Part 1  - the CLEAR ones

by :  Michael Rosman

    This style of glass Orange Crush bottle made its initial appearance in the mid – 1950s, overlapping somewhat the era of the “krinkly” clear and amber bottles. Production of the classic bottle of this form continued into the mid- to late-1960s. 

(Click on thumbnails for full image.)

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Figure #1

    This “diamond” styled bottle (Figure #1) was the last of the glass era of Orange Crush bottles which was produced prior to the introduction of the modern era, late-1960s to -1970s - the glass throwaway bottles measured in milliliters, “no deposit-no return” plastic bottles and cans.

    The design of this bottle was created by James Nash, one of America’s foremost industrial designers. The form of his bottle suggested a bottle tapering from each end towards the center to allow easy grasping. The body of the bottle was, in most cases, clear glass to allow visual appreciation of the bright orange colored drink within. The neck was often stippled suggesting the skin of the sun ripe orange that went into the making of Orange Crush.  The vertical fluting, embossed at the base of the body added grace and ease of cleaning.

    The origin of the knick-names given to the bottles remains unclear, but is most likely related to the outside appearance at first glance.

    Certainly the “draped” terminology has to do with the appearance of dripped wax being poured over the bottle and running down over the shoulder and sides of the bottle.  Or perhaps a shawl, a cape or poncho draped over the shoulders of the bottle, with its pointed ends hanging downward, overlapping the vertical, embossed base design of these bottles. 

    This “shawl” appearance appears as two large diamond shaped forms, beginning at the widest part of these bottles (shoulder), front and back. The apex of the diamonds reaching almost to the base of the bottle.  This has led some to refer to the shape of these bottles as “diamond”.  Certainly the draped and diamond terminology go hand in hand.            

    As to the “Mae West” terminology for these bottles - another mystery. This child star of Vaudeville, a comedian and writer from Brooklyn, named Myra Breckenridge, began her film career in 1932 during the depression era.  Filmgoers found her risqué, and an independent woman of her times, draped over her shoulders with flowing shawls and jewelry.

    She was thought to be too openly sexual in her acting, approaching pornography and attempts were made to censor her films, forcing her out of the film industry into writing and musical reviews.  Perhaps the nickname of “Mae West” was an offshoot of her way of dress, adorned with flowing jewelry which brought about the liaison with this style of bottle.

 the Bottle Content, Shape, Size, Texture, Color...

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Figure #2

    When compared to both the clear and amber “krinkly” bottles, these “diamond”  Orange Crush bottles were  more consistent, perhaps less varied, both in the shape of the glass bottle as well as the ACL labeling.

        a)  content - the smaller content of 6-ounces was less common, to non-existent, than with either the clear or amber “krinkly” bottles. It seemed to be replaced by the rare 6 1/2-ounce bottle (Figure #2). In the “diamond” design, the 7-ounce was the most common smaller size.  As well, the 26-ounce in the “diamond” size was the only larger or family size in this styled bottle, and was available only in Canada.

        -   6 1/2-ounce  -  rare
        -   7-ounces  -  most common small size
    -   8-ounces  -  uncommon
    -  10-ounces -  most common. Only size made in Canada (with 26oz.)
     -  12-ounces -  thirsty size
        -  26-ounces -  Canadian only

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Figure  #3

        b) shape and size  - the overall shape of the bottles was the same. The shoulder is the widest part of the bottle similar to the base. These styled bottles were more consistent in their height and width. (Figure #3)

i)     6 1/2-  and  7-ounces  -  7 1/2" (19cm.) x  2 1/4" (6cm.)

          ii)    8-ounces  -    9 1/4" (23.5cm.) x  2 1/4" (6cm.)

          iii)  10-ounces -    9 1/2" (24 cm.) x  2 1/4" (6cm.)

          iv)  12-ounces -    9 1/2" (24cm.)  x  2 1/2(6.5cm.)

          v)   26-ounces -  11 1/2" (29cm.) x  3 1/4" (8.3cm.)

    From the shoulders downwards, there is a slight tapering inward to just below the middle of the body of the bottle, and then a flare outward again.  Over the shoulder of the bottle is the “drape” or “diamond” which comes to an apex, front and back in the lower third of the bottle.

    On the base of the bottle, were the smooth “diamond” is not, there are vertically embossed ribbings running to the base of the bottle.

        c)  glass texture - in all of these various content bottles, the glass from which the bottles were molded was either - (Figure #4)

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Figure #4

                    i)    smooth, throughout

                    II)   stippled, speckled or orange-peel texture throughout

                    iii)  stippled neck with smooth shoulders and base

    There does not seem to be any particular pattern, which goes with a certain content bottle with any consistency.  The glass texture rather appeared to be at the whim of the local bottle manufacturer.

