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FROG POND / CHILL & FEVER TONIC - This is an extremely rare tonic bottle from Augusta Georgia with a great name...and one of the few cobalt blue medicinal tonic bottles that were ever made. I consider it one of the top 10 medicinal tonic bottles. I've only seen a couple of these over the years and all but one (on eBay years ago) I can remember had some type of problem; this example included although it is relatively minor. I've had this example for over 20 years...time to pass it on.
The bottle is actually machine-made, albeit an early one likely dating from the mid to late 1910s; possibly early 1920s? The only history I could find on the bottle online was on the FOHBC website's "virtual museum." See the following link which is more about the slightly older, amber glass FROG POND / CHILL & FEVER CURE which was the precursor product although it does show a picture comparison between that amber cure and the blue tonic. Link to the Frog Pond Virtual Museum article and images. The interesting history of the Augusta, GA. company is found at the Virtual Museum link. It notes that even though the company was forced by the Pure Food & Drugs Act of 1906 to eventually change "CURE" to "TONIC" they still advertized the product as a cure.
The bottle itself is just under 7" tall with a tooled "double ring" lip or finish - a style which is described on my educational Historic Bottle Website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/finishstyles.htm#Double%20Ring Click view of the As noted, the bottle is an early machine product with the base showing a non Owens machine type parison marking on the base surrounding the embossed number "5". Click base view to see and image of such. Click on the following links to see other views of this bottle: side view, view of the back. As to the "problem" with this bottle, it has small and very hard to see or photograph flash/crack at the lower heel edge of the right side. The following images show the crack pretty well - base closeup1 & base closeup2. The images show the same short crack - about 1/2" in total - with closeup1 showing just the far right portion of what rully shows in closeup2.
Otherwise the bottle is in great condition with no chips and only a very light haze on a few outside spots and a bit of such inside in bottle that takes a bright light to see. The damage is very minor for this very rare blue tonic bottle. Recently one was sold on eBay for $330 which had a bit more damage issues than this better example but will price it a bit less. $275
THE MIKADO TONIC - JAPANESE REMEDY - This unusually named medicinal tonic is of unknown origin; it could be from the Western states or about anywhere else in the country. I kept notes on all kinds of medicinal tonic bottles when I was actively accumulating them, but this is all I have written about the bottle:
“The Mikado” was the name of one of the most popular Gilbert & Sullivan plays. It debuted in 1885 in England, but was also popular in America. It is quite likely that the name of this tonic – which is undoubtedly American made - was to appeal to the popularity of that play in the mid-1880’s. It’s rarity indicates a narrow time frame of production, i.e. around 1885-1888.
Not much help, but does indicate a likely timeframe for when this bottle was made and used by the still unknown purveyor. The bottle has an applied "oil" finish/lip (click view of the shoulder, neck and lip) and was blown in a post base mold (click base view to see such) which places it generally in the mid-ish 1880s or so. It does have two air venting marks - one each at the top of the beveled edges on the two shoulders without the vertical mold seams. That also is very indicative of a mid to late 1880s bottle given the other characteristics.
This bottle is almost identical in shape, size and overall look as the ubiquitous Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters of the same era - a common shape to for bitters and other related products like medicinal tonics. It is 8.75" tall, 2.5" to a side with the noted (and linked above) indented "post-base" which has embossed line with pointed ends a bump in its middle. No idea what that was for - mold makers marking? Glass color is a standard medium amber with a lot of bubbles in the glass. A few of the small bubbles are at the surface and have no depth,. There is one larger tear drop shaped bubble about 3/4" long which also has no depth at all. It can be seen on the plain panel to the left of the ...NE... in JAPANESE. (Click image to the immediate left.) Condition is very good with no chips, cracks, dings, post stone radiations, or other post-production issues besides some wavy lines (visible in most of the photos) that one sees on dug bottles now. There are s few minor scuff marking in a few places on the panels. The bottle could have been lightly professionally cleaned but I don't think given the minor scuff marks. Overall a nice and quite rare medicinal tonic bottle! $250
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. J. H. McLean's Strengthening 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. TOWNSEND'S - AROMATIC - HOLLANDS / TONIC - Offered here is one of the premier medicinal tonic bottles put out by the familiar Dr. S. P. Townsends of New England sarsaparilla fame. (I don't believe this was put out by the "Old" Dr. J. Townsends imitator but can't say for sure. Doesn't really matter as it is still one of the great tonic bottles.)
The embossing is as noted above on three different panels; the fourth crude and dimpled label panel is unembossed but viewable at this link: Side 4. The slightly domed base is pictured at this link: Base view. Click on any of the images to the left to see much bigger versions. This bottle is 9" tall, 2.75" wide on each side, was blown in post base mold, and dates from the 1870s it appears, give or take a year or two on each end. The glass color is as shown in the images - a bright medium amber with a golden tone. The "oil" style finish is applied but done so well that there is little slop over ("globby-ness") coming down onto the neck.
The condition of this bottle is excellent with just a couple minor issues. First is that there is what appears to be a popped bubble or an in-making crude rough spot on the underside of the finish in one spot which is about 5 mm wide. Click close-up of the lip to see it. I'm sure this was done during the tooling completion of the applied lip glass as it is partially smooth to the touch with a bit that is "rough." The other very minor "issue" is that there is some very light scattered haze on the outside (none visible inside) of the bottle in a few places, indicating that it has not been professionally cleaned but certainly could be lightly polished to restore the surface brilliance. A bit of the vague haze can be see in the larger images I think.
I've only seen a couple more of these bottles ever; this one I purchased from a Glass Works Auctions a couple decades ago. Whether you are a Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla collector or a collector of medicinal tonics, this is a key one to acquire. The most recent example that I've seen sell (eBay) was almost $800; my example is at least as good an example and at a much lesser price. $495
FERRO-CHINA-BERNER / BERNER TONIC - This bottle isn't embossed with the word TONIC, like others on this page, but the label makes clear that it is a medicinal tonic with both alcohol (18%) and...arsenic! It has almost complete labels and is sealed with the original contents...or at least 95% of it as the very dark liquid inside reaches up to the widest part of the shoulder just below the "BERNER" shoulder label in the image to the right. Click sealed cork & capsule image to see such; it is embossed on the top of the capsule with FERRO / star / CHINA.
