Monday, February 24, 2014

Broken Glass, Everywhere

"Bang, broken like glass and plastic"  -Kurupt 2006
(or for old schoolers, "Broken glass everywhere" -Grandmaster Flash 1982)

No, the MG maker's mark is not a MF-in' typo, OK?!

Just name checking the Maywood Glass Company, of Compton, California, whose mark is the MG at the left. I heard that Dr. Dre's uncle worked there, maybe. Made a bottle that got drunk sometime during or after 1951 (so sayeth the "51" in the right-hand square), and ended up broken on a beach in Olympia. The stipply texture was known as Duraglas when it came out about a decade earlier.

Nothing but a coastal thing brought this gLAss up north, so I guess I cannot resort to my usual "globalization is older than you thought it was, you punk-ass kid" rant (as if punk-ass kids even gave a shit). Nor do I have any clue whether any of NWA's aggregate ancestry worked at Maywood Glass, so I cannot draw a line that runs straight outta Compton toward Olympia (one of the whitest cities in the US).

What I can do is thank bottle makers for putting their marks on the most durable part of bottles, and for bothering to code so much information in the first place. Besides the maker and the year, it's fairly common to have a plant code and a bottle style number. Maywood Glass followed the Owen-Illinois convention of reducing the year of manufacture to a number at the right (there was no Y2K panic over this, as far as I know).

Also, I can thank drunks for dropping so many bottles, and for insisting that they be shipped to the far corners of the earth in the first place. Where there are working men (or formerly working men), so there are alcohol bottles. Beer, gin, rum, wine,...these bottles trace the progress of Western civilization across the globe. A rock steady base line that can be read to trace trade and gin up chronologies. Once again, what appears to some as the downfall of society proves to be a windfall for archaeology.

So I pour out a sip for all the fallen homies, who left broken glass everywhere, and make archaeologists' jobs that much easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment