FOR SALE - Bottles & Bottle Books
& other collectibles
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This and the associated linked web pages are my current listings of antique or "historic" bottles, bottle books, and other collectibles for sale.
I try to be as comprehensive as possible in describing bottle condition but am not perfect (thus the money back guarantee). Many of the "flaws" or condition issues that I point out are often overlooked by others. I also try to take representative pictures of all the bottles listed, though some bottles can defy accurate pictorial representation. Click on the highlighted link(s) in each listing description to see the picture(s) of the specific item for sale.
If you would like additional digital pictures or information, please e-mail me (link below).
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To help properly describe the bottles on this list or for the people who found this page and have some basic questions about antique bottles, I have another web page that is a glossary of some major antique bottle descriptive terms. It is found at the following link - Bottle Description & Condition Glossary. It includes more links to pictures to help portray some of the bottle characteristic described.
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Shipping/insurance is in addition to the listed price on all bottles & collectibles and will be calculated at as close as I can estimate to the actual cost via the USPS website depending on the weight of the item and your zip code. No additional packaging or handling fees; I use recycled materials from my past purchases. I will ship via USPS Ground Advantage unless a buyer wants the bottle(s) sent the more expensive Priority Mail (at additional cost).
All books are postpaid within the U. S. @ the media mail rate; faster shipping is extra.
For an idea of the shipping costs, click on the following USPS link to calculate the cost from my zip code of 97624 - DOMESTIC RATE CALCULATOR. Small bottles usually ship individually at 1 to 2 pounds packed, average sizes at 2 to sometimes 3 pounds with large, multiple and/or heavier items at sometimes 4 or rarely 5 pounds. Bottles shipped with one or two other bottles would be more of course. Unless very small bottles, I will generally not ship more that 2 or 3 bottles in the same package.
I will ship to the U. S. and (maybe) Canada but typically not to other overseas addresses any longer due to the difficulty in determining shipping costs ahead of time - even to Canada at times. However, feel free to inquire as I do make some exceptions depending on the item.
Insurance cost will (usually) be noted in my shipping quote back to you upon inquiry though I suppose it is optional. Insurance on items up to $100 is included in the shipping coast by the USPS if sent via Ground Advantage or Priority Mail. Above that value is of course additional. I try to pack well but one never knows how packages will be treated in transit so I usually prefer having the insurance added at values above that already included.
I offer a 7 day, no questions asked, 100% (sales price; buyer pays return shipping) money back guarantee on everything I sell! It's the only way to do "e-business."
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I also have a books-for-sale (non-bottle books) list if you click on the following link: BOOKS FOR SALE. Though limited in scope, this list has a variety of books, with an emphasis on Western Americana books.
WESTERN AMERICAN BOTTLES
Click on the thumbnail picture, highlighted title links, or other links within each listing to see pictures of the bottles described.
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SIMMOND'S / NABOB / TRADE (Sultan with hookah and attendant) MARK / PURE / KY BOURBON / WHISKEY - All this embossed on this well known but quite scarce, full faced, Western "picture" whiskey cylinder fifth. This example is listed in the late John Thomas's most recent book (2002) as #142A and is the earliest of this short series of cylinders dating from the late 1870s to early 1880s. Apparently this whiskey was advertised in 1882 as being "Strongly recommended by the medical faculty (what "faculty" isn't noted!) for all cases of nervousness, dyspepsia, chills, etc..." Like many high alcohol products of that era, it was purported to have high medicinal value. (Reminds me that my dad always noted that his stops at the state liquor store in Oregon were needed to get his "medicine"!)
Thomas also notes that many of these were found in Nevada in the usual mining camp areas like Hamilton, Eureka, and Virginia City as well as the Sierra Nevada and some other mining areas in California. Although a San Francisco bottled product (George Simmond's & Co. in business from 1877 to 1888 according to Thomas) these were one of the earlier German made "Western" cylinders dating from the noted range above.
As with most all of these type amber to red-amber German made Western-used whiskey cylinders this example has a nice and sloppy applied top (click applied top to view such), heavily whittled throughout the body, a high slightly pointed/domed base, and a color that is a medium orange to somewhat reddish amber getting redder towards the base as the images show. This is a beautiful window bottle with that color and crudity! Condition is very good to excellent (aka close to mint) with some very minor light wear/scuffing in a few places (largely on the back) but no chips, cracks or other post-manufacturing damage. Thomas's book lists the mid-range value of these at a seemingly high $2500; this very nice example is offered for significantly less. $895
OREGON IMPORTING CO./ WE NEITHER RECTIFY / (O. I. CO. monogram) / NOR COMPOUND / PORTLAND, ORE. - That is all boldly & sharply embossed within a slightly oval to round slug plate (aka "plate mold") on this quart sized cylinder whiskey bottle with straight fluting on the shoulder and lower neck. According to John Thomas's great book on Oregon liquor bottles this style bottle was called a "Maverick Brandy" which was the name used for this style of liquor bottle by the huge Illinois Glass Company (Alton, IL.) who almost certainly was the producer of this bottle for the Portland company. A quick check shows an identical one by that name, including the "bumps" at the lower end of the flutes, shown (sans embossing) in that glass company's 1903, 1906, 1908 and 1911 catalogs (I have original examples of all these). That fits perfectly the history of the company which, according to Thomas, began in 1904 and ran until statewide alcohol Prohibition began in Oregon in 1915. Isn't the history of these bottles cool!? The "We neither rectify nor compound" motto was a reference to some liquor bottlers of the era "rectifying and compounding," i.e., cutting, diluting, blending and otherwise adulterating the product in undesirable ways (maybe "snake heads"?). Not this company!
Anyway, this example is 11.6" tall, clear or colorless glass (the type that would turn amethyst), has a tooled "brandy" lip or finish, and dates during the range noted above. It was probably was actually used for brandy, though without an original label it is impossible to tell. In my experience these clear examples are scarcer than the amber versions and more likely to be stained. This specimen is in great condition with no cracks, chips, pings, dings, or other post-production damage; it just has some widely scattered, light, water staining on the inside back which is non-detracting...the outside is unstained and nice. Also some nice bubbles in the glass and minor crudeness befitting a later, mouth-blown bottle. Another ex-Bob Barnett bottle I acquired a long time ago. $50
OREGON IMPORTING CO./ WE NEITHER RECTIFY / (O. I. CO. monogram) / NOR COMPOUND / PORTLAND, ORE. - Here is the light-ish amber example of the same cylinder quart whiskey bottle that was fully described above...and blown in the same mold even though the embossing is lighter than the very bold clear/colorless example. However, it is of moderate boldness and very easy to read (see enlargement of close-up of embossing). The color is a light-ish amber with a golden tone to it; the images show it pretty well though in real-life it is a bit brighter. This example is dead mint as far as I can see looking it over several times, with no chips, cracks, flea-bites, scuffing, staining, or anything post-manufacture. A very nice example of one of a relatively small universe of Western fancy (fluted or swirled) shoulder liquor cylinders...and one of only two from Portland to my recollection (the other being the Remington swirl shoulder cylinder). $60
...or take the pair of both the above Oregon Import cylinders for $100
SPRING VALLEY / WINE CO. /"THE BIG STORE" /2ND & YAMHILL / PORTLAND, ORE. - This is all embossed within a plate - called a slug plate by collectors - as evidenced by the relative distinct and slightly indented to elevated plate edge circle around the embossing; it is not an embossed circle. The lower body also reads FULL PINT with serifs on the lower body. These early 20th century style flasks - this being a "Eagle" style (see my educational website discussion on this style at http://www.sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Eagle%20Flasks ) are often quite rare, or at least as rare as their coffin, shoo-fly and picnic flasks cousins, but don't get quite the collecting interest as those slightly older (though often contemporary) brethren. These are still very interesting pre-Prohibition liquor flasks which are often quite hard to find as they were usually made for a relatively limited time.
According to the late John Thomas's excellent 1998 book Whisky Bottles and Liquor Containers from the State of Oregon "Starting sometime during the year 1909 the Spring Valley Wine Company opened its doors at 242 and 244 Yamhill in Portland. The Shapiro brothers George and Joseph opened it. It was a wholesale operation only. The company lasted until closed by Prohibition in 1915." So these date sometime between 1909 and 1915. Oregon's statewide Prohibition began on January 1st, 1916 preceding full National Prohibition by 4 years (lucky state...ha). Although Thomas noted it was a "wholesale operation only" the fact that they bottled some of their products in these flasks - which come in pint and half pint sizes - indicates that they at least sold some in smaller quantities...or these flasks were give away items for holidays, special customers, or ??? Interestingly, the flasks were blown in the "Dandy Style" as well as this "Eagle" style; the Dandy being quite similar but without the ring on the neck. (See the following section of my educational website on "Dandy" style: http://www.sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Dandy%20Flasks ) Both sizes in the Eagle and Dandy style seem to be equally rare; they are all seldom seen flasks. This is a duplicate pint for me with the one I've had for years being blown in a slightly fatter and shorter Eagle flask mold (and the FULL PINT is non-serif lettering & it has double rings at the base of the neck) but with the same plate obvious upon close inspection.
This particular flask, as noted, is the pint size with the "serif" lettering for FULL PINT. It is 9.3" tall, made in a now slightly pink (amethyst) glass, and has a tooled "brandy" style lip or finish. This particular mold also has a bunch of faint (but visible in the images) "peen" or "rivet head" markings on the body above the plate (7 circular marks) and on the back upper body (3 marks). Why? No idea except something to do with the formation or alteration of the mold and an interesting crudeness at a time (late mouth-blown era) when crudeness was less common although this flask also has an assortment of bubbles in the glass. It is in very good condition with one tiny pin prick mark on the lip edge, a small impact mark on the back base (about pin head sized), a few external abrasions and some very light, scattered content haze here and there. Overall a very nice and hard to find pre-Prohibition flask. $75
CROWN DISTILLERIES / (crown above double shield with CDCo monogram inside) / COMPANY - That is all embossed within an oval on the body of this fifth sized liquor bottle from San Francisco. It has inside threads and includes an original hard rubber stopper with essentially the same "embossing" on it. Click HERE to see a close-up of the stopper which is in pretty good condition with a little bit chipped off one side.
These bottles like the Van Schuyver listed above likely contained a popular spirits product - Cyrus Noble Whiskey - and span a pretty wide time frame from at least the 1880s to National Prohibition at the end of 1919. This company was connected with the Lilienthal (San Francisco) and W. J. Van Schuyver (Portland, OR.) companies as briefly discussed above in regards to sharing the same stoppers in their inside threaded bottles. Most of the bottles used by the three companies had essentially the same monogram of the crown over a shield with the initials inside the shield varying with the company. This particular example likely dates from the 1900 to 1910 era.
As to the details of this bottle it is the same height and general conformation as the Van Schuyver above measuring about 11.25" tall without the stopper. The color is a bright medium amber, has some scattered bubbles in the glass and a tooled inside threaded finish with the noted stopper. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, dings or significant staining...maybe just a bit of dirt on the inside and a few minor and non-distracting scuff marks. This example was found out in the woods of the Cascades near Klamath Falls many years ago and given to me since the person was not a collector. Time to pass it on as I've too many bottles. $30
In retirement I've been accumulating and studying the different molds used for this company's cylinder fifths. I have all of the variations of the molds but one which I believe exists (based on eBay images) that is a 4th variation with PORTLAND embossed but no OR or ORE after it. There are also variations within some of the mold types which are found with both cork and inside thread finishes or lips; others have just corks or just inside threads, but not both. Also the earliest, true "slug" plate example comes in both closure types with both tooled and true applied lips. Four different conformations from just one mold! The company was incorporated in 1901 so all those with INC embossed date after that time, though the last mold variant without INC embossed may have been still in use in 1902 or 1903 depending on how quick the company went through their bottles. This example dates from around 1905 give or take a few years as the PCGW company didn't use that name until 1903.