The embossing on the front is a big and bold FERRO-CHINA with more details about the product on the front and back labeling. Click the front label to the right to see a larger version. Click reverse view to see the other side of the label which wraps around the entire body of the bottle. Labels are almost complete as shown in the images with a little tattering here and there. Only the narrow neck label just below the lip is missing a portion. It is noted in several places on the label that this product was "For Medicinal Use Only" so it was certainly intended to treat something though what is unstated. The narrow strip label below the main label notes that it is "...not a liquor" and that "...doctors recommend to take not more than 3 tablespoons of it every day." Apparently that was the permissible daily dose of arsenic at the time!
The label notes that the FERRO-CHINA-BERNER CO. of New York "distributed" the product which I believe is from Italy. This is confirmed (Milano specifically) by Ring & Ham's "Bitters Bottles" (pages 220-224) book which notes that there were many different bottles this product - or similar products - were packaged in with many of them identified as "bitters" on the labels but not embossed as such. This particular bottle appears to more or less match F-31 although that one was machine-made and distributed out of San Francisco. This offered bottle is mouth-blown with a tooled finish that is appears purely European in origin. One can see the shape of the finish underneath the foil capsule sealing the bottle. Instead of being called a "bitters" this New York distributor called it a "tonic."
The bottle is quite crude and the glass is a medium to dark olive green though it likely dates from no earlier than the 1890s. It is 10"+ and the body upwards of 4" in diameter. The condition of the bottle itself is perfect and the images show the generally good condition of the labeling. For reference in regards to shipping, the bottle by itself with contents weighs 3.5 pounds - a combination of heavy glass and almost full contents. Nice, if weird, item! I don't remember where I got this bottle but it could have been one of McMurray's medicine bottle auctions years ago. $95
COLUMBIAN / TONIC / (very elaborate CT with TRADE MARK) / COLUMBIAN / MEDICINE CO / FRANKLIN / OHIO - Talk about lots of bold embossing! This oversized "prescription" type (a "Blake" style) bottle is strongly embossed for a patent medicine instead of a pharmacist, i.e., "Columbian Tonic." The bottle has a tooled "prescription" style finish (aka "lip"), is 8" tall with a smooth base which is faintly embossed with W. T. & Co. for Whitall, Tatum & Co. which was probably the largest producer of druggist (aka "pharmacy") bottles between the late 1870s and maybe 1920 or so (although the company continued into the mid-ish 1930s). This bottle likely dates from the mid-ish 1890s as I suspect the name was inspired by the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition in nearby Chicago? The glass is just about crystal clear with just a slight manganese dioxide induced "pink" tint, which is visible in the image. Condition is immaculate with no chips, cracks, nicks, staining or any other post production damage...in fact, it looks to have never been buried. I've only seen a few of these through the years and believe them to be quite rare - certainly very rare in this essentially perfect condition. Even though clear/colorless glass, this bottles size and boldness of embossing would make a great window bottle, where it may turn a bit darker amethyst(?). $75
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. $100
DR. HOOFLAND'S - GERMAN - TONIC This is embossed on three non-indented sides (4th side for label). Just over 9 1/2" tall with a tooled "brandy" finish (or long tapered collar with a ring to some), blue aqua in color, smooth base, ca. 1880-1885. This is one of the rarer and more desirable tonic bottles and was almost certainly produced by the same company in Philadelphia as the very common Dr. Hoofland's Bitters. Apparently this brand didn't do too well or was much more limited in distribution as the tonics are hundreds of times rarer than the bitters. Condition of this example is mint...period. I can find nothing wrong with it and am only selling it because I recently acquired a ever so slightly better one (a bit more crudeness). This bottle does have a lot of nice bubbles in the glass and some stretch marks on the neck so it has it's crudeness too. Nice big, scarce, tonic bottle. $50
DR. GREEN'S / BLOOD PURIFIER / AND NERVE TONIC - Those words are embossed boldly on the front of this small (1.4" tall and wide) dose glass which also has fairly typical graduation markings on the reverse. Click on the images to see somewhat larger versions of both sides. I believe these are pretty far and few between as the actual bottles for this product as also quite scarce. Click image of Greens Nerve Tonic to view such with an original label and the embossing highlighted in red. (I don't have one listed for sale yet...but may have one or two - there were at least two variants - in boxes that I've not looked in as yet.) Dr. Green operated out of Enosburgh Falls, VT. and likely only had regional distribution as the couple bottles I've had came from that area.
The embossing on and details about the main bottle variant is as follows: DR. G. S. GREEN / & CO. above following embossing in embossed shield - DR. GREEN’S / BLOOD / PURIFIER / & NERVE / TONIC, and below shield ENOSBURGH FALLS / VT. - all embossed on front; sides and back plain. Aqua, rectangular medicine with widely beveled corners, smooth base, single collared tooled lip, 8 1/2” tall. (The above link takes one to that particular variant.) The other variation is almost identical but is just embossed with what is noted inside the shield above; nothing embossed above or below that shield. The bottles as well as the glass offered here appear to date from the 1890s into the early 1900s.
This little glass is colorless (aka clear) and is in perfect condition - never buried. Nice go-with for your medicine or tonic bottle collection...or if you just collect all kinds of dose glasses. $45
ARMISTEAD'S AGUE TONIC - This is embossed around the shoulder of this smallish ( a bit over 6") 8 sided medicine bottle. Armistead's Ague Tonic was produced by W. D. Akin Medicine Company of Evansville, Indiana according to Fike's book on medicines from 1987. The product was advertised as follows: "It is a HIGH CLASS SPECIFIC for CHILLS, DENGUE, SWAMP FEVER, and all other MALARIAL DISEASES, and warranted free from anything that will HARM THE MOST DELICATE CHILD. It does not DERANGE the STOMACH or EXCITE the NERVES and will POSITIVELY cure old and chronic cases speedily and permanently." Well, that sounds like good stuff! It sold in this size bottle for 50 cents.
