EARLY AMERICAN BOTTLES &
(Civil War era & before)
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DR. J. HOSTETTER'S / STOMACH BITTERS - The black glass Hostetter's Stomach Bitters are not particularly rare but are a big hit with collectors. I think these earliest ones are found all over the country to some degree, but the bigger (30 oz. or so), black glass examples are frequently found in the West. The SS Bertrand - on it's way from St. Louis to Fort Benton and the gold fields of Montana - sunk in the Missouri just 20 miles north of Omaha with a large supply of Hostetter's Bitters, all of which were some version of what collectors call "black glass" like this one. (I actually had full access to study these and other of the Bertrand bottles several years ago in the great museum on the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa where the entire cargo was curated. I highly recommending visiting the museum if ever near the area.)
Anyway...this example was found in the West but not sure where - probably California. It is about 9.5" tall, is a very dark olive green with an amber tone (or olive amber), has a somewhat (for the era) crudely applied "oil" finish like virtually all early (and later) Hostetter's, and a slightly indented "smooth" (non-pontiled) base with what appears to be either a small "I" or "E" in the center. This example is essentially mint with just a bit of minor scuffing in a few places, but with no chips, cracks, dings, or other damage and the embossing is strong. There is a couple very shallow dips on the rim of the lip (aka "finish") which appear under magnification to be in-making. The glass has lots of seed bubbles and moderate body crudeness. I wouldn't be getting rid of this but I acquired one recently that is even cruder in the body and overall...so moving this one on. Great example for your collection! $395
"Pineapple Bitters" - These familiar shaped bottles are very popular with collectors for obvious reasons and this is an exceptional example. This is the earlier example made from the same mold that was used for either the W & Co / N.Y. or the J. C. & Co examples (or both?) except with the embossing "slugged out" or more accurately stated, with no engraved plate inserted in place of the blank mold plate. (The oval plate covering the engraving is clearly evident in real life on the bottle but only vaguely visible in the enlarged image to the right.)
This example is a light to medium golden amber with a beautiful brilliance to the glass. The base has a large (1.5" in diameter) and quite distinct pontil scar - a circular "disk" pontil scar which is an unusual pontil style for these bottles...and unusual on American manufactured bottles for that matter. Click base view to view this light but distinct pontil scar. (For more information on the disk pontil, see my other, comprehensive Historic Bottle Website pontil scars page at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pontil_scars.htm#Sand Pontil ) The bottle is almost 9" tall, bubbles here and there in the glass, has a crudely applied double ring type finish (the finish found on the earlier bottles - click upper neck view to see such), and is ca. 1850s.
The condition of this example is essentially perfect as it never appears to have been buried and exhibits a bit of high point wear on the base. There are a few very short in-making stress lines in the upper neck/lip interface area where the finishing glass was applied although they are hard to see and quite common to that era in applied lip bottles. An excellent example and the equal of an identical example (same color and mold but with a blowpipe pontil scar) sold in 2010 at American Bottle Auctions for over a $1200 (with commission). Bottle acquired for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. $650
OLD / DR. TOWNSEND's - SARSAPARILLA - NEW . YORK. - This is embossed vertically on three sides of this familiar - and desired - bottle to collectors. The "Old Doctor" bottles were used by the same-named poseur and competitor of the more common Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla. This bottle is a beautiful medium clear green or blue green depending on ones eye; the images show the color well. It is 9.5" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" finish or lip, a distinctly iron pontiled base (click on the image to see a larger version), and dates from the 1850s most likely. This example is essentially "attic" mint having no evidence whatsoever of being buried, i.e., no staining, no chips, or cracks...just a little wear on the base from having sat somewhere for 150 years. The bottle has some scattered bubbles in the very clean glass including a large one on the shoulder which has a very fine, in-making (1/4" + or -) fracture on the inside surface of the bubble. The bubble is not open at all inside or outside but has that small hairline which is visible (just above the arrow) in the close-up image at this link: close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish. An overall excellent example that is as made from the factory but priced considering the small "issue." $295
Bininger Barrel Bourbon - It has been awhile since I've had a Bininger barrel to offer but here is one now - the "small" size (8") of the Bininger barrels. Very decorative and highly embossed, this reads as most all do from top to bottom: DISTILLED IN 1848 / OLD KENTUCKY / 1849 / (protruding nipple) / RESERVE / BOURBON / A. M. BININGER & Co. 338 BROADWAY, N.Y. This along with four horizontal rings each at the upper and lower body and three rings bracketing the middle portion above the circular embossing. Applied double ring finish or lip, "open" pontil scarred base (this having the "double" blowpipe pontil scar that is seen on these bottles at times; click here to view base), a beautiful bright & rich medium golden amber, and dating from the 1850s. These also come with smooth non-pontiled bases which must date around the Civil War as these bottles were produced for some time given their relative abundance. (I believe I remember that these are attributed to the Whitney Glass Works of NJ.) This example still has most of the original cork inside the neck which has kept the insides of the bottle from collecting any dust as it is obvious from the dead mint condition, wear ring around the outside edge of the base and the lack of any staining whatsoever that the bottle was never buried. Like a lot of figural bitters and other "catch-the-eye" type bottles (brilliant early marketing!) from the 19th century, many of these bottles were never tossed, but kept around until they broke or some collector found it...like this one. An excellent example and certainly the most affordable of the large line of typically very beautiful Bininger liquor bottles! $395
HARRISON'S / COLUMBIA / INK - Although these little ink bottles are not particularly rare, they are quite coveted due to the multi-sided conformation, cool name and early manufacture. They also come in an array of colors which are WAY more expensive than this more typical aqua example. I cover these particular bottles in more depth on my Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website at this page: http://www.sha.org/bottle/household.htm However, here is the brief write-up on the company that I have on the linked page:
This is a grouping is of three different colors of the Harrison's Columbian Ink - a fairly popular ink during the mid-19th century given the number examples that are seen today. They all have vertical 8 sided bodies, blow-pipe pontil scars, cracked-off/sheared and rolled finishes and date from the 1840s to early 1860s period. These bottles were made for Apollos W. Harrison who was a Philadelphia dealer in "books, maps and ink" from about 1843 to 1877 (McKearin & Wilson 1978; Faulkner 2009).
