ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS (R 73)
Dr. Roback was neither a Doctor nor a Roback. He was an unsuccessful farmer, turned salesman, who in 1844, escaped debtor’s prison in his native Sweden.
ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS, Prince, Walton & Co. poster (reproduction) – Meyer Collection (I had this framed and it looks great in my bottle work room)
The large (R 73) DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS on the left and the smaller (R 74) DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS on the right – Meyer Collection
The post is about the popular, larger, Ring | Ham R 73, Roback’s Stomach Bitters from Cincinnati, Ohio. I will follow up with a post on the smaller R 74 barrels (see comparison photograph above). The R 73 is a big, robust figural barrel that is great to hold. It is even paired with a partially clothed rubenesque woman in the popular advertisement (pictured above). It embodies everything you want in a barrel. You can find them crude, full of bubbles and with pontils which makes it even more exciting. The colors are not as vibrant as an Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic but none-the-less, strong enough to do a run of ambers leading to green. The Roback’s also have support information and related material, some of which I have referenced below. Notice how the artistic image of the building appears on the Roback’s poster, letterhead, tax stamp and label. Now that is consistency!
R 73 DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS, Circa 1865 – 1875,
DR C. W. ROBACK’S ( au ) / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI, O ( ad ) // c //
Prince, Walton & Co. Successors to C. W. Roback Sole proprietors
Nos. 56, 58, 60 & 62 East 3rd Street Cincinnati, Ohio
10 x 2 5/8 (8)
Round barrel, 10-10 in front, 6-6 in reverse, LTC, With and without Metallic pontil mark, Amber – Common; Green and Apricot – Very rare
Advertisement: 10 thousand sold in one month. The most popular stomach bitters in use. Good for all derangement of the stomach, biliousness, liver complaint, and general debility. They possess wonderful tonic properties, giving tone to the appetite and digestive organs. Debilitated ladies and sedentary persons will find in them an excellent tonic.
Note: Dr. Roback was neither a Doctor nor a Roback. He was an unsuccessful farmer, turned salesman, who in 1844, escaped debtor’s prison in his native Sweden. He started in Boston as Dr. Roback selling horoscopes and founded an astrological college. He sold galvanic chains which were a cure for worms in children. He also sold love powders. He moved to Philadelphia and the Cincinnati where he died in 1867.
Big amber variant with lots of color. DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection
Crude yellow amber DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS with red iron pontil. Ex: Earl ‘Pat’ Patterson collection – Meyer Collection
Light to medium root-beer amber DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection
Yellow olive DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection
Paper Receipt: C.W. Roback Company paper letterhead and receipt (signed by Charles W. Roback), dated April 4, 1865. Nice graphics on letterhead depicting building with heading to the right, ‘Office of / C.W. Roback / Distiller / Rectifier / And / Manufacturer / Domestic Wines & Liquors, / Catawba Brandy, / Roback’s Stomach Bitters. Receipt measures 8” x 9 ¾”, near mint. Signed by C.W. Roback. – Meyer Collection (from American Glass Gallery)
Dr. C.W. Roback of Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a group of proprietary medicines in 1855, designating them as “Scandinavien” in 1857. A year later the designation was changed to “Scandinavian” and applied to Blood Pills and Blood Purifier. By 1866, Scandinavian Stomach Bitters had made an appearance. All were distributed through a wholesale druggist, Demas Barnes. The United States Proprietary Medicine Company, also of Cincinnati, took over the business in 1866, whereupon “Dr.” Roback was listed in the city directory as “Manufacturer of Fine Cut and Smoking Tobacco.” The six-cent stamp was issued first, for use on the Stomach Bitters. It appeared on April 24, 1867 and was last delivered on June 18, 1868. 63,622 were issued, all on old paper. The four-cent stamp, used on bottles of the Blood Purifier, was first issued on May 14, 1867 and last issued in July of 1875. 192,968 were printed on old paper and 38,750 on silk paper. The copy above is printed on experimental silk paper, so counted with the old paper copies. - rdhinstl’s Page
DR. C.W. ROBACKS SCANDINAVIAN BLOOD PURIFIER PURELY VEGETABLE LIVER COMPLAINT. Applied top and smooth base with partial original label. This is one with a familiar name and not the first time we’ve seen the Roback name associated with the country of Scandinavia. This one has about two-thirds of the original label, which shows a building and street scene. The bottle itself is quite crude and stands somewhat askew. Notice the large bulbous top and overall pristine condition of this rare bottle. Here is a bottle that appeals to not only the bitters collectors, but also medicine collectors alike. – sold by American Bottle Auctions
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