OTHER MEDICINAL BOTTLES & related
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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. $475
LINDSEY'S - BLOOD+ / SEARCHER - PITTSBURGH. - This is embossed on three sides of this large medicine bottle from the 1860s or possibly early 1870s. This is likely the third or fourth chronological mold version of the Lindsey's bottles; possibly being used concurrently with the very similar large sized Hollidaysburg Lindsey's of which I've found three mold variations (one of which is the rare colored examples). It is almost certainly the second mold with Pittsburgh embossed. (The first Pittsburgh mold is a so far a unique iron pontiled version that has PITTSBURGH, PA. embossed [Greer collection] whereas all the rest of the Pittsburgh bottles [7 molds including this one] leave off the PA.)
Up until a couple years ago I had only documented 8 different Lindsey's molds (three of the earliest ones have Hollidaysburg as the city) and hadn't noted any different ones for many years...until this mold (#9) was discovered (I now have another example) and a new Hollidaysburg variation found just recently. This one doesn't have PA. embossed like the noted pontiled variant, but does have a period after the PITTSBURGH. which no other Pittsburgh examples have. This mold also has a weird "S" in PITTSBURGH which more resembles a poorly rendered "9". (The other three "S"s in the embossing are also a bit weird; the mold engraver having a not uncommon problem engraving that particular letter backwards on the mold surface.)
This example has a smooth (non-pontiled) base that is of the early "key mold" type. It is about 8.6" tall, has a crudely applied double ring style finish (aka "lip"), lacks mold air venting as appropriate for its age, and is of a moderately heavy almost ice blue type aqua glass (the other example I have is identical in color). It has the same body dimensions as the Hollidaysburg examples, i.e., 3.75" wide and 2.75" deep. The oldest mold variation of the other later Pittsburgh bottles are smaller in the body being about 3.6" wide and 2.5" deep. Click base views to see a visual comparison of these two Pittsburgh molds; click side views to see such (offered bottle on the left in the images). The two bottles also are "key molded" in opposite directions.
The condition of this example is near mint with no chips, cracks, fleabites or obvious staining. There are nice stretch marks on the neck and shoulder, some various sized bubbles here and there, some body crudeness and topped off with a crudely applied finish. This example, like probably all the earlier (and maybe later?) mold variations, were certainly products of one of the many famous Pittsburgh glass works of that era. In my decades of experience of looking at a lot of Lindsey's (it is my namesake bottle if wondering why I obsess about the details) this is the third or fourth rarest of all the mold types; second only to the iron pontiled Pittsburgh mold of the Pittsburg variations. Being found only in various shades of aqua glass it doesn't demand the price of the deeply colored black glass and other shades of medium to dark green Hollidaysburg Lindsey's. Incidentally, the deeply colored examples all appear to be from the same mold (and not pontiled) which is different than the two other Hollidaysburg molds which come in shades of aqua to light blue green, one mold of which is rarely, though sometimes, iron pontiled. 'Nuff said - rare bottle. $250
LINDSEY'S - BLOOD+ / SEARCHER - PITTSBURGH - This is embossed on three sides of this big, bold medicine bottle from the mid-1860s to possibly early 1870s. This is likely the fourth mold version of the Lindsey's bottles and the third mold with Pittsburgh embossed. (The first is a unique iron pontiled version that has Pittsburgh PA. embossed [Greer collection]; the second the slightly larger "Hollidaysburg" size listed above which, with all the other Pittsburgh bottles, leave off the PA. after Pittsburgh.) I've now documented 10 different molds to date with three of the earliest looking six having Hollidaysburg as the city. None of the mold versions are particularly common and many quite rare as discussed in the listing. This listed one is one of the more abundant early (Civil War or shortly thereafter) variants.
This particular mold comes with a smooth (non-pontiled) base that is of the early "key mold" type. It is almost 8.5" tall, has a crudely applied double ring style finish (aka "lip"), lacks mold air venting as appropriate for its age, and is of a quite heavy bluish aqua glass (glass color typical of this mold). Condition of this example is exceptional; it is essentially near perfect with no chips, dings, cracks, significant scratches or visible staining. Like most of the examples of these I've seen (I've had many) there are nice stretch marks to the neck, some various sized bubbles here and there, some nice rough texture to the body in places. A great example of this particular mold which tend to often be moderately stained (aka "patinated"). These bottles are almost certainly a product of one of the many famous Pittsburgh glass works of that era. $125
LINDSEY'S / BLOOD / SEARCHER - R. E. SELLERS & Co. PROP'S - PITTSBURGH - This is an example of what is certainly the last (10th) unique mold in the long run of embossed Lindsey's Blood Searcher bottles beginning with pontiled versions (two of the earliest molds are very rarely found pontiled) in the 1850s. This one most likely dates from the early 1890s (possibly late 1880s?) as it appears to have no air venting marks which would have been present if the mold was made in the late 1890s or certainly by the early 1900s.
Actually, with some study of the embossing I can see that it was blown in the same mold as an example I just acquired with the label, contents and original box! That box states the product was "Guaranteed under the Pure Food and Drugs Act of June 30th, 1906." That was verbiage apparently required on all medicinal products from that enactment date to around 1910 in my experience. I know that this last mold variation is fairly scarce indicating that maybe that mold lasted for quite a few years (15 or so years?) or only a few batches of bottles were blown every few years? More research needed...
