Travellers Bitters Travels from Baltimore to Carmel

Travellers Bitters Travels from Baltimore to Carmel

08 March 2012 (R•o52914) (R•061617) (R•032019)

Apple-Touch-IconAJerry Forbes, my good friend, table-mate and bitters collector from Big Sur, California scored big when he purchased a very rare Travellers Bitters at the Baltimore Antique Bottle Show this past weekend. Not only was the example stuning, it was most likely the nicest example I have seen with great glass character and it was also ex: Carlyn Ring. Way to go Jerry! I have posted pictures of Jerry’s bottles taken in his hotel room after the show along with pictures of my example.

TRAVELLERS BITTERS – new addition to the Forbes Collection

T 54  Travellers Bitters
motif traveling man seen in profile with cane, headed left // TRAVELLERS // sp // BITTERS // // s // f // // f // 1834 / 1870 // f //
10 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 (6 1/4)
Rectangular, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, Very rare
(man on bottle resembles figures on Pike’s Peak flasks, Heckler notes Robert E. Lee with Walking Stick)

[From Glass Works Auction 94]

(Motif Robert E. Lee with a cane) – TRAVELLERS – BITTERS – 1834 / 1870” (on shoulder), (T-54), American, ca. 1870 – 1875, For years it was thought the ‘traveler’ on the front of this bottle was just a man ‘traveling’, like on the Pike’s Peak flasks. We suggest a more likely possibility. We believe the man on the front of the bottle is the famous Confederate General, Robert E. Lee. The bottle has three clues’ that make us think this. The first clue is the hat, beard and coat. All are identical to how Lee appears on a number of pictures and drawing done during the Civil War. None of the Pike’s Peak traveler’s has a beard. The second clue is on one of the side panels. It is the word ‘Travellers’, spelled with two ‘L’s’. Possibly an error made by the mold maker? We don’t think so. During the course of the Civil War General Lee rode several horses, the last one, and his favorite he named ‘Traveller’, with two ‘L’s’. The third clue is the two dates embossed on the back shoulder panel, ‘1834’ and ‘1870’. The 1834 date seems insignificant. It was the year that Lee was assigned a position as an assistant in the chief engineer’s office in Washington, D.C. The 1870 date is of considerably more importance. That was the year Robert E. Lee died.


TRAVELLERS BITTERS man walking detail – Meyer Collection

TRAVELLERS BITTERS shoulder detail – Meyer Collection


TRAVELLERS BITTERS – Bitters Bottles Supplement

TRAVELLERS BITTERS Sign – Meyer Collection

TRAVELLERS BITTERS – Meyer Collection (Three of 36 rotational images taken by Alan DeMaison for the Virtual Museum)

“TRAVELLER’S” – (Standing figure of General Robert E. Lee) – “BITTERS” – 1834 / 1870″, America, 1870 – 1875. Bright, yellowish-honey coloration, rectangular with rounded corners, applied sloping collar – smooth base, ht. 10 ¼”; (a tiny little pinhead flake on the back edge of the lip, otherwise sparkling attic mint). R/H #T54. A gorgeous example, probably the lightest in color that we can recall seeing, historical, eye-appealing, and rare! Provenance: Joe Kray collection. – American Glass Gallery | Auction #22

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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