In any event, this example has a height (without stopper) of 11.25" and the color is a rich, bright medium amber; the images show the color well to my eye. It has a tooled inside threaded lip/finish typical of the era it was made. There surface is glossy with no straining glass inside or out and very little scuffing. The only issues are a bit of roughness to the rim of the bottle under the cap; click close-up of the rim to see such without the cap on. Some or all of it may be in making or not; it isn't too distracting and totally invisible with the cap on. There is also a "peck" mark at the front base edge that is a bit bigger than a pin head. All in all this is a pretty good example of a Northwest favorite - yesterday (full) and today (empty). $30
STAR (asterisk?) BASE EMBOSSED, 4-PIECE MOLD, APPLIED LIP, WESTERN MADE CYLINDER SIXTH - Offered here is a relatively rare, Western blown cylinder sixth (6 to the gallon) that was found on private land near Klamath Falls, OR. a few decades ago. Specifically, it was found on the Running Y Ranch back when it was an actual ranch owned by the Disney Corporation (it is now an upscale resort, vacation and housing area) by a timber "cruiser" cruising (marking trees for selective cutting) for a future timber sale. Not being a bottle collector the owner gave it to me years ago and I used it as an example to illustrate the category of tall cylinder liquor bottles which were used widely by Western American liquor companies though the style was also used throughout the US. (See the write-up on it at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Tall%20slender%20bodied%20straight%20neck%20spirits%20cylinders )
These bottles with the star or asterisk on the base are firmly attributed to the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works (SF&PGW) or if they predate about 1876 (not likely in my opinion) to either of those companies prior to their merging in that year. There are various body embossed liquor and some food bottles that have similar markings on the base which were virtually certain to have been made in the Bay Area, although the markings can vary. For example the "curved R" examples of the Fleckenstein & Mayer (a Portland, OR. liquor Co.) cylinder fifth and pint "knife edge" flask both have similar markings except it is a 4 pointed (instead of 8 pointed) version more like a + with pointed ends like this bottles marking. In any event these are Western made and used bottles.
This example is a bit over 11.5" tall, 2.75" in body diameter (fifths are more like 3"), has a crudely applied "brandy" finish with some slop below, and was blown in a four piece mold. Click close-up of the shoulder to see the mold lines in that area reflecting its four piece mold production. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish/lip to view such. The glass color is wonderful in that it is a light to moderate density yellow amber with a bit of a green tint thrown in for fun. I've heard this called "old amber" though that isn't very informative. The images show the color pretty well. Following is also a link to the same bottle in a window with a couple of related "fifth" cylinders on each side which were likely blown at the same SF&PGW - window image. (That linked image shows the bottle as more yellow with little green, though to my eye the images to the right here show the green hue more accurately. The fifth on the left is a standard medium amber; to the right a more medium chocolate amber.)
Condition is just about perfect with no chips, cracks, dings, potstone bruises or other like issues. It has no staining as it was found on top of the ground in some ponderosa pine duff. It does have a very faint, very narrow meandering scuff line on one side which may have just been from when it was made or possibly when filled and/or shipped? It is barely visible and non-distracting and takes nothing away from the visual condition. Some scattered bubbles, stretch marks in the neck and wavy - whittled in places - glass round out a very nice, Western made spirits bottle. I've seen a couple of examples from the apparent same 4-piece mold sell (eBay) for $250 or more the past couple years including an essentially identical star/asterisk base (my offering has a much bolder star; see image to right), 4-piece mold example that sold for $485 in September 2023! It did have a bit more crudeness and a bit sloppier top but was otherwise identical to this example in size and glass color. This is also one of the oldest bottles (ca. 1880 give or take a few years) I know of found in Klamath County. (More of less contemporary with this bottle would be a Fleckenstein & Mayer cylinder reportedly (by John Thomas) found 40-50 years ago near Fort Klamath. I have an example of that rare bottle which also has a similar but not identical marking (as noted earlier) on the base and was certainly made by the SF&PGW also. I'm sure there were a few older bottles found in the Klamath Basin long ago as Klamath Falls was founded in 1867 as Linkville.) Great example with great provenience. $275
JOHN KREMER / WALLA WALLA / WASH. - This is - as best I can determine - an unlisted Washington "saloon" flask from the "town so nice they named it twice" - Walla Walla, Washington. John Thomas noted in his book "Whiskey Bottles and Liquor Containers From The State of Washington" (Thomas 1998) that "Even though I had reports that John Kremer was in Walla Walla in 1883 having the Schwartz Saloon up to 1905, my research shows him first listed in 1905 in business with a Mr. Hansen in 1905." He goes on with "By 1907 he was in business by himself. Research by Francis Christiano of Walla Walla shows him having the Schwartz Saloon up to Prohibition in 1915."
Thomas also noted that "Bethman and Larson working on their flask book for the state of Washington turned up another Kremer flask showing him also in business with a fellow named Knox during 1907 and 1908." (Note: I wonder if that book was ever published as I've never heard of it and I have almost every bottle book published.) That flask is embossed with KREMER & KNOX / BANK EXCHANGE /WALLA WALLA, WASH. and is a "clear glass half pint oval type flask that is similar to what Putnam in "Bottle Identification" calls a basket swirl type...(with)...a brandy type finish." Putnam's (1965) book is simply a reprint of the Illinois Glass Company's (IGCo.) 1911 catalog and it simply calls the style a "basket flask" which was available at that time as a 6 oz. "half-pint" and 12 oz. "pint" (so called 'scant sizes').
Thomas further notes that "The only bottle known for John Kremer by himself is a clear glass, pint Washington flask." This flask, however, is the "half pint" sized (actually a scant 6 oz. at most) "Olympia" style flask and not as described in his book. Maybe the pint is a "Washington flask" but I suspect Thomas was misinformed? The Olympia flask was a patented (August 9th, 1898) by the IGCo. - a fact which is also embossed on the base of this flask (click base image to the right to see a larger version). See the following link to the page (left page) in the 1906 IGCo. showing an illustration of the flask an array of sizes including a 6 oz. "half pint" like this flask. https://sha.org/bottle/Typing/IGCo1906/IGCo1906page172.jpg That page also notes that at least 5 sizes - including the 6 oz. - were available as "plate moulds"...just like this flask. The flask is shown in the 1903, 1906, 1908 and 1911 IGCo. catalogs which fits with Thomas's history based dating of Kremer in the saloon busines from 1905 to 1915 (Prohibition in Washington).
So is the bottle unique? I don't know, but it is the first one I've ever seen. The bottle is 7" tall, colorless/clear glass, and has a unique tooled finish that I've is only seen on some very late 19th into the very early 20th centuries. flasks though a finish that is common on this style flask though the IGCo illustration makes it look more like a "champagne" style banded finish. I know of no particular name attached to this finish. The reverse side of the flask is not embossed - click reverse view to see such. The bottle is in quite good shape with a patch of light white-ish water staining in the inside front below and to the left of the circular plate outline which shows in the image to the left (click to enlarge). Other than that inside staining the glass is sparkling and clean. The one post production flaw is there is a shallow flake/rough spot about 8 mm wide and 3-4 mm tall on the back side of the lip/finish that is hard to photograph. Click view of the lip flake to see the shallow chipped area circled. For another view click another view of the chip which shows the location on the backside of the lip. Probably a key flask to have for a Washington liquor bottle collector...so priced to reflect the rarity with a discount for the lip flaking. $150
WARRANTED HALF PINT / FULL & HONEST MEASURE / ABSOLUTELY PURE / PURCHASED IN BOND / BOTTLED BY / FRANK WALKER / BUTTE, MONT. - That is all embossed on 7 lines (likely a record for this size of bottle!) within a plate (plate mold bottle) on this 8 oz. druggist style bottle that was used for whiskey! I procured this bottle to illustrate the cross-over of bottle types that is often seen in mouth blown bottles for my SHA/BLM Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website (aka Historic Bottle Website or HBW). This is a great example of one type of bottle (druggist) being used for a quite different product (liquor), i.e., a de facto liquor "flask" in the shape of a typical rectangular druggist style bottle. Here is the write-up I did place on the HBW about this bottle and some of the interesting history behind it which includes just being from Butte, Montana during the hey day of the copper mining:
As with most types of bottles it was ultimately up to the purchaser/user of the bottle to determine what they wanted to put in the bottle. In the case of the bottle to the right (click to enlarge) what was placed in the bottle was various Amercian whiskies including Old Crow, Black Thorn, Kentucky Turf, Woodland and others. Like the Wm. D. Barry bottle above this rectangular bottle was used for liquor though is essentially a classic druggist bottle shape. In addition this "whiskey" bottle is boldly embossed as follows: WARRANTED HALF PINT / FULL & HONEST MEASURE / ABSOLUTELY PURE / PURCHASED IN BOND /BOTTLED BY / FRANK WALKER / BUTTE, MONT. The bottle is about 7" tall, has a tooled "prescription" finish, mouth blown and embossed via a plate inserted into an accomodating plate mold and is rectangular with slightly rounded outward narrow sides. Click base view to view a cross-section of the bottles shape.
Some internet searching by a member of the Bottle Research Group (thanks Bob!) found that Frank Walker arrived in the Montana Territory in 1887 according to "A History Of Montana" (Sanders 1913). He did various jobs (miner, retail liquor business, mining property developer, saloon bartender) but by 1901 was a retail liquor dealer at 12 Park St. in Butte, MT. doing $100,000 in business by 1913 and probably until 1920 when National Prohibition likely killed the business. Mr. Walker early on advertised in The Butte Miner that "The family trade will be solicited" by the wholesale business ( connected to his saloon!), "That the finest liquors for medicinal use will be kept in stock" and "Goods will be sold in quantities of full gallons, quarts, pints and half pints (emphasis mine)" (The Butte Miner Dec. 10, 1901). The pictured bottle is one of several very similar variations of half pint "druggist" style bottles he used during those years.
As the base view linked earlier shows, this bottle is also embossed on the base in script lettering with ENGLISH which is almost certainly a glass maker proprietary name for that style druggist bottle. Several very similar to almost identical Frank Walker embossed half pint liquor bottles have the Western Bottle Manufacturing Co. (W.M.B.Co.) makers marking on the base (although no ENGLISH embossed) so it is quite possible that this bottle was also made by that Chicago based company. Another identically embossed Frank Walker bottle of the same 8 oz. capacity actually has druggist type graduation markings down both sides of the embossing (also a plate mold) as well as the stylized "3" at the top of the shoulder which is typical of early 20th century druggist/prescription bottles. Click Frank Walker bottle variation to view an image of a graduation markings version. Graduation markings are discussed in the section of the Medicinal bottles page at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/medicinal.htm#Druggist%20Bottle%20Dating%20Summary/Notes
Interesting, eh?! Like an assortment of "Family Liquor Store" bottles from the same early 20th century era in Portland, OR. and elsewhere, this weak appeal about the family nature of liquor stores was a last stand reaction to the Temperance movement which consummated with the passage of National Prohibition. That constitutional amendment took affect in early 1920 even though many states had already gone "dry" prior to that (Oregon & Washington in 1915). This interesting bottle is as described in the excerpt above and in absolute perfect "mint" shape with sparkling clean glass and no chips, cracks, cracks or any post-production damage...looks like it did the day it was blown, i.e., first decade or so of the 20th century. Click upper body, neck and finish to see such which shows the sparkling nature of this bottle. It also has the tiniest tint of pink to the glass indicating that it was decolorized with manganese dioxide to achieve the essentially colorless glass. Nice bottle from Butte, Montana and apparently fairly rare, especially in this pristine condition! $95
Bitters & Medicinal
WORMSER BROS' / (indented "bung hole") / SAN FRANCISCO - Here is example of one of the classic Western (made) bottles - the famous Wormser barrel! This is the only true Western barrel bitters (or maybe used for liquor also?) bottle (the Turner Brothers barrels are really Eastern items).
These used to be virtually unobtainable and rarely seen, though due to a couple small caches of them being found some years back (Nevada & Oregon reportedly) there are a few around now...including this excellent example. (If you are looking for one of these you likely know the stories better than I.) These bottles date from only 1869 according to Wichmann's great "Antique Western Bitters Bottles" book (and the Wilson's 1969 classic) who listed them as valued at "$3000 to $7000" in the various shades of amber (the unique light citron green example was unknown at that time).
Since there were a few more of them around, economics dictated a falling of prices - which happened for a time. Examples are more rarely seen at auctions today. A similar colored example - though not as brilliant as my offering here - recently sold on eBay for over $2600! Another similar one at American Bottle Auctions (ABA) went for $2500+ with commission though the supply is still dwarfed by the demand and prices have been ticking up again. I recently acquired one that I know came from a particular Nevada mining camp, so I'm selling this example even though it is superior in condition and color. (This offering is actually an ex-ABA auction item from some years ago.)
