Museum Homepage

The San Mateo County Historical Association
Online Collections Database

The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
of the cultural and natural history of San Mateo County.

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1999.048.281
Description Glue Bottle recovered from City Centre Plaza, c. 1845-1865. This clear glass bottle is round shaped with hand-blown tooled rim for a cork closure. A .5 inch short and narrow neck flares out .25 inch shoulder to a 2.5 inch body. A banner that outlines the name "SPALDING'S/GLUE" embossed on opposite sides on the front of bottle.
Object Name Bottle
Collection 3D - Containers
Title Glue Bottle recovered from City Centre Plaza, c. 1845-1865.
Date c. 1845-1865
Creator Spalding's Glue
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "SPALDING'S/GLUE" (embossed on opposite sides on the front of bottle)
Provenance 20 boxes of archaeological material excavated from the City Centre Plaza site at 950 Main at Middlefield in Redwood City. Excavation for development, done by Basin Research Associates.
Notes Homeopathic bottles, primarily the vials the final product was dispensed in for patient or consumer use, were a simple but distinctively shaped class of bottles. These vials are very commonly found on historic sites throughout the U. S. and Canada - and probably other places around the world. The style dates back to at least to the 1870s and at least as late as the 1930s.

"In the 1850s, glue was an important household product. It was used to repair broken furniture, build new furniture, repair damaged or worn clothing and shoes, assemble scrapbooks, and a host of other things. In this day of cheap, readily available products, it is easy to lose sight of the fact of the “makedo” aspect of 19 century life, especially on the frontier. Most glues of the period were products that you made yourself by obtaining the materials and then heating
and mixing them. They had to be prepared each time you needed them and it was a bothersome task."

"Among the deaths reported at the Blockley Alms House, in Philadelphia, on Friday of last week, was that of Henry C. Spalding, whose name is familiar as the inventor of'Spalding's Glue.' Mr. Spalding was born in Vermont in 1825. He went to Philadelphia and invented a special kind of coach varnish, a water-proof fluid for lining casks and barrels, and several other things of considerable commercial value. He was at one time worth $80,000, be he could not stand prosperity, and he went down, owing to his intemperate habits."
The Druggists' Circular and Chemical Gazette, Volume 32
Dimensions H-3.125 W-1.5 D-1.5 inches
Search Terms Archaeology
City Center Plaza
Drug Stores
Redwood City
Spalding's Glue
Subjects Bottle industry
People Spalding, Henry C.