The prevalence of this glass reflects the success of The Hayner Distilling Company in advertising and marketing its product [e.g. Figure 3]. They claimed the title of “Largest mail order house in the US” and, indeed, they maintained offices in at least 14 US cities at the height of their power. The company’s decline preceded national Prohibition by several years, largely because a goodly percentage of their income was derived from shipping liquor in plain brown packages across state lines into regions were local laws had already banned alcohol sales and use. The enactment of the Webb-Kenyon act of 1913 and its subsequent enforcement in 1917 closed this lucrative loophole and Hayner’s fortunes declined thereafter, but not before spreading their advertising premiums far and wide. Many of the common Hayner Distilling glasses have survived in mint condition so it’s likely that a warehouse cache of factory-fresh glasses in original wrappings were discovered in the years since Repeal.
|Figure 3. An advertisement for Hayner Rye appearing in an 1898 edition of Scribner's magazine.|
Familiarity with the Hayner Distilling glass has a way of causing collectors to skip over it when assessing the contents of a display case, but it is an attractive shot that contains all the elements of a classic pre-Pro glass design. Hayner glasses in mint condition are crowned with a wide, rich gold rim [Figure 1]. The etched label combines a horseshoe for luck, a whiskey barrel, and a generous helping of leafy grain stalks.
The Hayner Distilling glass is unusual in that there are no known design variants, or at least none that are known to the author. It's also a cylindrical-shaped glass rather than the more common shot that tapers down from a 2" rim to a 1-1/2" base. Cylinder glasses are relatively rare yet Hayner used them for this glass, a glass inscribed with the single word “HAYNER” [Figure 2], and for three “Lockbox 290” glasses (see below).
The Hayner Distilling Co. also holds position #8 in the Top 10 list, this time with a glass that is familiarly know as the Lockbox 290 “short tail” variant [Figure 4a]. Lockbox 290 was a postal address in Dayton to which customers mailed in their orders. The “tail” mentioned above refers to the fact that in the “long tail” version, the upright on the numeral 9 drops below the line of text to produce a dangling tail, seen in Figure 4c.
Both Hayner short- and long-tail Lockbox glasses are easy to obtain and feature in most glass collections. Until recently, I had believed these to be the only two variants and had regarded them with as much respect as the Hayner cylinder that occupies pole position in the Top 10. However, while grooming the sales database prior to releasing it live on the net, I discovered an interesting lineage that may stretch back to George Truog, the artistic genius who founded the Maryland Glass Etching Works of Cumberland, MD, and whose work was featured in the Fall 2004 edition of Random Shots.
The link to Truog had originally been suggested by Mary Suplee, the grand-daughter of the master etcher himself (Murschell, 2004). She’s long maintained that the horseshoe-and-barrel design is a Truog original (personal communication), even though evidence for such a link has failed to surface and no-one has ever reported finding a tell-tale GT signature on a Hayner glass.
However, the task of preparing the database for public consumption required that I tag every one of the 10,000 or so glass photos in the record with an id# so that they could be grouped for statistical analysis. In practice, that meant that I had to make side-by-side comparisons of individual glasses to be sure that they were assigned to the correct group. In so doing, I became aware that there are at least 4 distinct Lockbox 290 glasses, compared in Figures 4 and 5 below. The four glasses are arranged to show devolution of label design and perhaps increasing age, although there is no way of dating any of the Hayner glasses with precision.
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