Anyway, this offered example is 9.5" tall, has an applied, one-part "oil" type lip or finish, smooth shallowly domed base, and is in a very nice yellow color with an amber tone. Call it light yellow amber if you will; a tad lighter than the average example but not quite as light as the lighter example pictured in Wichmann's book. The images show the color accurately to my eye. This example is perfectly mint with no chips, cracks, pings, dings or flea-bites. It has been professionally cleaned I believe (like most of them) but without any diminishment of the glass surface or beauty; looks like it was never buried. It has some bubbles in the glass and a vague touch of whittle making it a beautiful example of a classic bottle that every Western bottle collector should have. $2250
CELRO-KOLA - CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. - CELRO-KOLA - Here is a VERY rare Oregon bitters type bottle. In fact, this is the only one I've ever seen or heard of though I've seen an assortment of the later Celro-Kola bottles which are machine-made without the sunken panels. This example is embossed on two indented sides with CELRO-KOLA in script and on the in-between side with CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. The fourth unembossed label panel is not indented.
This hand-blown (not machine-made) bottle dates from the very early 1900s as it has a tooled "brandy" style finish or lip and a smooth base (indented square). It is near mint with just a bit of scuffing or light scratching on the label panel. The color is a bright light to medium amber which is accurately shown in the images (click any to enlarge). An interesting aspect is the neck which tapers from larger to smaller going up to the lower ring at the base of the lip or finish. The only square "bitters" type bottles I've seen with this feature is one variation of the California Fig Bitters, which also date from the same early 1900s era. I've had this bottle for decades, though I don't remember where I acquired it. In any event, a great Oregon rarity! $295
DR HENRY.S / WORLD'S TONIC - & / BLOOD PURFIFYER. - This is a very nice example of what is reported to be a Western blown tonic bottle and possibly related to the California Dr. Henry's products (e.g., Dr. Henry's Sarsaparilla). It has the deep blue aqua color typical of the 1870s and 1880s products blown at the SF&PGW (or predecessors) and have been reported to be found in the West, though some seem to come from back east also. The shape, size and embossing pattern was probably chosen to emulate the way more popular "Dr. McClean's Strenghtening Cordial & Blood Purifier" though the mold engraver (or Dr. Henry?) had a problem correctly spelling purifier choosing to spell it "Purifyer" to the delight of modern bottle collectors. Unlike the McLean's product, this bottle has the noted embossing spread over both sides of the body...once again to the delight of collectors.
In any event, this example is 9.2" tall, "flask" shaped body (over 4" wide and 2" thick), blown in a post-base mold, lacking evidence of body air venting although boldly embossed, and a crudely applied double ring lip or finish with an appearance and manufacturing signature dating it to the 1870s. The glass is, as noted, a rich blue aqua with a nice assortment of bubbles in the glass and a bit of other crudeness to the body. Condition is near mint with no issues besides one surface open bubble at the heel that has no depth at all; it appears to have been professionally cleaned to my eye. Great example of a very rare tonic bottle that I've seen a couple examples sell for $500 or more in recent years. This example is well priced at $225
DR. HENLEY'S / WILD GRAPE ROOT / IXL (in an oval) / BITTERS - These large (at least a quart in capacity) Western bitters bottles are quite popular with collectors since they are...large...have great embossing and found in a myriad of colors, though any color besides shades of aqua are very expensive. A very popular product, these bottles are found all over the West from the mining camps of Utah, Nevada, and Montana to the big cities of the day - San Francisco, Portland, Sacramento. In my experience visiting scores of the mining camps and ghost towns of the West, it is the rare location where one does NOT find fragments of an IXL - it was that popular.
This example is just over 12" tall, a relatively rich "San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works" blue-aqua color (where it was made), the usual domed base, and an appropriately crude applied "champagne" style banded finish (click neck and lip image to see such). This example probably dates from the late 1870s to early 1880s since it fairly crude (stretch marks, bubbles), not air vented, and from a mold that lacks the distinctive curved "R" of the earlier mold(s). FYI...here is a copy of the original labeling that these bottles had: Henley's IXL Bitters label
This offering is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, dings or repairs - only some light scattered haze inside and some minor scratching, scuffing/wear mostly on the back of the bottle. It has lots of small seed bubble throughout as well as some decent whittle. A nice example with a nice deep aqua coloration. $250
H. KLAS OREGON - PEACH BITTERS - Offered here is one of the great rarities among Oregon bottles. It is only one of two known embossed, mouth-blown bitters bottles from the State of Oregon. (This is not counting the Henley's IXL Bitters which was really a California product with Henley first having roots in Portland, OR. Also the Oregon Grape Root Bitters was a San Francisco product and not made in Oregon.) Top of that small heap is the uber rare (one known!) square DR. G.W. BROWN - OREGON / CHITTUM BITTERS rated as the 8th most important (0f 25) 19th century Western bottles by a group of well known Western collectors and published in the 2016 FOHBC National Bottle Show held in Sacramento, CA. Chittum is a shrub to small tree found along the cooler and wetter portions of the West Coast from northern California up well into British Columbia and as far east as western Montana. It - Frangula purshiana - is also known as Cascara or Chittum by NW Native Americans who used it for its medicinal qualities. No city is embossed on the bottle but the only known specimen was found in Portland, Oregon and Dr. George W. Brown has been documented as living there from the early 1860s until 1874 when he died. The product was trade mark registered in 1871 and the formula patented in 1873. Sorry...I just love the history of 19th century Western bottles as you'll see below...
The only other embossed Oregon Bitters is this bottle which is embossed around the shoulder with H. KLAS'S OREGON / PEACH BITTERS. I first I heard about this bitters in Bill & Betty Wilson's 1969 book "Western Bitters" where it was listed with some history but no image of the bottle strangely enough. That made it quite mysterious to me as well as never having run across anyone who had an example. The Wilson's also listed it as being "clear" glass (it is aqua) and the name embossed Henry Klas, not H. Klas like this example; likely just the information they had acquired from someone who had not seen one either. They did include an ad for the product - taken from either a newspaper or business directory - that you can see at this link: Oregon Peach Bitters ad. The Wilson's also noted that it was first made and bottled in label only bottles for "...many years before the embossed bottle was made. Evidently only one order was made from the glass works, otherwise even if it was a poor seller, more specimens than are known should have been found." They did not note how many specimens they knew about so it seems to just be a hearsay type listing with a bit of history. The Wilson's did note that the bottle was "made circa 1893." The bottle IS listed and illustrated in Ring & Ham's 1998 updated "Bitters Bottles" book. They noted it as "extremely rare" and that the name was trademarked in November 1886. It is not mentioned at all in Jeff Wichmann's excellent 1999 book "Antique Western Bitters Bottles" which seems strange also.
Back in the mid to late 1970s I was doing some bottle related research in old Portland business directories at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland. I was helping the late John Thomas do research on liquor companies in Portland and Oregon in general since I lived in the area at the time. Information that was eventually incorporated into his 1998 book on Oregon whiskey and liquor containers. While going through the Portland business directories I found the same ad that was listed in the Wilson's book and linked above. It was in an 1889 directory which also listed Henry Klas at a living/business address of 24 F street (now NW Flanders). In 1890 and 1891 he was listed as Hilarius Klas at that same address with the same ad but under the category of "medicine manufacturers" and noted he was specifically a "bitters manufacturer." (So I suspect he was named by his parents as Hilarius, but went by Henry? I would.) There were no listings prior to 1889 nor any after after 1891. I think that well brackets the era of this maker of bitters as having been made sometime between late 1886 (trademark registration) and 1891 after which he disappears from the directories. Even though he lived in Portland his product ads note Aumsville as the location. Apparently that is where the peaches came from for his bitters which the ad notes was the only "reliable blood purifier." Not sure what it would do for the blood but would be great for the bowels in quantity...ha. So this bottle was certainly made between 1886 to 1891, though may have been label only during those early years making it more an 1890 or so bottle if the "one order from the glass works" (as the Wilson's noted) is correct...and it probably is.
As to the bottle itself, it is 11" tall, probably a "sixth" in size, has a tooled "brandy" lip or finish, and was blown in a cup base mold. The base has 4 evenly spaced (4 points of the compass spaced) air venting marks around the outside base edge but none on the body which fits well with the era this bottle was made which was the early years of mold air venting. Click base view to see such. The embossing is sharp and bold, the glass a nice blue aqua that indicates probable manufacture at the SF&PGW in San Francisco. Click the following two links to see close-ups of the shoulder embossing: H. KLAS'S OREGON side and PEACH BITTERS side. This bottle is essentially perfectly mint with no staining, chips, cracks, dings or other post production flaws. It has a few bubbles in the glass and a bit of crudity to the tooled lip. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such. It's doesn't have the visual impact and panache of a Dr. Wonser's USA Indian Root Bitters but is way rarer! If you want a complete collection of all the Oregon embossed bitters bottles - excluding the Chittum Bitters which is untouchable - then here it is. $450
OREGON / (elaborate baby's face and wreath trade mark) / OMNES WP PROSINT / COPYRIGHT SECURED / BLOOD / PURIFIER / WM. PFUNDER & CO / PORTLKAND, OR - These Oregon Blood Purifier (OBP) bottles are a favorite with Oregon and western bottle collectors since they are somewhat uniquely shaped, differently finished (for a medicine bottle) and richly embossed as well as being part of a large array of interesting medicine bottles that often had his (William Pfunder's) trademark babies face on them making them "picture" medicine bottles. Omnes Prosint is Latin roughly translating to "everyone or all people" (Omnes) and "of use or doing good" (Prosint) - I guess the medicine was good for everyone was the point.
According to Bill & Betty Wilson's book "19th Century Medicine in Glass" William Pfunder came West in 1869 from New York ending up in Portland where he tried various trades and eventually ended up working for C. H. Woodard a local and successful druggist there. The C. H. Woodard & Co. drugstore operated under that name from 1871 to 1880 (according to Portland business directories) when it became Woodard, Clark & Co. (The company continued to thrive well into the 20th century under that name or Woodard, Clarke & Co.; see the Cooper's Sarsaparilla listed above). The Wilson's note that Pfunder worked at Woodard's "about a year and a half" leaving to open his own drugstore in about 1873. There he fiddled with various "botanicals" thought to have medicinal qualities coming up with a formula for the Oregon Blood Purifier by 1879.
I've owned an assortment of the OBP's over the years allowing me to make some observations about the progression of the slightly different OBP bottles. The first container used by Pfunder (which I've never owned) was almost certainly a large, amber "Philadelphia Oval" style prescription druggist bottle which was vertically embossed in a plate - like druggist bottles of that time period - with OREGON BLOOD PURIFIER / Wm. PFUNDER & CO / PORTLAND, OREGON. It had the typical "prescription" style finish such bottles had also. I have only ever heard of one example of that style which likely dates right about 1878 to early 1879. (That example was offered on eBay in 2022 and sold for $500-600 even though quite stained.) The trade-marked baby face dominated design was copyrighted/registered (not sure what the difference is?) March 25th, 1879 - a date that is actually embossed on the later two variants of the OBP's (discussed below).
In my observations there were only four different engraved plates on the amber glass baby face OBP's of this style of bottle from its origin in 1879 until the early 1900s...maybe 1910 to 1912? (Note: In my experience all of the OBP's are plate molded bottles.) I'm not sure when the product ceased to be sold but would guess sometime in the years just following passage of the 1906 Pure Food & Drugs Act. The earliest OBP's marked bottles - plate #1 - are embossed like this offered example with COPYRIGHT SECURED below the elaborate trademark. In fact, upon close inspection this example uses the same engraved plate as the earliest baby face examples. This can be determined only with a close inspection of the embossing. The short cut to ID is that the "B" in BLOOD just touches the base of the very small "P" in COPYRIGHT. Click close-up of the embossing to see such.
There were four subtle variations of the bottle using the same plate #1 in each of the 4 molds. These are estimated to all date from 1879 to about 1890. The first baby face OBP mold (variant #1) was almost certainly the relatively rare examples that have a tooled one part "prescription" style finish/lip which took a cork, a rounded back instead of a flattened back like this offering (which is variant #3 or 4) and W. T. Co. embossed on one line across the base indicating manufacture (like probably all the OBP's) by Whitall, Tatum & Co. (NJ). Variant #1 probably dates from 1879 into theearly 1880s but were also made with the "club sauce" type finish which was used for all the remaining variants yet to be described. Since it is otherwise identical to #1 except for the finish style, I call this club sauce type finish example #1a. (Note: The "club sauce" finish has a ridge inside the bore which took a Lea & Perrins type stopper with a shank that was covered by a shell cork which allowed the product to seal against the ledge or ridge in the bore of the bottle. If unfamiliar with this type closure, see my Historic Bottle Website section on the subject at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/closures.htm#Glass%20&%20Cork%20closure For an image of one of the original stoppers in the neck of a different OBP bottle, click on the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/Finishes/obpfinish.jpg This is a quite unusual finish style/closure for a medicine bottle but ones see such now and then.