Anyway, this example is about 8.75" tall, smooth rectangular indented base, tooled double ring finish/lip with a sharp outer edge to the upper part (only observed on the last two molds), and made of colorless glass (aka "clear" though with a very nice amethyst tint) like all of the bottles from this mold in my experience. The embossing on this example is probably better than average for a mold that was lightly engraved it seems (maybe a weak mold engraver!) - all the examples I've seen or had (many) were lightly embossed similarly. Condition essentially dead mint with no staining, chips, cracks, dings, fleabites or any issues...it just sparkles! It is as fine of an example as one can find with some bubbles and wavy glass; I'm only selling it because I acquired another example of this mold that is a bit cruder, though doesn't have the nice pink tint. Probably regret selling it as these last mold Lindsey's are scarce and this is a much better than average example in color and condition. $50
DR. DEWITT'S LIVER BLOOD / & KIDNEY REMEDY / W. J. PARKER & CO. BALTO MD. - The bottle to the right was used for helping illustrate some concepts on the Historic Bottle Website. In particular, to illustrate the changes patent medicine producers were being forced on them by the increasing regulatory controls put on such consumer products prompted by the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 and the subsequent Sherley Amendment in 1912. (See the following linked page on my educational website at this URL - http://www.sha.org/bottle/medicinal.htm for more information; the following is largely from my write-up there:
"The bottle pictured...is an example of some of the bottle related adaptations patent medicine producers had to make after passage of the above act in order to continue selling their product without breaking the law. Upon close inspection one can see that word CURE was removed (a more common version of this bottle has CURE) from the embossing pattern via a small inserted plate which was instead engraved with REMED on the plate itself with the letter Y just after it engraved on the surface of the mold which was previously blank. Click close-up of embossing to distinctly see the fine lined "box" made by the edges of the plate which replaced CURE with REMED along with the new letter Y.
"As an interesting side note, William J. Parker was prosecuted under the regulations promulgated by the noted acts and his claim for the product curing "diabetes, Bright's disease, malaria and diseases of the liver, blood and kidneys" was "declared recklessly and wantonly false and fraudulent." He was fined $15 via a Notice of Judgment issued October 16th, 1916 (American Medical Association 1921:587). To further quote that reference "Government chemists reported that the preparation, which contained over 11 per cent alcohol, was essentially an alcohol-water solution bearing a cathartic drug together with Epsom salt, nitrates and iodids. The taste suggested senna."
Anyway, this bottle was mouth-blown, has a tooled patent finish, and is a large 8.5" tall, 3" wide and 2" deep. It has air venting marks on the two non-mold seam shoulders, the four corners of the base and sporadically in the embossing pattern indicating manufacture during the early 1900s, i.e., 1905 to the mid 1910s. I've only seen the "Cure" bottles before and can't even find a reference to the "Remedy" (and I have virtually all bottle reference books ever published). In any event it is a "late" hand-blown, limited production bottle, very scarce bottle that is in perfect shape with no chips, cracks, staining, nicks, etc. $35
CELRO-KOLA - CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. - CELRO-KOLA - Here is a VERY rare Oregon bitters type bottle. In fact, this is the only one I've ever seen or heard of though I've seen an assortment of the later Celro-Kola bottles which are machine-made without the sunken panels. This example is embossed on two indented sides with CELRO-KOLA in script and on the in-between side with CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. The fourth unembossed label panel is not indented.
This hand-blown (not machine-made) bottle dates from the very early 1900s as it has a tooled "brandy" style finish or lip and a smooth base (indented square). It is near mint with just a bit of scuffing or light scratching on the label panel. The color is a bright light to medium amber which is accurately shown in the images (click any to enlarge). An interesting aspect is the neck which tapers from larger to smaller going up to the lower ring at the base of the lip or finish. The only square "bitters" type bottles I've seen with this feature is one variation of the California Fig Bitters, which also date from the same early 1900s era. I've had this bottle for decades, though I don't remember where I acquired it. In any event, a great Oregon rarity! $350
DR COOPER'S / SARSAPARILLA / WOODARD, CLARKE & CO / PORTLAND, ORE. - One of the more exciting finds when I was a teenager (late 1960s) digging in the urban renewal areas of Portland, OR. was finding one of these rare Portland bottles - the only embossed sarsaparilla bottle from Oregon (or NW) I believe. Unfortunately, that original find got away though I've had this one - which I purchased later - for many years. They just don't come along often but it is time to move this one on also...just not enough room for everything. This big medicine bottle is of a bluish aqua glass, 10" tall, indented body panels on all four sides (just the front embossed), smooth base with indented circular center (post base mold conformation), and dating from around 1895 to 1905 I would guess. Woodard, Clarke & Co. was a major NW druggist and medical supply firm which must have been somehow connected to the Clarke-Woodward Drug Co. (see the CLA-WOOD MALT TONIC bottle listed later on this page) which was also in Portland; the "w" in Woodward being a misspelling of Woodard? I don't know the history of this company though I do know there were C. H. WOODARD embossed drug bottles that dated back at least into the 1870s. The condition of this bottle is very good - near mint I would call it - with no chips, cracks, dings or significant staining. There are some wisps of very, very faint haze here and there though largely the back panel on the outside and the shoulders on the inside; probably a scuff or two somewhere though I can't find any of note. Hard to find Oregon medicine bottle of good size. $275
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 broken open at all on either side of the bottle 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
DR. SLACK'S / MEXICAN / CATARRH REMEDY / CLAYTON, N. MEX. - Here is a patent medicine bottle from a small town (current pop. less than 3000) located in the NE corner of New Mexico. How many actual patent or proprietary medicine bottles have you seen from the entire state of New Mexico? I know of no other types, but also know of no book on New Mexico bottles (besides sodas) so don't have much to go on. I've seen a few of these Dr. Slack's bottles on the internet over the past decade, but they still seem to be a very scarce or rare bottle. It has a tooled rounded "bead" lip or finish, is almost 6" tall, smooth base, colorless/clear glass with a slight amethyst tint and some bubbles in the glass, and appears to date from the early 1900s as there is ample mold air venting in evidence on the shoulders and base. Condition of this one is comparatively quite good (the few examples I remember were quite stained, some with damage) with some moderate, internal white staining - which is pretty even and not overly distracting - and some swirly mild etching lines on the outside; otherwise no chips, cracks, flea bites, or other post production damage. It seems like someone dug a few of these at one point - probably in or near Clayton - and they reacted to the alkaline soils probably typical of this high (5000') desert area. $90
(NOTE: Recently an article was published on these bottles in the FOHBC's Bottles & Extras magazine [Nov.-Dec. 2013] detailing some fascinating history about Dr. John C. Slack [1856-1917] who apparently produced this medicine from about 1897 into the early 1900s sometime - so this is a New Mexico Territory era bottle. He was a real doctor - not a fake "medicine wagon" type - and had the additional claim to fame as having been the doctor to pronounce dead the famous Southwestern bank and train robber "Black Jack" Tom Ketchum in 1901 after his execution by hanging. As part of that "honor" he also had to sew Black Jack's head back on after his hanging which - due to an improper, non-stretching rope - decapitated Black Jack when the trap door sprang and the rope fully extended! Black Jack Ketchum was one of the "Hole In The Wall Gang" members along with Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch. Cool history, eh?!)