The product was reportedly first offered in 1867 but most of the ones I've seen seem to date from the late 1800s into the 1910s and later. The oldest ones are mouth-blown with applied finishes, a bit later tooled lips (like this one) and the last ones being machine-made in the mid to late 1910s (and later) with ARMISTED'S FAMOUS AGUE TONIC also embossed around the shoulder with a "Box N" marking on the base indicating manufacture by the Obear-Nester Glass Co. (East St. Louis, IL.).
This example is the in between, later mouth-blown version which came in aqua and colorless glass (this example) which will turn pink with exposure to sunlight. This example has a slight bit of pink and dates from the late 1890s to maybe 1910 or so. The embossing around the shoulder is light (kind of typical) but readable. Click HERE and HERE to see the embossing on both sides. The condition is mint with no chips, cracks or staining; I don't believe it was ever buried as the original cork is present and shows no sign of having been buried either although the insides are quite clean. If you're into irradiating colorless bottles from this period (I'm not) that were decolorized with manganese dioxide this would likely turn a deep purple. $20
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
MEXICAN - TONIC - This is embossed boldly on the two narrow side panels of this big (about a fifth quart in size), 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 below...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 very scarce to rare tonic bottle that was possibly a Western product. $125
BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC - Offered here are two different variations of the same fairly rare medicinal tonic product from Paducah, Kentucky but offered by two different companies. Likely one preceded the other, but I don't know the actual history of these bottles or the companies embossed on them. Both share the same manufacturing features and are essentially identical in dimensions: 9 3/8th inches tall, tooled "patent" finish or lip, aqua glass and blown in air-vented cup-base molds. Both bottles appear to date from the late 1880s to very early 1900s.
The bottle on the right in the images I believe to be the older one. It is embossed within an indented panel with BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC / MANUFACTURED BY / S. H. WINSTEAD MEDICINE CO. The left side panel is embossed with PADUCAH, KY. U.S.A.; the right side panel is also indented but with no embossing. Click the embossing close-up to see a larger version of that image.
Unlike most paneled patent medicine bottles with vertical embossing, this example reads from the base upwards instead of from the top down. I would guess that at least 95% of vertically embossed medicine bottles read from the top down in what I call "right hand" embossing, i.e., that by holding the bottle in the right hand and tipping it left one can read the embossing right side up. This example would be a "left hand" vertically embossed bottle - holding it in the left hand and tipping it right Additionally, the left side panel embossing runs from bottom to top and also "left" handed. An unusual conformation all around.
The other example (bottle on the left in the images) is embossed normally ("right" handed top to bottom) with BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC / MANUFACTURED BY / THE LAX-FOS COMPANY / INCORPORATED. The left side panel is also embossed with PADUCAH, KY. U.S.A. (reading top to bottom like the front panel); the right side panel is also indented but with no embossing. I think this is the later bottle as the hyphenated company name and incorporation seem later to my mind.
Condition of the two bottles differ. The Winstead Medicine Co. example (oldest I think) is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, dings; it just has a few very light wisps of staining and minor scuffing on the back. It is a sparkling beauty with a nice blue aqua color and bubbles in the glass. The other example has some moderate overall staining and a couple small areas of edge-of-the-lip roughness which is more felt than seen. Otherwise the bottle is free from damage and decent to the eye. See the images for more details. Neither of the two bottles is listed in Baldwin's nor Matt Knapp's medicine bottle books, though the Winstead example is briefly noted in Fike's 1987 book but with no history noted. Both are likely rare regional "tonic" medicinal bottles. $85 for the pair.
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
BARBER'S / WILD CHERRY / TONIC - Here is another very rare medicinal tonic bottle of which I've only seen three examples of including this offering. One of the others I've seen had enough of a partial label to identify it as coming from Kansas City, KS. I can find no mention of this bottle in any of the medicine bottle books including Richard Fike's, Matt Knapp's, Joseph Baldwin's and a couple other lesser known works. It also isn't in Johnnie Fletchers' great work "Kansas Bottles 1854 to 1915" since it was likely that no labeled version showed up when he published the book in 1994.
This is a somewhat unusual tonic in that it is basically a liquor flask shape recruited for "medicine." (My late father used to call his stops at the Oregon state liquor stores his medicine stop.) It is essentially the "Dandy" flask style which I cover on my educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Dandy%20Flasks (I suspect that this product was of a high proof given the shape!) It's neck length is a bit more than the usual Dandy flask, but fits into the noted era as the Dandy first showed up in quantity during the 1890s in glassmaker catalogs. Minor variations of the style still are being used today for liquor, albeit usually with screw cap finishes though I have seen ones with corks in recent years; usually the products of the plethora of micro-distillers that have popped up across the country in recent years.
This tonic flask is about 8.5" tall, 4" wide and about 1.5" thick...probably holding 12 oz. or so I would guess. Click base view laying down to see such which shows the flattened shape well. It has a tooled "oil" type finish/lip; click image of shoulder, neck and finish to see it close-up. Both upper shoulders have small mold air venting marks - 3 on each side - which place this mouth-blown bottle as likely made no earlier than the mid-1890s and no later than the about 1910. The glass color is clear or colorless though it does have a distinct pink tint indicating that the glass batch was decolorized with manganese dioxide. Condition is easy to summarize - perfectly as made! It has no issues beyond a bit tiny bit of typical mold induced roughness at the front base edge where a bit of glass oozed into the mold seam area where the side mold half met the base plate (a cup-base mold type). Otherwise it has no staining, chips, cracks, nicks or the like; appears to never have been buried. An unusual and rare tonic bottle in an atypical shape. $95
DR. HARTER'S - IRON TONIC - That is embossed on the two narrow indented side panels of this relatively abundant tonic in a rarely seen format - with the original label and corked contents! The reverse has an indented label panel but no label...and doesn't appear it ever had one. The wide front panel with the label is not indented making me think that it was put on the wrong side? Be that as it may, the bottle looks to be at least 95% full with little evaporation; the fullness of the bottle is visible in the images to the left (click to view a larger version). There is about 1/2" of firmly compacted sediment in the base which may be "mobilized" with the handling of shipping. However, the liquid above it is very clear and almost looks palatable. Such is not recommended although the label stated 17% alcohol would make it sterile I suppose.