    The only two bottles which show some consistency are the rare 6 1/2-ounce which showed always a stippled neck and a smooth body.  The second consistent bottle glass was the 26-ounce Canadian bottle, which was always smooth glassed.

d)  glass color -  in these “diamond” shaped Orange Crush bottles, there were basically two colors, - with some rare green thrown in - 

                    i)    the clear

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Figure #5

                    ii)   the amber or dark brown  - cf. section 2  

                    iii)  rare green, with red/white ACL, 10-ounce (Figure #5)

                    iv)  extremely rare green 10-ounce (Figure #5)

    The amber and green “diamond” or “draped” bottles will be detailed in the next section. 

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Figure #6

The Front  ACL -

                    i)  on the  front body (Figure #6)

    On the front of these clear bottles three patterns of ACL appear, as the main eye-catching name -

        1)  “Crush” - in white, outlined in green, with clear line passing through letters, allowing orange color to show through

        2)  “Crush” - as above, with “ORANGE” in white between the “C” and the “h” of the word Crush

        3)  “Crush” - as in (1), with the content in ounces, underneath.

    The contents in ounces appears on the front ACL only in the 6 1/2-, 7-  and 8-ounce clear bottles.

        4)  “Crush” - as in (2), with “DRINK” underneath - very rare.

    On the clear “diamond” bottles, number 2 and 3 above , “orange” and contents in ounces, never appear together, on the same bottle, (in contrast to the amber “diamond” bottles).

    That is to say, whenever the word Orange is present between the “C” and the “h”, the ounce content does not appear on the front ACL, and visa versa.

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Figure #7

                    ii)  on the neck (Figure #7) 

    On the neck, both front and back, an ACL “Crush” in white or green may appear.  Unlike the main ACL on the body, the white is not outlined in green.  There is not any pattern as to the presence or absence of this neck ACL with respect to content. 

    The green neck “Crush” ACL is very rare and to date, I have only seen it on the 10-ounce.

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Figure #8

The Back ACL -

    On the backside of the body of these “Mae West” bottles, there are basically two variations - (Figure #8)

                    i)  an ACL “Crush”, the same colors as on the front, but smaller

                    ii)  ACL white print - content in ounces, ingredients, “bottled under                              authority”, geographical location

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Figure #9

    With the Canadian bottle, the back ACL in white print could be in English or French, but not both languages together on the same bottle. (Figure #9)  

    These then, are the main differences that I have been able to catalogue and describe with respect to the clear “draped, diamond or Mae West” bottles of Orange Crush.  


Part 2  - the AMBER ones (and Green)


 the Bottle Content, Shape, Size, Texture, Color...

    As with the clear "diamond" shaped bottles, the amber (dark brown) bottles maintain the consistency in content and shape. 

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Figure #1

        a)  content -  in the amber “diamond” bottles, there were two sizes which evidently did not exist - the 6 1/2- and 8-ounce bottles.  Canada only produced a 10-ounce and a 26-ounce in amber. (Figure #1)

          -   7-ounce -  most common small bottle
          -  10-ounce. -  most common, most variable labeling
          -  12-ounce. -  large thirst size
          -  26ounce. -  very rare, Canadian only

           *Amber “diamond” bottles in 6 1/2 and 8 ounces were NOT produced.

          b)  shape and size -  with the amber bottles, the physical dimensions of height and width in inches (cms.) is exactly similar to the clear bottles. The bottle is similarly tapered in the middle, widest at the shoulder and base, giving a good hand grip.

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Figure #2

          c)  glass texture -  in the amber bottles, the glass texture was a little more variable, as follows - 

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Figure #3

                 i)   stippled completely -  the 7-ounce., some 10-ounce and the 12-ounce (Figure #2)

                     ii)  stippled neck, smooth body -  some 10-ounce  (Figure #3)

                    iii) smooth completely  - the 26-ounce, Canadian  

          d) glass color -  amber or dark brown is the rule here. There are different shades of darkness that only seem related to a specific bottle manufacturer’s formula, and unrelated to anything else.

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Figure #4

         There were three emerald green “diamond” shaped bottles produced in this era.  Two are moderately common and one extremely rare.  (Figure #4)

                    i)  clear glass - with oval shaped ACL on front, orange surrounded with white border, 10-ounce. underneath
                     - smaller, similar ACL on back, white print
                    ii)  as above, with “Return for Deposit” on neck, front / back
iii) stippled glass throughout, 10-ounce, ACL front; smaller ACL back with white print
                      - very rare - have only seen this bottle once.  Now in my collection. Perhaps a local bottler decided to try this or perhaps it was a prototype, which never reached the market.

The Front ACL -  

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Figure #5 Figure #6 Figure #7 Figure #8

                    i)  on the front body -

    With the amber “diamond” bottles, the basic front ACL consists of a white “Crush,” outlined in orange color, with a clear line through the white letters.  All of the amber bottles have this ACL, and added to this are the following variations - (Figure #5)

        1)  no additions -  simply the white “Crush,” outlined in orange (Figure #6)

        2)  addition of white “ORANGE,”  between the “C” and “h” (Figure #7)
- present on 10-ounce and Canadian 26-ounce only

        3)  as in #2 above, with the addition of white content size in ounces, below the “Crush” ACL (Figure #8)
- present on 7-ounce, 10-ounce, and 12-ounce.

