Jeremiah Rohrer – Nolt Collection of Whiskey Memorabilia

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Left: Rohrer’s Wild Cherry Tonic , Lancaster, PA. Cathedral Form Honey Amber Smooth Base Bottle, 10 1/2.” Right: Rohrer’s Wild Cherry Tonic, Lancaster, PA. Cathedral Form Dark Amber Iron Pontiled Bottle, 10 1/2.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

Jeremiah Rohrer – Nolt Collection of Whiskey Memorabilia

Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic

11 October 2015 (R•101615)

Apple-Touch-IconAOne of my favorite bottles is the Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic. I consider it a bitters even though “Bitters” is not embossed on the bottle. My basic thinking is that they usually put “whiskey” in a whiskey looking bottle and “bitters” in a bitters looking bottle. Whiskey was for men and you drank at a bar. Bitters could be used as a medicine but of course, it was also loaded with alcohol and you could take it home. The liquor merchants were in many cases medicine men too. They were also masters of advertising.

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Rohrer’s Cough & Lung Balsam Medicine Bottle, Lancaster, PA. Aqua, 6 3/4 ” tall, Embossed Medicine with Smooth Base. Very Rare. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

Jeremiah Rohrer used a magnificent illustration of a bottle horse race in advertising where his Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic is winning a race against all of his competing bitters products. Notice the graphics beneath the three flags as it says, “Rohrer’s Bitters Still Ahead.” Now notice the Drake’s Plantation Bitters in sixth place or so. This product was a tonic, but it was marketed as a bitters.

Rohrer’s Bitters Still Ahead

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Framed Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic illustration print. Notice the graphics beneath the three flags, “Rohrer’s Bitters Still Ahead.” Notice the Drake’s Plantation Bitters. Ex: Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

Jeremiah Rohrer claimed that his tonic was originally used in Switzerland as early as 1700 with great success and that it was brought to America by John Jacob Rohrer in 1732 when he emigrated to United States. Jeremiah was the son of Mary (Parthemore) and David Rohrer, and husband to Mary Ann Redsecker. Jeremiah was a Major in the 127th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers and a Civil War Union Army Officer. He was mustered in as Captain and commander of Company H, 127th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on August 14, 1862. Five days later, on August 19, he was commissioned as the regiment’s Major. He served through the December 1862 Fredericksburg Campaign, and the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, and was honorably discharged on June 2, 1863.

Jeremiah Rohrer established his liquor and medicine business in the spring of 1864 and located his establishment in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Queen Street. He rubbed shoulders with other bitters merchants like Benjamin Mishler (Mishler’s Herb Bitters), John Hart (Canteen Bitters), Reinfried & Lesher (Dr. Maton’s Celebrated Herb Bitters), Dr. Samuel B. Hartman (later purchased Mishler Herb Bitters) and Charles H. Kryder (Dr. Stoever’s Stomach Bitters), many with addresses on Queen Street too. He was a major liquor merchant and by the time his first store appeared, he was already famous for his Wild Cherry Tonic.

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Rohrer’s Liquor Store, 24-25 Centre Square, Lancaster, PA, Framed Picture, “The Most Complete Liquor Establishment in Pennsylvania,” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

In 1869 or so, Rohrer moved his store from 11 S. Queen St. to 115 S. Queen. In 1875 he moved his store yet again, this time to 35 N. Queen Street. By 1883, he moved again to 22 Centre Square (aka Penn Square) where his operation remained even after the square was renamed Penn Square [See comment at bottom of post] which was around 1890. His son joined him in business in 1909 and the shop moved again to 24-25 Penn Square. Two years later, after his death, his son took over. Howard J. Rohrer kept the business through 1919, but moved away in 1920 when Prohibition made his business illegal. In 1921, Howard J. Rohrer returned and set up an office at 10 S. Queen Street, and by 1924, he was the vice president of the Chocolate and Caramel Company at the same address.

CAClogoThe reason Rohrer is back in the news is that Conestoga Auction Company auctioned off the Nolt Collection of Whiskey Memorabilia yesterday from Manheim, Pennsylvania. LiveAuctioneers ran the auction. This collection was fantastic and probably was the most comprehensive grouping of Lancaster, Pennsylvania material ever assembled. The quality and depth of the collection was stunning and had obviously been meticulously assembled. I have used many Rohrer pieces in this post. A number will join my collection in support of my Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic bottles.