As stated on this label, the company was founded in 1855 by Milton G. Harter in St. Louis (and this label notes St. Louis as well as New York) although the company didn't build a manufacturing plant (St. Louis, MO.) until the early 1870s for some reason. The company didn't make the much more well known Wild Cherry Bitters until 1885 though the Tonic was advertised as early as 1872 - originally as Iron Magic. That name didn't catch on and he soon changed it to Iron Tonic (Wilson & Wilson 1971). The company was sold to C. I. Hood Co. - of Hood's Sarsaparilla fame - in 1901 (Fike 1987). Not sure how long Hood maintained the Dr. Harter's Medicine Co. name but that was likely as this bottle could date from the very early 1900s. The label doesn't note anything about the 1906 Pure Food & Drugs Act - common on patent medicine labels during the transitional years of increasing regulations from 1906 into the 1910s - so I think it predates 1906. Call the bottle mid-1890s to early 1900s.
The bottle stands a bit over 9" tall, a nice medium golden amber color (as the images show), has a tooled "oil" style finish, and likely dates from the above noted period given the tooled finish, multiple mold air venting bumps on the shoulders and noted company information. The label (close-up at THIS LINK) is in very good condition with just a tiny bit of it partially gone in the upper left corner. The neck retains some of the neck/cork covering label on both sides of the neck (none over the cork) but it is mostly gone and unreadable. The base has what appears to be a "N" in a square with rounded corners; click BASE VIEW to see such. This could be a makers marking for Obear-Nester Glass Co. although they reportedly did not use that marking until the mid-1910 and then on machine-made bottles? This bottle is certainly mouth-blown not machine made. It could be an earlier marking for the company which did begin operations in East St. Louis, IL. in the early 1890s. This would be a logical local source of bottles for Harter's which was located just across the Mississippi in Missouri. In any event, a great addition to any medicine or tonic bottle collection! $85 SOLD
PSYSCHINE - THE GREATEST OF TONICS - Those words are embossed on the two narrow, unlabeled sides of this bottle that includes most of the box (base and top flaps missing) as well as the complete booklet on the product - and others from the company - that was wrapped around the bottle in the box. This is one of the few medicinal tonic bottles I have from our Canadian neighbors to the north. The booklet is even divided into two parts - English and French - reflecting their bilingual nature.
The bottle is also more profusely embossed within the indented front panel with the following: a double circle at the top of the panel with an anchor and TRADE MARK embossed on the inside with HOPE IS THE ANCHOR OF THE SOUL around the center. Below that vertically is DR. T. A. SLOCUM / LIMITED / 179 KING ST. W. TORONTO, CAN. Click close-up of the main embossing to see such. Cool embossing, eh? The pamphlet is intact with some minor discoloration and edge tears; click English side so see such, French side to view the reverse French cover side of the 15-16 page pamphlet. Interestingly enough, the address embossed on the bottle is a different part of Toronto than that on the pamphlet which is 193-195 Spadina Ave.
Richard Fikes' book on medicine bottles (Fike 1987) notes the following about this product: "Psychine, for consumption and lung troubles, was introduced in the late 1870s by Thomas A. Slocum, New York. Apparently embossed bottles were not utilized until the late 1880s." The company also produced Ozomulsion (mostly just cod liver oil) which is also noted in the pamphlet as a treatment/cure for many ills. Interestingly enough, I can't find any mention of the company producing the product in Toronto - like is embossed on this bottle and on the box - though Fike lists Montreal as one of the offices regarding Ozomulsion? I've never seen another of these tonic bottles nor any other Psyschine bottles that have the word "Tonic" embossed on them. In fact, I can not find them listed in any book I have that covers patent medicines, including Matt Knapps huge (600 p.) and comprehensive 2012 book "Antique American Medicine Bottles" though he does list a couple New York & London ones. Must be rare?
The bottle is of colorless glass that looks as though it may turn purple, i.e., decolorized with manganese dioxide. It is 8" tall and has a tooled two part finish or lip that would be called a "brandy finish" though much smaller than one would see on a brandy bottle. The bottle is perfect with just some residue inside from the original contents. It likely has the original cork which appears to have been corkscrewed out (a bit of a hole in the center) apparently to relieve the bottle of its contents years ago? Probably likely as the label notes the contents contained, among other things, strychnine sulfate! The label notes that it was even to be used on children! The bottle likely dates from right around 1909 to early 1910s as it lists on the bottle and box that it has "No. 5595 Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act" which was the 1908 Canadian version of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act in the United States. Neat item! $50
SCHENCK'S - TONIC with label. That is embossed on two opposite sides of this scarce medicinal tonic bottle which is quite rare with most of the original label and almost all the contents! (Images show how full the bottle is.) This is a later (1890s?) iteration of a popular patent medicine which also came in square aqua glass bottles dating back to before the Civil War - Schenck's - Seaweed - Tonic. Those bottles had that embossed on three sides with a label on the fourth non-embossed side. The earliest examples (1840s and 1850s) were pontil scarred and had an oval indentation on the 4th side that accepted a pill box of the Seaweed Pills. Pretty cool bottles which I've never had an example of but have had several of the somewhat later Seaweed Tonics dating from and after the Civil War.
