Manufacturer Notes: Belle-Pre Bottle Company

Belle Pre (Beautiful Meadow)

Alexandria's bottle companies produced bottles for milk, medicine, beer and spirits. The one documented order that exists is from 1902 when Robert Portner Brewing Company contracted with Old Dominion, Virginia, and Belle Pre to produce 1,500,000 bottles.

Out of the Attic - Belle Pre Bottle Company

In 1899, a patent was issued for a special bottle cap and bottle lip design. A modified lip, or neck rim, allowed the paper cap to be easily removed and reinserted. The Washington, D.C.-based Belle Pre Bottle Company had plans to use the new design for milk and cream packaging, allowing users to easily open and reseal the bottles. Among Belle Pre’s corporate officers was F. R. Horner, who operated the Evergreen Dairy in the District.

In early 1902, Belle Pre announced plans to build a factory on the northwest corner of North Henry and Madison streets to produce this particular bottle, and the plant opened in the fall. Spread over six acres and covering the entire block, the factory was also equipped with a sawmill to process lumber for making boxes which held the bottles. As many as 250 men and boys worked there at a time.

Within five years, the factory was reportedly producing one million bottles a month. However, whatever success Belle Pre had was short-lived. In 1912, the company closed and filed for bankruptcy, and its equipment was auctioned.

The factory resumed operations in 1917 when Old Dominion Glass Company used it following a devastating fire at its Alexandria plant. But it later closed and was only used by Old Dominion for storage of machinery and moulds. On October 24, 1921, a fire of an “incendiary origin” destroyed the Belle Pre plant seen in this c. 1907 image.

Alexandria Times (Alexandria, VA.) October 23, 2008 





SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 681,454, dated August 27, 1901.
Application filed December 11, 1899. Serial No. 739,980. (No model.)

United States Patent Office Page 1, Page 2, Page 3


Name Capital Stock State Tax
The Belle Pre-Bottle Co. of Washington, D. C.. 100,000 20.00

Norman, Purnal B.; Annual Report of the State Auditor of the State of Delaware 1901 (Dover, Sentinel Printing Company, 1902)

To Resume Operations.

  The Virginia Glass Works will resume operations on Tuesday next. By the end of September the proprietors expect to enlarge their facilities and increase their force of operatives.
  The Old Dominion Glass Woks will also resume work next week. the company operating the plant expect to have an increase in trade this season.
  The buildings being erected by the Belle Pre bottling Company in the northwestern part of the city are approaching completion. The new plant will, it is expected, be ready to manufacture in October.

The Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, D. C.) August 30, 1902

  The Virginia glass factory will resume operations September 1 and the Old Dominion and Belle-Pre factories on September 6, after the usual month's vacation. During the period that these factories were closed down many improvements were made and they will be run to their full capacity from the start.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) August 29, 1904

...A resolution providing for a suitable roadway on North Patrick street, leading to the Belle Pre Bottle Company's plant, was referred to the street committee. .....

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) November 10, 1904

WANTED--A MARRIED WHITE MAN to work on a farm; must be a good milker. Call for MR. THOMPSON, at the Belle Pre Bottle Co.'s office. Alexandria, Va.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) January 25, 1905

  The Belle-Pre Glass Company's factory is temporarily closed down on account of an accident to one of the furnaces. Mr. Joseph H. Ramsey, the superintendent has gone to Pittsburg, Pa., on business connected with the repairs.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) February 20, 1905

  The Belle-Pre Bottle Works, which was closed down several weeks for repairs to the furnaces, resumed operations last Friday.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 13, 1905

  The Belle-Pre Glass Company has entered suit against the Southern Railway Company for $2,000 for the killing of a horse and the demolition of a wagon and contents last May by a locomotive.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 29, 1905

  The Belle-Pre Bottle Company will today put on ten additional glass blowers and a number of extra helpers in order to fill their contracts by June 30. when the factory will close down for the usual two months of hot weather.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) April 3, 1905

  It is understood that Mr. Joseph H Ramsay, who recently resigned the position of superintendent of the Belle-Pre Bottle Works will remain in this city. Mr. Ramsey has been succeeded by Mr. Louis Steelman who was formerly the assistant superintendent of the Belle-Pre plant.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) July 8, 1905

  The Red Oil Company, of Baltimore, has awarded Julian D. Knight the contract for Construction of a large oil house on North Fairfax street. Mr. Knight has just completed the buildings for the Alexandria Glass Works, near the plant of the Belle-Pre Glass Works, in the northwestern section of the city.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) July 15, 1905