The offered example is a nice blue aqua in color, has a crudely rolled lip or finish, a blowpipe type pontil scar to the domed base, and dates from the 1840 to 1860 era. The bottle is near mint with no chips, cracks or staining (may have been professionally cleaned?) and only a couple light scratches to a rear panel opposite the embossing which is pretty decent for these bottles which can be somewhat faint at times. It also has some nice waviness to the glass and an overall look of crudity commensurate with the early era of its manufacture. Nice ink! $100
WASHINGTON - JACKSON pint flask - Here is a pretty nice example of a popular New England flask, most likely made at either the Coventry Glass Works (Conn.) or Keene Glass Works (NH - Marlboro St.) in the 1840s or early 1850s. This example is the "comparatively scarce" GI-32 mold which McKearin & Wilson note as "Eastern, probably New England" though they also noted in the text that it was likely from Keene. Since both Keene and Coventry made very similar flasks in very similar colors, it is about certain that one of the two made this flask. Anyway, this example has a nice, distinct blow-pipe style pontil (click base view to see such) and a sheared "straight" finish (actually these were usually cracked off the blowpipe and reheated at the glory hole to smooth out the rough rim). The glass is crude, appropriate to the time with the color a nice, clear medium olive amber color that is neither amber nor olive dominated to my eye and passes the light very nicely. Click view in the sunlight to see such. The embossing is pretty distinct - about average I think for this mold and better than the two images to the left show - with the Washington side (visible in the base view linked above) being just every so slightly more bold than Mr. Jackson's side. The condition is very good with no chips, cracks, stars, flea bites, or the like though both sides do have some light to moderate scratching and some highpoint wear...probably from laying down somewhere for 170 years. This is a very nice example that is priced a bit less than I would have otherwise due to the noted scratching which is really not noticeable sitting on a shelf...or even close-up. $295
FOR PIKE'S PEAK (walking dude/prospector above flattened oval) - (eagle with banner in beak above squared oval) - This is McKearin & Wilson classification #GXI-30 - the large quart size and one of the more abundant quart Pike's Peak flasks. Celebrating the gold rush to Colorado in 1859, these popular flasks were made throughout the 1860s and possibly into the early 1870s. This a very nice, clean, blue aqua example with the typical applied "champagne" style banded finish common on flasks made at various Pittsburgh, PA. glasshouses - where the majority of Pike's Peak flasks were made. This example is near mint with the original sheen (never professionally cleaned nor buried) to the glass, a nice deeper blue-aqua color glass with some body crudeness, neck stretch marks & bubbles, and a "key-base mold" smooth base. On close inspection, the bottle does have a small (3-4 mm in diameter), faint, iridescent impact mark at the heel underneath the walking dude/oval and a very small "flea bite" on the inside of the finish which appears to be a bit of "in making" roughness. Otherwise an above average, clean, bright, blue aqua example which is big and boldly embossed. $80
SCROLL FLASK QUART - Here is very nice, perfect condition example of a late 1840s to 1850s decorative flask referred to as a scroll flask by most collectors although I've heard them also called a "violin" flask (although this could be a cello sized compared to the pints!). These were reportedly made by various glass works on the Eastern Seaboard though most are usually attributed primarily to that eras glass factories in the Pittsburgh area.
This example is the big, substantial quart size and stands 8.5" tall. It has the typical "sheared" finish/lip which was virtually always really a cracked-off lip (i.e., the blowpipe was cracked off from the bottle neck after application of the pontil rod) that was more or less reheated to smooth it out and make it less dangerous. The base has a blowpipe style (aka "open") pontil scar and is of a key or hinge mold style in that it has a mold seam across the base with a a half circle in the middle - the "key" protruding from one mold half to the equivalent indentation on the other half at the base which facilitated easier meshing of the two mold halves.
This example has a wavy, smooth glass surface of a nice blue aqua coloration; it is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, potstone bruises, staining, etc. As noted, it has a cracked off finish which has some in making irregularities about it as it was likely just waved around a few seconds in the glass furnaces "glory hole" to smooth it out a bit. It has an interesting crude fold in the glass on one side (inside; little evidence on the outside); this is visible in the far right image (click to enlarge). No damage associated with it - just a great crudity befitting its totally hand-made origin. A better (aqua) example would be hard to find. $145
Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products.
This example is ~4.4" tall, a fairly clear (not muddy) moderately dark olive green with an amber tone and of heavy glass for its size as is typical. It also has a crude and somewhat flared & refired lip or finish (aka "sheared lip" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe), was blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice bold, sharp and slightly off-center blowpipe type pontil scar. Click the base image to see such. One can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does.
The glass surface is variably rough, wavy and crude reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. A fair smattering of varying sized bubbles and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or other dings; just a bit of very light haze on the outside in a few spots which is a bit unusual in my experience as "black glass" like this is unusually durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain"). Nice example, very early American and in great condition! $150
DR. TOWNSEND'S - SARSAPARILLA - ALBANY / N. Y. - Here offered is a big and heavy (2 full pounds of glass!) classic early American medicinal bottle from New York which is well know to most collectors. Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla bottles were made in this basic shape and embossing pattern in scores of different molds from the 1830s until at least the 1880s.
The excellent article series on Townsend's in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector magazine a couple years back (by Rick Ciralli) covers the varying molds of the earlier (and largely pontiled) examples including this one (August 2015 issue, pages 36-37) which is the "very scarce" mold DT-17. Rick's pictured example is a "medium olive green" though this offered one is more of a medium to dark-ish (lighter in the upper 3/4ths and dark in the lower 1/4th) olive amber.
This 9.5" tall example is very crude with varying color intensity and some fine swirls through the body, a very crudely applied and formed one part tapered lip/finish with nice slop-over below the bottom of the lip that is visible in the images. The glass surface is also nicely crude with indentations, texture, bubbles of all sizes in the glass, etc. Click base view to see such showing the large, rough and very distinct glass-tipped, disk or possibly a very crude "sand" pontil scar (aka "sticky ball pontil"). Not sure which to call it though the linked base view shows what is there well. (For a discussion of pontil types see my educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website page on such.) The bottle is in about mint condition with no chips, cracks, pings or significant staining inside. It has some minor fine scratching here and there - hard to see. It has no staining I can see on the inside, but does have some spotty light wear (faint staining?) in a few patches here and there on several of the panels. Kind of adds to the look of age to my eye and is not distracting. An ex-Glass Works Auction item from some years ago. Overall this is an excellent, early and appropriately crude example of a Townsend's likely dating from the 1840s. $495
ROWAN'S - TONIC - MIXTURE - OR / VEGETABLE - FEBRIFUGE - PHILADA - This bottle is one of the oldest I have for sale and among the earliest embossed patent medicines bottles made in the United States. It is also one of a small handful of over 4 sided medicine bottles that are embossed on every side - six embossed sides in this case. And if that were not enough it is also unusual in that it has "left hand" embossing, i.e., it reads from the base to the shoulder (and best read holding it in ones left hand) whereas the vast majority of vertically embossed bottles read "right handed."
According to the late John Odell's book on pontiled medicines (a great book BTW!) the product first claimed to have been sold in 1830 and continued (apparently) until about 1843 when it was renamed "Rowan's Improved Tonic..." and the bottles (likely) began to be embossed as such (I believe IMPROVED / TONIC on one side?). Not sure of the precise dates of manufacture, but suffice to say 1830s and 1840s...early!
In any event these are early, crude, and light glass bottles that have a lot of appeal for an aqua medicine bottle. It is about 5.5" tall, blown in a true two-piece "hinge" mold, and sports a nice blowpipe style pontil scar; click base view to see such. The lip is a short, tapered banded example that was tooled or rolled over to the outside to form it. The surface of the bottle is very wavy, lumpy and crude which is largely a function it appears of the rough, unpolished surface of the likely iron mold it was made it. The bottle also appears to have been professionally cleaned at some point and there is still some faint surface etching visible on most of the sides. However, it is very hard to see due to the noted crude "as blown" surface and is non-distracting. Outside of the noted glass surface issue, the bottle is otherwise in about perfect condition with no chips, cracks, dings, flashes, or other issues. Great bottle that is one of the earliest of the "medicinal tonic" bottles I've collected. $125
CLARKE & WHITE / large C / NEW YORK - Although Clarke & White bottles are generally fairly common in most of the myriad of varieties, this one has uncommon - though very esthetic - crudeness to it. I actually don't really want to get rid of it as it is so cool looking, but here it is...I can't keep everything. The bottle is about 7.75" tall, has a fairly crudely applied "mineral" finish/lip (the Saratoga mineral water bottles are the origin of the finish name I believe), smooth (non-pontiled) somewhat domed base (embossed with an "X" in the middle and a "7" off to the side - see image), and is from the 1860s. The special thing about this bottle is the zillions of tiny and not so tiny bubbles in and on the glass; click close-up of the glass surface to see this semi-orange peel look to the glass surface. Otherwise the bottle is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, staining, or other issues...the only thing I can see is a very small scuff (not chip) on the edge of the heel on the back. There is probably some minor scratching and such mixed in with the rough surface but they are unobtrusive. A great example! $100
BELOW ITEMS ARE ALL SOLD!
Keene Sunburst pint flask GVIII-8 - Sunburst flasks are one of my favorites and with many people for obvious reasons - they are truly beautiful early American items. The offered medium olive green - with just a touch of amber - pint flask here is also an 1820s to early 1830s design from the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works, Keene, NH. It is classified as GVIII-8 by McKearin & Wilson and has KEEN embossed on one side and P&W on the other in the little ovals in the middle of the sunbursts, a blowpipe pontil scar on the base, slightly flared sheared lip or finish (sheared/cracked-off with tooling marks and re-firing), and was produced in a key base mold. Click reverse view to see the KEEN side. This flask is also essentially mint with no issues except for some wear on the high points of the sides (where the embossing in the center of the sunburst is and particularly on the KEEN side) and some typical base wear. As is typical, the KEEN and P&W are lightly embossed but readable. Nice example. SOLD!
HARRISON'S - COLUMBIA - INK - This is an example of the large family of ink bottles produced for Apollos W. Harrison who was a Philadelphia dealer in "books, maps and ink" from about 1847 to 1877 (McKearin & Wilson 1978). This would be considered a large ink bottle or small bulk ink. It was acquired for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website; the following is from the write-up on that website:
These ink bottles come in many sizes ranging from 2.5" (1 oz.) up to a gallon size at a large 11.5" tall (McKearin & Wilson 1978). (This)...example is aqua in color, 3.6" tall, 2" in diameter with eight equal vertical sides, a crudely applied two part collared ring finish (the closest fit to the finish styles described elsewhere on this site), a very distinct blowpipe style pontil scar, and was blown in an apparent (hard to say for sure) two piece post-bottom mold with no evidence of mold air venting. Click on the following links to see more images of this bottle: base view showing the protruding and very tubular blowpipe pontil scar; view of reverse side showing the word PATENT embossed on the shoulder. It is not known as to what the patent was for, though likely the ink itself not the bottle. These bottles are known to have been made at several South New Jersey glasshouses including Whitney Brothers and Isabella Glass Works (Covill 1971).