Variant #2 is just the like #1 except it has no embossing on the base though this mold also has the rounded back, always the club sauce finish and utilizing plate #1. This is the likely last of the rounded back examples. Variant #3 - again utilizing plate #1 - has a flattened back and is embossed on the base with W. T. & CO. / A - straight first line with the A centered below that line. Variant #4 (still plate #1!) is the example offered here which also has the flattened back but is embossed on the base on two straight lines with W. T. & CO / 1 U.S.A. Click base view to see an image of the offered bottle base showing the embossing. I can't say for sure which came first but it is likely that variants #2, #3 and #4 of these first OPB with the baby face bottles were made during the span of the 1880s (possibly very early 1890s) as none of the four have mold air venting marking.
Plate #2 is almost identical in details to plate #1 but can be easily differentiated from plate #1 by there being a distinct gap between the "B" in blood and the word COPYRIGHT above. Interestingly enough this OBP variant (variant #5) was also blown in the same mold as variant #4 as the base embossing is identical - W. T. & CO / 1 U.S.A. and there are no mold air venting marks visible. So the mold used for variant #4 is the same as for #5. I've yet to find another mold version using this plate; all I've seen are identical. I suspect this bottle dates from the very late 1880s to very early 1890s.
(Plates #3 and #4 both have different embossing from the first two plates but are similar to each other in that they are embossed as follows from top to bottom: Wm PFUNDER'S / OREGON / No 7138 / (baby face inside wreath, etc. trade mark) / REGISTERED / MARCH 25th 1879 / BLOOD /PURIFIER / Wm PFUNDER & CO / PORTLAND, ORE Plates #3 and #4 both come in almost identical bottles to the example offered here but all seem to have the mold number 320 on the base. Describing these two plate variations further is not necessary since neither are being offered and to spare readers more verbiage. Yes, a long story but I wanted to fix in my mind the likely progression of different molds used for this regionally popular nostrum.)
The offered bottle - Plate #1, Variant #4 - is 7.5" tall, is a rounded edge rectangle in cross section (3" wide x 1.75" deep), and probably holds 10-12 oz. It has the previously described tooled "club sauce" finish (no stopper), embossed on the base with W. T. & CO / 1 U.S.A. (click base view to see such) and a nice medium amber color. Embossing is bold (see images of such) and the glass shiny and blemish free. It may have been professionally cleaned though I don't believe so. Condition is essentially perfect with no cracks, chips, scratches, pot stones, etc. Nice example of a scarce, heavily embossed "picture" medicine bottle from the Northwest. $150
DR COOPER'S / SARSAPARILLA / WOODARD, CLARKE & CO / PORTLAND, ORE. - One of the more exciting finds when I was a teenager (late 1960s) digging in the urban renewal areas of Portland, OR. was finding one of these rare Portland bottles - the only embossed sarsaparilla bottle from Oregon (or NW) I believe. Unfortunately, that original find got away though I've had this one - which I purchased later - for many years. They just don't come along often but it is time to move this one on also...just not enough room for everything.
This big medicine bottle is of a bluish aqua glass, 10" tall, indented body panels on all four sides (just the front embossed), smooth base with indented circular center (post base mold conformation), and dating from around 1895 to 1905 I would guess. Woodard, Clarke & Co. was a major NW druggist and medical supply firm which must have been somehow connected to the Clarke-Woodward Drug Co. which was also in Portland; the "w" in Woodward being a misspelling of Woodard? I don't know the history of this company though I do know there were C. H. WOODARD embossed drug bottles that dated back at least into the 1870s. The condition of this bottle is very good - near mint I would call it - with no chips, cracks, dings or significant staining. There are some wisps of very, very faint haze here and there though largely the back panel on the outside and the shoulders on the inside; probably a scuff or two somewhere though I can't find any of note. Hard to find Oregon medicine bottle of good size. $225
PIPIFAX - This is embossed large and bold on one side of this hard to find Western "bitters" bottle; the other 3 panels are unembossed. These are somewhat of a mystery bottle but are reportedly only found in the West. There were a series of distributors in San Francisco according to the two Western bitters bottles books by Bill & Betty Wilson (Wilson & Wilson 1969) and Jeff Wichmann (1999). According to their research, the product was actually made in Germany and franchised to dealers in the US, being shipped in barrels with the labels supplied by the manufacturer for placing on the bottles.
It was first distributed in SF by Walter & Schaeffer in 187o with the franchise sold to the James M. Gowey Wholesale Liquor Company in 1873. In 1876, John Sroufe and Hugh McCrum bought out Gowey and (to quote the Wilson's), "...the first embossed bottles were ordered for the Pipifax brand. By 1885 the mold wore out and they selected a smaller bottle (like Hostetter's) and it was paper labeled thereafter." The product was advertized as "The Famous Rosicrucian Elixir" according to the label used by Goewey. (Note: The label image in the Wilson's book shows the name spelled as Goewey, not the Gowey noted in the text of both books). It was a "Magenbitter" according to the several labels pictured in the two books which was apparently German for bitters?
In any event, these bottles are fairly rare according to Wichmann and I've seen one now and then through the years indicating some level of scarceness. This example is about 9.4" tall, about 2.7" wide on each side, and has a somewhat crudely applied "brandy" finish or lip. The color is pretty well shown in the images - a light to medium yellowish amber. As the full bottle image shows, it has quite a bit of wavy body crudeness (mold was not air vented) along with dimples in the glass, twist marks on the neck and some scattered bubbles. The condition is good with no chips, cracks or dings of any kind. It does have a nice glossy outside surface (as images show) with just a few minor scuffs and very small spots of staining. The inside has an overall though fairly uniform moderate content haze which could easily be cleaned but isn't too distracting. Nice example at a decent price. $150
JOYNER / UNITED DRUG CO. (in a shield) / TRADE MARK / SPOKANE / U.S.A. - This is a scarce druggist bottle from Spokane, WA. that is quite rare with the original label and string around the neck that probably had some tag attached at some point. Click close-up of the embossing to see such. This 7 3/8" tall (12 oz.) bottle from the early 20th century has a tooled, unusual two-part lip or finish - what is called the "reinforced extract" or "collared ring" depending on what reference is used. It also has a large majority of the original label (see image) which notes that it contained "Ideal Blood Mixture and Tonic" with an alcohol level of 20%; it also notes all the maladies it would treat - from acne to "malarial poison." The bottle is also embossed just above the label with "12 OZ.", has a smooth base, clear or colorless glass and is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, staining or other issues...reflecting it having never been buried. It does have a bit of dirt inside which would certainly wash out easily, though I did not since I didn't want to possibly disturb the label integrity. This bottle was acquired for use in helping illustrate some concepts on the Historic Bottle Website. Nice item with bold embossing and a pretty nice original label. $25
W. M. JOHNSON'S / PURE HERB TONIC / SURE CURE / FOR ALL MALARIAL DISEASES - That is all embossed on one side of the this square "bitters" type bottle. Click different view of the embossing to see such with the bottle laying on its side. Wonder what "ALL" malarial diseases means as I thought malaria was a stand alone disease? Regardless, this is a nice bold and voluminously embossed Western tonic and cure bottle all wrapped up together.
As far as history, the maker was located in Marysville, CA. being owned by W. D. Kenyon and W. M. Johnson. According to my copy of "The Hedden's Store Handbook of Proprietary Medicines" (a great little book from 1974 about the bottles in the original contents of a drugstore in Scottsburg, Oregon) the Johnson's Tonic trademark was registered in California in 1901 (never trademarked at the national level) though the product was first produced in 1900. Heddon's store had one with the original label and contents and the "cure" claims were much broader than just "malarial diseases" including "...sick headache, billiousness, indigestion, neuralgia, heat affections and general debility...". This product must not have been made for very long since it would have been making largely illegal claims come mid-1906 and the implementation of the Pure Food & Drugs Act. And indeed, the bottles are seen now and then but are not plentiful.
The bottle is about 24 ozs. in capacity, stands 8.75" tall, has a tooled "oil" finish or lip, and is embossed on the base with 147 / G. That is a typical type of base marking used by an unknown California glass company since many Western bottles of that very early 1900s have similar markings though with different numbers and letters. It has relatively heavy glass which is a moderately dark chocolate amber with maybe a bit of red. Click on the close-up view to see a larger version and judge the color for yourself; the image shows it accurately to my eye. The bottle is essentially perfect with no chips, cracks, or staining of note. There are a few very minor surface scuffs but basically it is about as perfect as the day it was made. $200
THE OWL DRUG CO. / (owl on a mortar with pestle trade mark) / SAN FRANCISCO - A decent example of a very popular bottle with collectors due to the variety of colors and different molds allowing for some affordable but dramatic color "runs" and excellent window displaying. The mouth-blown (aka "hand-blown") examples like this were probably made into the mid-1910s with crown-top, machine-made ones made after that through at least the 1920s.
This example is the standard (give or take a bit) 9.5" in height, has the somewhat narrow tooled "blob" or "rounded ring" type lip or finish, smooth and slightly domed base, and dates from the late 1890s to around 1915 or so. It is a medium, though rich and brilliant emerald green color; the images show the color accurately to my eye. It is basically in perfect physical condition with no chips, dings, cracks, and little in the way of scratching or scuffing. It does have some light haze on parts of the outside (most is on the front and shows in the close-up image) and some similar density content staining on the inside. Displays quite nicely as the full bottle image shows and would be a good candidate for a cleaning if so inclined. The embossing is average for these with the owl's body feathers faint though the rest of the trade mark is pretty bold as is the lettering. Nice example priced to reflect the minor "issues." $95
JOYS - SARSAPARILLA - THE / EDWIN W. JOY CO. / SAN FRANCISCO - I sold one of these some time back, but found another in box I didn't know I had. The embossing is scattered on three sides of this rectangular medicine bottle from California; the remaining (back) side is a typical plain, indented label panel. Actually, all of the sides are indented and the embossing is bold and distinct - sometimes these are not that boldly embossed in my experience. (For a better view of what both side panels embossing looks like, see the previously sold example images in the "sold" section below.) This is also a very nice example in a "Western" bluish aqua, tooled single collar ("patent" finish), smooth slightly indented base, almost 9" tall, ca. 1880s to 1890s. A scarce sarsaparilla from the West which didn't produce very many embossed sarsaparilla bottles it seems (and most of those are quite rare). Condition is near mint with no chips, cracks, overt staining or other post-production damage besides a tiny "flea bite" on the middle of the outside edge of the back, unembossed panel and a little bit of very faint haze inside primarily in the lower back and one side panel; the outside is virtually spotless. This example also has some body crudeness and bubbles in the glass adding to its visual appeal. It is what I would call "about mint" and is also a very nice example - at least as good as the sold one. $50
NOTE: I also have another example that is identical - a nice blue aqua (just a tiny bit less blue than the example to the right) - but is full of hundreds of seed bottles and has nice rude, wavy glass, stretch marks in the glass, and is a very nice example. It is also in essentially mint condition but does have a couple small almost invisible "flashes" at the edge of the base; pictures on request if desired. A beautiful example and priced accordingly given the small flashes. $30
HOSTETTER'S / ESSENCE / JAMAICA GINGER / PITTSBURG - Wondering why this bottle is listed on the Western bottles page? Read on as it is almost certainly a Western made and used bottle and interesting for a variety of reasons. First off the city Pittsburgh is spelled wrong...sort of. It currently is spelled Pittsburgh but bounced around quite a bit for over a century. The official spelling at the time of manufacturing this bottle (1870s) was with the "H" at the end so it is misspelled for that time period as well as the present. See the following linked website for more information: https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/things-to-do/arts-culture/history/the-pittsburgh-h/
This bottle also has three of the distinctive curved "R's" in the spelling which are firmly attributed to an unnamed mold maker/engraver working in the Bay Area from the late 1860s into the early 1880s. This person created scores if not several hundred molds for embossed bottles that have this type "R". Most of these bottles were clearly embossed as being from the West (typically California with some from Oregon and Nevada) or used by companies historically known to be operating in the West. This bottle was blown in the type blue aqua glass commonly seen with bottles blown at the San Francisco Glass Works or Pacific Glass Works or the combined company (San Francisco & Pacific GW) after merging in 1876, although this one isn't as "fiery" as some can be.