Factories Will Resume Operations After the Vacation.
        621 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

  The glass bottle factories, which in the last ten or twelve years have developed into an important factor in the business of Alexandria, will soon be in full operation again after the usual summer closedown of two months.
  The Alexandria Glass Bottle Company will resume operations September 1. the Old Dominion on the 4th, the Belle Pre on the 10th, and the Virginia about the 15th.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) August 31, 1906

Hansborough Suit in Court

  The trial of the suit of Mary C. Hansborough, against the Southern Railway Company yesterday. As stated before, Hansborough was struck and killed by one of the locomotives of the defendant company, near the plant of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company. The hearing was concluded yesterday and arguments will begin this morning. The case will probably go to the jury this afternoon.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) September 13, 1906

Glass factories Resume.

  The Old Dominion, Alexandria and Belle-Pre glass bottle factories resumed operations yesterday after the usual summer close-down of two months, and the Virginia factory will open Saturday, These factories employ about 1,600 men and boys, and it is rumored that another large glass plant will be established in this city in the near future,

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) September 4, 1907

  The Belle Pre Bottle Company, established 1902, is officered as follows: Edwin L. C. Cockrell, President; F. R. Horner, Vice- President; E. A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer, and C. S. Bassett, Manager. The Belle Pre is the largest milk bottle factory in the world, and is devoted exclusively to the manufacture of milk bottles. The plant covers over six acres and produces 1,000,000 bottles monthly, employing 250 men. They also sell all kinds of dairy and creamery supplies, and require over 3,000,000 feet of lumber yearly to box their output, to produce which they operate two saw mills.

Wedderburn, Alex J., Souvenir Virginia Ter Centennial of Historic Alexandria, Va. Past and Present (1907)

Hansborough Judgment Reversed.

  In the Supreme Court of Appeals Alexandria yesterday judgment was reversed in the case of George c Hansborough against the Southern Railway Company. The case was tried in the Circuit Court for Alexandria Judgment was rendered against the railway company for $9,000 for the killing of Hansborough wile driving across the tracks of the company near the Belle Pre Glass Works in the western part of the city. The court also reversed the judgment of the Corporation Court of Alexandria in the case of the Order of Knights of Columbus against Burroughs beneficiary.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) January 17, 1908

Glass Works Resumes

  The Belle Pre Glass Works, of Alexandria resumed operations yesterday, after having been closed down for fifteen days.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 6, 1908

Glass Factories Resume.

  The Old Dominion and Alexandria glass factories resumed operations yesterday morning after the usual summer recess and the Belle-Pre and Virginia plants will reopen in a few days. During the summer all of the factories have undergone extensive improvements.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) September 2, 1909

Mr. Hankins' New Field.

  George S. Hankins, who has been the local freight agent for the Southern Railway Company for seven years, will leave that Company September 1, It is understood, to become general manager of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) August 19, 1910

Cities of Virginia.


 Alexandria, the county seat of Alexandria, is situated on the Potomac river, six miles south of Washington, and is in full view of the national capital, with which it is closely related in social and business affairs.

Transportation facilities are afforded by six great trunk railways and six steamer lines. The largest vessels find a safe landing at the wharves on the Potomac river.

The census of 1910 gave the city a population of 15,329.

Among the numerous enterprises located at Alexandria are four glass factories, viz.: Old Dominion Glass Company, Belle Pre Bottle Company, Alexandria Glass Company and Virginia Glass Company. 

Koiner, George W.; A Hand Book of Virginia Fourth Edition, 1911 (Richmond, Everett Waddey Co., 1911)



Hydrocarbons Converter Co., Cert. Copy 9.00

Union Dredging Co., Cert. Copy 7.00


The Belle Pre Bottle Co. of Washington, D. C. 2.00

Townsend, Theodore; Annual Report of the State Auditor of the State of Delaware 1910 (Milford, Chronicle Power Print, 1911)

Glass Works to Shut Down.