The company was located in Philadelphia, PA. (also noted on the label of this example) and founded by Joseph H. Schenck in the mid-1830s with the first product being his Schenck's Pulmonary Syrup (1836) which was followed shortly thereafter by the Schenck's Seaweed Tonic. When the name changed to just Schenck's Tonic (this bottle) I don't know but would guess in the 1880s as all the examples I've had of the "Seaweed Tonic" had applied lips (aka "finishes" in glass maker parlance) and were blown in post-base molds.
This bottle was also blown in a post-base mold but has a tooled "oil" type finish as well as mold vent markings at the shoulder sides opposite the mold seams and a couple more down the beveled sides below the two shoulder marks. That would date it from the 1890s to possibly early 1900s. According to Fike's medicine bottles book (Fike 1987) the product was advertised at least as late as 1930 although this bottle predates that time period by decades. It is in mint condition, of course, with the body label about 85+% intact and mostly readable. The label stated alcohol level is 19% (38 proof) with the label noting a lot of things it was good for including "General or Nervous Debility" as well as "Flatulency or Distention of the Stomach, Belching or Wind, bitter or sour eructations..." and so forth. The cork is in great shape and sealing the bottle well with some of the neck/cork label strip still remaining on the bottle neck. There is also another label on the shoulder as the first image shows though it is not readable. Neat item and in my experience a scarcer bottle than the Seaweed Tonic versions even thought not as old as those. $125
VIN ZYMO WINE TONIC - This bottle is a very interesting, very early 20th century (1900-1910) "wine tonic" - common sub-species of medicinal tonics - bottle that was bottled in a standard "Bordeaux" style wine bottle. The bottle was produced in a turn-mold as it has no side-seams and the distinctive concentric horizontal rings on the body typical of that manufacturing method. It also has a tooled banded "champagne" style lip or finish, smooth base with a 1.25" kick-up and bump ("mamelon") in the center, 11.6" tall, and is a nice medium olive green color.
The bottle is labeled Vin Zymo Brand Elixir Wine Tonic which was produced by Purexo Products of San Francisco, CA. It notes a 20 or 30% alcohol level (there is a hole that obscures part of percentage) which is much higher than the usual levels of wine (12-15%) so must have been fortified to give it extra "medicinal" qualities. The label also notes that it "contains valuable medicaments (whatever that means) in properly blended fully matured California wine" and is "free from iron and laxatives." The bottle is in about mint condition (a little scratching on reverse) and the original label is very colorful and 95%+ intact and still solid. Bottle used for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. Interesting California wine related item from the era when the government was just beginning to really crack down on quackery. $20
STEWART D. HOWE'S - ARABIAN / TONIC / BLOOD PURIFIER - NEW YORK - These Arabian Tonic bottles have always been a favorite of mine - have had several through the years - in that they are big in size, nicely embossed, a bit earlier in age (1870s), and have a great name! This bottle is 9.5" tall, 3.25" wide and about 2" thick. It also has an applied "patent" finish, blown in a post-mold (smooth base), lacks any mold air venting, and as noted likely dates from the 1870s (possibly late 1860s or very early 1880s) era I would estimate from the manufacturing characteristics.
This example is boldly embossed and is essentially mint with just a bit of content haze in the upper front shoulder that takes a bright light to see. It also has some nice bubbles in the glass, a pleasant blue aqua color, stretch marks on in the neck, and a bit of slop over below the lip. I don't believe it has every been buried and certainly not professionally cleaned. One of the bigger, better, and fairly scarce "medicinal tonic" bottles! $45
C. G. PENDLETON'S / TONIC - This is an extremely rare medicinal "southern" tonic bottle which was purveyed out of Memphis, TN. according to information I found years back. I've seen maybe 3 or 4 (this is one of the two I've owned' the other sold years ago) of these in 25 years of collecting tonic bottles. I've never seen one offered by any of the major auction houses (to my memory anyway). They date to or just after the Civil War early 1870s at the latest - given the look of them and the era of similar shaped bitters bottles. Must not have been too popular or just produced for a few years? Certainly it was of only local distribution or there would be more around.
This example is almost 9.75" tall, about 2.6" to each side (all of which are deeply indented), blown in a post-base mold, and has a crudely applied "oil" type one-part finish or lip. Click shoulder, neck and finish to see such. The glass color is a nice, deep orange amber which does pass light well. Click view of bottle in the window to see the color in natural light. The base is a deeply indented circle - click base view to see such. The glass is wavy, whittled and crude on all sides - just spectacular crudeness really. Bubbles are relatively scarce, but some are found here and there. The bottle has been professionally cleaned but does have a bit of ground wear on once side at the bottom. There are also a couple surface open bubbles which aren't much of an issue and likely smoothed out a bit by the cleaning. I acquired this bottle from a well known collector (the late Ralph Van Brocklin) 20-25 years ago who was the source of the information on where it originated.
I purchased it as described above, but unfortunately I bumped another bottle against its shoulder inducing a 3" to 3.5" crack that in more or less within the arch above the embossing and curves around to the right side (looking straight at it) into the neighboring shoulder arch middle where it ends. It has been stable like this for many years now and it isn't too distracting but it is there. It will show in a couple spots in the enlargement of the images to the right as well as the shoulder, neck and finish and window images linked above. Specifically, the back side image shows where it ends about mid-arch; on the embossing side image it shows less but is just visible as a light line at the top of the panel arch. On the close-up of the shoulder image it is the black line the wiggles from left (above the panel) to right (within the arch, ignore the dried spider to the far right). Sad but the way it is. Selling it now for much less than I paid. $50 SOLD
C. C. C. / TONIC - This is the first of two C. C. C. TONIC bottles I'm offering for your consideration. Whether they are related or not, I do not know for sure, but have some ideas...so read on. This example is what would be called a "Blake" style pharmacy or druggist bottle. See my other Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website at the following link for more information on this popular (at the time) rectangular style of druggist bottle: https://sha.org/bottle/medicinal.htm#Rectangular%20Druggists This bottle is embossed boldly on the front side with C. C. C. which has horizontal lines embossed within each of the large "C" letters. Below it is embossed with TONIC in large, but solid or filled in letters. Click on the full sized image to the left to see view a larger image.
