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 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
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. SOLD!
CELRO-KOLA - CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. - CELRO-KOLA - Here is a VERY rare Oregon bitters type bottle. In fact, this is the only one I've ever seen or heard of though I've seen an assortment of the later Celro-Kola bottles which are machine-made without the sunken panels. This example is embossed on two indented sides with CELRO-KOLA in script and on the in-between side with CELRO-KOLA CO. / PORTLAND, ORE. The fourth unembossed label panel is not indented.
This hand-blown (not machine-made) bottle dates from the very early 1900s as it has a tooled "brandy" style finish or lip and a smooth base (indented square). It is near mint with just a bit of scuffing or light scratching on the label panel. The color is a bright light to medium amber which is accurately shown in the images (click any to enlarge). An interesting aspect is the neck which tapers from larger to smaller going up to the lower ring at the base of the lip or finish. The only square "bitters" type bottles I've seen with this feature is one variation of the California Fig Bitters, which also date from the same early 1900s era. I've had this bottle for decades, though I don't remember where I acquired it. In any event, a great Oregon rarity! $295
DR 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. $250
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. $85
(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?!)
MIZPAH (CURE) / FOR WEAK LUNGS AND / CONSUMPTION - This is a very interesting "cure" which straddled the timeline between the ability to use - and claim - the word "cure" in regards to a patent medicines effectiveness and the increasing regulation which began with the passage of the 1906 Pure Food & Drugs Act.
Specifically this bottle which is usually seen (though pretty rarely "seen" in general) with the word CURE after MIZPAH is the same mold but with the CURE filled in with some type of material that would stand up to the 2000 degree temperature of molten glass. I've heard such mold work called "peened out" but not sure that is the correct term since peening means to hammer something down not fill something in. In any event, click close-up of the "ghost" word CURE to see this very interesting feature. It appears CURE was filled in with small beads of metal since each letter is a series of small circles which are sometimes flattened a bit into a rounded corner rectangle. It is apparently that the earlier bottles had the bold, unfilled-in CURE they sometime after passage of the act, the CURE was filled in to not conflict with the new laws and related regulations. That would likely date the bottle to the 1907 to 1910 range with the bold CURE examples just prior to that, i.e., late 1890s to 1906 or so. Proprietary molds were expensive to have made so this one was adapted to the times.
This rare four paneled cure bottle is embossed on the front panel as listed above with the right side embossed HENRY KESSLER, PROP. and the left side with ERIE, PA. U.S.A. Incidentally, the word Mizpah is Hebrew for "watchtower" which (the following from Wikipedia) "...as mentioned in the biblical story of Jacob and Laban, making a pile of stones marked an agreement between two people, with God as their witness." Not sure how that relates to this quack medicine except to trust Mr. Kessler with your health? I got interested in these bottles when I heard of the bottles decades ago in Bill Agee's first book on cures "Collecting the Cures" because of the silver rush hotel in Tonopah, NV. with that name which was built in the early 1900s in that famous Western mining town. More recently my interest was renewed due to the proprietors name Henry Kessler. Why? That is the name of the first - and extremely rare - embossed druggist bottle from a local (Klamath Falls, OR.) druggist when the name of the then very small town was Linkville due to its sitting on the banks of the Link River. The name changed in 1893 to Klamath Falls. The druggist bottles are as rare as hens teeth (as my mom would say) though as far as I can tell with some online research, this was a different Henry Kessler. (The local HK was a druggist in Yreka, CA. in the early 1880s before having a store in Linkville. He also used an embossed druggist bottle just like the local one except with Yreka, CA. embossed on it instead of Linkville, Oregon.) Long story short is that is why I ended up with an example of this bottle.
This bottle stands a large 10+" tall which is as big a version of this "ball neck panel" style that I've seen, likely holding upwards of 16 ozs. That is the largest size that I can find in a quick search of some of the period bottle makers catalogs I have. It has a tooled "patent" finish/lip as most of these paneled bottles do. It is in physically perfect condition with no chips, cracks, dings or nicks. There is a light but mostly even haze to much of the bottle which isn't too distracting but is there. An interesting "cure" to add to your quack cure collection. $60
ESS OF JAMAICA / GINGER - This is a nice "ball neck panel" bottle typically used for flavoring extracts though also commonly used for patent medicines. In this case, a "medicine" with a typical alcohol level of 90% (or more)! It is embossed on the large front panel (all sides are indented panels) from top to bottom (like 95%+ of all vertically embossed bottles) with ESS OF JAMAICA / GINGER, on the right side panel with PHILADA PA and JOHN C. HURST on the left. (The back label panel is unembossed.)
