German Tonic Bitters – Boggs, Cottman & Co.

German Tonic Bitters – Boggs, Cottman & Co.

B.B.B. – Boggs Balt Bitters

30 July 2011 (R•090418) (R•052319)

Apple-Touch-IconAEarlier this morning, I posted some pictures and information from Baltimore collector, Chris Rowell (click here). Specifically speaking it was…

“When I finally got hooked on bottles in 2002 (read story), I had the pleasure of quickly meeting a fellow named Chris Rowell who is a stand-out member of the Baltimore Club and an experienced digger. He actually sold me one of my favorite bitters which is a perfect example of a killer, pontiled, Boggs, Cottman & Co. German Tonic Bitters (R/H G 28).

That got me thinking about my Boggs, Cottman & Co. German Tonic Bitters. It’s dark outside so I can’t check on my baby so I thought I would post a few pictures. PS: This is a BALTIMORE bottle! Earlier writings inferred that this was a western bitters. That is incorrect.

The updated Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 is as follows:

9 3/4 x 3 (7 1/2) 1/2
Square, Aqua, LTCR, Applied mouth, With and without Metallic pontil mark, Very rare
BAR p48, UMB 42, WAT 131
Boggs, Cottman & Co., (William A. Boggs & James S. Cottman) Importer and Dealers in Wines, Liquors &c. and Commission Merchants, Baltimore, Maryland.
Advertisements: German Tonic Bitters being sold by Erney & Bro. – Gettysburg Compiler, June 24 1850, Boggs, Cottman & Co., Nos. 44 and 46 Lombard Street, selling German Tonic Bitters – The Daily Exchange, March 9 1859, Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters, Boggs Cottman & Co., No. 46 Lombard Street, Notes ‘in use’ more than 20 years – The Baltimore Sun, June 25 1864, B.B.B., Boggs Balt Bitters, Bogg’s German Tonic Bitters, Wade, Boykin & Co., Wholesale Druggists, No. 3 North Liberty St. – The Tarborough Southerner, February 24, 1870
Example dug at Jacob’s Wells, Nevada, which is now Carson City.

My example was purchased from Chris Rowell in October 2002 and has a metallic pontil. It is full of whittle and bubbles and has a few light olive striation streaks. I believe it to be the best example of the three or four bottles that are known to exist. I have seen three of them.

B.B.B. Boggs Balt Bitters

German Tonic Bitters was noted in advertising to have first been used in 1844. We can not confirm this but there was probably some labeled concoction that was the predecessor to Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters in the embossed square aqua bottle. This bitters product was made and sold from around 1859 to 1871. The bottles were probably produced around 1865 and were made at the Baltimore Glass Works. Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters was sold by the case and for $1 a quart bottle. Yes, some examples did make it out west. By 1870, advertising was in full swing and the brand advertised itself as “B.B.B. Boggs Balt Bitters”

Boggs, Cottman & Co. was first listed in 1847 or so selling liquors and wines in Baltimore at 46 W. Lombard St. The partners were William A. Boggs and James S. Cottman. Prior to Cottman joining, it was Boggs & Son as noted in advertising in 1842. This would have been Harmanus Boggs and his son William. Cottman would marry into the family when he married Elizabeth McEldery Boggs, of Pennsylvania ancestry, on April 25, 1844. James Stuart Cottman was the son of Lazarus and Elizabeth Morris (Bishop) Cottman. They were the parents of two sons, James Hough Cottman and Clarence Cottman. James Stuart Cottman died on June 9, 1863.

Select Listings

1785: Harmanus Boggs, Age: 65, Birth Year: abt 1785, Birthplace: Pennsylvania – United States Federal Census
1810: James Stuart Cottman born about 1810 in Maryland – United States Federal Census
1819: Harmanus Boggs, occupation: dry goods merchant, 165 1/2, Baltimore – The Baltimore Directory
1820: Hermaneous Boggs, Home in 1820, Baltimore Ward 7, Baltimore, Maryland, Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820 – United States Federal Census
1841: Notice: H. Boggs & Son (below) move to No. 7 Commerce Street – The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, December 7, 1841.

1842: H. Boggs & Son, Wine and Liquor merchants, East Side Commerce St. South of Lombard St. – Baltimore, Maryland City Directory
1847-1850: Boggs, Cottman & Co., Grocers, Wine & Liquor Dealer, 46 W. Lombard St. – Baltimore Maryland City Directory
1847: Notice (below) Boggs, Cottman & Co. – The Baltimore Sun, Saturday,  January 2, 1847

1848: Boggs, Cottman & Co., Liquors, Wines &c. advertisement (below) – The Baltimore Sun, Thursday, September 7, 1848

1850: Harmanus Boggs, Age: 65, Birth Year: abt 1785, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Home in 1850: Baltimore Ward 10, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Household Members: Harmanus Boggs 65, H Boggs 40, W A Boggs 29, M A Boggs 23 – United States Federal Census
1850: Advertisement – German Tonic Bitters being sold by Erney & Bro. – Gettysburg Compiler, Monday, June 24 1850

1852: Boggs, Cottman & Co., Wine and Liquor Dealer, 46 W. Lombard – Baltimore, Maryland City Directory
1853: Advertisement (below) Boggs, Cottman & Co., successors to Boggs & Son, No. 46 Lombard St. – Manufacturers and dealers in Bitters.

1857-1859: Boggs, Cottman & Co., importers and dealers in wine, liquors, & c. and commission merchants 44 and 46 W Lombard – Baltimore Maryland City Directory
1859: Advertisement (below): Boggs, Cottman & Co., Nos. 44 and 46 Lombard Street, selling German Tonic Bitters – The Daily Exchange, Wednesday, March 9 1859

1860: James S. Cottman, Merchant, Age: 50, Birth Year: abt 1810, Birth Place: Maryland, Home in 1860: Baltimore Ward 11, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland, Post Office: Baltimore, Household Members: James S. Cottman 50, Elizabeth Cottman 38, Herman S Cottman 15, James H Cottman 13, Margeret E Cottman 10, Clarance Cottman 6 – United States Federal Census
1863: Boggs, Cottman & Co., (William A. Boggs & James S. Cottman) importer and dealers in wines, liquors &c. and commission merchants, 46 W Lombard – Baltimore Maryland City Directory
1863: James Stuart Cottman died on June 9, 1863.
1864: Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters advertisement (below). Boggs Cottman & Co., No. 46 Lombard Street, Notes in use more than 20 years- The Baltimore Sun, Saturday, June 25 1864

1870: Newspaper advertisement (below) – B.B.B. Boggs Balt Bitters, Bogg’s German Tonic Bitters, Wade, Boykin & Co., Wholesale Druggists, No. 3 North Liberty St. – The Tarborough Southerner, Thursday, February 24, 1870

1871: Advertisement (below): Just Received Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters – Catoctin Clarion, Saturday, June 24 1871

1875: Advertising envelope listing Bogg’s German Tonic BittersWade, Boykin & Co. Proprietors. Envelope dated 1875. By that time, the company was renamed Boykin, Carmer & Co.

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V 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. He 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. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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