This example is not quite perfect but displays well. Specifically, the top of the finish (a style essentially unique to Harrison's ink bottles) has a very thin, flat flake (approx. 1/4" by 1/8") that just touches the edge on the right side of the bottle (and shows in the image) and the bottle has some water staining which isn't too detracting (see image). A very presentable example with a great example of a tubular blowpipe pontil...and priced right. SOLD!
SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD (horse pulling a cart) - This is embossed on both sides of this familiar pint flask; familiar to most bottle collectors that is! Although not particularly "rare" in the world of early American flasks, these are very popular flasks due to the great embossing which is typically very "raised" and bold - especially the horse and cart - and the historical linkage with the early push to connect the country by rail in the 1830s, the age of these flasks. This particular mold is classified as GV-3 by McKearin & Wilson (1978), is pint sized, blown in a true two-piece "key base" mold, has a cracked-off (aka "sheared") and refired straight finish or lip, a blow-pipe (aka "open") pontil scar on the base (click base view to see such), and is a beautiful light-ish to medium yellow olive in color. Oh, it also has distinct ridges down both narrow sides on the mold seam and around the embossing pattern on each embossed side. The flask also has the typical crudeness collectors love in early American glass - cool swirls and lines in the glass, rough surface texture, lots of seed bubbles and small impurities in the glass (none with radiation issues), varying glass density and color, in-making waviness to the lip rim, and just the look and feel of "oldness." The condition of this example is near mint with some highpoint wear on the embossing and the base from having sat and laid somewhere for 180 years; no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage. The only "issue" with this flask is typical of this mold in that a portion of the embossing (primarily the word "THE") on the upper part of the side is weak (enough to be hard to photograph) though it is all readable and the rest of the embossed lettering is moderately to very bold. Nice addition to any collection and an ex-Heckler auction item. SOLD!
Shield and Clasped Hands pint flask (GXII-23) - This pint flask was blown by the famous Pittsburgh glass company of Christian Ihmsen & Sons as indicated by the C. I & SONS embossed underneath the eagle on the reverse side (well, reverse as noted by McKearin & Wilson). The other side has the popular Civil War era - the era of this flasks manufacture - motif of the clasped hands within a shield along with the word UNION, 13 stars, etc. The embossing is very bold and distinct. According to Jay Hawkins' great book on the subject of Pittsburgh glass makers, Christian Ihmsen & Sons was the company name from 1861 to ~1875. This 7.5" tall, pint flask is listed as "comparatively scarce" by McKearin & Wilson (1978). It has a very crude applied "tooled, broad rounded ring below thickened plain lip" (to quote McKearin & Wilson - their finish #12) and a rounded key-mold type smooth base (McKearin & Wilson type #5 base) indicating being blown in a true two-piece mold; both finish and base being typical of the wares produced in the Pittsburgh region during the pre to post Civil War era. The color is a relatively rich blue aqua with the glass having various swirls of un-melted slag or ash particles imbedded in the glass; click close-up of the finish, neck and shoulder to see a close-up of some of this. The flask is overall very crude with large bubbles, the noted slag particles (no radiations from any of these), a very sloppy and crude lip, stretch marks in the neck, wavy glass and is just a wonderful example of the crudeness of hand-blown glass from the mid-19th century! Condition is near mint - no chips, cracks or other damage (well, one tiny pin-prick at the edge of the base and a bit of wear on the high points of the base) - although there is some light haze in the upper shoulder and a bit behind the eagle on the reverse. Overall, a fine Civil War era liquor flask that is scarcer than most of these types. SOLD!
Persian "saddle" flask/bottle - Offered here is virtually perfect example of what are referred to as "Persian saddle flask" and believed to have been used as such ( slung inside of some type leather or cloth sheath) in various parts of the Mediterranean world or nearby (like Persia). (Not "early American" per se, but from the era of Colonial America.) According to McKearin & Wilson (1978:244-245) the origin of these flasks is a bit vague though they attribute them to Persia (Iran today). What isn't questionable is that these bottles are definitely old being produced during the 17th and 18th century. (I've read once about someone contending they were Austrian bottles from the 18th or early 19th century, but never seen any confirmation of that.) In any event, this bottle is at least a couple hundred years old! This example is 9.25" tall, a rich medium clear green, has the typical wrapped "thread" or string of glass around the upper shoulder and neck, free-blown manufacture with a crudely tooled flared lip and a glass tipped pontil scar on the somewhat pushed up base; click base view to see such. The bottle is in near mint condition with no chips, cracks, an entirely intact applied thread of glass (these are often missing pieces, but not this one); the only issue is a bit of content haze on the inside and some outside surface wear and light scratching in the usual spots (base rim & sides). Very nice looking item which I used to illustrate that bottle type on the Historic Bottle Website. Great window bottle and almost certainly the least expensive, good condition bottle dating from the 1600s or 1700s that one can acquire these days. SOLD!