As a comparative example of another bottle firmly established as a Western blown and used bottle, having the same type embossed curved "R's", but embossed with a very non-Western City consider the patent medicine embossed on three sides with WHITE'S - PRAIRIE / FLOWER - TOLEDO, O. Click HERE to see an image of this Jake with the Prairie Flower bottle - a bottle which to my knowledge is only found in California (like my example). I did some research on the Prairie Flower product via the now accessible California newspaper archives and found that it was advertised in several northern and central California newspapers from August 1878 to January 1880. It was produced and sold by a Channing White whom called himself a "Dr. White" in the earlier ads but not the later ones. (Note: Some have presumed that the Toledo, O. was for Toledo, Oregon which is near Newport. However, in the 1870s Toledo, Oregon didn't really exist as anything more than a homestead/ranch. Mr. White's advertisements typically noted that he was from Toledo, O. which was certainly Ohio.) The Prairie Flower bottle may be offered for sale in the future.
Anyway...this bottle was acquired many years ago from a guy who noted it was found in Utah - a very decidedly "Western" state which was well within reach of California via the new Transcontinental Railroad. David Hostetter - of Hostetter's Bitters fame - joined the "rush" to the gold fields in California in 1850. Like most gold seekers he became disenchanted with prospecting and opened a grocery store in San Francisco. After it burned to the ground in (I believe) the famous 1851 conflagration he returned east but maintained ties with the West Coast . He eventually returned to the West Coast in 1869 partnering with John Redington who had the largest wholesale drug distributing company in the West. Redington bought him out in 1876. Hostetter returned east never to return West (I believe) although his wildly popular bitters continued to be sold throughout the country. (This history summarized from Bill & Betty Wilson's great 1969 book on Western Bitters.) I mention the history as these Jamaica Gingers ( called "Jakes") almost certainly date from the 1869 to 1876 era of Hostetter in the West.
This particular bottle is 6.25" tall, has an early and somewhat sloppy tooled "oil" finish or lip, and dates as noted ab0ve. Tooled (versus applied) finishes did appear on smaller bottles by the early 1870s in my experience and observations. This bottle also doesn't have any air venting marks on the body which places it most likely prior to the early 1880s. Click base and side image to view such. Of interest, this bottle also shows the twisting or tailing to the right of the upper end of the vertical side mold seams indicating possibly that the workman finishing the lip was likely left handed. (This is a theory I've been investigating; retired and have too much free time I guess.) Click neck and mold seam to view an image of the tailing mold seam. Condition of the bottle is very good with no chips, cracks or post-production damage; just some spotty inside staining to the right side though the outside surface is pretty much free of stain. Cool Western made and distributed Jamaica Ginger which isn't seen very often - much less often than the somewhat newer Eastern version. $45
MEXICAN - TONIC - This is embossed boldly on the two narrow side panels of this big (about a fifth to quart capacity), 10.75" tall tonic bottle that is seldom encountered in my experience. I traded for this one at a Western bottle show years ago, but I don't know where the product originated though the West is a likely choice (more speculation below). The bottle most certainly dates sometime between the late 1880s to maybe 1910 or so given it's manufacturing features. Specifically, those are a tooled finish (aka "lip"), several mold air venting marks on the two wide side shoulders and a cup-base mold conformation. Click close-up of the tooled finish and base view to see images of such. The body is 4.5" wide by 2.5" deep. It is really almost 8 sided as the corner panels are about 3/4" wide.
As to the history of the product, that is an interesting question. As noted, I acquired this example at a bottle show in California. At that time I knew nothing certain about its origin. I was aware of the late Bob Barnett having listed a different Mexican Tonic in his "Western Liquor Bottles" book though it was a colorless/clear glass, typical fifth cylinder "whiskey" shape with a tooled finish. That really cool bottle was embossed in an oval with MEXICAN / TONIC below which it was also embossed with a friendly looking eagle holding an olive (?) branch. Below that was JOSE GARCIA / MEX. That got me searching for any more information about Mexican Tonic bottles which led me to this wonderful website which is well known to Western bottle collectors - http://www.westernwhiskeytooltopgazette.com/2020/02/mexican-tonic.html There pictured is the only known example (I think) of the Jose Garcia bottle and a wonderful bottle it is.
Since those bottles are as rare as hen's teeth, I got wondering if this was an alternative (later?) bottle that the same product was bottled in? The history found at the above website is quite interesting, but makes one wonder who Jose Garcia was? They authors of that article speculate it was a fictitious name as the real proprietors were Los Angeles residents - Peache & Starin - who were producers of some Mexican Tonic during the same era this amber but much different Mexican Tonic was produced? Lots of questions with no definitive answer making it at least somewhat likely that this bottle was also used for the product - possibly because dark amber glass protects the contents way more than colorless/clear glass would? Maybe that was why the colorless cylinder was quickly abandoned and replaced with this amber bottle? This Mexican Tonic bottle also holds about the same as the clear one. The linked article also notes that the product was sold by the Goldschmidt Brothers (LA also) in the later 1890s. The glass is a dark-ish amber with a touch of red; almost identical to the color of the Johnson's Pure Herb Tonic bottle listed earlier...a bottle that was almost certainly made at one of the California glass works of the early 1900s. Could the product have been bottled and sold in this bottle at some point? You be the judge...
In any event, the condition of this interesting bottle is just about mint, with no staining to the glass inside or out nor cracks, chips, cracks, dings, or potstone radiations...there really isn't even any scratching. What "issues" there are all stem from the manufacturing. Specifically, there is one small (5 mm x 2 mm) teardrop open bubble on one side which has no depth (this shows barely on the side view linked above. There is also a very small in-making rough spot at the edge of the lip which I'm certain was just a speck of partially melted sand that happened to be there. Click on the finish close-up link above to see this spot. In short it is a great big, great condition rare tonic bottle that likely was a Western product. $125
Oregon Druggist Bottles &
Offered below is an assortment of hand blown (aka "mouth-blown) Oregon druggist/apothecary bottles largely from small Oregon towns and cities. In recent years, collecting an example from every town in Oregon (or any state) that had such has become more popular since it can be a relatively inexpensive endeavor compared to collecting other genre's of bottles (like Hutchinson sodas) from every town/city that produced such.
LEVINGER DRUG CO. / WE NEVER SUBSTITUTE (in a banner) / BAKER, ORE. - This is a nice, medium size (6 oz. or so) druggist from the small town of Baker, Oregon. The base is also embossed faintly with C. L. G. CO. and the number "4" (I think) which indicates manufacture by the Carr-Lowrey Glass Company - a long lived bottle making company in Baltimore, MD. that specialized in prescription bottles. (For the complete story on this company see my educational Historic Bottle Website for the article; it is at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/CarrLowreyGlassCo.pdf )
I don't know anything about the history of this druggist (or any of the Baker druggists listed) but the bottle dates from the 1900 to 1915 era based on the design which was called the "Paris Square Prescription" by some other glass companies. I guess the company felt the need to have a different "We Never..." type motto to compete with the nearby Muegge Druggist, in this case they didn't substitute...apparently substituting something not good for something more good?
This bottle is 6.3" tall, has a typical tooled prescription style finish or lip, and of a colorless glass as shown in the image. It is also in about perfect condition with no chips, cracks, or visible scratching; it just has the very lightest of internal haze which is hard to see. Another nice eastern Oregon druggist for your Oregon State drugstore collection! $25
(star) STAR DRUG CO. INC. (star) / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. / "THEY HAVE IT" - Since I live near Klamath Falls it follows that I would collect local bottles to some degree. Unfortunately, K. Falls wasn't much of a town until the early 1900s when the Klamath Reclamation Project was initiated by the then new Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) turning a lot of marshlands into farmland. One can argue (and people still are!) whether that was a good thing or not but it meant that the population of K. Falls didn't really amount to much until that time and after.
[The only bottles that predate "The Project" are at least three different sizes of a "Philadelphia Oval" style prescription bottle which was used by an early druggist named Henry Kessler during the late 1880s. They were embossed with HENRY KESSLER / DRUGGIST / LINKVILLE, OREGON - Linkville being the original name for K. Falls prior to it being changed to Klamath Falls in 1893. Those druggist bottles likely date prior to September 1889 when much of the town was burned down included Henry Kessler's store - an estimated $6000 loss for him (Klamath Echoes 1967).]
Anyway...primary among the limited possibilities for local collecting with any variety are milk bottles beginning in the 1920s or the various embossing patterns and sizes of local druggist bottles from at least 3 different drug stores/druggists from the early 1900s. This offering is a four ounce size (embossed IV on shoulder) with ounce gradation markings on the right beveled side next to the embossing. There were at least 7 other sizes with this embossing pattern ranging from 1 oz. to 16 oz. The base is embossed with W.B.M.CO. which was the "makers marking" for the Western Bottle Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, IL. who used that marking from origination of the company in 1900 up until about 1931. However, the company was not known to have any glassmaking equipment; instead they were almost certainly a "jobber" for the Foster glass companies. See the article on Western on my educational website at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/WesternBottle.pdf
The entire history of the Star Drug Co. I do not know but certainly from an embossed, mouth-blown bottle perspective it was all from the first quarter of the 20th century. The following is my chronology of the three major variations:
1. The earliest examples appear to be embossed with: STAR DRUG STORE / F. M. WHITE PROP. / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. along with one large star at the upper part of the embossing which is as wide as all the three lines of embossing except for the bottles under 2 oz. which have no room for a star. Dr. Floyd M. White was a new medical school graduate who arrived in Klamath Falls sometime prior to 1909. The first mention I can find in Klamath Echoes (Klamath historical society journal from the 1960s) is that in April of 1909 he moved into an office (store also?) with another doctor "across" (kitty corner most likely) from the Courthouse (SE corner of 4th and Main according to early Sanborn maps). It was in or next to the new brick First National Bank building at 401-407 Main. Earlier ( 1898 and 1907) Sanborn maps show a "drugstore" in a couple locations in that quarter block so he could well have been operating for some time during that period. That is all of the sparse history I have been able to find out about the origin of the drugstore. His name disappears from the later (below) bottles though he could well have still been the owner or operator. In any event, the bottles with Dr. Whites name likely date from the early 1900s to early 1910s, have ounce gradation marks along the narrow right beveled edge, and are base embossed with W.B.M.Co.
2.The mid-chronology type (this offering and the next two below) are embossed with: (small star) STAR DRUG CO. INC. (small star) / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. / "THEY HAVE IT". These date from the 1910s, have ounce gradation marks only along the narrow right beveled edge, and are also base embossed with W.B.M.Co.
3. The final embossing pattern is as follows: STAR DRUG CO., INC. / (small star) THE REXALL STORE / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. These have graduation markings down both beveled edges adjacent to the embossing with ounces on the left and metric (CC's) on the right. According to Wikipedia page on Rexall "The stores, having roots in the federation of United Drug Stores starting in 1903, licensed the Rexall brand name to as many as 12,000 drug stores across the United States from 1920..." and "After World War 1, the cooperative established a franchise arrangement whereby independently owned retail outlets adopted the Rexall trade name and sold Rexall products." Additional dating evidence is found on the base of the bottles which have an indented "crescent moon and a star" which indicates it was the "Venus Oval" style of druggist bottle which were sold by the Langley & Michaels Co. (San Francisco) although the actual bottle maker was almost certainly the Crescent Bottle Co. (McDonald, PA.). All this adds up to these bottles dating from just after WW1 to maybe the mid 1920s. (Two examples of this pattern are offered further down the page.) The style and base marking is covered briefly on my other educational website's article on "Symbols" makers markings which is available at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/Symbolsarticle.pdf (page 8)
Interesting history, eh? (At least it was fun for me.) As noted this offering is the four ounce version of the bottle which is 5.5" tall and has a tooled "prescription" finish (aka lip). It has a nice light purple tint to it as indicated by the images; the pink being a function of the manganese dioxide used to "decolorize" the glass. It is in almost mint condition with virtually no staining; the only issue being a very small impact mark on the rear heel. An excellent example which is a duplicate for me after recently picking up a small collection of K. Falls druggist and milk bottles. SOLD!