I have been paying more attention to Jamaica
Ginger (called "Jake's" by collectors) bottles of recent as they are a
fascinated group which utilized a wide array of small bottles across the U.S.
The classic shape for the product is like the Western example at the following
link on my educational website:
As an example offered below shows (shoo-fly flask) the product was bottled in all kinds of different, though virtually always small, bottles. Incidentally, John C. Hurst was also the producer of the Rising Sun Bitters - a scarce square amber bitters from Philadelphia also. (Listed as R-66 in Ring & Ham's bitters book.) I quick look at the internet indicated that Mr. Hurst was a long time wholesale druggist in that city who died in 1891.
NOTE: For more information on Jamaica Ginger see
the following article by the late Dr. Munsey posted on my other website:
Munsey, Cecil. 2006. Paralysis in a Bottle (The “Jake Walk” Story). Bottles and Extras 17(1):7-12 (Winter 2006). Very interesting article on Jamaica Ginger and the bottles that held it. This article is also available on this website at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/JakeWalkStoryMunsey.pdf
This bottle is ~5.75" tall, a very nice blue aqua as the images show, has an early tooled "patent" lip/finish and has a lot of crudeness for its size - wavy uneven glass and bubbles. It has no evidence of mold air venting and appears to have been blown in a post-base mold (hard to say due to crudeness there) which all points to it being an 1870s production - an early tooled lip bottle. Condition of this example is essentially pristine mint with no staining, chips, cracks, potstone radiations (one small potstone in the lower front panel) or other issues. There is the tiniest bit of roughness at the heel on the back side which is associated with a bit of a loose fit to the mold at that point; all in making. Nice and likely rare "Jake"! $35
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! $60
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! $50
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. $20
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. $95
JOYS - SARSAPARILLA - THE / EDWIN W. JOY CO. / SAN FRANCISCO - I sold one of these some time back, but found another in box I didn't know I had. The embossing is scattered on three sides of this rectangular medicine bottle from California; the remaining (back) side is a typical plain, indented label panel. Actually, all of the sides are indented and the embossing is bold and distinct - sometimes these are not that boldly embossed in my experience. (For a better view of what both side panels embossing looks like, see the previously sold example images in the "sold" section below.) This is also a very nice example in a "Western" bluish aqua, tooled single collar ("patent" finish), smooth slightly indented base, almost 9" tall, ca. 1880s to 1890s. A scarce sarsaparilla from the West which didn't produce very many embossed sarsaparilla bottles it seems (and most of those are quite rare). Condition is near mint with no chips, cracks, overt staining or other post-production damage besides a tiny "flea bite" on the middle of the outside edge of the back, unembossed panel and a little bit of very faint haze inside primarily in the lower back and one side panel; the outside is virtually spotless. This example also has some body crudeness and bubbles in the glass adding to its visual appeal. It is what I would call "about mint" and is also a very nice example - at least as good as the sold one. $50
NOTE: I also have another example that is identical - a nice blue aqua (just a tiny bit less blue than the example to the right) - but is full of hundreds of seed bottles and has nice rude, wavy glass, stretch marks in the glass, and is a very nice example. It is also in essentially mint condition but does have a couple small almost invisible "flashes" at the edge of the base; pictures on request if desired. A beautiful example and priced accordingly given the small flashes. $30
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
NASH'S / RHEUMATIC AND / KIDNEY REMEDY - This is a cute little (3 3/8") amber medicine bottle which is from the S. Nash & Co., Detroit, MI. according to Matt Knapp's massive 2012 book "Antique American Medicine Bottles". One of the easiest ways to get your own embossed "proprietary" bottle was to order a plate (aka "slug plate") from a glass company engraved with what you wanted embossed on the bottle. It was then inserted into an existing mold and viola! You've got your own custom made bottle. (Ordering custom, non-plate molds was many times the price of just having a plate made up.)
An example of the above is this bottle which is embossed on the base (W. T. CO. / S / U. S. A.) with the makers marking for the Whitall, Tatum & Co. This NJ company had to be the top producer of various druggist/apothecary bottles in the U.S. from the late 1870s until the early the 1920s. According to their 1880 catalog, the plates cost "One dollar and fifty cents to six dollars each for engraving" along with a list of all the druggist style bottles they had plate "moulds" for including the "Philadelphia Oval" which is what the offered bottle style is. According to our article on the company (on my other educational website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/WhitallTatum1.pdf ) the noted base marking was used from about 1890 to 1901 dating this bottle pretty tightly.