(shoulder star) /E. ROUSSEL / PHILAD.A - DYOTTVILLE GLASS WORKS PHILAD. / SILVER MEDAL / 1847 / AWARD / THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD - This is a great, dated, mineral/soda water bottle from Philadelphia, PA. The contained product was good enough to win the silver medal at some unstated competition in 1847. Tod von Mechow's great website on soda/mineral water bottles dates these as being made/used from 1847 to 1849 - an early soda by any standards. The bottle is just under 7.5" tall, an olive toned medium emerald green color to my eye which passes the light easily, has some nice whittling to the surface and bubbles in the glass, and a nicely distinct iron/improved pontil scar on the base with light but even iron residue remaining. Click base view to see such. The shoulder has a very boldly embossed star and the finish/lip is what is referred to as a "tapered collar" - a one part, early and crudely applied finish that has flattened sides and flares out distinctly from the rim to the base. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such. The embossing is generally quite good: the E. ROUSSEL side is all very boldly embossed; the 1847 dated side - which was engraved much less deeply and with very small letters compared to the ROUSSEL side - is still pretty bold for these bottles with only the IS in BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD nearest the heel being very hard to see. The condition is very good having been lightly cleaned. The only issues being a minor bit of residual (post-cleaning) case wear/scratching, some scattered, small, and hard to see ("pin prick" size) contact marks on the body/heel, a narrow wisp of light discoloring from the upper neck gradually disappearing in the shoulder (this could be some minor post-cleaning stain but could be some glass mixing discontinuity), and a small (2-3mm in diameter) impact mark at the heel...no other chips, cracks, or other post-manufacturing damage. Overall this early soda is very appealing to the eye and much better looking than that litany of minor issues implies - see the images. Bottle acquired for and used/pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. Great dated mineral water made during the earlier days of the "blob soda" era. SOLD!
Root beer amber early umbrella ink - Stoddard manufacture? Well, everyone speculates about that with these early umbrella inks so I won't (or maybe I just did?). This bottle is a beautiful little jewel that looks like it was poured into the mold. It has sheared and re-fired straight finish or lip, a blow-pipe pontil scar on the base (click to view base), was blown in a two-piece hinge mold, and dates from around 1845-1855 most likely. The surface of the glass is glossy, waxy, with rippled whittle all over. It may have been professionally cleaned although I think it was fire polished when made - a common bottle treatment at that time with some types of bottles, especially those with sheared or cracked-off finishes like this. Color is a medium to medium dark root beer amber and fairly represented by the image. The condition is just about mint with no chips, cracks, or staining...just one tiny pin point peck mark (with no accompanying issues) on the lower part of one panel. SOLD!
Brilliant, deep grass green pint scroll flask - This is a spectacularly brilliantly colored pint scroll flask which keys out to GIX-10 in McKearin & Wilson's 1978 book "American Bottles & Flasks." This flask was likely blown at the Lancaster Glass Works (Lancaster, NY) between about 1845 and 1855, has a crudely sheared/cracked-off lip or finish which received some tooling and re-firing, and has a large wonderfully nasty blowpipe pontil scar; click base view to see such. (This image also shows that a bit of the extreme outside base edge appears to have been ground down some to allow the flask to stand straighter, something commonly done by early flask collectors.) The color is as shown - a brilliant medium grass green that is both beautiful and very rare to find. The flask is also very crude in the body and neck with stretch marks, bubbles, moderate amount of pebbly-ness to the surface (but not too much) and all the things one wants in a mid-19th century American figured flask! I have another that is essentially the same color so this one is "extra." The flask has one "issue" that was almost certainly done in making, i.e., several short, very thin, hairline fissures in and around an inside open (?) bubble near the lower median rib on one side. Click close-up of side to see the hairlines pointed out. Two of these "lines" appear to be the edges of the inside open bubble or on the thin covering of it on the inside, but not sure. The third hairline (upper one pointed out in the image, <1cm long) appears to come off the edge of the bubble. All of this is very hard to see and to photograph, but they are there...and sound WAY worse to describe than they really are. There is no other issues with the flask and the glass is sparkling and unstained (never buried I'm sure). If perfect, this would be a $1500++ flask I suspect. This slightly flawed example is priced to move and the in-making "damage" very hard to see...and the color will make your bottle shelves come alive! SOLD!
JOHN CLARKE / NEW YORK - Probably the earliest of the "Saratoga" type mineral water bottles are some of the examples made with Mr. John Clarke's name on them...with possibly the oldest ones (1820s and early 1830s) embossed Lynch & Clarke. The example offered here is a pint sized one used by just Mr. Clarke after he branched off on his own in 1833 (i.e., Mr. Lynch died); it dates from between that date and about 1846 and is pretty certainly known to have been blown by the Saratoga Mountain Glass Works (Mt. Pleasant, NY) as best I can tell from various references including McKearin & Wilson (1978). (Note: I cover this particular bottle in more depth on my Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website at this link: Soda & Mineral Waters Typology page.) In any event this bottle is about 7" tall, an nice clear medium olive amber, has a crudely applied "mineral" type finish (where this finish gets its name!), and somewhat indented base with a centered dot with the mold seam line (a true two-piece mold indication) cutting through it and a moderately distinct sand pontil scar around the outside edge of the domed base. (Click on both small images to see larger ones.) Condition of this example is excellent and it appears to have been lightly cleaned at one point restoring a nice original gloss to the bottle inside and out. The bottle is near mint with just some very, very light scratching/scuffing in some hard to see spots on the lower back and a tiny impact nick on the base. Nice example of a VERY early mineral water bottle and one of the precursors to the huge array of very similar shaped mineral water bottles that continued to be made until the end of the 19th century. (Note: An example from this exact mold sold at Glass Works Auctions recently (March 2013) for $600+ 15%...and not THAT much better of condition.) SOLD!
Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is ~4.3" tall, a fairly clear (not muddy) olive amber with a yellowish tint, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip or finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off), blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such; one can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. Lots of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips (besides the totally in-making roughness of the cracked-off finish which received very little fire polishing at the "glory hole"), or staining...just a tiny bit of dirt (or blacking?) in one upper corner. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain"). This bottle was acquired to help illustrate the shoe polish/blacking bottle section of the "Household Bottles (non-food)" typology section on my Historic Bottle Website. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!
