Geo. C. Hubbel & Co. – Unlisted Variant – Celebrated Golden Bitters
03 May 2011 (R•013015) (R•090718)
Dan Baldwin from Swansea, Massachusetts contacted me yesterday about an exciting new bottle he now has posted on eBay. He described his posting as follows with this clipped image that I embellished:
Geo. C. Hubbel & Co. – Unlisted Variant – Golden Bitters Deep Aqua in color, tooled lip, Smooth base, 10 1/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ x 2 1/4″ American – Blown at a NY state Glassworks circa 1860- 1870 for a Hudson NY merchant. A fine example with no condition issues. Embossed on 2 of 4 sides, It lacks the GOLDEN BITTERS embossing but one is noted as found with a GOLDEN BITTERS label, of which only 2 have been recorded sold at public auction since 1998. This particular example also has a recessed area on one of the roofs which to my knowledge is unlisted. A rare possibly unlisted variant of the Golden Bitters
Hubbel & Co.’s Celebrated Golden Bitters
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows for the typical embossed bitters example. I have also pictured two of my embossed GOLDEN BITTERS examples below.
G 63 GOLDEN BITTERS
GOLDEN / BITTERS // GEO. C. HUBBEL & CO. // sp // GEO. C. HUBBEL & CO //
L…Hubbel & Co’s Golden Bitters
Corner Water & Ferry Streets, Hudson, New York
10 3/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 3/8 (6 1/8) 3/8
Rectangular cabin, Aqua, LTCR, Applied mouth, 4 sp, Scarce.
Golden Bitters – Meyer Collection
Golden Bitters (with a few air bubbles) – Meyer Collection
Read: Golden Bitters on a Rainy Day
George C. Hubbel
Golden Bitters was produced by George Coffin Hubbel from his like-named George C. Hubbel Co. in Hudson, New York which was located on the corner of Water and Ferry Streets. His son, Henry W. Hubble also sold groceries from this address. You can see a cool picture of the building below with a GOLDEN BITTERS sign on the front and a smaller Geo. C. Hubbel & Co. sign below. The bottle we are talking about is in the form of a semi-cabin and was advertised and sold from 1863 – 1868 in major cities in United States.
The picture, which is reproduced in A Pictorial History of Columbia County, published by Hudson-Catskill Newspapers. The caption reads: The Old Hubbel Corner one of Hudson’s century old landmarks, located at the corner of Ferry and Water streets, continues to defy the ravages of time. For many years, Hubbel’s “Golden Bitters,” a widely known preparation, was manufactured here by George C. Hubbel & Co. The product enjoyed extensive sale and its name was linked with Hudson over a broad area for many years. Later the building was the Columbia Knitting Co. which later was moved to Virginia to be nearer the cotton fields of the South. In the day of steamboating this was one of Hudson’s busiest corners. – Picture Frank Wicker
George C. Hubbel’s New York City address for his warehouse and central depot was No. 55 Hudson Street within the American Express Building.
During that period they have not only pursued a most liberal system or newspaper advertising; but every vacant fence curbstone, ferry-landing, even the rocks on the highway, have been embellished with large placards, “G — 1863 — B.”, “Hubbel’s Golden Bitters,” and hundreds of others, which have become to New-Yorkers as familiar as household words.
Golden Bitters was introduced in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War and advertised nationally. During that period Hubbel painted vacant fences, curbstones, ferry-landings, and even the rocks on the highway, with large placards reading “G — 1863 — B.”, “Hubbel’s Golden Bitters,”. Many people had this marketing phrase embedded in their minds when ordering a Golden Bitters. You can see this phrase on the advertising trade card below and many other pieces. He said it was the”Best Tonic in the World”. Much of his advertising also included an American eagle though it is not embossed on the bottles as the top-most illustration suggests.
Hubbel & Co.’s Celebrated Golden Bitters advertisement (front) – The Library Company of Philadelphia
Hubbel & Co.’s Celebrated Golden Bitters advertisement (back) – The Library Company of Philadelphia
Hubbel & Co.’s Celebrated Golden Bitters advertising trade card – Joe Gourd Collection
Some of their advertising noted that the production of Golden Bitters involved the employment of over one hundred hands, and that they had the capacity to manufacture ten thousand bottles per day! No wonder many of us bitters collectors have examples in our collection!
By 1868, George C. Hubble was not mentioned in Golden Bitters advertising as the proprietor. This would be the last year for sales at least as far as I can determine. Ads this year would note that his son, Henry W. Hubbel was General Agent. Hubble would die in New York in 1872.
