additional research on these water bottles.  Bryce Higbee and Bryce Brothers were actually competing Glass companies in South West Pennsylvania.  Bryce Higbee glass closed its doors in 1918 under mysterious conditions.  Rumors of pilfered company funds forcing the company to sell the factory were circulated at the time.  If we are correct in thinking that these water bottles are imitations of Blenko water bottles, then Bryce Higbee can be eliminated as the possible maker.  (I have therefore removed their name in title of this blog post.)  Glass blowers of the day and of the current day for that matter often moved from company to company or formed their own companies.  There remains a possibility that someone from Bryce Higbee or even from Bryce Brothers went to work for Blenko and adapted this water bottle for Blenko.  For the Blenko righteous this may be considered blasphemy but I think that it is a remote possibility and I cannot state with 100% confidence that Blenko originated the water bottle shape.

BRYCE BROTHERS had it seeds planted in Pittsburg in 1850 when 3 Bryce family members joined Fred McKee to form Bryce, McKee & Co in Pittsburg.  In 1854 it became Bryce, Richards & Co, and in 1865 it again changed to Bryce, Walker and Co.  It was first known as Bryce Brothers in 1882, still in Pittsburg.  In 1891, difficult times convinced 18 or more glass companies in several states to combine forces and become U.S. Glass.  Management of there scattered facilities was difficult at best.   In 1893 the principles of Bryce Brothers withdrew from U.S. Glass and formed Bryce Brothers Glass Co. still in Pittsburg.  In 1896, they built a glass plant in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, just 41 miles southwest of Pittsburg where they continued making glassware as Bryce Brothers until 1948.  The plant was sold in that year to Lenox Crystal.  It is at the Mount Pleasant factory that I believe that the optic water bottles were made because of correspondence I have had with a resident of that town.  That is the extent of my information at this point.

Bryce Amber

Bryce Blue

Bryce Blue

Bryce Blue Group

Bryce Vaseline

Bryce Vaseline under Black Light

The black light photo above shows the optic pattern, a series of leaf or pointed oval shapes.  I believe these were actually engraved into the mold because they are in the same position on all of them that I have handled.

Bryce Aqua

Bryce-Blue Green-May 2013

Bryce-Blue Green-May 2013

Bryce Vaseline

Bryce Blue Flair Top

Bryce Blue Flair Top Detail

I have collected a number of color names for the Bryce glass maker.  They are: Crystal, Peacock Blue, Amber, Vaseline, Canary, Amethyst, Opal, Apple Green, Selenium Ruby, Milk Glass, Aztec Gold, Cerulean (light blue), Light Green, Dark Green and Dark Blue.  There is a book out on Bryce Glass called Bryce, Higby and J.B. Higby Glass if you would like more information.  (3/24/2013:  I am now of the opinion that this company had no relationship to the making of these water bottles.  See Blog Update.)

 

Bryce Clear

Bryce Clear

 

I have added this clear example, but note the “Blenko” style spouts.

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3 thoughts on “Day 34-Bryce Brothers

  1. I saw one of the aqua blue ones on ebay awhile back. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was Blenko. I thought maybe someone had a bad day at the glass factory because it was different. In my opinion they have their own appeal. It’s nice to know the story behind them now. Thank you for the article. This website is great!
    Jeff

    • I appreciate the feedback, Jeff. For a long while I thought that it was one of the Howard Johnson bottles that got re-blown into an optic somehow. But I couldn’t figure out how that color would fit in if that were the case. If it was a Blenko water bottle, the color would have to be Ice Blue which came before the Howard Johnson water bottle era.
      I wasn’t sure if collectors would care about the non-Blenko water bottles. I am glad you are enjoying the blog.

  2. HELLO I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ANYTHING ON THE HISTORY OF THESE WATER BOTTLES, I HAVE ONE AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHEN IT WAS MADE, WHICH COMPANY MADE IT BRYCE OR HIGBEE. ARE THEY SOUGHT AFTER AS BLENKO BOTTLES ARE? PLEASE HELP CAN NOT FIND ANYTHING ON THEM OTHER THAN YOUR SITE AND ALSO THE HISTORY ON BRYCE HIGBEE GLASS COMPANY. NOTHING ON THE WATER BOTTLES. I CAN’T EVEN FIND WHERE ONE HAS EVER SOLD ON THE INTERNET PERIOD. EVER!!!

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