Vol. 3, No. 1, Tuesday February 28, 2006

THE COMMON STUFF
by dick bales
More and more bottle and shot glass collectors have come to appreciate the fine glass craftsmanship of George Truog, the owner and founder of the Maryland Glass Etching Works of Cumberland, Maryland.
 

This is probably due to two reasons: one, the 2004 publication of the book, George Truog and His Art, by Dale L. Murschell, and two, Robin Prestonís article on Truog that appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of Bottles and Extras, the official publication of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors. (This article also appears on the pre-pro website.)

The
Commercial Side of
George Truog,
Part I

Truog is known, of course, for his novelty glasses such as his "Night Cap," "Eye Opener," and the various "Donít Drown the" glasses. He is also the designer of several "German Baptist Conference" glasses. But Truogís novelty and conference glasses represent just a fraction of his work. He also manufactured "commercial" shot glasses as well. These branded whiskey glasses are scattered all over the Internet, and so I thought that it might be interesting to try to gather them all in one place. The information about Truog and these glasses comes from Daleís book, Robinís article, and the pre-pro website.

We will probably never identify all the Truog glasses. Truog did sign some (but not all) with a tiny trademark "GT." His scrapbook of glass designs is in the library of Alleghany College in Cumberland and was reprinted in Daleís book. With the aid of this book, Robin has positively identified other Truog glasses that are not signed.


The first glasses pictured here represent three commercial Truog glasses that have been signed by Truog. The first glass is Dr. Petzholdís German Bitters from Baltimore. The second is the Daily True Regulator glass from St. Louis. The third is the Black Hawk Rye glass from my home state of Illinois. All have the telltale "GT" in the lower right portion of the label.

(Shown here is the "GT" from the Black Hawk Rye glass.)

This next glass is the R.E. Johnson glass from Cumberland.

It too bears the GT mark, but this time the initials appear in the upper right portion of the label.



 

The Carmen Kentucky Bourbon glass is another signed Truog glass, but from St. Louis.

Unfortunately, only a few Truog glasses are signed. In order to identify unsigned Truog glasses, we must examine known examples of Truogís work and compare them to other glasses and look for similarities.

For example, this Buffalo Springs Whiskey glass is from Covington, Kentucky. Robin notes in his pre-pro database that this etching is clearly the work of Truog.

 

 

 
Similarly, Robin feels that this Crow Whiskey glass from Louisville, Kentucky, and this Hughes Bros. glass from Bedford County, Pennsylvania, are both Truog glasses.


Many of the known Truog glasses have leaves and flowers within the design. The Davis & Drake "Every Time We Drink Things Look Different" glass has Truog leaves at the upper left and upper right corners of the etched drawing. The Melville Pure Rye glass from Chicago also has the unmistakable look of a Truog glass.   The leafy twigs of this John J. Stump & Co. glass from Cumberland suggest Truogís handiwork, as does the style of writing of the Thomas A. Sullivan Co. glass.

So just what is the "unmistakable look" of a Truog glass? When you see all these glasses pictured together, you start to see a pattern. You realize that Truog was not only a fan of leaves and flowers; he also liked transparent lettering and bold, jagged, almost abstract letters. Personally, I think that the classic commercial Truog glass is the Black Hawk Rye glass that is pictured above. Note that all of the lettering is transparent. Note that Truog combines block lettering (Louis Loeb) with slanted lettering (Rock Island). Look at the close-up photograph of the "GT"; notice how jagged and "rough" the "&" is and how abstract and jumbled the "Co." is. There are leaves around the edges. Now look at the bold transparent lettering of the "Davis & Drake" glass and the leaves in the corners. Look at the glass next to it, the Melville Pure Rye glass. Even though this lettering is not transparent, the combination of block (Melville Pure Rye) and slanted (Chicago) words, the rough jagged lettering, and the jumbled abstract logo, still virtually scream, "Truog."

 

 

 

 

 

A.M. Smith is known for its "Merry Christmas" glasses. But the design of this non-Christmas A.M. Smith glass is very similar to a Truog specimen.

Many shot collectors look forward to reading Robinís "Shot of the Week" on the pre-pro website. Past articles include references to possible Truog commercial glasses.

        For example, the August 21, 2004, issue mentions the "probably Truog-designed" Woodford & Pohlman glass from Kentucky:

Similarly, the January 7, 2006, issue of SOTW includes Robinís observation that the style of the etching of this "Drink Fine Mountain King" glass suggests a George Truog provenance.

The September 26, 2005, issue comments on a James Clark Distilling Company glass. This glass comes from Cumberland, and Robin notes that it is a Truog glass.

This same column also refers to a John M. Topper glass from New Baltimore, Pennsylvania; Robin feels that this is also a Truog glass.



Truog sometimes added the look of a "novelty" glass to a commercial glass. An example is this "Eye Opener" S.A. Cassell glass. Also, both the "Eye Opener" and "Night Cap" glasses come in variations that include the M. Salzman brand.

To be continued......

 

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