Square blacking bottle - Here is another classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is ~4.4" tall, a fairly dark olive amber ("black glass") with a bit of a yellowish tint, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip or finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off) with some fire polishing to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a very distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such; one can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The all over glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. Quite a lot of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially near mint with no cracks, chips, or staining...just a tiny bit of dirt (or blacking?) in one upper corner and a very small rough spot on the inside of the lip that was caused by a small bit of un-melted material being right on the surface there...not a chip. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. This bottle was acquired to help illustrate the shoe polish/blacking bottle section of the "Household Bottles (non-food)" typology section on my Historic Bottle Website. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!
Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This example is the larger size - larger than the typical ones which are around 4.4-4.5" tall "- measuring ~4.9". It is a different mold with higher shoulders and slightly wider sides than the typical size (two examples in the "SOLD" section below). When placed side by side the difference is noticeable. There is also a distinctly shorter, smaller bodied mold example also - as compared to the middle "typical" examples.). Anyway, this example is a medium/darkish olive amber glass with a yellowish tint which passes light easy in a window, heavy glass for its size, has a cracked-off lip/finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) that was fire polished to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a nice, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar (image above; click to enlarge). One can see in the base image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The all over glass surface is quite "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, bottom-hinged mold it was blown with. The glass has LOTS of little seed bubbles in along with some larger ones and is just plain OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining...just a bit of dirt or residual blacking(?) in the base corners inside and some wear on the high points of the base indicating that it may have never been buried. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one of these with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!
ZANESVILLE / OHIO / J. SHEPARD & CO - I'll just say it right up front: this is one of my "crying" bottles as it is the only nice bottle that I've inadvertently damaged - this one 25 years ago. I've kept it since as it is such a lovely piece of glass...and to remind myself to be careful when handling bottles. However, it is time to pare down stuff...so here it is.
This is a McKearin & Wilson GIV-32, produced by the White Glass Works of Zanesville, OH. under the proprietorship of Joseph Sheppard (the correct spelling of his name is indeed with "pp" not the one "p" like on the flask). These flasks were produced sometime between 1823 and 1838 when the company dissolved following a financial panic. (Information from J. William Barrett's great book "Zanesville Glass.") These "Shepard" flasks are pint sized and very popular to collect due to availability (quite a few around; McK & W list as "common"), the wonderfully busy and copious embossing, and the fact that they come in a rainbow of colors (if one has enough money to acquire them).
This example is wonderful in that the embossing is quite bold all the way to the top of the panels (they commonly get weak up in the ZANESVILLE area) and is a nice, deeper blue aqua. The flask is (was) mint condition with wonderful glass sheen and luster, no chips, cracks or staining, beautiful age appropriate crudeness including some long bubbles and waviness to the glass, and a glass tipped pontil scar on the base just over the true "two-piece" mold seam equally dissecting it. Alas, the self-induced breakage knocked three chips out of the lip/neck all of which have been glued back into place making the bottle quite presentable. Click neck close-up to see the side with the largest chip "line" by far which dips to the neck/body interface area. The other two chips are on the back side and much smaller (both combined equal to maybe 1/5th the large one) and equally difficult to see. All are glued together so that there appears to be no glass missing. (All three of the chips were just glued back with water soluble "Elmer's" glue so the flask could be soaked in water to remove the chips which could then be glued back with epoxy to look even better maybe?) Anyway, a beautiful flask nonetheless that is 100% "there" but at a price much less (of course) than it would be if I had not been so clumsy. SOLD!
S. O. RICHARDSON'S - BITTERS - SOUTH /READING - MASS. - All this is embossed on four sides of this early (1840s or early 1850s) bitters bottle from New England. This one is classified as R57 by Ring & Ham. The product was apparently quite popular and made for an extended period - from 1840 to at least the early 1900s with this bottle being, of course, at the early end of that range. It is 6.25" tall, rectangular in cross-section with very side beveled corners, has an applied flared bead type finish (or want of a better term) that was wrapped crudely around point the blow-pipe was cracked off (the cracked-off surface is still quite apparently on the inside of the neck), and has a very nice blowpipe pontil scar on the base. Click on the image to the left to view a close-up of the blowpipe pontiled base showing the mold seam dissecting the base - a certain indication of production in a true two-piece mold. The color is a nice greenish aqua, glass being quite crude with ample pebbly roughness and whittle to the surface and many bubbles of varying size scattered throughout. Condition is about mint with no chips, cracks or staining; the only issue is a very, very, very minute nick on the edge of the lip rim which looks to me (under a glass) to be possibly in-making (i.e., a tiny bubble pop). This is indeed a very nice example which should please the most discriminating collectors. SOLD!
C. BRINKERHOFFS - HEALTH RESTORATIVE - PRICE $1.00 - NEW_YORK - Pontiled, colored medicine bottles are very popular with collectors and for good reason - they are really old and beautiful bottles! This Brinkerhoffs Health Restorative is an exceptional example of one of the more financially accessible colored pontiled medicines, though these are still pretty scarce bottles. The offered bottle is very well embossed on a type that can often be faintly embossed in places, particularly in the vicinity of the HO in BRINKERHOFFS, about the same location on the reverse and on the narrower side panels. This example is one of the boldest I've seen and pretty much on all sides. Click HEALTH RESTORATIVE to view an image of that side of the bottle; click NEW YORK to see that side.
According to the late John Odell's excellent "Pontil Medicine Encyclopedia" this product was advertised from 1845 to 1849 so it is pretty early. It claimed that it "...cures consumption, liver complaint, asthma, colds, coughs, and pains in the side and chest." According to the most recent American Glass Gallery auction catalog (#14) these bottles were made at "a Stoddard, NH glasshouse, 1850-1851." In addition, the catalog notes that "Brinkerhoff went out of business in 1851, with Smith (of Smith's Green Mountain Renovator fame) purchasing the existing bottles." These purchased bottles were then labeled with his product labeling over the Brinkerhoff embossing; the noted catalog has an example of this bottle with that labeling. Cool story and certainly consistent with the re-use of expensive-to-make bottles back in those early times!
