Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes the Richard Wistar bottle. The first successful glass factory in the Colonies was established by Caspar Wistar near Alloway, NJ, in 1739. Its principal products were window glass and bottles, which were in great demand. More than 15,000 bottles were produced there each year.
Wistar’s bottles were made using a formula that had been popular in northern Europe since the Middle Ages. Impure greenish glass was fashioned into bottles so closely similar to the European variety that the makers of unmarked examples cannot be identified.
This bottle bears the initials of Richard Wistar, the eldest son of Caspar Wistar. It is one of only three marked bottles that can be attributed to the Wistar factory.