WARNER'S / "SAFE" CURE / (embossed safe with TRADE / MARK on door) / FRANKFURT A/m - This is an example of Mr. H. H. WARNERS reach into the European market with his famous - in the late 19th to early 20th century U. S. - proprietary "Safe Cure". The Frankfurt office was opened in 1886 according to Ojea & Stecher (1998) book on Warner's products. (This is #67 in that book.) Stephen Jackson's more recent (and great )article in Bottles and Extras (November-December 2016) on foreign Warner's bottles listed the Frankfurt office as being opened in 1887. He also noted that the A/m (sometimes A/main on other examples) is to denote Frankfurt on the Main River as opposed to the city of the same name on the Oder River.
These European made Warner's (similar ones were embossed with London, Melbourne [made in Europe], and Pressburg) are always quite crude - much cruder than the similar age (late 1880s or 1890s) American made, mouth blown Warner's Safe bottles. There is apparently some debate (Jackson 2016) as to whether these bottles were blown in England and shipped to Germany, or blown in Germany. Either could be possible in my opinion as both countries were still making such crude bottles with true applied lips (aka "finishes") - like this example has - until the early 1900s to even 1910s.
This is a pint example (9.25" tall) is a nice one with the usual crudeness - heavy rippled, wavy, whittled glass, applied blob lip, stretch marks on the neck and bubbles here and there in the glass. There is no staining as seems typical with these bottles; the glass used was particularly immune to reaction with the soil. This one is essentially as made mint with a few largely invisible light scratches here and there; there are a couple minor in-making "issues" to note. There is a shallow surface bubble to the right of the safe that is about 1/2" by 1/4" in size with about 60% of it open. On the reverse side below where the blob lip was applied is a 1/2" or so flake extending below the lip base which was caused when the blowpipe was cracked off the neck of the bottle. (Click reverse close-up to see such.) This I've seen on quite a few European made Warner's and, along with the open bubble, are totally in making though are described for completeness. They are not particularly distracting on this otherwise quite crude, lovely and relatively scarce bottle. Priced right at... $165
MRS. E. KIDDER / DYSENTERY / CORDIAL - Here is a nice big, cylindrical medicinal bottle that dates from the 1860s or possibly early 1870s. Dysentery was a major killer back in the mid-19th century and before due to its virulent (and viral) nature affecting ones intestinal system. It is caused by poor sanitation conditions and is still a major problem in many lesser developed nations (aka "developing economies" or what used to be the "third world nations") killing tens of thousands of people yearly. Whether this product worked is dubious but it probably at least provided some "placebo effect" benefits and was probably high in alcohol like most medicines of the era. Mrs. Kidder in the early days of production (1840s and 1850s) personally signed the labels of all the bottles; the product was made at least as late as 1888 (Odell 2000). Women's names on bottled products of this era are quite uncommon, though there are a few. Mrs. Kidder and these bottles were from Boston, Mass., the earlier ones being pontiled and having BOSTON embossed underneath CORDIAL. This is the later smooth base version though I believe earlier versions of this variation were iron pontiled. Anyway, this example is about 8.25" tall, 3.3" in diameter, a slightly domed smooth base, crudely applied two-part "mineral" type finish, and is a nice bluish aqua glass as shown. It also has quite a few bubbles in the glass as well as stretch marks on the upper shoulder and neck...all befitting it Civil War era manufacture. The condition of it is essentially mint with no staining, cracks, chips or other issues...maybe one thin scuff mark in one spot. Great example! $65
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! $60
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
BLANDING & BLANDING / PHARMACISTS / PROVIDENCE, R.I. - This is embossed vertically (in a plate) on one side of this early 20th century "French Square" style of prescription or druggist bottle. This bottle was acquired for use in helping illustrate some concepts on the Historic Bottle Website - specifically because it has the original label which includes the date (5-?-1904). Such bottles with dated labels (quite rare with an actual prescription filling date inscribed) places the date of manufacture to a fairly precise period - in this case 1903 or 1904 given that druggists typically ordered bottles once a year or more. The bottle is about 5.25" tall, has a smooth base with an indented square but no embossing, tooled "prescription" style finish, and has a couple of mold air venting marks at each shoulder opposite the mold seams. The bottle is essentially dead mint with the exception of a bit of dirt on the inside. The label (99% intact) is a bit darkened with age as the image shows well though the year is quite visible as well as the company name, city, and to some degree the prescription itself though it is in longhand writing and hard to figure out (and is some Latin-y type name for some concoction). Don't know if bottles from this particular druggist are rare or not though it is listed in the "Antique Bottles of Rhode Island" (1996) book as RI-047 though no history for this company noted. $20