Also read: Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic

J. Rohrer – Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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Left: J. Rohrer, Lancaster, PA, Rohrer’s “A” Whiskey, FILLED Amber Paper Label Quart Bottle with name on red seal top. 11″ tall. Right: Rohrer’s Liquor Store, 24-25 Centre Square, Lancaster, PA . “California Brandy” Amber Paper label Quart Whiskey Bottle. 11 1/2″ tall. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Left: J. Rohrer, 24 Centre Square, Lancaster, PA. Very Early “Pennsylvania Bradford Old Rye” Amber Paper Label Quart Whiskey Bottle, 11″ tall. Right: Rohrer’s Liquor Store, 24-25 Centre Square, Lancaster, PA, “Blackberry Wine,” FILLED Green Quart Paper Label Bottle with embossed red foil cap, 11 1/2 ” tall. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Labeled J. Rohrer Black Label Whiskey. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Labeled Rohrer’s Liquor Store flask with Center Square address. Ex: Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Rohrer’s, 22 Centre Square, Lancaster, PA. Tin Lithograph Oval Advertising Tray, 16 1/2 “x 13 1/2,” depicting four horses at a Watering Hole. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Framed Rohrers Corkscrew Openers, Lanc., PA. Mounted Frame, 27 1/2 x 12″ with 17 Rohrers Corkscrew Openers fastened from Lancaster, PA. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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J. Rohrer, Lancaster, PA, Wooden Advertising Crate, 12 1/2″H x 17 1/2 ” W x 13″ D. Printed also in red & black on outside end panels, “Rohrer ‘s ‘A’ Whiskey.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Painted “Rohrer” Wicker Covered Aqua Bottle, Lancaster, PA. 12 1/4.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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J. Rohrer , Lancaster , PA. Very Early and Probably Unique Round -Handled , Barrel -Shaped Whiskey Container, 7 ” Diameter X 10 1/2 ” Long. End Panel has paper label that reads Rohrer’s”From J. Rohrer, Wholesale Dealer in Liquors and Proprietor of Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Rohrers “A” Whiskey Shot Glass, Rohrers Liquor Store, Lancaster, PA. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic

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Rohrer’s Wild Cherry Tonic, Lancaster, PA. Paper Label Amber Bottle. Remedy for many Cures Including “Blood Purifier.” 11 3/4.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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J. Rohrer Early 1869 Framed Almanac Calendar, advertising Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Cherry Tonic, ” The Greatest Destroyer of Dyspepsia and the Best Blood Purifier in the World!” 12″ x 14 1/2.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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J. Rohrer, Lancaster, PA Wild Cherry Tonic and Cough & Lung Balsam Printed Advertisement , 8 1/2″ x 11.” Very Early Framed Ad for Both of Rohrer’s Famous Products. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Framed Rohrer’s Expectoral Wild Chery Tonic advertising coin – Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Rohrer’s Wild Cherry Tonic, Lancaster, PA, Framed Envelope. Very Early Fancy Envelope sent to his relative, Jacob B. Rohrer. 11 ” x 12. ” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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Rohrer’s Liquor Store, 24-25 Centre Square , Lancaster, PA. Framed facsimile of Rohrer’s Price List and Picture of Store, 9 1/2″ x 11 1/2.” Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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J. Rohrer, Lancaster, PA, Framed 1913 Store Receipt, 8 ” x 11″ Bill of Sale to Mr. Simon B. Cameron (Secretary of War for Abraham Lincoln). Small picture of Cameron. Nolt Collection – Conestoga Auction Company

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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One Response to Jeremiah Rohrer – Nolt Collection of Whiskey Memorabilia

  1. Hi Ferdinand,

    I head up the Los Angeles Whiskey Society and sometimes will find myself at your great website in order to help date/authenticate an old whiskey bottle. This is just a small note to let you know that there’s an error in your recent article on the Rohrer’s bottles/Nolt Collection.

    “…he moved again to 22 Centre Square where his operation remained even after the square was renamed Penn Square which was around 1890.”

    It seems that Centre Square was actually renamed Penn Square in 1829. See this history book, page 1844, first full paragraph in the right-hand column. Presumably, the term “Centre Street” just stuck around for many decades afterwards in popular parlance.

    Cheers,

    Adam Herz
    LA Whiskey Society
    http://www.lawhiskeysociety.com

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