The only references to C. C. C. on medicine bottles that I can find are the "Certain Corn Cure" (Indiana), "Certain Chancre Cure" (Texas) and "Curtis' Cough Compound" (unknown) in Knapp's "Antique American Medicine Bottles" book. The only one with "TONIC" embossed is the scarce but occasionally seen bottle which is embossed C C C / TONIC / BOERICKE & RUNYON / NEW YORK which was also bottled in the "Blake" style druggist bottle. It has a different look to the embossing in that it does not have the thick letters with lines like this example and there are no periods after each "C" like this example. And of course, it has the company and city embossed whereas this offering doesn't as well as coming in two sizes (6" and 8"). I'm not positive those are connected with this one but since they are bottled in the same style bottle it is a distinct possibility? It is also possible that this bottle is a rip off imitation of the B&R product? In any event, this is the only example I've ever seen of this particular tonic bottle so if used by B&R it was likely the earlist one.
The bottle has a typical - for the bottle style - tooled "prescription" lip or finish. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such closer up. It is 8" tall, by 3" wide, by 2" deep - a large bottle for the styleprobably holding upwards of 16 oz. It is of colorless glass like most druggist style bottles with an ever-so-slight amethyst tint when looking through a thick part of the glass. This indicates the glass batch was decolorized with manganese dioxide and would turn purple if exposed enough time to sunlight. The base is embossed in the center with an "N" inside of a circle; click base view to see such. That is the makers marking for Obear-Nester Glass Co. (St. Louis, IL.) which used this marking from 1895 to the mid-1920s; this bottle dating from the first 10-15 years of that period (late 1890s to maybe early 1910s). If interested in the history of the company see this article on my Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/Obear-Nester.pdf
Condition of this bottle is nearly mint with no chips, cracks or dings of any type. It has very little outside scuffing and very light water staining in a few spots inside...a minority of the insides. The outside is sparkling clean. Nice medicinal tonic bottle which is the same size and "Blake" style as the equally rare Columbian Tonic listed above. Makes a good pair! $45
C.C.C. / star / TONIC - Offered here is another very rare medicinal tonic bottle similarly embossed but is strangely enough shaped like a "shoo-fly" liquor flask. In fact, I've only ever recorded one example of this bottle - this offering. As far as I know this is the only medicinal tonic bottle in this shape that is embossed "TONIC." The shape seems to imply a high amount of alcohol in addition to it's medicinal qualities? Continuing the discussion above speculating as to where this bottle came from it does share some similarities (the C.C.C. embossing being of a different design than the TONIC below it; periods after each "C") and some differences (star ornament, the shape and glass color). If this flask is also another variety used by Boericke & Runyon as speculated on above, then it is distinctly a different type and size. This, like the example above, could also be a knock-off imitation?
Manufacturing attributes include the slightly vague/sloppy two part double ring, tooled lip/finish. The reverse has no embossing but is kind of crude; click reverse view to see such. Click close-up of upper body, neck and finish to see such. The base is smooth with no embossing; click base view to see such. As the images show, the glass is a nice medium amber with a bit of brightness to it. The embossing seems to be via a replaceable plate (aka "plate mold" or "slug plate" in collector parlance) as it appears a bit indented on the front unlike the backside. I see no air venting marks. It was blown in a cup-base mold like most all shoo-fly flasks I've observed over the years and I've seen and owned a lot of them. That style of flasks seems to have originated about 1880 or a few years earlier. (I cover the style on my Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website at the following link, if interested: https://sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Shoo-fly%20&%20Coffin%20flasks ) Given the noted manufacturing details, I would date this flask to the mid-1880s to early 1890s.
The condition is essentially mint with the exception of a small impact flake on the lower right corner (shows in the base view and the full view slightly) that is shallow and about 3mm x 4mm. Otherwise the outside of the flask is sparkling clean; the inside has some splotchy moderate staining the upper half of the bottle which is hard to see without a bright light behind it. Cool and rare tonic that still is a mystery to me, though it is likely from somewhere in the Eastern US although I don't remember from what location I procured the bottle. $50
...or take both CCC bottles for $85 (plus shipping).
JOHNSON'S TONICS - Four different molds! Offered here as a group are a few variations of what was likely one of the most popular medicinal tonics of the late 19th to early 20th century - JOHNSON'S CHILL & FEVER TONIC. Specifically, these four bottles are all a bit different although the two on the right in the 4 bottle images has the same embossing on both the sides as well as the base. Actually 3 of 4 bottles have "47" embossed on the base with the second from the left having "24". Click bases view to see such.
I couldn't find much history on the product or producer besides Richard Fike's medicine bottle book (1987) noting the product being advertised in 1891 and much later in the early 1940s, though that indicates that the product was sold for at least a half century and at least originated in Savannah, GA. (Fike notes that in the early 1940s it was being sold by a company in St. Louis, MO.) Matt Knapp's comprehensive book on American medicine bottles (2012) lists a few variations like the b0ttle to the far left (with A.B. Girardeau embossed and likely the oldest?) but not the three other bottles here. The bottles will be described as they are shown in the image from left to right; click on the "Example #" hot link to see a close-up image of that entire bottle.
Example #1 (far left): This colorless/clear glass example is embossed vertically (top to bottom) with JOHNSON'S CHILL & FEVER TONIC / GUARANTEED TO CURE / A. B. GIRARDEAU. SAV'H. GA. This bottle - same as all the others - has a tooled double ring lip or finish and was blown in an air vented (one vent mark on the back shoulder) cup-base mold with a square indentation on the base; this one having "47" embossed in the center (a likely mold tracking number). The glass has a very slight pink tint indicating that the glass batch was decolorized with manganese dioxide as were the other three examples (more on that below). The bottle is essentially mint with just the faintest trace of even haze on the inside; no chips, cracks, dings, open bubbles or other post-production damage. It has some scattered bubbles in the glass and I believe this is the oldest of the group due t0 having just one air venting mark; probably dating from the 1890s.
