March 27, 2007

Blue Glass & Baltimore

In my previous post, I mentioned that Baltimore is known for blue glass. The Peak of Chic asked why Baltimore was known for this, so I thought I would tell you.
Courtesy of Kitchenography!

Baltimore was the home of Bromo Seltzer, invented by a Captain Isaac Emerson. Bromo Seltzer was sold in cobalt blue bottles which were made here in Baltimore in numerous glass factories which were on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River. In fact, if you go to the "secret" beach behind the Wal-Mart in Port Covington (don't go alone!), you can still find shards of blue and other coloured glass that washes up after storms (along with a lot of other scary stuff!).

Several years after the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, Captain Emerson built the Bromo Seltzer Tower, modeled after the Palazzo Vechio in Florence, Italy. This 15-story building, which stood next the the now-gone Bromo plant, once had a revolving blue bottle of Bromo Seltzer on top. The bottle was a guide to navigation for ships coming into the Baltimore harbour for many years. The clock faces spell out B-R-O-M-O-S-E-L-T-Z-E-R.
The Bromo building can easily be seen from Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. it is now used as city-owned studio space for visual and literary artists. The studios range from 100- to 600-square feet and are rented at below market rates.


  1. How interesting! Never before heard of Bromo Seltzer- I love to read about all of those old remedies they used to have. I like that tower too! Too bad the revolving bottle is gone. Still, the clock face more than makes up for it!

  2. Fascinating. Thanks for the history lesson, You have so much pride in your city - it's infectious.

  3. Thank you for noticing that. My grandmother always had blue bottles of stuff in her bedroom. I always thought they were the prettiest things I'd ever seen! Of course, I was only 6, but still, blue glass is pretty.

  4. I'm truly sorry the revolving bottle is no longer there. That must have been quite a site. I believe I read that it could be seen from 30 miles away.


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