Sample Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills, and Comstock's Dead Shot Worm Pellets - This is very neat sample "envelope" of the famous patent medicine product which was first produced in the 1830s. This items appears to date from the late 19th century or early 20th and is sealed with the original "pills" and "pellets" still included within! This item is like a small first class mail envelope except that it is only 3.2" by 2" in size. Still fully sealed - never opened - and in great condition as it still has a crisp and solid feeling with only some mild soiling and a tiny (2 mm) tear on the top (above the "P" in SAMPLE). Dr. Morse's Pills was bottled in a small pill bottle; the company history and bottle is outlined in one of Dr. Cannon's great articles from AB&GC Magazine (on the Glass Works Auctions site) at this link: http://www.glswrk-auction.com/073.htm Great go-with for the medicine bottle collector...or just bottle collectors in general. $15
DR. MORSE'S INDIAN ROOT PILLS advertising Confederate Currency - Here is another medicine go-with and again for Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills. This is a "FAC-SIMILE" (sez so on the front!) of a Confederate $20 bill that was given out as an advertising flier for the famous patent medicine in the late 1800s or very early 1900s. (Not sure why the company felt compelled to say "Fac-simile" since CSA currency was of no value for many decades already?) The advertising part on the reverse notes it was a "...specific cure for most of the Blood, Stomach and Liver Diseases." The pills were also for "...Giddiness, Headache and are most useful for female disorders." No comment on the latter claims; click on the images above to see much larger, better quality scans of this fake Confederate bank note that measures 7" by 3". This IS the real thing and not a modern reproduction (which I've never seen anyway). I picked this up - actually two examples - in a lot of weird bank or bank-like notes at a numismatic auction decades ago when I had a bout of coin and paper money collecting. This item is essentially pristine with no stains, rips, or other issues...just a couple very faint creases which can't even be seen in the scans. A fantastic and certainly rare go-with quack medicine item that is in fantastic shape. $25
COMPLIMENTS OF / MORGAN / & / BREHAUT / COTTAGE GROVE, ORE. - All that is embossed inside the oval "plate" of this little, rarely encountered, dose glass from a (still) small town in Oregon located south of Eugene, OR. It has the usual dose markings embossed on the reverse as well as the commonly encountered base embossing of - W. T. CO. / AL / U .S. A. That embossing indicates manufacture by Whitall Tatum & Co. who was a large producer of druggist bottles and other druggist purveyed wares during the last few decades of the 19th century until the 1930s when they were absorbed into another glass company. (For a history of the company and its markings, see this article on my other educational Historic Bottle Website: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/WTandCo_BLockhart.pdf ) These druggist dose glasses were primarily made by Whitall Tatum (New Jersey bottle & glass producer) who provided embossed ones to thousands of druggists across the country beginning in the 1880s sometime and lasting until the early 1920s (at least). Of interest, this druggist also used an embossed "picture" druggist bottle with the unusual embossing of the rear end of a house cat walking away. Why? Who knows, but it was made by W. T. Co. also. Needless to say, the druggist bottles are somewhat desired due to the strange graphic which I've never seen on any other druggist; the usual "picture" druggist has a mortar & pestle though a large array of other graphics can be found. This dose glass is the usual shape and size (~2" tall), is of colorless glass (virtually all are), and has no chips, cracks or other damage. It does have some very faint content (buried at some point?) staining to the inside (left side) of the glass which can be seen barely in the enlarged image in the lower left corner. Minor issue, but is there...and otherwise if a very nice "go-with" for the medicine or Oregon bottle collector. $100
JOYS - SARSAPARILLA - THE / EDWIN W. JOY CO. / SAN FRANCISCO - I sold one of these some time back, but found another in box I didn't know I had. The embossing is scattered on three sides of this rectangular medicine bottle from California; the remaining (back) side is a typical plain, indented label panel. Actually, all of the sides are indented and the embossing is bold and distinct - sometimes these are not that boldly embossed in my experience. (For a better view of what both side panels embossing looks like, see the previously sold example images in the "sold" section below.) This is also a very nice example in a "Western" bluish aqua, tooled single collar ("patent" finish), smooth slightly indented base, almost 9" tall, ca. 1880s to 1890s. A scarce sarsaparilla from the West which didn't produce very many embossed sarsaparilla bottles it seems (and most of those are quite rare). Condition is near mint with no chips, cracks, overt staining or other post-production damage besides a tiny "flea bite" on the middle of the outside edge of the back, unembossed panel and a little bit of very faint haze inside primarily in the lower back and one side panel; the outside is virtually spotless. This example also has some body crudeness and bubbles in the glass adding to its visual appeal. It is what I would call "about mint" and is also a very nice example - at least as good as the sold one. $55
NOTE: I also have another example that is identical - a nice blue aqua (just a tiny bit less blue than the example to the right) - but is full of hundreds of seed bottles and has nice rude, wavy glass, stretch marks in the glass, and is a very nice example. It is also in essentially mint condition but does have a couple small almost invisible "flashes" at the edge of the base; pictures on request if desired. A beautiful example and priced accordingly given the small flashes. $35
BELOW ITEMS ARE ALL SOLD!