Anyway...the bottle is about 7.5" tall, a crudely applied tapered lip or collar, has the usual (for these bottles) sand or "sticky ball" pontil scar on the base (click base view to see such), blown in a true two piece mold as evidenced by the mold seam dissecting the base, and is very crude and bubbly with pleasantly wavy glass. The color is essentially a lightish to medium olive green like most though this example has a high amount of green mixed in with the olive to my eye that makes it very bright and pleasing. It also passes light quite well, particularly in the upper half. Condition is essentially dead mint with no staining, cracks, flashes, dings, chips, noticeable scuffing or anything that I can see. It is as near perfect as such a bottle can be! A very nice example if you're in need of a deeply colored, very old, mint condition pontiled medicine bottle...with a likely Stoddard origin. SOLD!
"Louisville" double eagle pint flask GII-24 - These pint flasks are popular ones with collectors due to the HEAVY embossing that basically covers the entire flask. This includes the same eagle, banner, stars & oval-with-design embossing on both sides and the continuous, closely spaced horizontal ribs around that embossing on the flask edge crowding up against a thick, single vertical medial ridge at the mold line. This is listed in McKearin & Wilson's eagle category as GII-24. Listed as probably from the Kentucky Glass Works, there has been some debate about that attribution with some thinking that it is the product of some Pittsburgh glass company of the 1840s or early 1850s. Regardless of where it was actually blown, these flasks are about as much design beauty and embossing one can get for the money as they are relatively abundant...and come in a wide array of colors.
Speaking of color, this example is a particularly rich shade of deep blue aqua to really more of a light blue-green. It sports a cracked-off and lightly fire polished "sheared" or "straight" finish or lip which does retain a bit of in-making roughness from the light re-firing after blowpipe removal. (Like many pint scroll flasks attributed to the Pittsburgh area from the same era.) The neck is a bit longer than average, the glass bubbly and crude with an orange peel texture on the embossing panels, and a blowpipe (aka "open") pontil scar on the "key" mold base. Click base view to see the pontil scar and base. (Note: The flask does stand up easily.) The condition is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, or staining (a bit of dirt in the inside at the base). It does have some high point wear on the eagles head & a few other points (on one side primarily) and the usual "I'm a 160+ years old!" base wear. Nice deeper colored example for your collection of early American flasks. SOLD!
Square blacking bottle - Here is a classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. Blacking is an old term for shoe polish (as applied by "bootblacks") though the product was also used for harnesses, belts, and other leather products. This is the right, smaller bottle in the first image here, ~4.4" tall, a nice clear (not muddy) moderately dark (see images) but almost pure olive green (the pair picture is most accurate to my eye for both bottles) with just a touch of yellow maybe, heavy glass for its size, has a crudely cracked-off lip (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) which was fire smoothed at the "glory hole" when made, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a distinct blowpipe type pontil scar. Click base view to see such; base on the right. One can see in the image how the hot, plastic glass was pushed up slightly by the pontil rod in order to inset the scar enough so that the bottle would stand upright easy, which it does. The glass surface is "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, probably bottom-hinged mold it was blown into. LOTS of seed bubbles in the glass and just OLD looking. Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable glass and hard to patinate (aka "stain"). Nice example of the typical size for these bottles which is very early American and in great condition! SOLD!
Square blacking bottle - Here is another classic example of early American utilitarian bottle making - a 1820s to 1840s era "blacking" bottle most likely produced at an early New England glass factory. (Bottle to the left in the two bottle image above.) This example is the larger size - larger than the typical ones which are around 4.3-4.5" tall "- measuring about 5". It is a different mold with higher shoulders and slightly wider sides than the typical size...like the one on the right in the two bottle image here. There is also a distinctly shorter, smaller bodied version; smaller compared to the smaller one in the image here. This larger example is a medium yellowish amber with a bit of a olive tint which passes light easy in a window, heavy glass for its size. It is a color often attributed to one of the Stoddard, NH factories but who knows. This example also has the usually cracked-off lip/finish (aka "sheared" though most bottles like this were cracked-off from the blowpipe) that was fire polished to smooth it out, blown in a hinge mold (a distinct mold seam dissects the base) and sports a big, really cool, bold and sharp blowpipe type pontil scar (click base view; it is the bottle on the left). Even with the very large - for this size bottle - pontil scar it stands up perfectly. The all over glass surface is also pretty "rough" and wavy reflecting the crude cast iron, two-piece, bottom-hinged mold it was blown with. The glass also has a lot little seed bubbles in the glass (though not as thick as the smaller example) and also looks just plain old! Condition is essentially mint with no cracks, chips, or staining and some wear on the high points of the base indicating that it may have never been buried. Actually, it is rare in my experience to find one of these with significant staining as "black glass" like this is very durable and hard to patinate (aka "stain") unless in the sea or highly acid soil. Nice example, very early American and in great condition! SOLD!
