Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the smaller ones)

ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS

(R 74)

19 July 2012 (R•031414)

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 then Cincinnati where he died in 1867.

Roback claimed to be a Swedish noble, among other things, but was eventually exposed as a charlatan. He caused quite a scandal and as you can see from his picture, he preferred to imagine himself as a relic of the 17th century.  From Charles W. Roback’s self-published book called The Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic (see below)


Apple-Touch-IconAThe post is about the popular and smaller, Ring | Ham designated R 74Roback’s Stomach Bitters from Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a follow-up post to the larger, R 73 barrels (see comparison photograph above and read: Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys).

The R 74 mold is smaller, shorter and thinner than the R 73 mold and easier in the hand. You can also build a stronger color line-up (see run further below).

RobacksIllustration1865

Very nice illustration of a labeled Dr. Roback’s Stomach Bitters from The Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Ohio) , January 05, 1865

In this post we will also look at Dr. Charles Roback a little closer by perusing one of his almanacs, looking at some of the other Robacks popular products and brands, and looking at his rather odd, Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic book he published in Boston.

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

10 thousand sold in one month. The most popular stomach bitters in use.

R 74  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   Cincinnati, Ohio
9 3/8 x 2 3/8 (7 1/8)
Amber – Common; Olive amber, Olive green and Yellow olive – Scarce
O of Ohio under E of Bitters

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.

Color run of the smaller DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS (R 74) – Meyer Collection

DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS in a yellowish olive amber color from Glass Works Auctions (2006) – Meyer Collection

Incredible, light yellow with topaz overtone DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS from a Bottles and More Galleria Auction (2005) – Meyer Collection

Pulled from an attic and never cleaned, DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS in an olive color with a yellow tint, from a Bottles and More Galleria Auction (2005) – Meyer Collection

Robacks_GW_lot96

“DR C.W. ROBACKS / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI. O”, (R-74), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium olive green barrel, 9 3/4″h, smooth base, applied tapered collar mouth. Some dried inside contents and a flat 1/8″ chip is off the top of the lip. A reasonable number of olive green Robacks barrels exist, mostly being so dark that you need a strong light to see the color. This is not one of them, as the pure green color is quite stunning in normal lighting! – Glass Works Auctions (March 2013)

ROBACK’S SCANDANAVIAN BLOOD PURIFIER. Midwestern medicine bottle in a great dark aqua with lots of crudity to the glass. Wish it said Salt Lake City on it somewhere. – Utah Bottles

Roback'sBloodPurifier_Heckler

“Dr. C.W. Roback’s / Scandinavien / Blood Purifier. / Cincinnati. O” Medicine Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Oval, brilliant deep bluish aquamarine, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 7 5/8 inches. – Norman C. Heckler Auction

Roback’s Blood Pills were sold in boxes inside wrappers sealed with wax. The wrappers on white paper were first issued June 29, 1867 and last issued in June of 1874. 340,217 were printed on old paper and 182,725 on silk paper. The copy above is on old paper. The wrappers were supplied in sheets and cut apart with scissors. Some of the guidelines can be seen on this one. – rdhinstl

DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Cover – Indiana State Library

DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Page 7 Testimonial – Indiana State Library

DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Page 31 – An Extensive Medical Establishment – Indiana State Library

DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Page 34 – Dr. Roback’s Stomach Bitters – Indiana State Library

First edition of Charles W. Roback’s self-published book on astrology, necromancy, witchcraft, spiritual phenomenon and much more. The book was published at Boston in 1854 and consists of 236 pages plus contents and some advertisements for consultations with Roback, his galvanic chains and other items. Original green cloth with gilt ornaments, page edges gilt. Roback claimed to be a Swedish noble, among other things, but was eventually exposed as a charlatan. He caused quite a scandal and as you can see from his picture, he preferred to imagine himself as a relic of the 17th century.

The Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic by Dr. C. W. Roback – 1854 – Boston


Read More on Figural Barrels

Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys)

Barrel Series – Dr. Chandler’s Jamaica Ginger Root Bitters

Barrel Series – Favorite Bitters & Peoples Favorite Bitters

Barrel Series – Wormser Bros San Francisco

Barrel Series – Mist of the Morning

Barrel Series – Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic

Barrel Series – Turner Brothers New York & San Francisco

Barrel Series – The Mysterious Blue Barrel

Barrel Series – Original Pocahontas Bitters

Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters

Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters – aka Vertical Greeley’s

Peach colored Bourbon Whiskey Bitters added to Color Run

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters – A Great Boston Bitters Barrel

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V, President, Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors, is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. Ferdinand is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps.
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