PARK PHARMACY / E. G. COOK / DETROIT - This neat chunk of bottle making iron is an original mold plate - aka "slug plate" - that was used for the production of embossed druggist bottles during the early 1900s. It is embossed as noted, as a mirror image of course to the bottles produced by this plate. According to the story I've heard, this - and a small "horde" of such plates - were found many years ago in an old shed at the site of the Whitall Tatum & Co. glass company (Millville, NJ). Whitall Tatum & Co. was one of the biggest producers of proprietary (i.e., embossed specifically for a particular customer) druggist/pharmacy bottles from the 1870s to 1930s, including embossed mouth-blown ones until at least 1924. This plate is 3.5" long, just under an inch deep, and 1.3" wide and weighs one full pound. The back of this plate has the engraved glass company catalog or tracking number of P3465E and a screw hole where the plate was secured to the mold. The condition is excellent with just some scattered rust here and there. An interesting feature of this item is that it has the mold air venting holes scattered throughout the engraved lettering. These small pin holes connect with a larger drilled hole that runs the length of the plate. These vent holes allowed for the venting of the hot gases from the mold insides as the bottle was expanding. This plate was procured and used to illustrate the Historic Bottle Website. Great go-with for medicinal and/or druggist collectors and just to those interested in the lore of mouth-blown bottle manufacturing. SOLD!
SANFORD'S - RADICAL CURE - This is another of those great named cure bottles that thrill bottle collectors. Not quite as dramatic as the Radam's Microbe Killer claim to "Cure All Diseases" but darn close. However, the color is dramatic - a deep cobalt blue - and the glass has some nice scattered bubbles here and there. This example is 7 3/4" tall, has a crudely applied patent finish or lip, and a smooth base (embossed number "1"). This example has no chips, fleabites, cracks or other damage but does have an overall moderate - though evenly distributed - haze that isn't too distracting (see images which show the dullness). This bottle would respond well to a professional cleaning since the dullness is light and there is no associated etching. This bottle was used to illustrate the medicine bottles section of the Historic Bottle Website. Here is the write-up from that website which more fully describes this interesting bottle:
The deep cobalt blue bottle pictured to the right is another example of a "straight neck panel" bottle similar to the one described above in shape, though with a patent instead of an oil finish, three indented panels instead of four, and of course in a more brilliant color. It is embossed on the two narrow sides (both indented) with SANFORD'S - RADICAL CURE. The wider sides of the bottle, of which one is indented (shown in picture) and one not, are not embossed. This medicine was probably introduced about 1871 by Weeks & Potter (Boston, Mass.) which was later (1883) called Potter Drug & Chemical Co. (Wilson & Wilson 1971; Holcombe 1977). This particular bottle most likely pre-dates that renaming since bottles that are obviously later produced (i.e., have tooled finishes and mold air venting) are base embossed with POTTER DRUG & CHEMICAL COMPANY, BOSTON USA (Fike 1987). The pictured bottle has no base embossing (besides the mold number "1") though some other earlier examples do have WEEKS & POTTER / BOSTON USA embossed on the base. (Click Weeks & Potter base view to see an example with this base embossing [photo courtesy of Joel Williams].) Considering these facts together with the primary manufacturing related diagnostic features (applied finish, no evidence of mold air venting, post base mold), this bottle can quite reliably be estimated to have been made between 1871 and 1883. Click on the following links to see more images of this bottle: base view showing the post base mold conformation; close-up of the shoulder, neck, and finish; view of one narrow side with the embossing SANFORD'S; view of the other narrow side with RADICAL CURE.
That about tells the story of this bottle. SOLD!
MONITOR / LINIMENT - D. EDWARD'S / ST. ANTHONY, MINN. - Here is a small medicine bottle from what is now essentially a suburb in the Twin Cities area I believe - St. Anthony, Minnesota. Don't know if these are rare or not, but suspect they aren't very common. This bottle is 5.75" tall, has a nice crudely applied (with slop) double ring (aka double collared) lip or finish, was blown in an early "key base" mold (click to see image of base) with no pontil scar, and appears to date from the early 1860s to early 1870s era...an early "smooth base" medicine bottle. Condition is pretty good with no chips, cracks or fleabites, though it does have some spotty light staining which is apparent in the images. A nice, small town (or used to be), early medicine bottle from Minnesota that is likely quite scarce as I've never seen or heard of another. SOLD!
Wm. PFUNDER'S / OREGON / No 7132 / (baby's face with TRADE MARK and OMNIS PROSINT) / REGISTERED / MARCH 23rd, 1879 / BLOOD / PURIFIER / Wm. PFUNDER & CO / PORTLAND, ORE - All this is embossed within an arched plate (aka "slug plate") on a fine example of a popular medicine bottle from...Oregon, of course. This example is probably the fourth or fifth mold used to put up this product, dating from the 1890s most likely. (I'm trying to collect an example of each different mold for this bottle and have identified 5 different molds so far...including two without the "Registered" that are different molds, but the same embossing plate!) It is 7.5" tall, a medium amber with a but of a reddish hue (see image), smooth base (embossed with "320"), tooled "club sauce" type lip or finish. Condition of this offering is near mint with no chips, cracks or significant staining...just a few very light wisps of the latter which is very unobtrusive. Nice example of one of the most distinctive Oregon bottles. SOLD!