The bottle itself is the previously noted height and nice bright medium golden amber color, has a typical tooled "prescription" style finish or lip, and the noted embossing on the indented oval base. Condition is essentially mint with a light scratch on the back, just the faintest dullness on the body in a few places (essentially invisible) and an equally invisible small (1-2mm) roughness to the edge of the lip...not chipped but just a miniscule bit of roughness that can be felt. Nice example of what is likely a scarce medicine bottle. Knapp's book also notes that the likely preceding bottle (same height and color) was embossed with "CURE" instead of "REMEDY." Different plate for different times I guess. $25
DR. FANSLER'S / KIDNEY AND DIABETIS / REMEDY - (Bottle to left.) That embossing is within the indented panel front of another interesting Midwestern "remedy" bottle which is also embossed with FANSLER DRUG CO. in the indented right side panel and MARION, INDIANA on the left. Interestingly, the bottle has the word "Diabetes" spelled wrong...one would think a real "Doctor" would be more educated than that? Or maybe it was the mold engraver that got it wrong? Interesting error bottle in any event.
The bottle is 9" tall, colorless ("clear") glass, and has a tooled double ring finish (lip). It is in about mint condition with just the slightest faint haze on the inside and one tiny nick on the edge of the back panel. It also has an in-making bit of tilt to the body which is visible on the right side of the image to the left. Certainly in making due to removing the bottle from the mold a bit premature; it doesn't effect the bottle standing except for a bit of a wobble. Nice and likely scarce to rare regional quack medicine. $20
PAINES - CELERY COMPOUND with complete labels! - This is a great and rare example of a common bottle. This example has both labels still present - the front one is 95+% complete and the rear one essentially 100% complete. To top it off the bottle is a beautiful light to medium golden amber, has various bubbles in the glass, and it has a true applied "brandy" style finish (aka "lip") with a bit of slopover. Having never been buried the bottle has no staining inside or out and is in perfect mint condition. Click on the images to the right to view larger versions of those pics.
Click the following links to see additional images of the bottle: PAINES embossing side; CELERY COMPOUND embossing side; close-up of the upper body, shoulder, neck and applied finish.
According to Richard Fike's great (1987) book on medicine bottles, the product was first introduced in 1882 and made at least into the 1920s. It was a popular patent medicine for a wide variety of different ills. This early (mid to late 1880s) example has labeling (image to the immediate right) which notes that the product "Restores Strength, Renews Vitality, Purifies the Blood, Regulates the Kidneys, Liver and Bowels" - all for a dollar a bottle!
As fine an example as one can get of this bottle. $50
Wm. R. WARNER & Co. / (fancy W & Co mongram) / PHILA. ST.LOUIS. - That is embossed on one side of this large "French Square" (a bottle catalog name) type medicine bottle. This style was commonly used for druggist bottles since the mid-19th century though saw a lot of duty with patent medicines, bitters, and likely other liquid products. This example has 99+% of the original label on the back noting that it contained Warner & Co.'s "Liquid Pancreopepsine" which was for "Indigestion." Click on the image to the left to read everything on the label...always a fascinating read with these old medicines. The label notes near the bottom in small print that it (label) was "Revision 1918a" pretty well dating the bottle to that year which was just before National Prohibition.
Below the embossing is another small label which reads: Notice: This preparation has been made with non-beverage alcohol, and the sale or use thereof for beverage purposes will render the vendor and user liable to severe penalties." Wow! Obviously a reflection of the times where many states had already gone "dry" and with National Prohibition all but inevitable within a year or so.
The bottle has a tooled "prescription" finish (again, a bottle makers name for that style lip), is 8" tall and almost 2.5" wide to each of the square sides (likely holds about a pint), and has a slightly indented base with no embossing. I would date this bottle to the first two decades of the 20th century if it didn't have a label noting that it was likely bottled/used made in 1918. (Note: Hand blown - aka mouth-blown - druggist bottles of various style were made by some bottle makers into at least the mid-1920s before being totally overwhelmed by the cheaper and generally higher quality machine-made versions and styles.)
This bottle is essentially mint with just the tiniest of "pin prick" marks on the edge of the lip; otherwise no cracks, chips, staining (except that visible on the labels), or other post-production issues. Something for your labeled and embossed collection. $35
PURE EXTRACT JAMAICA GINGER labeled small shoo-fly flask - Jamaica Ginger - a type of medicine - was typically bottled in small, oval in cross-section, "ginger oval" bottles as they were called by bottle makers. Click HERE to see an example of a couple standard "ginger ovals" offered by the Illinois Glass Company in 1906 (left page center).
