Museum of Connecticut Glass

Charley Ross
Mystery Bottle

July 8, 2013

Travel Channel Mystery TV Show: Charley Ross bottle

A free-lance film crew visited our museum Monday, July 8, 2013 to film a story about the 1874 Charley Ross kidnapping and a clear glass blown bottle with Charley Ross's embossed likeness. The bottle, in the first picture below, is the smallest of six known remaining bottles that probably contained cologne or perfume, and were blown to publicize the kidnapping.

We are grateful for this historic bottle, which was donated to the museum. It served as the "artifact," the reason for using our Glass Museum to film this segment of "Mysteries in the Museum," which will air in February 2014.

The Crime

Charley Ross, age four, and his brother Walter, age five, were kidnapped on July 1, 1874, from the front yard of their family's home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A buggy pulled up and two men offered the boys candy and fireworks if they would take a ride with them. The boys agreed and they all proceeded through Philadelphia to a store where Walter was directed to buy fireworks inside with 25 cents, which the men gave to him. Walter did so, but the carriage left without him.

Attempts were made to collect a ransom, but Charley Ross was never seen again, although in later years several boys and then young men claimed to be Charley but none were proven to be him. The bottle, like milk cartons today, showed Charley's image. The family always hoped to find the missing son.

Our Visitors on July 8

The free-lance film crew was preparing this episode for the Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" show, which features an artifact with mysterious connections. The crew consisted of: Alice Borrelli, producer; Joe Bondulich, cameraman; Tim Race, sound; and Chris Schuessler, associate producer. They interviewed Carrie Hagen, author of "We Is Got Him: The Kidnapping That Changed America," based on the earlier book of Charley Ross memoirs published by her father. The book's title refers to the ungrammatical ransom notes sent to the family. Members of our museum's Board of Directors and others were at the Captain John Turner house for the filming.

> The Travel Channel segment was to be aired in February 2014. It can be seen here by clicking "Too Heartbreaking to Bear".

> You can also watch a six-minute DropBox clip on the Charley Ross kidnapping by clicking Charley Ross Kidnapping.

Photos by Board members Noel Tomas, Richard Baker, and Bruce Mitchell.