LINDSEY'S - BLOOD+ / SEARCHER - PITTSBURGH - This is embossed on three sides of this big, bold medicine bottle from the mid-1860s to possibly early 1870s. This is likely the fourth mold version of the Lindsey's bottles and the second mold with Pittsburgh embossed. (The first is a unique iron pontiled version that has Pittsburgh PA. embossed [Greer collection] whereas the rest of the Pittsburgh bottles [molds 4-7] all leave off the PA.) I've documented 7 different molds to date (two of the first three have Hollidaysburg as the city) and haven't noted any different ones in many years. So that is probably the total used during the wide span of time that Lindsey's Blood Searcher was produced (50 years +) even though none of the mold versions are particularly common; some quite rare as noted above. This particular mold comes with a smooth (non-pontiled) base that is of the early "key mold" type. It is almost 8.5" tall, has a crudely applied double ring style finish (aka "lip"), lacks mold air venting as appropriate for its age, and is of a quite heavy bluish aqua glass. Condition of this example is very good with no chips or cracks. It does have a bit of light haze inside on the Lindsey's panel, the corners of the base and a bit inside the lip. There is a small almost invisible pinhead sized dig on the panel edge to the right of the embossed "+" and a bit of roughness to the second "O" of BLOOD on the front. There are nice stretch marks to the neck, some various sized bubbles here and there, some nice rough texture to the body in places and overall is a quite nice specimen as these tend to often be moderately stained (aka "patinated"). These bottles are almost certainly a product of one of the many famous Pittsburgh glass works of that era. SOLD!
William Radam's book "Microbes and the Microbe-Killer" from 1912 - Copyright by The Wm. Radam Microbe Killer Co. 1912, 64 pages, 6" x 9" in size. Here is a very nice and quite rare book from the early 20th century which has a bit of a story behind it. Although one sees Mr. Radam's "Microbes" book now and then (usually pretty expensive or in poor shape) this is a special one for several reasons. First it is hand bound in soft calf leather for the 25th anniversary of the infamous (at that time) Wm. Radam's Microbe Killer, which was first produced in 1887. This is not a rebinding in later years, but the original binding for that special occasion, which included the imprinting in gold on the cover of "Souvenir 1887-1912."
This book was published after passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 (which began the assault on quack medicines) but probably just before passage of the Sherley Amendment in 1912 which gave teeth to the 1906 act in regards to claims about "cures." (Of course, Radam's Microbe Killer boldly claimed to "Cure All Disease.") I've only seen a couple Radam's books, but one that I recently saw (1890s) had a different organization to the book, though was largely the same. The real difference with this version is the addition of the last chapter which is entitled "Imitations of, and Persecutions Against, The Microbe Killer." This short chapter is a fascinating diatribe by William Radam to the attack on his product by the social "progressives" of the time - including his interpretation of some trial at the time which he felt vindicated his miraculous product. Although not mentioned by name, the chapter is also obviously a rebuttal to the attack on the product by the American Medical Association and their "trade journal" which took on the banning or control of "Nostrums & Quackery" of which Radam's Microbe Killer was one of the worst. The chapter also blasts the "imitations" of his product abounding at the time - the ones that didn't "work" like his. It wasn't long after this book was published that the product disappeared - one of the many casualties of the activist fervor of the time (which also resulted in National Prohibition). Click HERE to see an image of the one illustration page inside the book which shows images of "diseased" blood (pre-Microbe Killer treatment) along with images of "healthy" blood, of course, after taking the Microbe Killer.
The book is in fine or better condition, with just a bit of edge wear to the cover corners and lower spine. The pages are creamy white and supple and the book has no real other issues nor any writing inside. Oh, I forgot...the book was acquired many years ago from the estate of a person that was connected with the Radam family. There were a few copies of this special edition being sold at that time; I acquired one but have never seen another since. Rare and desirable "go with" for you medicine collection! SOLD!
WARNER'S / SAFE / NERVINE / (safe) / ROCHESTER N. Y. - Here is a scarce variant of a scarce size & type of Warner's Safe bottle. First off the smaller sized Nervine's are not all that abundant and this is one of the earlier full face "slug plate" examples...with a twist. Specifically, this example has a plate added to the plate! Look closely at the close-up image and you will see that the NERVINE is an additional plate added to the "tombstone" type plate that the entire embossing pattern is contained within. In addition, this example has an apparent mold plate strip or part evident as a horizontal band below the ROCHESTER N.Y. embossing at the base. Listed as "Good to Scarce" in Ojea & Stecher's 1998 "Warner's Reference Guide," this particular conformation of multiple plates is not discussed in their book, though these examples without the A&DHC on the base (like this example) are thought to be the second mold class of smaller Nervine bottles, probably dating from the mid-ish 1880s; my estimate based on the bottle not having any mold air venting in evidence. This bottle is about 7.3" tall, has an earlier tooled double ring finish/lip, blown in a post-bottom mold with a non-embossed base plate, and is a decent relatively bright medium amber color. The condition is very good with no chips, cracks or other significant post-production issues but does have a light to moderate pale haze to the outside surface with is pretty evenly distributed and not too distracting; it gives the bottle a "matte" type appearance. Interesting bottle with some mold maker adaptations that add a bit of mystery to it. SOLD!
