Figural Pig Series | Berkshire Bitters

BERKSHIRE BITTERS | AMANN & COMPANY  | CINCINNATI, O

Berkshire Pigs

16 May 2012 (R•090516) (R•110816)

Apple-Touch-IconABerkshire pigs are a rare breed of pig originating from the English county of Berkshire. Herds of the breed are still maintained in England by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust at Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire, and by the South of England Rare Breeds Centre in Kent. The Berkshire is listed as ‘vulnerable’, as in 2008 fewer than 300 breeding sows were known to exist. Some pigs of the breed are also kept in New Zealand, but it is estimated that there are now fewer than a hundred purebred sows there.

In the United States, the American Berkshire Association, established in 1875, gives pedigrees only to pigs directly imported from established English herds or to those tracing directly back to such imported animals. The pig is also bred in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, under the trademarked name Kagoshima Kurobuta. [Wikipedia]

Read: The History of the Berkshire Breed

Porkopolis

Ever wonder why an early proprietor from Cincinnati, Ohio would use a bottle in the form of a pig to package his bitters in? In the mid-1860’s to mid-1870’s Cincinnati was in the middle of farm country. In fact, Cincinnati already had its first slaughterhouse when it was incorporated as a city in 1819. For the next 50-years river boats brought to Cincinnati so many pigs for slaughter that it became referred to as ‘Cincinnati the Pork City’ or the ‘Porkopolis’. Either of these two sayings can be found on most all ‘Railroad and River Guide’ pottery pig flasks made by the Anna Pottery of Southern Illinois. – Jim Hagenbuch (Glass Works Auctions)


“It is rather a hoggish propensity to be guzzling whiskey, and if the habit is indulged in, will soon reduce a man below the level of the hog, and cause him to wallow in the gutter”

Pigs were a sign of prosperity during the 1870’s-1890’s. The pigs were fed corn and corn was also used in the distilling of whiskey. The critters were cute and popular with the public so the distillers capitalized on these figurals as a marketable tool. The pig also represented the evils of drink. Using the cork to seal the contents at the rear allowed crude and rude jokes or slogans to enhance the product, for example SOMETHING GOOD “IN A HOGS ___ ” (with the arrow pointing to the rear).

Beside glass these pigs appear in pottery form. Anna Pottery (read further: A Stunning Pen of Pigs from Glass Works Auctions and Elsewhere) from Anna, Illinois produced the famous Railroad Pig that goes for top dollar. The Kirkpatrick brothers who worked in Anna summed up their feelings in an article in the Jonesboro, Indiana Weekly Gazette in 1869: “It is rather a hoggish propensity to be guzzling whiskey, and if the habit is indulged in, will soon reduce a man below the level of the hog, and cause him to wallow in the gutter”. Glenn Poch 1997. See: Whiskey & Bitter Pigs

Left: Berkshire Bitters | Right: Suffolk Bitters

Today we will look at the extremely popular figural pig called Berkshire Bitters. The manufacturer, Amann & Co., was started by Anthony and Edmund Amann in Cincinnati in 1869. Just a tad, ‘less cute” than the Suffolk Bitters which I wrote about last week, the Berkshire Bitters pig is anatomically correct in proportion and has slightly different molds. Always in shades of a dark amber and reddish amber, you will not find yellow  examples like the Suffolk Bitters pig. Carlyn Ring & W.C. Ham in Bitters Bottles note the following:

B 81  BERKSHIRE BITTERS // AMANN & COMPANY / CINCINNATI, O //
9 1/2 (long) x 10 3/8 (girth) 1 1/2 (neck)
Pig, short thin, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth and Sheared mouth, Scarce
To determine thin pig from fat, pigs were measured in circumference just behind from legs and ahead of stomach.
Circa 1869 – 1880 est.
Short Thin   9 1/2″ long – 10 3/8″ girth, 1 1/2″ neck
Short Fat   9 1/2″ long – 11 1/4″ girth, 1″ neck
Long Fat   10 1/2″ long – 11 3/8 girth, 3/4″ neck
B 81.2  BERKSHIRE BITTERS // AMANN & COMPANY / CINCINNATI, O //
9 1/2 (long) x 11 1/4 (girth) 1 1/2 (neck)
Pig short fat, Amber, Applied mouth, Scarce
B 81.4  BERKSHIRE BITTERS // AMANN & COMPANY / CINCINNATI, O //
10 1/2 (long) x 11 3/8 (girth) 3/4 (neck)
Pig long fat, Amber, Ground mouth, Scarce
One of the challenges in bitters collecting is to acquire all four variants of the Berkshire Bitters pigs.
Note: Edmund Amann lived in Cincinnati from 1873-1888. He owned Old Lexington Distillery No. 86, 8th District of Kentucky which was at Union Mills in Lessamine County. He sold the distillery in 1903 to Edward Gerdes.

Read more:  Lucky digger finds Antique Berkshire Bitters Bottle!