Example #2 (second from the left): This deep amethyst example is embossed JOHNSON'S TONIC / MADE IN / SAVANNAH, GA. This example was likely exposed to an ultra-violet (UV) light (like used for food sterilization) for some period of time to bring out the purple lurking in the glass batch formula due to the manganese dioxide as noted above. This example has 6 separate air venting markings spread out around the shoulder area as well as four on the base. This probably indicates a more recent manufacture (though still mouth-blown) than example #1 above, i.e., likely early 1900s to mid-1910s. The base is embossed with a "24" mold number unlike the three other examples with "47". This example has some light haze scattered inside and out which isn't too distracting due to the nice purple color. Like all 4 bottles, this one has no chips, cracks, dings, open bubbles or other post-production damage.
Example #3 (third from the left): This (and the next) example is embossed JOHNSON'S CHILL / AND FEVER TONIC. Also another deep amethyst example that was also likely zapped with a UV light. This example also has about 6 air venting markings scattered around the shoulder area but none on the base like #2 above. This would indicate to me that it was made sometime between #1 and #2 - probably 1900 to 1910. Condition is very good with some scattered light haze (some colorfully iridescent) which is also not too distracting due to the wonderful color. Like with all 4 bottles this one has no chips, cracks, dings, open bubbles or other post-production damage.
Example #4 (far right): This last example is embossed identically to #3 - including the "47" on the base - although upon close inspection this was blown in a different mold than #3. Proof of this is also supported by this bottle just having two slightly larger venting marks on the shoulders opposite the vertical mold seam lines. The glass is also basically colorless like #2 with a bit of pink also indicating that the glass batch had manganese dioxide as the decolorizer. Condition is also physically perfect - no chips, cracks, dings, etc. though the glass is more moderately water stained by not horribly so.
All four bottles are available as a group for only $50
ROSS'S AROMATIC TONIC - J. R. R. & CO. - That is embossed on opposite sides of this quite rare tonic bottle from Indianapolis, IN. I've only encountered a couple others in my years of medicinal tonic collecting. I know it is from Indianapolis because I long ago acquired a really nice 1880s trade card for the product and it shows the owner and address on the back side. The front side (click image to the left to enlarge) has a garden thief getting his backside nipped by a dog. Cool, eh?! Click reverse side of trade card to see such.
The J. R. R. & Co. embossing stands for Jas. R. Ross & Co. located at 129 South Meridian St., Indianapolis. Also noted there is that Mr. Ross dealt in Wholesale Liquors & Cigars. The trade card measures 4.5" tall x 2.5" wide and is in excellent condition with no real staining, creases or other damage besides a bit of wear to the lower corners and maybe a slight yellowing of the paper which is even and a non-issue. Of course, the trade card is also included with the bottle.
The bottle itself is a typical "square bitters" shape standing 8.75" tall, 2.5" to a side (measured at the base) with beveled corners and a true applied "oil" style finish or lip. There isn't much slop from the glass applied and tooled to form the lip but it is certainly applied. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such. The base shows the typical conformation of being produced in a post-base mold where the base plate of the mold is essentially a third part to at the base to help center the two mold sides as the mold was shut to blow the bottle. Click base view to see such.
Condition of this bottle is exceptional - essentially perfectly mint and as it came from the glass works where it was blown (I speculate) sometime between the late 1870s and mid 1880s...give or take a year or two. It has no chips, cracks, staining, potstones or other issues at all. I believe it is truly "attic mint" as I see no evidence it was professionally cleaned, though that is possible. If so, it was very lightly done. Nice addition to a collection of tonics or Indiana bottles or just "rare squares" with the added bonus of an original and quite humorous trade card for the product . $225 SOLD!
WESTMORELAND'S - CALISAYA TONIC. - Here is another "rare square" medicinal tonic bottle, this one from the Deep South. Westmoreland's Calisaya Tonic bottles were produced in two sizes - this 9.75" large (maybe 18-20 oz.) size (I've recorded two different molds) and a smaller approx. 8" tall small size (three different molds recorded, see listing below). Click view of both size bottles together to see such. This is the earlier example with a crudely applied "brandy" finish (aka lip), no evidence of mold air venting and blown in a post-base type mold. This example is likely to be the earliest of the two larger sizes since the other large size had a tooled finish/lip, was blown in a cup-base mold and has several air venting "dots" on the shoulders opposite the mold seams. (I owned an example of the later one but sold it long ago.)
Back when I acquired my first example of these bottles (20+ years ago and one of the smaller sizes) I was in contact with Bill Baab (well known collector in the South) who gave me some information on its history having written "The Book" on Augusta, GA. bottles. I don't have the book (since it is narrowly regional a long ways from where I live in Oregon) but he noted the following in an email: It's an Augusta, Georgia bottle. Jesse M. Westmoreland of Greenville, S.C., came up with the formula, but the Westmoreland Calisaya Tonic Co., was chartered on March 4, 1890 in Augusta.
This particular bottle as well as the earliest appearing small size (listed below, the other two smaller variations to be listed later) both appear to pre-date 1890 given the manufacturing features noted earlier which are indicative of bottles made no later than mid to late 1880s, i.e., before Bill Baab's noted date of chartering in Augusta. Hummm... This got me searching a bit more in my much too extensive (sez the wife) bottle bottle library and did find some clarification. Specifically, in Mark Knapp's "Antique American Medicine Bottles" book (Knapp 2012) he only notes the smaller (~8") version of the product but has an undated advertisement (likely from the 1880s) which notes that the product was first prepared and sold in 1883 out of Greenville, SC by a Dr. J. M. Westmorland. Click on Westmorland's Calisaya Tonic advertisement to see such. Bingo! This larger example was almost certainly made for the Westmoreland Calisaya Tonic Company when it was in Greenville, SC. as well as the earliest of the smaller size noted above (and shown in the linked image in the first paragraph). The later examples were likely made for the Augusta branch or after the company moved to that city - I don't know which but that is what the noted diagnostic manufacturing bottle features are indicating.