IMPROVED / DESTILLED / MICROBE KILLER - Yes, it is spelled "Destilled" - with an "e" - not "Distilled" on this mystery bottle that is quite rare; I've only seen one other. This unusually embossed bottle is about a quart in size, colorless/clear glass, 9.5" tall, has a tooled "brandy" finish, smooth base (although it is embossed with I.G.Co. for the Illinois Glass Company), has a round circle on the back (sort of like a mold embossed "blob seal" except with no embossing in the seal), and dates from the early 1900s. Click reverse view to see the back side of this bottle. Condition is mint with no chips, cracks, staining or other issues.
My take on this weird bottle, which is in a shape that the Illinois Glass Company in 1906 called their "squat seal brandy" style (see the page from that catalog on my other website at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/Typing/IGCo1906/IGCo1906page120.jpg ), is that it is a period "spoof" liquor bottle. That is, it was used for some type of liquor not medicine but was poking fun - sort of like the picnic flasks with embossed drunk leaning against the lamp post with the dog at his feet...well, you know the one. In this case, it may be spoofing Radam's Microbe Killer and their claim to "Cure All Diseases" or it could be poking fun at the rabid Prohibitionists of the period who believed all liquor to be evil incarnate...or a mixture of both. In any event, this is an unusual and unique item. I should note that when I was a kid, my father always called stopping at the state liquor store a stop to get his "medicine" so maybe it did contain "medicine" that at 80 proof would surely kill microbes! SOLD!
UMATILLA / INDIAN HOGAH - CAMPBELL & LYON - DETROIT, MICH. - Oh, do I wish this was a true Oregon bottle - being a collector of such things - but the "Detroit, Mich." on the side dispels that wishful myth. However, it is certainly at least connected to Oregon via the medicine name...though what a "hogah" is I don't know nor could I find anything about it online. I really don't know much about these bottles except that the Umatilla Indians lived since "time began" (by their reckoning) in the middle Columbia River area in northeast to north central Oregon. It was popular in the 19th century to note that a patent medicine had some special Indian herbalist connections and such and use of the names of tribes like this to make the product seem more exotic or valid or interesting or whatever - especially Western American tribes during the late 19th century. For example, the Oregon Medicine Company, who made the Modoc Indian Oil (a tribe from my area here in south central Oregon), was actually located in...Pennsylvania! Anyway, this scarce bottle is 9" tall, smooth base, tooled "oil" type finish, and has a cup-base mold with mold air venting in evidence pointing towards a manufacturing date of the 1890s to very early 1900s. Condition is very good with no chips, cracks, dings or other damage...just a bit of very, very light haze in a few places (too little to really show up in the images) and probably a light scratch or two. Of manufacturing interest (to me anyway) is a small "plate" below the front panel that has three rivet or screw heads visible. This was possibly a patch to the mold or where the plate was affixed for the front embossing (although there are not equivalent marks on the side panels)...or who knows what. Just an interesting reminder of the ways of hand-made glass making techniques (and jerry rigging) in the 19th century. SOLD!
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!
TIPPECANOE - H. H. WARNER & CO. - Here is one of the most interestingly shaped 19th century bottles around - the famous (with collectors) Tippecanoe "bitters." There are some around with the original labels which indicated that the in its early years (early 1880s) the product was a bitters (generally high alcohol medicinal product made with herbs) although Mr. Warner advertized at one point that "After once using our "TIPPECANOE" you will use no nostrums nor preparations called "Bitters." I guess one can always change their mind about what their product is, eh? As with all Tippecanoe bottles (there were an assortment of different molds made and used) this one is embossed over most of its surface with the wood grain texture with the noted embossing superimposed on it along with an embossed canoe just below the TIPPECANOE lettering. (The back side also has a plain, long narrow label space.)
This example has the base embossing - ROCHESTER N.Y. arching around a "5" in the middle. The bottle has the very distinctive applied mushroom shaped lip - which was actually what it was supposed to look like according the design patent. I can think of only one other bottle that had that type lip (an extremely rare cobalt medicine bottle). This example is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, dings, or staining of note (maybe a few wisps of dirt or haze on the inside viewable only under bright light). I should note that the bottle stands perfectly straight up; when I took the picture above the camera was slightly tilted. The new owner of this, as a bonus, will also receive the custom stained & varnished pine stand as shown in the image. This was given to me by another more woodworking inclined collector long ago and really does display the bottle very nicely. SOLD!
BARKER'S CELERY COLA - PHIL BLUMAUER / PORTLAND, ORE. - BARKER'S CELERY KOLA - This is embossed on three sunken panels (4th not embossed or sunken) on this extremely rare "tonic" or "bitters" type bottle from Portland, OR. I've had this bottle for about 25 years and have never heard of another until earlier this year when another was dug in SW Oregon (I think). The bottle is just under 10" tall, smooth square indented base with no embossing, tooled "brandy" style finish, and is an interesting and very beautiful shade of amber glass - sort of a medium golden reddish amber. The images show it pretty well. (Note: The bottle doesn't tip at all as the images would seem to indicate.)
There were an assortment of Blumauer's doing business in Portland in the late 19th century, including L. Blumauer who was a druggist beginning in the 1870s and Solomon Blumauer who was a liquor dealer in the late 1890s to Oregon Prohibition in 1915. I assume that Phil was related but have no idea how it fits in precisely, though I believe he was a druggist during the same era. This bottle appears to date from the 1890s given its manufacturing features but could be late 1880s.
