The Sea Glass Shard of the Month: May 2012
A Royal Ruby Red Sea Glass Gem
The color that made sea glass famous...
Sea Glass Specifications:
Color: Deep Red
Avg Diameter: 53.1 mm (2.09")
Avg Thickness: 5.59 mm (0.22")
Weight: 31.3 grams (1.10 oz)
Estimated Age: 60 Years Old
This month's gem is a highly prized bottom of a red sea glass bottle from Puerto Rico. This particular bottle bottom shard originated from a unique beer bottle produced for Schlitz Brewing Company by the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation.
In the history of glassmaking, red glass was produced by the difficult and expensive process of using gold to achieve the ruby red color. Such red glass was usually not made in large quantities and reserved for more expensive tableware and decorative objects. This is the main reason why red sea glass is so hard to find.
Shown here is the type of 7 ounce Schlitz beer bottle, made in the 1950s, that this month's featured sea glass specimen originated from.
In this photo the deep red hue of the Royal Ruby is compared to a bright, cherry red sea glass shard.
The markings explained:
Mold Design: 20 67-22
Place of Manufacture: 5 (Plant 5, Connelsville, PA)
Anchor Hocking Logo: A capital "H" over an anchor.
The Year of Manufacture: 50 (1950)
Brand Name: Royal Ruby Anchorglass
In 1938 the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation started production of a new type of red glass named Royal Ruby, in which the deep red color was achieved by the addition of cuprous (copper) oxide to the molten glass rather than gold chloride. Eliminating gold from the process reduced the costs but the manufacturing process was still exacting, and Royal Ruby glassware was still generally not made in large quantities.
In 1949 however, the Schlitz Brewing Company contracted Anchor Hocking to manufacture Royal Ruby beer bottles for a limited time. It has been said that the reason for the request was the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Schlitz Brewing Company.
1n 1949, the Schlitz Brewing Company contracted Anchor Hocking to manufacture Royal Ruby beer bottles for its upcoming 100th anniversary celebration.
In total, nine different Royal Ruby beer bottles were designed and submitted in limited quantities to Schlitz for consideration. Only three made it into final production with the 7 oz and 32 oz making up the majority. The production runs were 1949, 1950 and 1963 in which over 54 million bottles were distributed.
From the diameter of this sea glass bottom, a little over 2", we can assume it came from the 7 oz sized bottle. The embossed markings indicate that it was manufactured in 1950 (see side bar for explanation of all the markings). It can be safe to assume that this particular sea glass shard has been tumbling around in the ocean for over 50 years!
Puerto Rico still remains a good source of red and cranberry sea glass from antique glassware that incorporated gold, but I have noticed that much more of it these days is of the Royal Ruby variety. While antique red glass (using gold) and Royal Ruby were used in many decorative and fanciful objects such as pressed cut dishes, bowls and candle holders, don't be surprised if your collection of red sea glass also contains shards from an ordinary beer bottle.