(star) STAR DRUG CO. INC. (star) / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. / "THEY HAVE IT" - The bottle to the left is the smaller, 3 oz. version (embossed iii on shoulder) with embossing as described above variation #2. As noted above, I believe this embossing pattern to be the middle, 1910s variation. It also has W.B.M.CO. embossed on the base like the above example.
This 3 oz. size is 4 7/8" tall, has a tooled "prescription" finish, and is of colorless glass that has a slight tint like the example above. Condition is very good with a nice shiny, unstained exterior surface but just a bit of very light whitish water or content haze inside; no chips, cracks, or other post production issues. SOLD!
(star) STAR DRUG CO. INC. (star) / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. / "THEY HAVE IT" - The bottle to the right is identical to the one just above with the same embossing pattern as well as the the iii embossed on the shoulder. It should be since it is the same size bottle having been blown in the same mold! I ended up with three of these inadvertently with one residing in my collection. Both extras need to go to another home.
This example has the same specifications as the other one and is also free of any chips or cracks. The only difference is this example has a bit more whitish haze or water staining on the inside as well some on the outside and back. Save a few bucks if that isn't an issue as it is still a nice example. $15
STAR DRUG CO., INC. / (star) THE REXALL STORE / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. - This is a nice example of the third embossing design pattern elaborated on above which is the only pattern that has the graduation markings on both sides of the front embossing plate - ounces to the left and CC's to the right. The image of the base also shows the unusual indented star above an indented crescent. Click on the images to the left to see larger versions with more detail.
This bottle is just under 6" tall, is of clear/colorless glass with a bit of a pink tint, and a tooled "collared ring" lip or finish. The style is the "Venus Oval" which has neat fluted shoulders. The bottle is essentially in mint condition with only the faintest of haze on the inside in the shoulder and side; the outside of the bottle is sparkling with no chips, cracks, dings, or any issues. Nice K. Falls druggist bottle! SOLD!
STAR DRUG CO., INC. / (star) THE REXALL STORE / KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. - This is a nice example of the same type bottle but the 2 oz. size. This bottle has the same details as above except a touch over 4.5" tall. Condition is equal to the above with just a few faint wisps of haze on a bit of the inside but with a sparkling clean exterior. Click on the images to the right to view larger versions. SOLD!
CURRIN'S / FOR DRUGS - This boldly embossed little bottle (below left) is a new (to me) druggist bottle from Klamath Falls. It isn't embossed with Klamath Falls (aka is a "maverick") but it was certainly used by the Currins in K. Falls where these bottles were found. The store was opened in May 1922 by two brothers - Clarence and Charlton Currin - at 9th & Main. Charlton Currin had been a clerk for Dr. Floyd White and the Star Drugstore sometime in the early parts of the 20th century (see discussion above). Maybe he worked there until he opened his own store? The ad shown below right was from the Klamath Falls Herald in their first year in business.
Brother Clarence and his wife Zula had previously opened a drugstore in St. Johns, Oregon in 1909 (part of Portland since 1915). Apparently Clarence assisted his brother Charlton in opening the store in K. Falls since Charlton was likely a "local" there. See this link for information on the St. Johns store: https://stjohnsunknown.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/currins-for-drugs/ (These bottles likely had no town embossed so they could be used at either store without confusing people?)
In any event, "Currin's for Drugs" was in continuous business in Klamath Falls at the 9th & Main location from 1922 until 1970 when it moved down the street a few doors. However, the Currin brothers had long passed on with Charlton dying in 1927 and Clarence in 1932. Various owners - including Clarence's widow Zula - operated the store under that name until the mid-1970s when it finally folded. Click on the following link for an image of the building in 1960 and more history: https://www.klamathfallsnews.org/news/klamath-heritage-ninth-and-main-c-1960
This bottle is 3" tall, colorless (clear) glass with a slight amethyst tint ("decolorized" with manganese dioxide) and hand blown with a tooled "collared ring" lip or finish. It is shoulder is embossed with 3iv (druggist symbol for for 1/2 oz. I guess?). The base is embossed with W.T. Co. (arched upwards) / D / U.S.A. (arched downwards) within the indented base. This indicates it was blown by Whitall, Tatum & Co. (NJ) and is one of the later mouth-blown bottles one can find. It was called the "The Acme Prescription" in their 1924 catalog and noted the "Moulds Take Lettered Plates" for proprietary embossing like this bottle. The sizes in the catalog ranged from 1/2 oz. to 32 oz. with this offered bottle the smallest. (I also have a 2 oz. example but only one in my collection, no duplicate like this one.) Click HERE to see that 1924 W. T. Co. catalog page showing this bottle offering. This example is free from any chips, cracks or other post-production damage; just has a bit of light haze on the inside from being buried. SOLD!
CONRAD STAFRIN / CHEMIST & DRUGGIST / DALLAS, OREGON with a mortar & pestle in the middle of the embossing - (Image to the right.) Here is a neat "picture" druggist bottle from a still small(ish) Oregon town about 15 miles west of Salem. A quick search of the internet found that Conrad Stafrin was a Swedish immigrant (at 8 years old with his parents) born in 1876 and died in 1932 at age 56. He was actually a college graduate in Kansas and the same from a school of pharmacy in Ohio. He began working in a Dallas drugstore in 1900 buying the business a couple years later. He operated it until his death and is buried in Dallas. (For more information on this interesting guy - who apparently also participated in the Mexican border disturbance in 1916 [think Pancho Villa] - see his obituary at this link: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/30543502/conrad-stafrin ).
This bottle is 5.25" tall, held 3 oz. as indicated by the graduation marks along the left side (CC's on the right) and embossed iii on shoulder, has a tooled three-part "reinforced prescription" finish or lip (typical of many early 1900s druggist bottles), and is of the typical druggist bottle colorless glass (turning slightly pink). It is also embossed BLUE RIBBON within the indented base which was a proprietary name for this type fluted shoulder druggist bottle made by the Standard Glass Company (Indiana) who used that marking from 1908 into the early 1920s on mouth-blown bottles. (Article on that glass company available on my educational website at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/StandardGlass.pdf ) I suspect this bottle dates from the 1908 to WW1 era.
Condition of the bottle is perfect; I don't believe it was ever buried given the most of the original cork and slight residual contents on the inside. No chips, cracks, scuffing, or other issues...with a few bubbles in the glass. Don't know the rarity of this bottle, but suspect there aren't too many around. $30
MOORE'S DRUG STORE / WOODBURN, ORE. - (Image to the left.) Here is yet another small city (non-Portland) Oregon druggist bottle that isn't commonly seen. I've seen just a couple of different Moore's Drug Store bottles through the years but not seen any other embossed druggist bottles from a different druggist in Woodburn. The only other variant of the Moore's druggist bottles I've seen was embossed with WOODBURN PHARMACY / H. L. MOORE / WOODBURN, OREGON. It was a smaller (3.75") similar shaped "oval" pharmacy bottle without graduation marks but with SHELDON embossed on the base. This indicates manufacture by Sheldon-Foster Glass Co. (Chicago) and dating from about 1900 to 1907 (Lockhart et al., 2019). (That would likely be a bottle that pre-dates this offering by a few years.)
I found a few mentions of the drugstore in a quick internet search. One was in the June 30th, 1918 Oregonian (Portland newspaper) that noted that Moore's Drug Store carried various Palmolive products. Another mention (National Association of Retail Druggist's publication) of the store was that it was renamed Moore & Beer's Drug Store in 1921 with the "old" name being Moore & Dunn's Drug Store (an I. C. Beer having bought out Mr. Dunn). And finally a 1922 "Oregon Voter" magazine notes that his full name was Hurlie L. Moore. The article also noted that he was born in Iowa in 1878, came to Oregon in 1890 and "entered the drug business" in Woodburn in 1893 (age 15?). Found nothing noting when he actually opened his own drugstore but not likely until around 1900 I would think when he would have been in his early 20s. Amazing what one can find easily on the internet!
The bottle itself is certainly of a style and "look" of druggist bottles from the early 1900s to late 1910s era with the graduation marks on both sides of the noted bold embossing - ounces to the left and CC's to the right. That is also supported by the drugstore name being just Moore's Drug Store from the around 1905-1907 until at least the 1918 reference noted above. The shoulder has the embossed pharmaceutical symbol ii indicating the capacity was 2 oz. It stands 4.5" tall, has a tooled "prescription" finish and an indented base with no embossing identifying the maker of the bottle though it was likely Dean-Foster Glass (another ownership manifestation of the Sheldon-Foster-Dean group of companies). It is physically about perfect with just some light scattered content haze on the inside; the outside seems to not be stained. (It was possibly never buried since the outside is non-stained and the inside sporadic haze stops at the point the cork would have gone down?). I nice and scarce Oregon druggist bottle. $35
SKIDMORE DRUG CO. / PRESCRIPTION / DRUGGISTS / PORTLAND, ORE. - (Images to the right.) That is all embossed in an artsy circles and lines pattern on this nice druggist bottle from Portland. Stephen G. Skidmore & Co. was one of the earlier druggists in Portland beginning (first business directory listing anyway) in 1867 in Portland under just his name as a druggist. He became S. G. Skidmore & Co. in 1878 the business continuing under that name - and several owners - until 1905 when the S. G. was dropped and it became just Skidmore Drug Co. which lasted until at least 1915. Skidmore died in 1883 at the age of 45. The still existing "Skidmore Fountain" near Front Street in Portland was done in honor of him in 1888.
This example has an original label for "Oil of Eucalyptus" and noting that the Skidmore Drug Co. (still noted as S. G. Skidmore & Co. on the label) was owned by "Ralph Crysler / Propr." Somewhere in between Skidmore operating it and Crysler as owner was another owner - Charles E. Sitton - as I've seen bottles embossed with that name. I don't know if there were other owners involved. The label also notes that it was located at 151 Third Street which I've seen embossed on earlier Skidmore bottles. For more history on the company see this link on Bergseng's great website on druggist dose glasses: http://www.bergsengs.com/Skidmore-OR.html
In any event, this bottle is a little over 4" tall, has a tooled "prescription" style finish, colorless/clear glass which looks a bit pink (decolorized with manganese dioxide), and faintly has C. L. G. Co. within the indented base indicating that it was made by the Carr-Lowrey Glass Co. who used that mark from about 1889 into the 1920s. See the article on my educational website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/CarrLowreyGlassCo.pdf This bottle likely dates 1900 to 1910, although the S. G. was dropped in 1905 (labels were often used for many years until the supply ran out). This bottle is mint with no condition issues at all...'cept for a tiny bit of content residue in the bottom. The label is essentially totally intact and readable, though does have some age related darkening as the photo shows. Nice Portland druggist bottle with a very rare to find original label. $20
UNION DRUG CO. / (UDCo monogram) / UNION, OREGON - (Bottle to the left.) That is embossed from top to bottom on the front of this nice druggist bottle. This is another relatively rare Eastern Oregon druggist bottle from a really small town - Union, OR. - which still only has a population of 2100 people. Apparently, the building is still a functioning old style "Rexall" drug store?! An image of the building at 105 Main St. in Union is available at the following link: https://pocketsights.com/tours/place/The-Union-Drug-Store-34657:4187#lg=1&slide=0 Not sure it is still in business today, but the image isn't that old so maybe?
Still operating or not, this offered druggist bottle does look like it could be from the early days of that building. The bottle is 3 oz. in capacity given the stylized iii on the shoulder and 4.5" tall. It is mouth-blown with a tooled prescription finish or lip and is rectangular in shape with beveled corners - a typical prescription or druggist bottle of the early 1900s. The glass is "colorless" (clear) but has a slight pink tint indicating manganese dioxide was used to decolorize the glass batch. The base is embossed with W.B.M.Co. which stands for the Western Bottle Manufacturing Company which was located in Chicago and in business from 1901 until about 1931; the following link takes one to the article on my educational Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/WesternBottle.pdf
Above the makers marking on the base is the word BREED although it is very hard to read. The Western Bottle article explains that it was a model type "invented" by WBMCo. although virtually identical bottles were made by other companies. (See page 56-57 of the linked article for more information on the subject.) Of more importance, that base marking was only used from 1901 until about 1908 giving a pretty tight date to when this bottle was made and used...the first decade of the 20th century.