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Figure #9


                    ii) on the neck -  (Figure #9)

    A white ACL “Crush” without colored outline, appears on the front and back of the neck ONLY when all the other ACLs are present (#3, above) - present only on 7-ounce and 10-ounce.

 The Back ACL -

           On the backside of the amber “diamond” bottles, the ACL is more consistent than on the clear bottles.  On the American produced bottles, all the back ACLs are the same. 

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Figure #10

    There is the Crush logo, a smaller version, in white, surrounded with orange and with a clear line running through the letters.  A white Orange sits between the “C” and the “h”. (Figure #10)

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Figure #11

         On all bottles, there is the inscription, also present (with variations) on the amber “krinkly” bottles - "This special bottle protects the delicate fruit flavor and fresh taste."

          On the Canadian 10-ounce., the back ACL is present in English alone, or bilingual.  On the Canadian 26-ounce., the back ACL is fully bilingual. (Figure #11)  


Part 3  - the MODERN ERA (late 1960s - 1970s)


   These “diamond” bottles, clear and amber, were the mainstay from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s. 

   In the late 1960s into the 1970s, variations were not in bottle design, but rather in the ACL designs, and content, were introduced. At the same time came both the  “money-back” bottle, the  “no-deposit, no-return” concept and the metric system.   The introduction of the metric system of volume measurement occurred  in the mid -1970s.

   These classic bottles, produced later on, were  entirely of the 10-ounce  variety. (see below re: 12- and 16-ounce bottles)

                    i) the glass in the  clear  “diamond” design is entirely stippled. 

                    ii) the amber “diamond” bottle maintained a  smooth glass surface.

   The bottle shape in height and width was maintained. 

    That which changed was the following -

        1)  American bottles came in clear and amber, 10-ounce (296 ml.)

        2)  Canadian bottles came only in clear, 10-ounce (300 ml.)

    I cannot explain why 10-ounce converted into 296 ml. in the USA and 300 ml. in Canada.

    In this “modern” age, after the classic 10-ounce “diamond” bottle appeared as described above, there appeared a run, until the present day, of bottles with similar shape, but with increasing content - mainly 12-ounce. and 16-ounce.

   There is a great variation in these bottles, which I do not consider a part of the classic description of the “Diamond, Draped,” or “Mae West” bottles of the 1950s - 1970s.

The  Front ACL, the Back ACL and the Neck ACL -

   I will do the front, back and neck ACL together as the clear “diamond” design, whether American or Canadian, shows the same pattern on both sides of the body and neck.

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Figure #1

   Only with the American “diamond” in amber is the back different than that on the front side of the body.

        1)  the American  clear “diamonds” -  (Figure #1)

                    i)  the ACL “Crush” is solid white, outlined in green, front and                                 back or may have clear line through letters as in the classic bottle 10-ounce ACL     

                    ii)  the content in ounce and / or ml. is under the “Crush”

                    iii)  the neck ACL is solid white, “Return for Deposit”, with or without “Crush”

        2)  the American amber  “diamonds” -

                    i)  the ACL “Crush” is as on the classic, earlier bottles - white, surrounded in orange, with clear line through letters

                     ii)  between the “C” and the “h”, is a white ACL orange

                    iii) the content in oz. and ml. is under the “Crush”

                    iv)  the neck ACL is white “Crush” with clear line, front and back

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Figure #2

        3)  the Canadian clear “diamonds” - (Figure #2)

                    i)  the ACL “Crush” is solid white, outlined in green, front and back, with white/green flowers and leaves.

    This ACL also occurs in a diagonal position.

                    ii) the content in oz and/or ml. is under the “Crush” and T.M.Reg (Marque Deposee in French)

                    iii)  the neck ACL is solid white, “Money-Back Bottle” front and back.          

   With this review of the earliest, “classic” Orange Crush bottles, I have finished my descriptive organization of the history of classic, glass bottles produced by Orange Crush.  The mid-1970s saw the introduction of plastic, tin cans and measurement in milliliters - and brings us to the present.

    The glass Orange Crush bottles are among the most distinctive bottles available today for the soft drink bottle collector. Almost everyone is familiar with the “krinkly” bottles, clear and amber and then the “hourglass” Mae West bottles, designed by Jim Nash, and industrial designer, making for easy grip from top to bottom.

   The clear glass showed off the bright orange drink within.  The amber and green glass “protected the flavor.”  The stippled glass on the neck and bodies of bottles suggested the skin of sun ripe oranges that went into the manufacture of Orange Crush .

   Wherever we go, Orange Crush will be found - along with the fascinating story behind the popularity of this fresh fruit soft drink.  In this series of articles I have tried to organize the history of the glass bottles produced by the Orange Crush Company from its origin of about 1910 until the beginning of the modern era in the 1970s.