JENY. LIND (embossed bust of the famous singer inside a wreath) - (embossing of a glass works building) - Here is a pretty nice example of one of an array of calabash bottles honoring the visit of Jenny Lind ("The Swedish Nightingale") to the United States in the very late 1840s to early 1850s. This visit was prompted by P. T. Barnum who paid her $1000 a performance - an massive sum of money at the time for a performer - though he made out very well due to his legendary promotion skills...and the "voice of a nightingale." Anyway...this is McKearin & Wilson's catalog number GI-103 which is listed as "comparatively scarce" and was produced by the famous Whitney Glass Works of Glassboro, N.J. This example has the name JENY. LIND above the singers bust inside a wreath on the front - click front close-up to see such (the otherwise strong embossing is a bit weak in the details of the face which I believe is common to this mold). The reverse has an unnamed glass factory with smoke coming out it - click reverse close-up to see that side of the bottle (all the building embossing is sharp and bold). The sides of the bottle have very distinct ridges running vertically coming together at a heavy embossed ring at the base of the neck; see the images. Oh...and the neck is a cool looking 8-sided. It is around a quart in size, about 10.5" tall, an pleasant bluish aqua in color (images show this well), has a crudely applied plump long tapered collar, and an unusual "double" blowpipe style pontil scar, i.e., parts of it are two circular fine pontil scars parallel to each other (the rest is sharp and nasty); click base view to see such. One sees this pontil feature now and then and it may just be that part of the very thick pontil scar glass came away on the pontil rod end leaving the two tracks to define the edges of it. In any event it is a bold, distinct pontil scar with no pontil "chips." Condition is essentially mint and was likely never buried as there is no staining, chips, cracks, scratches that I can see or other post-manufacture damage but does have some "honest" wear on the base from sitting somewhere for a century and a half. Very nice example. SOLD!
"SUMMER - WINTER" quart flask GX-19 - This is a big, bold, well embossed flask that is pretty well known to collectors. It comes in a host of colors ranging from black amethyst to blue to emerald green though is by far most commonly seen in the color of this example - bluish aqua. This example - GX-19 in McKearin & Wilson (1978) - is one of two quart sizes with similar embossing; one of the pints (GX-15) is the one flask that has the embossing SUMMER (above the leafy tree) and WINTER (above the bare tree) giving this short run of flasks its name - Summer-Winter flasks. McKearin & Wilson list the maker as "unknown" for all the Summer-Winter flasks, though I suspect someone out there has some ideas of the origin? Could it be the same manufacturer - Sheets & Duffy - who ran the Kensington Vial and Bottle Works in Philadelphia, PA. from 1845 to around 1874 and who are attributed with making the calabash listed above? That is certainly - on the later end - the right era. In any event, this example is a very nice one - 8.5" tall, smooth "key mold" base, applied double ring lip or finish, has an interesting medial rib or ridge on the sides and dates from the 1860s. Condition is essentially mint - never been buried it appears - with only the slightest of content haze wisps (almost invisible) near the base of the leafy "summer" side and a bit in the center of tree on the "winter" side. A nice example that I've had for some time, but need to move on to make room for other recent acquisitions. SOLD!
JENY. LIND (embossed bust of the famous singer inside a wreath) - (embossing of a glass works building) - Here is a nice example of one of an array of calabash bottles & flasks honoring the visit of Jenny Lind ("The Swedish Nightingale") to the United States in the very late 1840s to early 1850s. This visit was prompted by P. T. Barnum who paid her $1000 a performance - an massive sum of money at the time for a performer - though he made out very well due to his legendary promotion skills...and the "voice of a nightingale."
Anyway, this is McKearin & Wilson's catalog number GI-103 which is listed as "comparatively scarce" and was produced by the famous Whitney Glass Works of Glassboro, N.J. This example has the name JENY. LIND (the correct spelling was Jenny) above the singers bust inside a wreath on the front; the embossing is quite good for this mold with the decorative elements at the top of Jenny's dress having good detail. The reverse has an unnamed glass factory with smoke coming out it with all the building and tree embossing sharp and bold. The sides of the bottle have very distinct ridges (11) running vertically coming together at a heavy embossed ring at the base of the neck; see the images. Oh...and the neck is a cool looking 8-sided. It is around a quart in size, about 10" tall, an pleasant bluish aqua in color (images show this well), and has a very crude applied long tapered collar. The base sports an unusual "double" blowpipe style pontil scar, i.e., parts of it are two circular fine pontil scars parallel to each other. Click base view to see such; the scar is more distinct in real life. I've seen this pontil variation on several other examples - including one I sold some years ago below. One sees this pontil feature now and then (e.g., Bininger barrel whiskey's; example below and also a likely Whitney GW product) and it may just be that part of the very thick pontil scar glass came away on the pontil rod end leaving the two tracks to define the edges of it. Condition is essentially mint and was likely never buried as there is no staining, chips, cracks, scratches that I can see or other post-manufacture damage. It does have a bit of wear on the base from sitting somewhere for a century and a half. Very nice example. SOLD!
Leafy Tree - Sheaf of Wheat Calabash - The motif of the tree with leaves is commonly seen on several "historical" or "pictorial" flasks from the era just before the Civil War (1850s) through the end of that wrenching conflict. Many of the flasks have the tree with leaves on one side and without leaves on the reverse - probably a reference to life and death? This calabash flask has the leafy tree on one side and a sheaf of wheat - with a rake and pitchfork - on the reverse. I suppose that those motif's - like the cornucopia & urn flasks - are a tribute to the bounty of the land? In any event, this example is McKearin & Wilson (1978) catalogue number GXIII-46 who also noted that this mold comes in the colors of sapphire-blue, dark wine, and like this one - and by far the most commonly encountered color - aqua. These calabash flasks are attributed to the glass company of Sheets & Duffy, who ran the Kensington Vial and Bottle Works in Philadelphia, PA. from 1845 to around 1874. Both Sheets and Duffy were glass blowers for Dr. Dyott who ran the famous Dyottville Glass Works in the earlier days. Anyway, this example is the typical quart size (more or less) calabash with ribbed sides, the base in slightly domed with a nice blowpipe pontil scar surrounded by a larger but fainter pontil scar (click base view to see such), has a crudely applied double ring finish or lip, is a nice blue-green aqua color and stands about 9" tall. The condition is essentially mint with just the faintest line of content lines about halfway up the insides (it is very, very faint); otherwise there are no cracks, chips, scratches or other issues of note. Some bubbles in the glass round out this almost perfect example. SOLD!
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