Samuel Callet Nursing Bottles


Edwin I. Bogucki, MD



Back in 1947, Samuel Callet, who had produced a line of furniture and metal polish in the Pittsburgh area, began a line of nursery baby bottles. His contract with the Knox Glass Company in Parker, PA was to produce pyroglazed nursery rhyme and designs, to sell to dairies and other businesses including furniture, jewelry, and children’s clothing.  The Canonsburg, PA plant received from the Oil City division of Knox Glass a series of narrow neck bottles. They were pyroglazed, some with their company name or logo, onto six different designs. These were Peter Rabbit in light blue, Goosey Gander in yellow, Robbie Yum-Yum in brown, Da-Da the Clown in dark blue, Circus Train in orange, and Scotty Dogs in black. These six designs were produced by Knox Glass and were used on their own advertising bottles in addition to those sent to Callet.





The Original Pyroglazed Bottles




The Samuel Callet Company Pyroglazed Bottles


In the 1950’s, the wide mouth screw-neck bottles designed exclusively for Callet by Knox Glass were the beginning of the popular line of Callet bottles which carried the exclusive pyroglazeing seen today. The bottle had five raised ridges on the two curved sides, with the other two remaining flat for the pyroglazeing. This design made for the ease of handling and elimination of the chance of rolling. The backs and bottoms were made in three designs as the production proceeded. The first one is about fifty raised concentric dots on the bottom and SAMUEL CALLET CO. PGH. PA. embossed vertically along the right side of the back. The “ounce” scales run in alternating horizontal lines ĺ” to Ĺ” divided by a vertical line though the center. In the second design, the SAMUEL CALLET CO. PGH. PA. was moved to the bottom, along with a mold number, at the expense of the dots. By the third design, the vertical line though the center was dropped. These are given to be Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 backs. Recently, a fourth type of bottle was discovered. This bottle was completely redesigned with a series of twelve raised ridges on the two curved sides, and a thicker depth than the others. The SAMUEL CALLET CO., PGH. PA. embossed on the bottom, was in a circular pattern. The back of the bottle had an embossed double scale, 8 ounces and 240 cubic-centimeters. Only two types of these bottles are known to exist.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   calletbacks.jpgtype4.jpgtype4bottom.jpg  t3t4.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 TYPE 1                 TYPE 2                 TYPE 3                          TYPE 4                                          TYPE 3                   TYPE 4


You could have your own personalized logo, or even your own special designs, on the bottle. Five of the six original characters, and many of the other nursery rhyme designs by Samuel Callet were given to Hunter Silves of the Knox’s Parker plant to be silk screened on the bottles. Silves created twelve designs himself, all with a figure inside a cloud. (below) The Searer Rubber Co. provided the black cap, disc, and nipples for the bottles. Later, blue and pink caps and discs were made available. There are over 250 different designs listed and unlisted in the Samuel Callet nursing bottle category. The colors of the design can be as many as nine, (blue, light blue, black, red, green, yellow, orange, pink, and aqua ) and the type of backs are unknown, it depended on when the bottles were made. Some bottles had as many as three types, others only the last one, Type 3. Of the two with Type 4 backs, one had Type 2, the other had Type 3 backs. (above)



                                                                                                      Baby Face Bottles                                                                        Personalized Bottles                                                                             Silves Designs


For the packaging and distribution, Callet’s Canonsburg plant was used. It was equipped to do the advertising literature, which included the Congratulatory card, or the Best Wishes card that the local Callet’s customer gave to the new parents, telling them of the complimentary bottles they could receive. Callet purchased “give-away” boxes of one, three, or five bottles. At first the boxes were plain heavy brown pasteboard for the single bottle, white heavy pasteboard for the three bottles, to corrugated boxes in yellow and blue for boys, and yellow and red for girls which held three or five nursing bottles. The five bottle box later became solid colors or colorful nursery designs. Some had a central bottle with a slotted metal cap, sealed onto the bottle by a plastic heat-shrink band, which became a bank.




Types of boxes used in promoting Callet Bottles



The Samuel Callet Company was doing well until the 1960’s when the regulation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Milk Control Commission made dairy’s limit the promotional give-away to $0.35 per item. This listed the special boxed set of five bottles with the dairy’s name on them. This item had cost the dairy $1.30. Which made the dairys in Pennsylvania to stop the use of these items, leaving only the non-dairy producers to continue with them. This lead the Callet Company to decreasing sales, which made the Knox Glass Company unwilling to handle its smaller orders. In addition to this, the smaller dairys were being sold to larger complexes which sold mainly to the grocery stores. Leading to the closure of the Samuel Callet Company in the early 1970’s.


In my own collection, I have 240 different types of Callet bottles. I still need several bottles to make my collection complete. Some are shown below.




You may e-mail me if you have any further questions or comments.





1)      Samuel Callet Story, Don Grifford, Keeping Abreast 14:2, 47-79

2)      Callet Nursing Bottles, Unique, but in Many Varieties,  Charlie Harris, Keeping Abreast 33:4, 25-27




This page last updated by Edwin Bogucki on 12/13/2011

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