However, the product was very frequently bottled in other shapes including paneled extract bottles as well as smaller shoo-fly flask like the offering here. A large collection of original, labeled Jamaica Ginger bottles was auctioned on eBay recently with most of the bottles not being the standard ginger oval; this bottle was one from that collection. (Note: I cover Jamaica Ginger on my educational Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website at THIS LINK; scroll down that linked section until one finds a Jamaica Ginger bottle. I purchased this bottle to illustrate on that page; it will be added in the near future.)
Anyway, this example has the original label which reads "Pure Extract Jamaica Ginger Alcohol 95%, Guaranteed by Kimball Bros. & Co. Under the Food and Drugs Act, June 30th, 1906, Serial Number 2310, Prepared By Kimball Bros & Co. Enosburg Falls, VT." With it being 190 proof there couldn't have been much "ginger" in the product - the alleged active medicinal ingredient! Also, that was a much higher percentage of alcohol than the 80-100 proof whiskey that shoo-fly flasks were typically used for.
For more information on Jamaica Ginger see the
following article by the late Dr. Munsey posted on my other website:
Munsey, Cecil. 2006. Paralysis in a Bottle (The “Jake Walk” Story). Bottles and Extras 17(1):7-12 (Winter 2006). Very interesting article on Jamaica Ginger and the bottles that held it. This article is also available on this website at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/JakeWalkStoryMunsey.pdf
This little shoo-fly is mouth-blown, 5" tall, colorless (aka "clear") glass, and has a tooled "brandy" finish like most such flasks. It is in mint condition and the label is 100% intact with just some light staining to the back primarily; a label that is certainly original. The base is boldly embossed with an "O" in a flattened diamond. (Click HERE to see a base image.) That the relatively rare to find makers marking attributed to the Oakman Manufacturing Company (Cheshire, Mass.) who used that marking on bottles from 1890 to 1897. See THIS ARTICLE on my educational website which discusses that marking. Given the date this bottle was produced and the original appearance of the label on this bottle, it was likely a reuse of a bottle used previously for liquor - the reuse of bottles by small producers very common in that era. In any event, a perfect bottle and label for a notorious product that was on its way out beginning with the 1906 act proudly noted on the label. $25
S.S.S. - Swift Specific Company, Atlanta, Georgia - SSS "Blood Medicine" - This is a body unembossed, label only, early machine-made proprietary medicine from the 1920s. It contained the blood medicine produced by the Swift Specific Company (Atlanta, GA.). This company earlier produced Swift's Syphilitic Specific - which was bottled in a large cobalt blue bottle (image courtesy of Glass Works Auctions) - in the 1870s and 1880s to treat that malady noted in the name. It was the origin of this later (more genteel) product name of simply S.S.S. with the original meaning of the middle "S" being strangely not mentioned (ha!). Amazingly, SSS is still being produced and marketed by Wal-Mart today...or at least up to just a few years ago! That certainly indicates that the company managed many "go-arounds" for at least 125 years in order to meet the ever restrictive regulatory environment for such medicines...and that the product continued to be popular with customers!?
The label notes that it "Contains 12% Alcohol" as well as the notation about the contents - "A Vegetable Compound which we recommend as a general Alterative Tonic and in the treatment of such forms of Rheumatism and Skin Diseases as arise from an impoverished condition of the Blood." (In a word - syphilis.) The base is embossed with "CHATT. CO." - which indicates the bottle was made by the Chattanooga Glass Co. (Tennessee) which used the marking from 1918 to 1934. See the article at the following link for the full story: https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/ChattanoogaGlass.pdf (This actual bottle is the one on page 237 of that article used to illustrate that marking!) This bottle with the cork closure lip (cork still present als0) likely dates from the first half of that period, i.e., 1918 to mid-1920s. It has about 99% of the label intact and easily readable as the image indicates; click to view a larger version of the image. It is of a nice yellow amber color, 7.3" tall, and what I would call a "strap side oval" style of bottle. The bottle itself is mint as one would expect as it was never buried. Great historical item from a company that originally advertised it product via an cast iron "witches kettle" that was embossed with S. S. S. FOR THE BLOOD (image of one of those pots HERE). I remember seeing years ago the trade mark for the product which included the witches around the pot mixing up a batch. Cool history! $20
Fun information, eh? This example is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, or visible staining. $30