As noted it has a crudely applied "brandy" or "long tapered collar with a ring" finish or lip. Click close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish to see such. It was blown in a non-vented, post-base mold; see image of the base to see such showing the side mold seams wrapping around to the base and terminating at the circular "post" base seam. Two of the three sunken side panels (opposite ones) have the embossing; the other having no embossing and likely used for a label. The 4th panel is not indented and likely had a label also. The glass is a nice, bright medium amber with scattered bubbles with one small tear drop one (<1/4") on the plain sunken panel at the surface but with no depth at all (in making). This particular example is in near mint condition and appears to have been lightly cleaned with just a bit of dullness in the middle of the base plate area. No cracks, flashes, chips or other post-production damage. All in all an exceptional example of a rare Southern medicine bottle. $185
WESTMORELAND'S - CALISAYA TONIC - Offered here (images to the right) is the apparent earliest of the smaller size (maybe 12 oz.) bottles used for the same product as above with most likely the same history behind it as explained previously. I have three different mold examples of the smaller size of the Westmoreland's Calisaya Tonic with this one exhibiting the features consistent with manufacture in the 1880s, i.e., a true applied "brandy" finish, no evidence of mold air venting and blown in a post-base type mold. I am pretty certain that this is the first of the smaller versions which was used by the Westmoreland Calisaya Tonic Co. when it was formed in Greenville, SC. Click view of both size bottles together to see such. Besides the size, the only real difference between the bottles is that the smaller size has embossing that is back slanted whereas the larger size lettering is straight up and down. Don't know why of course though likely due to either a different mold engraver or at the request of the Dr. Westmoreland for that batch of bottles. It has the same format of paneling as the larger example with the embossing found on opposite sides in an indented panel, another plain indented panel between the two embossed ones and a non-indented flat label panel on the fourth side.
This bottle is exactly 8" tall, was blown in a post-base mold (click base view to see such) without air venting and has an applied "brandy" finish or lip which has a bit of sloppiness confirming the finish was made from tooling separately applied glass after the formation of the bottle. (Note: If unfamiliar with the difference between applied and tooled finishes - as I use the terminology - see the following linked article that I wrote for a Society of Historical Archaeology publication in 2010: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/finishingtoucharticle.pdf ) Click view of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such showing a bit of crudeness to the base of the finish ring indicating an applied finish. The glass color is a very deep chocolate amber - really a black amber as it takes holding it to a strong light to see through the bottle. It has a moderate amount of crudity with some wavy glass on the label panel. bubbles in the glass and stretch marks in the shoulder-base of the neck area.
Condition of this example is very good with no chip, cracks or other physical damage besides a few very light, but short scratches. It does have a bit of minor dullness patchiness in a few places on the side panels and the base. There are a couple bubbles that are on the surface of the glass but with no depth at all...just part of the bottles hand-blown crudity. Nice example! $125
...and if you wish to buy the set of both bottles listed above I would part with them for $295.
DR. CHARLES' / HEALTH TONIC. / PREPARED BY / DR. CHARLES Co. NEW YORK. - This is the only example I've ever encountered of this particular medicinal tonic bottle although I've had a report from a fellow collector who knew of one other example. Call it rare at least and likely a medicine of both short term production and a limited area of distribution in the East. I know nothing about the company and can find no listing of the bottle or company in any of my medicine oriented books. So that leaves me dead in the water as far as giving much background or details about the company that used this otherwise quite interesting tonic bottle. Guess it was supposed to address and treat any type of "health" issues one had?
As the images show, it is basically a rectangular druggist style bottle with rounded corners and flat vertical narrow sides. It does have the "patent" style of lip or finish, not the "prescription" style most druggist bottles used. (Click the following links to see the discussion of those two very similar finishes on my educational Historic Bottle Website: patent finish, prescription finish.) The noted embossing is via a removable plate (slug plate in collector parlance) so the mold could be used to produce differently embossed bottles much cheaper than an expensive proprietary mold. This general style of druggist b0ttle went by several different names depending on which (unknown) glass company produced it. For example, The Illinois Glass Company's version of this druggist bottle had the proprietary name of "Favorite Oval" in their 1903 catalog. Whitall, Tatum & Co. had a very similar version in their 1892 catalog which they called "The Manhattan Oval."
There are no makers marking on the base as many of these type druggist bottles very often have from the same era - likely the 1890s to very early 1900s. Click base view to see such which shows a rectangular indentation with just a few mold induced irregularities. One of the irregularities appears to be possibly the lower portion of a faint triangle, the lower horizontal part of which is barely visible. If it is part of a triangle it is quite flattened/compressed and not attributable to any particular glass company, though something near New York would be likely. Given the look of this bottle and the fact that it was called by a New York name - and Whitall, Tatum & Co. was located in nearby New Jersey - makes it possible that this bottle was made by that company although they usually base marked their products. The reverse is plain and undoubtedly sported a paper label with all kinds of period appropriate (i.e., exaggerated, wild) claims about what aspects of one's health the product addressed. Click view of the reverse to see such.
Condition of the bottle is near mint with no chips, cracks or other post production physical damage. The embossing is quite bold with the exception of the RLE in CHARLES for some reason; likely mold lubricant stuck in the engraved plate lettering. There is a very minor bit of wear or staining on the back panel (lower panel and upper right shoulder) which shows in the view of the reverse image; almost nothing on the rest of the bottle. Overall the outside of the bottle is bright and shiny as the images show and the inside free of staining. The bottle is a medium dark amber with a nice brightness to it. The neck of the bottle shows the horizontal rings made by the finishing or lipping tool in forming the finish/lip. (This is visible in the close-up image of the upper bottle to the left). There are a few bubbles here and there in the glass to round out a nice example of a rare medicinal tonic from the pre-Pure Food & Drugs Act of 1906 era. $50
...MORE MEDICINAL TONICS TO COME IN THE NEAR FUTURE!
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Page Last Updated: 12/3/2023