Condition of the bottle is very good with just some wisps of haze on the outside and inside; see the image (click to enlarge) to see that it is a pretty clear bottle with the haze non-distracting. There are no chips, cracks, dings, or other damage to the bottle. I've only seen a few other examples of these bottles and I believe they were all the same 3 oz. size. $40
SILVERTHORN'S / FAMILY DRUG STORE / LA GRANDE, OREGON - (Bottle to the right.) That is embossed within a "plate" on the front of this 4 oz. druggist bottle from Eastern Oregon. The bottle is also embossed with the stylized iv indicating a 4 oz. capacity as well as graduation markings on both front beveled corners showing how of much of the product is left in the bottle - ounces on the left side and cc's on the right side of the vertical embossing. This type embossing with the graduations markings is typical of mouth-blown druggist/prescription bottles made from the early 1900s, through the 1910s into the mid-1920s (although some have been observed with such markings as such as early as the 1890s). After the mid-1920s such druggist bottles were almost exclusively made by machines and very, very rarely embossed with the druggist name, etc. Druggist bottles were almost exclusively just paper labeled after that time...the end of an era.
I commenced a search of information on Silverthorn's Family Drug Store but could only find a couple brief references to it in the La Grande Evening Observer newspaper from 1917 which this bottle dates from give or take 5-8 years. (I don't have a subscription to any of the paid genealogy or newspaper websites that allow access to such.) Additional searching, however, located a lot of Oregon newspapers scanned and searchable on the University of Oregon library (?) website at the following link - https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/ . A search of the noted La Grande paper indicated the earliest year Silverthorn's advertized or at least was mentioned was 1909; the latest was in the early 1930s. Silverthorn had a partner early on (Mack) and sometime later another (Wright) that are variably mentioned throughout the range of newspapers I found from 1909 to 1931. Mostly the drugstore was noted as "Silverthorn's" or "Silverthorn's Family Drug Store" like on this bottle. In any event this example dates from possibly as early as 1909 to possibly as late as the mid-1920s.
The bottle is 5.75" tall and has a tooled "collared ring" lip or finish (see the following link on my Historic Bottle Website for more information on the finish - https://sha.org/bottle/finishstyles2.htm#Collared%20Ring ). The base has an rectangular indented center with a mold number "1" embossed. Like with many of the druggist bottles made from the 1880s to 1920s, the glass is "colorless" (clear) but has a moderately pink tint (shows a bit in the image) indicating manganese dioxide was used to decolorize the glass batch. A few small scattered bubbles in the glass are present also. Condition of the bottle is very good with no chips, cracks, dings, or any post production damage. It does have a bit of splotchy though light water staining on the inside with much less on the outside. Decent example of a scarce druggist bottle from Eastern Oregon. $25
SODA/MINERAL WATER & BEERS
IMPROVED / TRADE MARK / (crescent moon with three stars) / MINERAL WATER - C. A. REINERS & CO / 723 / TURK ST / S. F. - These type of earlier, pre-Hutchinson, California soda bottles used to "be around" frequently, but that seems to have changed over the past 5 or so years in that the prices/values have gone up proportional to their less abundant availability. Supply and demand I guess. I've accumulated a fair number of Gold Rush era California "blob" or (more accurately) "pony" style soda bottles over the years and this one with the cool moon and stars is a favorite although not really "Gold Rush" era...but from shortly thereafter. It is also a favorite with many Western collectors though not as rare as the earlier, colored and often pontiled "true" Gold Rush sodas from the 1850s in particular (many to be offered in the years to come).
Specifically THE book on the subject "Western Blob Top Soda and Mineral Water Bottles" by Peck and Audie Markota (1994 revised and final edition) notes that C. A. Reiners was a German immigrant who came to the US at age 18 in 1854. He migrated to California in 1863 after living in NYC for 8 years. He was apparently a butcher among other forms of employment during the years prior to getting in the soda/mineral water business. From 1873 to 1875 he was in partnership with a John Breig as the Eureka Soda Works which was located at 541 and 543 Bryant St. in S.F. He was the sole proprietor of the soda works at the embossed address from 1875 to 1882. After 1882 he moved to Sonoma County where he lived out the rest of his life...doing what isn't noted in the Markota's book...maybe in the wine business?
The earlier variant of this bottle was blown in the same mold as this example during the partnership days (1873-1875) but had no address embossed just SAN / FRANCISCO below Reiners. One wonders why the other partner's name wasn't on the original version of the mold? In any event, the 723 TURK ST / S.F. embossing was added by Reiners using the existing mold by "slugging out" the SAN FRANCISCO and adding the new address. This created two variations of this bottle with the first version being much less abundant. (Didn't do much business?) Upon close inspection, the new plate edges can just barely be seen on this TURK ST example.
Given that this bottle has the well known "curved R's" of a still (?) unknown mold engraver on both sides, the original 1873 mold was altered around 1875 with the new address which also contains the curved R (in TURK) and was almost certainly done by the same mold maker/engraver. Some of the most iconic Western bottles were done by this unknown mold maker/engraver from the late 1860s until sometime the first half of the 1880s when his mold artistry ended and the embossing only sported the straight leg "R". (Would certainly be an interesting story if anyone ever comes across a name for the guy.)
Anyway, this bottle is a nice SF&PGW "fire aqua" in color - a beautiful variation of aqua that is closely identified with that company and it's predecessors (San Francisco Glass Works and Pacific Glass Works) though certainly this intense aqua glass does show up in other bottles blown in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard. It is 7.25" tall, has an applied "blob" finish or lip and was blown in a period appropriate "post-base" type mold. Click image of the base to see such. The bottle has stretch marks and other crudeness in the neck and finish where the bottle was detached from the blowpipe and glass applied to create the finish. Click upper neck and finish to see a close-up of such. There is also some whittle to the body and scattered bubbles here and there including some stretched out ones in the neck. The bottle is in near mint condition with very little staining or scuffing. There is a tiny bit of very faint sediment line inside at the shoulder on one side which may come out but is almost invisible as well as a small patch of wear just to the right of the address. There is also a tiny iridescent mark (a few millimeters wide) at the edge of the lip which is essentially invisible and hard to find. Since it isn't associated with a nick in the glass it may possibly be in-making? (I try to describe everything in regards to a bottles condition which makes it sound much worse than is.) Overall this is a superior example which I've had for decades having picked it up at some CA. bottle show long ago. $195
HONOLULU / BREWING CO. / HONOLULU, H. T. - That is embossed on one of the few beer bottles from Hawaii Territory. True the use "territory" for Hawaii on the bottle isn't quite like it's historical use on earlier day mainland states bottles, but is still pretty cool. The "Aloha State" had several hundred different soda bottles used from the 1850s to 1910s era of mouth-blown bottles, but only a hand full of beer bottles. Elliot & Gould's excellent (but out of print) book "Hawaiian Bottles of Long Ago" only devoted three pages to beer bottles which, with the exception of some uber-rare, earlier "Macfarlane & Co., H.I." ("Hawaiian Islands" - pre-territory I guess) amber export beers, are all attributable to the couple manifestations of the Honolulu Brewing Company.
According to Van Wieren's "American Breweries II" the brewery began in 1898 and operated under that name until 1900 when it became the "Honolulu Brewing and Malting Co." from that year to 1920 (National Prohibition). However, Elliot & Gould listed the several (very subtle) variations of bottles embossed like this as dating from 1908 to 1911, with the "...and Malting Co." bottles dating from 1911 t0 1917. So maybe they were still using the earlier name for quite a few years into the early 20th century, not changing to the "and Malting" name until 1911 or so? A quick check of the internet indicates that Congress imposed alcohol prohibition in Hawaii in 1918; thus, the 1917 date being the end point.
This bottle is the "quart" (around 25 oz.) size (this embossing pattern is only found on these larger bottles, has a td "blob" finish, stands almost 12" tall, and is number 831 in Elliot & Gould's book. It has "317" embossed on the base which was a mold number used by some West Coast glass company that made the bottle - likely the Illinois Pacific Glass Co. which also made the later "malting" bottles (which all have tooled crown cap finishes). (Click base view to view such although the number is not visible.) The bottle is a nice greenish aqua color with some scattered bubbles in the glass. It is essentially in mint condition and maybe never buried. Only a few small scratches and one small body "ping" mar the perfection of this scarce beer bottle. (The ping marking is visible in the full sized image to the lower left side of the bottle.) Probably can't find a finer version of this bottle I suspect. $50
WAIALUA / SODA WORKS Hutchinson soda bottle - This is a "scarce" soda bottle from Haleiwa, Hawaii (Oahu) which is about as far west as one can get in the United States; thus its listing on this page. That is it is ranked as "scarce" according to Ron Fowler's great Hutchinson soda dedicated website - www.Hutchbook.com He classified it as HI0155 and it is also listed in Elliott & Gould's classic 1988 book on Hawaiian Bottles as #312 I believe. They also dated this soda as circa 1908 due to the "blob" finish being what they called the "half-funnel top" which has the widest diameter portion of the finish just above the halfway point (they come in full-funnel finishes also). It is one of the dozen or so variations of the Waialua soda bottles of which a few have a large "W" on the base...like this example. This like many of the other variations from this soda works was made in a four piece mold where the removable and replaceable "plate" for the embossing was the lower half of the front mold half. Click HERE for a close-up of the upper body, shoulder and the finish/lip.
This nice condition soda has a tooled "blob" finish, is a pale blue aqua in color and free of any cracks, chips, body pings or other damage although there is a few splotches of very light haze inside in a few places although some may just be dirt which would wash out. It has some minor case wear on the body (primarily at the edge of the base) and a bit of the lettering and some minor scuffing on the body. There is a very tiny pin prick nick on the rim in one place which is way smaller than a pin head and may just be in-making. Some bubbles in the glass also enhance the look. Overall a nice looking soda bottle and in better than average shape for a multiple use, returnable soda bottle. $65 SOLD
EAST SIDE BOTTLING CO. / PORTLAND / ORE. - This is a pretty rare (first I've seen or had) soda bottle from East Portland (east of the Willamette River) which was at one point a separate city in competition with Portland (west of the river). Yes, it is "just" a crown top soda, but is hand blown (aka "mouth blown") and is a genre of Oregon mouth-blown bottles that have yet to be discovered...maybe? The company was, according to period business directories operating for only one year - 1912. This according to Ron Fowler's great book on Oregon soda bottles. It was located in the "Brentwood Addition" (there were lots of "additions" in that area in the 1890s to 1920s) at the NW corner of Cooper and Spring Avenue. This bottle has a hand tooled crown finish, is embossed in a "slug plate" (really a "plate mold" according to bottle makers), and is a nice greenish aqua color.
It is also embossed at the reverse heel with O - S A B Co. What does that mean? Well, it indicates that the bottle was produced by the American Bottle Company (various plants in the Midwest). More specially the "0" is a certain date code for 1910 and the "S" the plant code for the companies Streator, IL. plant; the old Streator Bottle and Glass Company. (For more on the company see the very recent article available on my other educational website at - http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/AmericanBottleCo.pdf Fowler's book does note that some bottles have the same heel codes but with a "9" instead of a "0" (i.e., 9 - S A B Co). In fact, this particular bottle appears (with magnifying glass) to have the "0" cut over a "9"! So this indicates that East Side Bottling ordered at least two batches of bottles - one in 1909 and one in 1910....cool! Apparently, the company was in business earlier but it wasn't picked up in the business directories until 1912, then likely disappeared by 1913. (Isn't this history sleuthing fun!) The bottle is in essentially mint condition with very little wear (even to the embossing), some very faint wisps of internal haze, and a couple very tiny peck marks which all adds up to very fine shape for a a re-used soda bottle. Rare item from Portland! $30
FREDERICKSBURG (arched) / (dashed line) / BOTTG Co / S. F. CAL. - That is all etched on the body of this medium olive green, "Apollinaris" style beer bottle. These etched San Francisco beer bottles seem to be pretty rare in my experience. I remember seeing images of a few etched "export" style beer bottles in Grace Kendrick's book from the early 1960s, but had seen very few in real life. Until this example I had never seen this style etched though I have had and sold several of the similar shaped but embossed Fredericksburg Bottling Co. beer bottles in past years (see SOLD BOTTLES below). I picked this one up years ago at a California bottle show to illustrate the style on my other educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website." The Apollinaris style of bottle was used extensively for both beer and mineral water - particularly in the West.
