The handled Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters – Chicago

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Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters | Chicago

06 July 2013 (R•101514)

Apple-Touch-IconAI was recently able to add a long sought after, extremely rare, Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters to my collection. As one of only two handled bitters brands that exist, the Foerster’s from Chicago, will join the other, the Old Dr. Townsend’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters (pictured below) on my shelves. This example is from the famous John Feldmann Collection and recently sold in Glass Works Auction #98. The Glass Works write-up is as follows:

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109. “FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, (F-63), Illinois, ca. 1855 – 1865, orange amber handled jug, 6 3/4”h, iron pontil, applied ring mouth and handle. A tiny potstone located to the right of ‘Bitters’ has a radiation surrounding it. Crude highly whittled glass and currently one of only two known examples. To our knowledge this is the first one to be offered at auction! Ex. Ken Sosnowski Collection.

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Window photograph of the subject Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters – Glass Works Auction #98

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Studio photograph of the subject Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters – Glass Works Auction #98

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

F 63  FOERSTER’S TEUTONIC BITTERS
FOERSTER’S ( au ) / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO ( ad ) // c //
6 7/8 x 3 1/2 x 3 (4) Bottle measurements are not exact, they are taken at the base which is quite curved.
Chestnut flask with applied handle on right (example also exists with handle on left). Amber, ARM, Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare

During 1859 and 1860, Theodore Foerster was listed as a rectifier, one who blends or dilutes whiskey, at 54 S. Wells St. Chicago. He was also listed as an importer and wholesale liquor dealer at the same address, and then subsequently at 246 Randolph Street, in the early, to mid-1860’s. Based on the rarity of the bottle, the pontil scarred base, and few scant ads that have been found for Theodore Foerster, it is likely that the bottles were only produced for perhaps a year or two during Foerster’s early years in business. Perhaps because of competition, a limited market, or the unusual chestnut form that was typically associated with whiskey, it was apparently not a very successful venture. Prior to this bottle coming to light, there were only three other examples known.

In the Glass Works auction listing, the bottle was noted as being produced from 1855 – 1865. I believe this to be highly unlikely and suspect maybe only a one t0 two year period around 1860. I also believe there are three examples and not two (now four – 101514). This has been confirmed by another western bitters collector.

Theodore Foerster, 54 S Wells, Chicago City Directory, 1860

Theodore Foerster, 246 Randolph, Chicago, Illinois, Chicago City Directory, 1865

Theodore Foerster, importer and whole. dealer in wines and liquors, 246 Randolph, r. 520 Hubbard, Chicago, City Directory, 1867

I really wish I had a copy of “Bottled in Illinois: Embossed Bottles and Bottled Products of Early Illinois Merchants from Chicago to Cairo, 1840-1880” by Kenneth B. Farnsworth and John A. Walthall. I wonder if the authors have any more information on this brand and Theodore Foerster?

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1864 Theodore Foerster directory listing in liquor sectionIllinois State Gazette

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Theodore Foerster, importer and whole. dealer in wines and liquors, 246 Randolph, r. 520 Hubbard, Chicago, City Directory, 1867

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Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters sitting within the great bottle room of the John Feldmann collection prior to the dispersement of the collection.

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Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters – picture courtesy 1st Chicago Bottle Club “This example  is a “lefty” and as far as I know is the only left handed one known.” – Ray Komorowski

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Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters (center)  – Ham Collection. The bottle is flanked by a  ‘left handled’ and “right handled’ Old Dr. Townsend’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters.

Read More: Old Dr. Townsend’s Daisy Vases, more common than you think

Pictures of this example below surfaced at Peachridge earlier in the year. The person was asking if the bottle was real or a reproduction. Almost fell out of my chair!

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“FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, America, 1858 – 1861. Bright golden amber, plump chestnut form with an applied left handle, applied mouth with square band – iron pontil scar, ht. 6 5/8″, near mint; (a touch of typical light exterior wear). R/H #F63. An iconic bitters bottle, one of only four known examples, and one of only two bitters that chose to use the handled chestnut form for their product. Beautiful, heavily whittled glass, outstanding condition. (4th new example) – American Glass Gallery #13

Lot128-angleview

“FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, America, 1858 – 1861. Bright golden amber, plump chestnut form with an applied left handle, applied mouth with square band – iron pontil scar, ht. 6 5/8″, near mint; (a touch of typical light exterior wear). R/H #F63. An iconic bitters bottle, one of only four known examples, and one of only two bitters that chose to use the handled chestnut form for their product. Beautiful, heavily whittled glass, outstanding condition. (4th new example) – American Glass Gallery #13

Lot128-base

“FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, America, 1858 – 1861. Bright golden amber, plump chestnut form with an applied left handle, applied mouth with square band – iron pontil scar, ht. 6 5/8″, near mint; (a touch of typical light exterior wear). R/H #F63. An iconic bitters bottle, one of only four known examples, and one of only two bitters that chose to use the handled chestnut form for their product. Beautiful, heavily whittled glass, outstanding condition. (4th new example) – American Glass Gallery #13

Lot128-handle

“FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, America, 1858 – 1861. Bright golden amber, plump chestnut form with an applied left handle, applied mouth with square band – iron pontil scar, ht. 6 5/8″, near mint; (a touch of typical light exterior wear). R/H #F63. An iconic bitters bottle, one of only four known examples, and one of only two bitters that chose to use the handled chestnut form for their product. Beautiful, heavily whittled glass, outstanding condition. (4th new example) – American Glass Gallery #13

Lot128-daylight

“FOERSTER’S / TEUTONIC / BITTERS / CHICAGO”, America, 1858 – 1861. Bright golden amber, plump chestnut form with an applied left handle, applied mouth with square band – iron pontil scar, ht. 6 5/8″, near mint; (a touch of typical light exterior wear). R/H #F63. An iconic bitters bottle, one of only four known examples, and one of only two bitters that chose to use the handled chestnut form for their product. Beautiful, heavily whittled glass, outstanding condition. (4th new example) – American Glass Gallery #13

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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2 Responses to The handled Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters – Chicago

  1. Froggy says:

    Glad you got it! Truly a great Bitters rarity and an outstanding piece of early American blown glass.

  2. Hi Ferdinand-

    Regarding the picture of the Foerster’s Teutonic Bitters in our Chicago bottle gallery. That one is a “lefty” and as far as I know is the only left handed one known. As I think back about this picture, it was probably not a good idea to hold this bottle with my left hand and use my right hand for the camera considering how rare it really is.

    In the future, if you need help with any Chicago bottles please contact us.

    Thanks for all your hard work and passion for our hobby.

    Ray Komorowski

    1st Chicago Bottle Club

    http://www.1stchicagobottleclub.com

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