  The announcement yesterday that the Belle Pre Bottle company of which several Washington men are officers, would shut down its glass factory at Alexandria tonight for a month gave rise to a rumor that there would be a number of changes among the shareholders and officials of the concern. President Ralph P. Bernard denied however that he had any knowledge of such changes.
  We will shut down the factory temporarily he said so we may make repairs and improvements. Business has been slack and we have $25,000 worth of manufactured stock on hand. I do not know how long the factory will be closed. It may be 30 days or longer.
  Firman R. Homer of Washington is vice president of the company, George S. Hinkens, another Washington man is general manager, but he has resigned and will leave the company December 1.
  The factory's specialty is milk bottles. About 130 men are employed by the concern.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) November 29, 1911

Plant Will Reopen

  It is reported that the Belle Pre Glass Company which suspended operations November 29 throwing about 130 men and boys out of employment will resume business about January 1. In the interim it is said extensive repairs will be made to the plant.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) December 7, 1911

Directors of Alexandria Institution
       Cannot Dispose of Property.
Judge Thornton Orders Hearing on March
        4 to Decide on Appointing Receiver
               for Belle-Pre corporation.
        703 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

  Edward S. Reeve suing for himself and other stockholders, through Attorneys Samuel P. Fischer and James R, Caton yesterday obtained from Judge J. B. T. Thornton of the circuit court for Alexandria city, an injunction restraining the directors of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company, which has its plant in this city and operated under a Delaware charter from disposing of any of the real estate of the company real personal or mixed. This injunction will hold until March 5 and at the same time Judge Thornton issued a rule against the defendants, returnable, Monday , March 4, to show cause why a receiver should not be appointed to take charge of the affairs of the company.
  The directors named in the litigation are Ralph P. Barnard, T. R. Horner, E. A. Thompson, W. L. Rammel, Felix Freyhold, Grace Thompson, Roger W. Duffey, and H. L. Davis. the trustees mentioned are Ralph P. Barnard and Thomas C. Smith.
  In the bill, Mr. reeve sets forth that 4,985 (?) shares of stock of the company, of the value of $20 each, are outstanding and held by the directors, members of their families, and other persons under their influence, and that the management of the company has been negligent and careless, resulting in a failure to meet its obligations. The petition further sets forth that creditors are pressing for payment of debts due and that a meeting had been called for the purpose of ordering the sale of the plant.
  The Belle-Pre Company made a specialty of the manufacture of a patent milk bottle and apparently prospered for a number of years. The plant was closed several months ago and a number of men and boys were thrown out of work.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) February 27, 1912

  This afternoon it is expected Judge Thornton will hear arguments on the application of Edward S. Reeve a stock holder in the Belle Pre Bottle Company to have a receiver named for that concern. Attorneys James R. Canton and S. P. Fisher represent the petitioner and attorney Gardner L. Boothe and S. G. Brent the company. Mr Brent also is a counsel for William Rammel one of the largest stockholders in the company.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 5, 1912

Belle-Pre Directors in Alexandria
     Upheld by Judge Thornton.
Application for a Receiver Dismissed and
     Officials Are given Power to
        Sell the plant.
        703 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

After hearing arguments yesterday on the application of Edward S. Reeve, a stockholder in the Belle-Pre Bottle company, for a receiver for the concern on grounds that it is not able to meet its obligations, Judge J. B. T. Thornton, in the circuit court for Alexandria city, dismissed the motion, and dissolved a temporary injunction granted the petitioner to prevent the directors and trustees of the company from disposing of the property.
The complaint was represented by Attorneys S. P. Fisher and J. R. Caton, and the company and various stockholders by Gardner L. Boothe, S. G. Brent, C. E. Nicol, and John M. Johnson. the company operated under a Delaware charter, and manufactured a patent milk bottle. When it ceased operations several months ago it was stated that this action was not because of financial difficulties, but was due to an over accumulation of manufactured product. Officials of the company declared last night that they expected to resume operations in the near future.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 6, 1912

E. A. Thompson Named to Handle
     Belle Pre Work's Affairs.
Alexandria Circuit Court Acts in Suit
    Filed Against Washington Com-
       pany by Creditor
       703 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