Here is a wonderful grouping of Berkshire Bitters pigs that have sold or are selling presently at auction houses or reside in collections.

BERKSHIRE BITTERS | AMANN & COMPANY | CINCINNATI, O – Medium to deep amber shading to a light golden amber through the rear feet, R/H B81. A scarce, desirable mold that does not come around often – American Glass Gallery Auction 8

BERKSHIRE BITTERS | AMANN & COMPANY | CINCINNATI, O – long fat variant. R/H B81.4, deep amber, ground lip – GreatAntiqueBottles.com

BERKSHIRE BITTERS | AMANN & COMPANY | CINCINNATI, O – Reddish amber shading to yellow amber in pigs feet, short, thin variant  – Meyer Collection

BERKSHIRE BITTERS | AMANN & COMPANY | CINCINNATI, O – Dense tobacco amber shading to a lighter golden tone in the rear feet, R/H B81.4 – American Glass Gallery Auction 8

This bottle was recovered in Old Sacramento SHP in 1978. Dark amber glass, in the form of a pig. Embossed on the side is “BERKSHIRE BITTERS//AMANN & CO/CINCINNATI O.” – photo California State Parks

Dark Amber “Berkshire Bitters” Figural Glass Pig-form Flask, Cincinnati, Ohio, late 19th century, with applied wide lip band, embossed lettering “Berkshire Bitters” on the left side and “Amann & Co. Cincinnati” on the right side – photo Skinner

BERKSHIRE BITTERS – AMANN & CO / CINCINNATI. O, (B-81.4), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, tobacco amber shading to a lighter color in the feet and an almost totally yellow snout figural pig, 10 3/8” long, smooth base, ground mouth. Perfect condition with overall pebbly glass. This is the large fat variant. For some unknown reason a number of the long fat variants have various forms of damage, but not this one. Gene Heisey Collection – Glass Works Auctions

Amber glass with “Berkshire Bitters” on left side & “Amann & Co. Cincinnati” on right, this is the fat pig, 10″ long & mold blown – Cowan’s Auctions

Berkshire003

“BERKSHIRE . BITTERS – AMANN & CO / CINCINNATI. O”, (B-81.4), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, deep olive amber pig, 10 1/2” long, smooth base, sheared and ground lip has a tiny grinding chip, about perfect (a sand grain located on the pigs back has a very tiny 1/16” radiation stemming form it). Good luster, bold impression, and you’ll need a good light and good eyes to find this flaw! This is the long, fat variant. – Glass Works Auction #96

Berkshire002

“BERKSHIRE . BITTERS – AMANN & CO / CINCINNATI, O”, (B-81), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, deep amber shading to an almost yellow coloration in the pigs hind legs, 9 1/2” long, smooth base, sheared and applied mouth. – Glass Works Auction #96

BerkshirePotteryPig

Pottery Pig Bottle, “BERKSHIRE BITTERS – AMANN & CO. / CINCINNATI, O.”, American, overall Albany type brown glaze, 8” long. The pig appears to be in perfect condition but the Amann & Co. Cincinnati, O. lettering is almost obliterated. The age of this pig is uncertain. The form is identical to that of the short fat Berkshire Bitters but having overall smaller dimensions. The oddity of it is that after it was glazed, it was never fired, so it was never filled. – Glass Works Auction #96

BerkshireBitters_Ferraro

“BERKSHIRE BITTERS – AMANN & CO / CINCINNATI, O.”, (Ring/Ham, B-81), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, red amber shading to yellow amber in the feet and snout, 9 1/2” long, smooth base, applied mouth. A pinhead in size flake is off the tip of the snout. Nice shading of color and lighter than most. This is the short thin variant. Purchased from Jim Mitchell in 2008. – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection (Part 1)

berkshireshortbob_session2_gwa

“BERKSHIRE BITTERS – AMANN & CO / CINCINNATI, O.”, (Ring/Ham, B-81), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium amber shading to a deeper amber in the feet and snout, 9 1/4” long, smooth base, applied mouth. Some areas of wear exist. Also a tiny flake is off the side of the lip. This is the short fat variant. Purchased from Rick Meyer in 1971. – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection (Part 2)

Apple-Touch-IconARead More on Peachridge Glass on figural pigs:

A Stunning Pen of Pigs from Glass Works Auctions and Elsewhere

Figural Pig Series | Suffolk Bitters

Figural Pig Series | Beiser & Fisher – NY Figural Whiskey Pig

Figural Pig Series | Duffy Crescent Saloon Figural Pig Bottle

Figural Pig Series – Something Good in a Hogs … – Drink While it Lasts from this Hogs

Figural Pig Series | Beiser & Fisher – NY Figural Whiskey Pig

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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1 Response to Figural Pig Series | Berkshire Bitters

  1. Berkshire Pig post updated with examples from Glass Works Auction #96 and information on breed.

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