Its condition is excellent with no chips, cracks, or other post manufacturing physical damage. It does have a few wisps of very light haze here and there on the outside and inside as well as a narrow, dark contents sediment line inside ringing two corners vertically; caused from having been laying on its side prior to apparently being dug (this shows in one of the images). The sediment looks like it could be removed but I never tried. I picked this bottle up at an auction back in the late 1980s so do not know its precise provenance. It was a surprise to me as I'd never heard of it. In any event here is a chance to get one of the rarest of the Oregon amber "squares" as I'm doing a little paring down of the collection. SOLD!
Cocaine producer paperweight - This is great go-with for the medicine bottle collector and an interesting reminder of how loose times were prior to the FDA and Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. This paperweight has the following writing inside in addition to the illustration of the factory where the "goods" were produced - FERRATIN, LACTOPHENIN, IRON TONIC and FOOD. ANTIPYRETIC, SEDATIVE, ETC. WORKS OF C. F. BOEHRINGER & SOEHNE, MANNHEIM, GERMANY - (then the large illustration of the factory) - LARGEST MAKERS IN THE WORLD OF QUININE AND COCAINE. NEW YORK OFFICE 7 CEDAR ST. Cocaine was a common ingredient in many patent medicines during the last half of the 19th to early 20th centuries as it was known to "...give great vigor to the nervous system...is of great value to public speakers and timid persons" (as per the Frederick Stearns & Co. druggist's catalog 1886). This cool paperweight is about 4" by 2.5", backed in white enamel over the black and red transfer print, and dates probably from the 1890s to maybe 1910 or so...though it is hard to say for sure. "Ferratin" was an alleged nutritional enhancement that promoted health; click on the following link for information from an 1894 medical book: Ferratin discussion. Certainly this was a salesman's give-away in the U. S. since it has the New York office listed and is in English. Condition is excellent with just a bit of minor scratching on the upper surfaces and a scratched spot on the reverse white enamel which does not go through the surface at all. Regulated drug (today that is) related go-withs which note opium or cocaine or the like are highly collectible items in recent years. SOLD!
JOHN H. PHELPS PHARMACIST / PHELP'S RHEUMATIC ELIXIR / SCRANTON, PA. - This is all pretty boldly embossed vertically on this interesting (great name!) - and likely rare - Pennsylvania patent medicine bottle from the early 1900s. (I must admit to having a weakness for American-made bottles that say "elixir.") The bottle is greenish aqua in color, has a tooled patent lip or finish, smooth indented base (base is embossed with S. G. CO.), and is 5.5" tall, 2.3" wide, and 1.5" deep. The condition of this example is pretty good but not absolutely perfect with some wisps of internal haze along with a little bit of dirt (would easily wash out), one small pin-head+ sized "nick" on an outside corner, and a small (1/4" wide) iridescent "moon" on the reverse inside edge of the lip that is associated with an in-making fold in the glass (one can feel the "fold" line). No other chips, cracks, or other post-production damage. I purchased this bottle (actually a pair of them; the other one already sold) primarily to get an image of the base makers mark for my Historic Bottle Website - a mark that almost certainly indicates production by the Scranton Glass Co. (PA.). This very scarce medicine bottle has a few minor issues so it is priced accordingly though it is a nice looking item as the image shows. SOLD!
MODOC INDIAN OIL - This little bottle has a great name, but no connection with Oregon or Northern California where the Modoc tribe roamed (still "roams" actually) and were involved in the famous Modoc Indian War in that area in 1872-1873. But that is a different, though very interesting (and equally sad), story related to the history of where I live here in Klamath County. Anyway, this product was actually produced by the Indian Medicine Co. of Corry, PA. of all places. The product was advertised as an elixir for "...Rheumatic Aches, Headache, Earache, Sprains, Toothache, Chilblains, Cuts, Bruises, Burns...". It is 5.3" tall, a nice blue aqua glass as the image shows, has a tooled "patent" style finish, smooth base and dates from the 1890 to early 1910s era. This example is in decent shape appearing to have been professionally cleaned as it retains some "ground wear" and scratching to the outside glass surface even though it is quite glossy. The rim (top) of the lip has what appears to be a small, flat flake that has been smoothed out by the cleaning; one can just see the little "dip" in the lip in the enlarged version of the image. However, looking at it under a hand lens seems to indicate it may just be a tooling, in-making flaw...and it was sold to me as perfect. Not sure, so it is priced accordingly. Otherwise the bottle has some nice crudity to the glass, bubbles, and is esthetically pleasing to my eye. A fairly scarce bottle with a great name! SOLD!
OREGON / (baby's face with wreath, TRADE MARK and OMNIS PROSINT) / COPYRIGHT SECURED / BLOOD / PURIFIER / WM. PFUNDER & CO / PORTLAND, OR - All this is embossed within an arched plate (aka "slug plate") on a fine example of a popular medicine bottle from...Oregon, of course. This example is probably the second mold used to put up this product (a later mold is listed below under "Sold") dating from the 1880s most likely. (I'm trying to collect an example of each different molds for this product and have identified 5 different molds so far including two "COPYRIGHT SECURED" versions that are the same embossing plate but differently shaped molds! This example is a slightly different and scarce "Copyright Secured" plate variant.)
Anyway, it is 7.5" tall, a medium yellowish amber (see image), smooth base (embossed W. T. & CO. for Whitall, Tatum & Co. who made the bottle), and a tooled "club sauce" type lip or finish. (There is a variant of the older mold that has a prescription style finish.) Condition of this offering is essentially perfect with no chips, cracks or significant staining; it appears to have been professionally cleaned to its original luster. Nice example of one of the most distinctive Oregon bottles. SOLD!
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