  Following suit filed by Attorneys Guy H. Johnson, of Washington, and Gardner L. Boothe, of this city, representing George L. Appich, described as a judgment creditor, the Belle Pre Bottle Company, of Washington, yesterday morning was placed in the hands of Egbert A. Thompson as receiver by Judge J. B. T. Thornton, of the circuit court for Alexandria, setting in chambers at Manassas. Mr. Thompson appeared yesterday afternoon in the office of the clerk of the circuit court here and gave bond in the penalty of $25,000 in accordance with the terms of the decree.
  The suit, filed by attorneys for Mr. Appich, asked that the receiver be appointed and that the affairs of the company be wound up under the direction of the court. The plant of the Belle Pre Company, which is located in this city, ceased operations last November and has been inactive since then. It is understood that the the outstanding obligations of the company amount to nearly $50,000, in addition to bonds being secured by all of the property of the concern. Apart from the real estate and plant of the company, which are said to be valuable, it is reported that there are other assets in the shape of bills receivable and stock on hand of an estimated value of $12,000.
  Officers of the company are Ralph Barnard, president; F. R. Horner. vice president; Egbert A. Thompson, secretary and treasurer; W. L. Rammel, F. R. Horner, Grace Thompson; E. A. Thompson, Roger W, Duffey, Felix Freyhold, and Harry W, Davis, directors.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) June 7, 1912

In the suit of George L. Appich vs. the Belle-Pre Bottle company, a decree was entered appointing J. Randal Caton special commissioner to the report upon the assets and liabilities of the company.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) July 2, 1912

Order in Belle-Pre Bottle Case.

  A decree was entered in the circuit court for this city yesterday in the suit of George L. Appich against the Belle-Pre Bottle Company allowing the receiver to turn over certain assets to Firman R. Horner, trustee, for the bondholders of the concern.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 9, 1913

Plant May Resume Operations.

  Plans are under way, it is stated, for the resumption of operations at the plant of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company September 1. The company was placed in charge of E. A. Thompson as receive last fall, and the property was sold at public auction on October 14 for $15,000. The purchaser was F. R. Horner of Washington, who represented the holders of $85,000 of the bonds of the company, and who is now the trustee of the bondholders. It is understood that the plant may either be leased or sold and should negotiations with these object fail, the bondholders will reopen the plant with a large force of workmen.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) May 11, 1913

Buys Belle Pre Bottle Plant.

The plant of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company has been acquired by the Old Dominion Glass company and a deed transferring the property, including the buildings, machinery, patters, and all other rights, was filed for record in the office of the clerk of the corporation court yesterday. It is understood that the Old Dominion company will make extensive improvements at the Belle-Pre plant and will begin operations about November 1. The Belle-Pre factory is equipped for the manufacture of milk bottles, and will be continued by the Old Dominion company in that line. The officers of the Old Dominion company are Lorenzo Wolford, president, George D. Hopkins, Secretary and treasurer, and George H. Scheartzmann, vice president and general manager.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) October 19, 1913

Resume Work at Belle-Pre Plant.

  The Old Dominion Glass Company, which recently acquired the plant of the Belle-Pre Bottle Company, will resume operations at the plant today with a large force. The Belle-Pre company was organized to make milk bottles. the Old Dominion company will use it to manufacture flasks.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) November 3, 1913

Washington Southern Railway Company

Income Statement

!Bills against Belle Pre Bottle Company, bankrupt, charged out................ 79.03

Appendix To Eleventh Annual Report Of The State Corporation Commission Of Virginia For The Year Ending December 31, 1913 (Richmond, David Bottom Superintendent Public Printing, 1914)

  Wind destroyed a large iron stack of the Belle-Pre Glass Works last night, and did considerable damage to the frame building of the works. A similar stack of the Virginia Glass Works, on Duke street extended, also was blown down by the wind.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 2, 1914

Fire Destroys Bottle Factory.

  A fire, which started shortly before noon yesterday in the shipping room of the Belle-Pre bottle factory, owned and operated by the Old Dominion Glass company, destroyed the building, the stock shed, the chemical room, a freight car loaded with bottles and the general merchandise store conducted by Ervin Schwarzmann. A stiff breeze from the stouth (sic.) blew the flames toward the main building of the plant, which was saved by the fireman after a stubborn fight that lasted nearly three hours.
  Officers of the company last night estimated the damage at $10,000, and said that the loss is partially covered by insurance. When the alarm was sounded two engines and a truck responded, and in a short while Fire Chief Gronau ordered out the reserve engine.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) May 13, 1914

Send Fire Chief $100

  In recognition of services rendered at the fire at the Belle-Pre glass factory last Tuesday the officers of the Old Dominion Glass Company, owners of the plant, have sent to Fire Chief Gronau a check for $100 which will be distributed among the several fire companies.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) May 17, 1914




Whereas, William J. Swain, State Treasurer of the State of Delaware, has reported to me a list of corporations which for two years preceding such report have failed to pay the taxes assessed against them and due by them under the laws of this State;

Now, therefore, I, Charles R. Miller, do hereby issue this Proclamation according to the provisions of Sections 10 and 11, Chapter 15, Volume 22, Laws of Delaware, entitled "An Act to raise revenue for the State by taxing certain corporations," and do hereby declare under this act of the Legislature that the charters of the following corporations, reported as aforesaid, are repealed:


.....The Belle- Pre Bottle Company of Washington, D. C., ......


IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I, Charles R. Miller, Governor of the State of Delaware, have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of this State to be hereunto affixed this twenty-first day of January, [great Seal] in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and thirty- ninth.

By the Governor:

CHAS. R. MILLER. THOMAS W. MILLER, Secretary of State.

Laws of the State of Delaware Passed at a Special Session of the Ninety-fourth General Assembly Commenced and held at Dover On Monday, September 28th, A. D. 1914 (Wilmington, Chas. L. Story, 1915)

Belle-Pre Plant Will Employ
About 150 Alexandrians.


Burned factory to Be Rebuilt--Gas
 Shortage in West Sends Rush Or-
 ders--Washington's Birthday Cele-
 bration Association Elects Officers.
 Fire in Lunchroom.

703 King Street, Alexandria, Va.
 Officials of the Old Dominion Glass Company, which owned the plant of the Alexandria Glass Company, destroyed by fire on Wednesday night, announced yesterday that he Belle-Pre factory, a short distance from the Alexandria plant will be placed in operation as soon as necessary repairs and improvements can be made. This may require a month or more, but when the necessary changes in the Belle-Pre factory have been made, employment will be given to about 150 men and boys, representing a weekly payroll of more than $2,000. Failure of the natural gas supply at certain factories in West Virginia, it is stated, has resulted in orders for flasks of every description that were keeping the local plants running full time. It is expected that the factory destroyed on Wednesday night will be rebuilt as soon as the necessary machinery can be secured.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) February 11, 1917

Glass Plant to Be Reopened.

  The Old Dominion Glass Company will today reopen the plant of the Belle-Pre Glass company, giving employment to about 175 men and boys. The Old Dominion company owned both the Alexandria and Belle-Pre factories when the former was destroyed by fire on February 7. Work was started at once to get the Belle-Pre factory in shape to fill the orders that were being cared for at the Alexandria factory.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) February 28, 1917

Belle-Pre Works Boiler
    House Destroyed By
        Mysterious Fire.
          703 King street, Alexandria, Va.

  Fire of uncertain origin practically destroyed the boiler house at the Belle-Pre glass factory, in the square bounded by Fayette, Henry, Firts and Montgomery streets, about 3 o'clock yesterday morning. The fire department succeeded in keeping the flames from communicating to other buildings ayt the plant. It is said that the loss will be only a few hundred dollars and will not interfere with the operations at the plant. The Belle-Pre factory is owned by the Old Dominion Glass Company, and was only recently reopened to take the place of the Alexandria glass factory, also owned by the Old Dominion company, which was destroyed by fire February 7.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) March 19, 1917

    BURNS; LOSS $50,000

Belle Pre Glass Company Build
    ing Total Loss--Was Used
        for Storage Purposes

Flames Beyond Control Before Fire-
    men Arrive--Baby, Hurled 20
       Feet Into Creek, Uninjured.
           Washington Post Bureau,
           124 N Patrick St., Alexandria, Va.
  Fire, believed by the officials of the Old Dominion Glass company to have been of incendiary origin, early yesterday morning destroyed the plant of the Belle Pre Glass Company in the northwestern part of Alexandria. The loss, which has not yet been accurately estimated, will probably reach $50,000, partly covered by insurance.
  The watchman at the plant, Yancy Miller, said that he made his rounds as usual, and that he discovered the fire at about 5:45 a.m., shortly after he had passed through the building and saw no sign of fire. When the fire department arrived, a few minutes later, the whole plant was ablaze. Five streams of water were used and the firemen worked until nearly noon yesterday every piece of apparatus in the city being used.
Used for Storage Purposes.
  The building was a one-story frame structure, and had not been used as a glass factory for about two years. It was owned by the Old Dominion Glass Company, which had used it for storage of machinery, moulds, German clay, chemicals and tools.
  Mr. Schwarzman, trustee of the Old Dominion company, said that the company had offered the plant for sale and that a prospective customer was to have made an inspection of the property yesterday.

The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.) October 25, 1921

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