Read about another golden bitters: The triangular Balsdons Golden Bitters – Early New York
Golden Bitters cabinet card (Carte de Visite) image from a 2012 eBay auction. Notice Hubble spelled incorrectly – Image from Joe Gourd
Hudson, NY and NY City. Golden Bank, Hubbel’s Celebrated Golden Bitters
(these four words superimposed over G. 1863 B.) signed by George
Coffin Hubbel (1814-1872), president and Charles Coffin Hubbel,
(1836-his son) cashier. 50 denomination. Vlack 2545. Engraver: George
Schlegel, 83 William Street, New York, in business at this address from
1862 to 1868. Reverse blank – Ben Swanson collection
Multiple-advertisement lettersheet (termed a “billboard” by some
philatelists). Opposite (below): Golden Bitters advertisement – Ben Swanson Collection
Multiple-advertisement lettersheet (termed a “billboard” by some philatelists). Golden Bitters advertisement in top center (see opposite side above) – Ben Swanson Collection
Hubbel’s Golden Bitters.
Published: May 10, 1864
From the New-York Evening Express.
Many of the tonic preparations which are now giving universal satisfaction to the public were denoted [to the fair] in large quantities; prominent in the list was a generous invoice of Golden Bitters, from the manufacturers, GEORGE C. HUBBEL Co., of Hudson, N.Y., and whose warehouse is in the American Express Building, No. 55 Hudson-street, in this City. Although only recently introduced, the intrinsic value of this preparation has already produced a large demand, which is constantly increasing, and already promises fame and fortune to its energetic producers. That they not only understand the way to make a superior tonic drink; but that they have abundant business ability to let the public become fully aware of the fact has been amply demonstrated, in the seven or eight months just passed. During that period they have not only pursued a most liberal system or newspaper advertising; but every vacant fence curbstone, ferry-landing, even the rocks on the highway, have been embellished with large placards, “G — 1863 — B.””Hubbel’s Golden Bitters,” and hundreds of others, which have become to New-Yorkers as familiar as household words. It is claimed that these Golden Bitters have many superior medicinal qualities, independent of the one they are mostly employed for — an appetitive power. For Dyspepsia, Heartburn, General Debility, and Prostration, as well as for females of quiet habits, these bitters are said to be of superior value. In order to illustrate how readily a good thing can be remuneratively brought out in these days of progress, it is only necessary to state the facts, that the fabrication of the Golden Bitters, already incurs the employment of over one hundred hands, and the capacity of the manufactory is equal to the production of ten thousand bottles per day; yet it is said that so great is the demand that these, facilities will soon have to be largely increased. As a beverage, the Golden Bitters are extremely palatable, and those desiring a mild stimulant will undoubtedly find this an agreeable and beneficial one. While dealers only are supplied by the manufacturer, this bitters can be procured of Druggists, Grocers, at Hotels, Restaurants, etc., throughout the country, and even in the public drinking houses it is becoming a fashionable drink.
Golden Bitters advertisement – The Zanesville Daily Courier, Tuesday, November 22, 1864
Golden Bitters advertisement – Cleveland Daily Leader, Thursday, June 30, 1864
Golden Bitters 1863 advertisement – Reading Times, Saturday, February 25, 1865
Golden Bitters advertisement – Harpers Weekly, 1864
Hubbel’s Golden Bitters advertisement – The Times Picayune, Tuesday, July 24, 1866
1814: George Coffin Hubbel Birth Date: 22 Sep 1814, Father: William G Hubbel, Mother: Elizabeth Hubbel
1850: George C. Hubbel, age 35, Merchant, birthplace New York (b. 1815), wife Ann, children Henry W. and Cuyer Hubbel – United States Federal Census
1859-1862: George S. Hubbel, Wines & Liquors, retail & wholesale, Ferry cor Wilson, Hudson – New York City Directory
1864: Golden Bitters advertisement (above) Geo. C. Hubbel & Co., Central Depot, American Express Buildings, 55 Hudson Street, NY – The Zanesville Daily Courier, Tuesday, November 22, 1864
1866: Hubbel’s Golden Bitters advertisement (above) Central Depot, American Express Buildings, 55 Hudson Street, NY – The Times Picayune, Tuesday, July 24, 1866
1868: Hubbel’s Golden Bitters advertisement, H. W. Hubbel, General Agent, 23 Cedar Street, NY – The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Saturday, February 29, 1868
1872: George C. Hubbel, distiller, 260 G’wich, 559 W. 33d and 368 Eleventh ave – Trow’s New York City Directory
1872: George Coffin Hubbel Death Date: 2 Jan 1872, Cemetery: Hudson City Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Hudson, Columbia County, New York