These, like the embossed examples, were likely blown in Germany although American bottle makers listed these in their catalogs implying they made them. See the following linked page from the 1906 Illinois Glass Company catalog I have scanned and posted on the noted website: https://sha.org/bottle/Typing/IGCo1906/IGCo1906page250.jpg The right page at that link shows these available in several sizes including this offering which is the "quart" size which really only held about 25 ozs.; what was called a "scant" size. The catalog also notes that the company did sell "Full Measure" 32 oz. quarts also. I believe that the offerings in those catalogs were actually imported from German and sold as though they were actually produced by the American company. But who knows...
Anyway...this example, like those noted in the catalog, was produced in a turn mold which is very evident as the horizontal spinner rings are pretty noticeable - they can be seen on the enlarged examples of the images to the right. (The guys that produced these bottles were called "twister" blowers in the trade.) This example has an applied "blob" finish (lip) with the usual short conformation typical of these bottles and likely dates from the 1890s to maybe early 1900s. It has no chips, cracks or other post-production damage but does have some wear and scratching on the outside indicating that it was reused many times. This is also obvious on the base which has a lot of wear around the resting surface; click base view to see such. It also has a sediment stain ring inside (visible in the close-up shot above) which is a bit detracting but not too bad. In any event this is still a nice example of a rare and historic type beer bottle that as far as I can tell, was only used in the West. $45
MISCELLANEOUS WESTERN BOTTLES & RELATED ITEMS
CRANE & BRIGHAM / SAN FRANCISCO Florida Water bottles - These two bottles are excellent examples of scarce/rare Florida Water bottles produced (blown) and used in San Francisco in the 1870s. Both are pictured to the right (click to enlarge). The following is from Bill & Betty Wilson's 1971 book 19th Century Medicine in Glass - "This firm started as Crowell, Crane and Brigham in about 1856. It was originally established by Eugene Crowell several years earlier as a retail drug store. In 1859 Crowell & Crane pulled out and started their own business, which lasted for only two years and Crowell sold his interests to William H. Brigham. The firm of Crane & Brigham became one of the largest in San Francisco. Henry A. Crane retired in the early 1880s but lived on to the grand old age of 82 when he died in 1922."
The earlier company (Crowell, Crane & Brigham) was responsible for two of the great and extremely rare (I've never seen either in person) 1850s Gold Rush era embossed bottles from San Francisco: the cobalt blue, mug based, iron pontiled soda bottle embossed C C & B / SAN FRANCISCO and the rectangular, blowpipe pontiled medicine bottle embossed on three sides with CROWELL, CRANE & BRIGHAM - SARSAPARILLA & - YELLOW DOCK - both of which date from the 1856 to 1858 period. As there were no glass makers in the West (or even west of the Mississippi) at the time these bottles were blown somewhere in the east and shipped around the horn to San Francisco. Then they were filled, used and eventually tossed with few of the extant. In any event, these two Florida Water bottles date from the 1870s with the smaller one possibly being from the very early 1880s. Both were found in the downtown urban renewal areas in Portland, OR. back in the late 1960s.
Although neither are embossed as to contents, the shape of them is of a type that was used about 100% of the time for that particular product - a type of inexpensive perfume/cologne which some claimed to have medicinal properties. Typical of the style, the neck is about as tall as the body in both sizes.
The larger bottle has three of the distinctive curved "R's" in the spelling which are firmly attributed to an unnamed mold maker/engraver working in the Bay Area from the late 1860s into the early 1880s. This person created scores of - maybe several hundred - molds for embossed bottles that have this type "R". Click on the image to the immediate left to see a larger version showing the embossing. Most of the bottles attributed to this mystery mold maker/engraver (don't know if he did both or not) were clearly embossed as being from the West (typically California, Oregon, & Nevada) like both of these bottles or used by companies historically known to be operating in the West. The smaller example has no "R's" in the embossing to curve though the "look" of the embossing is identical to its larger brother so it is certainly a product of the same mold maker. Both were blown in the type of deeper blue aqua glass commonly seen with bottles blown at the San Francisco Glass Works or Pacific Glass Works or the combined company (San Francisco & Pacific GW) after merging in 1876. The larger example is very much the "fiery" deep aqua color with the smaller one being a bit more muted but still of the same look in general.
The larger example is very scarce but more abundant than the smaller size in my experience. It is embossed CRANE & BRIGHAM / SAN FRANCISCO vertically inside a deeply indented panel. It is 9" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" style finish or lip, and smooth somewhat indented or domed base. Click close-up of the applied lip to see such. This bottle is a beauty and one of the finest example I've ever seen. It has no post-production issues, i.e., no chips, cracks, pings, nibbles or even really any staining as the "fire aqua" glass from the Bay Area during that era was quite resistant to staining or patination. There are even a few specs of the original foil capsule showing on the upper neck! The glass is fairly crude with decent whittling, a few bubbles and neck stretch marks. Great example! $85
The smaller and rarer example is also embossed vertically inside a deeply indented panel in a much more abbreviated manner (not as much room as the big bottle) with C. & B. / S. F. although that says enough to make it certain to have been Crane & Brigham. It is 6.25" tall, has a tooled "oil" style finish or lip, and a more proportionally indented domed base than the larger example. The glass is a medium blue aqua and the neck is crude and a bit wavy on the inside from the use of the lipping or finishing tool. The bottle is in very good condition though does have a bit of staining inside the shoulder, a bit of outside light dullness and a small flake at the heel on the backside. Click close-up of the heel to see the latter issue. Overall a nice example of a very rare SF Florida water (a recent sale of a mint one on eBay was for $280+). $100
Rarely seen, oval J. H. CUTTER WHISKY tray! This is one of those items that I don't really collect but ended up with it many years ago as part of a trade for an Oregon bottle. It is a metal serving or advertizing tray which measures 16.5" top to bottom and 13.75" at the widest side to side. The center is dominated by a sailing vessel (see next paragraph) which has MOORMAN on the bow as the boats name. Cool! (Click on the images to the left for a closer look at the details.) The narrow banner coming off the upper main mast has C. P. MOORMAN & CO. To quote John Thomas's Whiskey Bottles of the Old West - "Charles P. Moorman was a partner of John H. Cutter in the manufacture of Cutter whiskey in Louisville, Kentucky and the only person besides John Cutter (who) knew the secret of distilling J. H. Cutter whiskey" (Thomas 2002).
Side note: Having served in the U.S. Coast Guard 50 years ago (where did the time go?) I am aware that their largest ships were referred to as "Cutters" - I having spent 2 or my 4 years on the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Winona. It was, of course, diesel powered with no sails...though not likely faster that that sailing "cutter" if the wind was up! A search online finds that the illustrated ship is indeed a single masted "cutter" style sailboat and that the name is also used to refer to a vesel used bya "governmental enforcement agency" - like the USCG. Click the following link to a Wikipedia article on the subject: cutter discussion. So the illustrated ship fits the brand name perfectly! But I diverge...
The sail also has the words OLD / CUTTER / WHISKIES. Within the inset portion of the tray is an upwards arching J. H. CUTTER above the "cutter" and WHISKY (without the "e") below. Below that is a hard to see (due to the black lettering riding the dark waves) C. P. MOORMAN & Co. LOUISVILLE, KY. This can be seen in a close-up of the lower part of the tray at the following link: lower tray close-up. Arching upwards on the reddish tray rim at the top are the words FROM SUNRISE 'TILL SUNRISE" with the rest of that thought located downward arched at the bottom of the tray rim - GLADDENS THE INNER MAN" I'll bet that was ture since the empty Cutter whiskey bottles certainly have gladdened me for decades! Click upper tray close-up to see that half of the tray. Both middle edge sides of the tray also have the monogram with the entwined letters C. P. M. Co. for C. P. MOORMAN & Co. Click close-up of the right side monogram to see such.
J. H. Cutter whisky must have been good stuff as the product was wildly popular in the West and likely the rest of the country also. As the noted John Thomas book outline, there were many different bottles made for selling the product - and that book only covered the earlier examples, i.e., the "glob top" cylinders and flasks. The brand seems to have disappeared with National Prohibition like so many brands did, though there is a company in California producing a whiskey with that old name one in recent years having purchased a bottle at Costco a couple years ago.
As the images show, the tray isn't in perfiect unused condition as it was certainly used to serve patrons of some late 19th to early 20th century saloon somewhere in the West where this was found. That is used until National Prohibition made the world much less fun from the mid-1910s in some Western States (like Oregon) to complete nationwide prohibition in 1920. The tray shows many small spots of rust which are likely wear points from the tray distributing beer and whiskey...with the sloshing of those products helping the rust along with the tray likely being washed hundreds of times. The back of the tray is painted black with a similar scattered density; click back view to see such. Overall the tray is completely and easily readable and 95%+ of the graphics quite decent. Not sure what a more perfect example would sell for by I've priced this one at what I think is a reasonable price given it's iconic name, brand and cool graphics. $350
Colorful German made Penney Brothers Family Liquor Store Portland, Oregon advertising plate - In the early 1900s, with the Temperance Movement gaining ever increasing clout with the American Public, those that sold or distributed spirits (or beer) were vilified by an ever increasing percentage of the public who agreed with the "Prohibitionists." They contended - not without some validity - that the products available from or in bars, saloons, breweries and liquor stores were a curse on society and needed to be abolished. It was particularly hard on the families at home when dad was hanging with the guys at the local saloon spending his hard earned dollars on the "demon rum." I remember from reading it somewhere that it - National Prohibition - really only reduced alcohol consumptions by about half as people found ways to get their drinks one way or another including by prescription from doctors.
One of the ways that liquor stores attempted to legitimize or maintain their existence was to rename their stores adding "family" to the name. In the case of this advertising plate, such is noted in the banner below the second story windows which reads KENTUCKY WHISKIES, PENNEY BROS. FAMILY LIQUORS. Click on the image to the right to view a larger version of the image. There were many "family liquor stores" in Oregon (most in the Portland area) including Gulley's Family Liquor Store (FLS), Kelley's FLS, Kline Brothers FLS, Doane & Ruhnke FLS, Carlson Brothers Wholesale FLS (Astoria, OR.) and others including Penney Brothers...and that list just includes those that used business name embossed bottles at some point during the first decade and a half of the 20th century!
John Thomas noted in his wonderful 1998 book "Whiskey Bottles and Liquor Containers from The State of Oregon" that Penney Brothers bottled their liquor in at least two sizes (pint and half pint) of "Eagle" style flasks. Both are embossed in a plate mold the same as follows: PENNEY BROS. / FAMILY / LIQUOR HOUSE / 379-381 / E. MORRISON ST. /PORTLAND, ORE. View his write-up at the following links: image 1, image 2. The wholesale side of the business was at 379 Morrison St. (probably the left door) and the retail side at 381. Both sizes of flasks are not often seen; I've never had an example. As with all liquor companies in Oregon it went out of business when Oregon banned liquor (and beer) in 1915 - five years before National Prohibition went into effect.
The plate has great detail of the two address number (like embossed on the flask) building that housed the business. With a magnifying glass one can see that there are popular whiskey brands noted above the windows of the wholesale (left side) - OLD CROW, I. W. HARPER, and HERMITAGE. The right retail side windows have WHISKIES, FAMILY (and something not readable), FAMILY LIQUORS and WINES. The windows show little bottles lined up on rows of shelves. There is also a sign to the left of the left 2nd story window that says HOTEL then an unreadable name which may be MORRIS (connected somehow to Morrison street?). In short, the detail included in the graphics is amazing. Below the nice color graphics is the lettering PENNEY BROS, PORTLAND ORE, EAST 287-PHONES-B 2426. I'm not sure what the last half of that lettering means. The address is in what was the city of East Portland prior to being incorporated into Portland proper in the 1890s I believe. Thus the "EAST"? The 287 is not noted by Thomas as their address at any time but the PHONES-B 2426 must be a period style phone number? An intriguing mystery there!
This plate is in wonderful condition being about a 110 years old. It is just under 7" in diameter and the only wear is a bit on the tips of some of the rick-rack points on the outside edge of the plate. The reverse has a small marking indicating it was made in Germany like so many late 19th and early 20th century decorative or advertising plate were made. Click on the following link - back view of the plate - to see the reverse side. Click close-up of the Made in Germany marking to see such. Great addition to an Oregon bottle collection and to go along with your Penny Bros flask if you have one. $75
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