Between 2009 and 2012, ISAS conducted excavations within multiple turn of the 20th century neighborhoods as part of the excavation in East St. Louis and the New Mississippi River Bridge project. One of the more common artifacts found were soda and mineral water bottles embossed with the names of East St. Louis soda water companies. Those in operation during the latter part of the 19th century include George N. Spannagel & Sons, Christian Lutt & Company, and Edward and George Schroeder. While products of other soda water bottlers were identified within the assemblage, these were by far the best represented.
The histories of each of these companies were chronicled by Kenneth B. Farnsworth and John A. Walthall in their book "Bottled in Illinois: Embossed Bottles and Bottled Products of Early Illinois Merchants from Chicago to Cairo, 1840-1880." Most soda bottles from the period were composed of heavy-bodied aqua glass, as they were meant to be returned for reuse at the soda water factory. They typically possessed a "blob" finish and were fitted with a number of patented cork closures such as the Hutchinson, Lightning, and Baltimore Loop stoppers. Although relatively common, these soda water bottles provide evidence of the presence of local industry in East St. Louis and are a reminder of the city's many entrepreneurs over the years.
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