R. & G. A. Wright – Great Gun Cologne


R. & G. A. Wright – Great Gun Cologne

22 June 2012

Apple-Touch-IconAThe latest addition to the figural cannon series was a tough one as this figural bottle is extremely rare and pictures difficult to come by. I saw my first example of a R. &. G. A. WRIGHT at the Norman C. HecklerThomas McCandless Collection auction preview (read: “R & G. A. Wright / Philada” Miniature Figural Bottle) this past October (pictured below) at the Heckler 12th Annual Columbus Day Weekend Event in Woodstock Valley, Connecticut. This was the smaller plum amethyst example that was described as follows in the Heckler McCandless auction catalog (pictured below):

“R. & G. A. WRIGHT / PHILADA.” Miniature Figural Bottle, America, 1860 – 1880. In the form of a cannon barrel, plum amethyst, tooled mouth – smooth base, ht. 6 7/8 inches. Great condition. Only one other example, that being the blue barrel in the Dr. Charles Aprill collection. Ex Gordon Bass collection auction, 1971.

Well…Charles and Jane Aprill were kind enough to provide some more pictures and information on how they obtained this bottle and the cobalt blue example (pictured below). They also added a comment and picture of the smaller, plum amethyst and cobalt blue rarities :

“This is the first time this pair has been together in half a century”

On Nov 4th, 5th and 6th, 1971, Skinner’s in Bolton Mass. held a “Premier Bottle Collection Public Auction”. The collection of Mr. Gordon Bass of Upper Montclair, N.J. was large. The catalog lists 1330 items.

Item # 935 “Cannon, 8″, R & GA WRIGHT, PHILA., amethyst” was taken by Tom McCandless for $400.

Item #1071 “R. & G.A. Wright, Phila., sm. cannon barrel, blue” was pictured in the black and white catalog.

The story is that an Atlanta dealer, Rick Meyer, was speeding to the auction, was stopped and arrested. His one “phone call” was to the auction house. His bid of $500 won the blue cannon.

We were young collectors and did not know of this “big time” auction, but soon heard about it.

I obtained the blue cannon in 1974 from Mr. Meyer. I coveted the amethyst cannon after seeing it at McCandless’s home. I offered money, trades and the moon, but Tom and Marion loved the bottle.

I sort of liked the figural cannons and really needed the small “purple one”. Tom was older than me, I often told him that. He passed and it came to a Heckler Auction. I believe Tom would have liked the sale. I’m sure he was “watching”.

Jane and I were lucky enough to win the Amethyst cannon, and now the two are happily joined once again after 41 years. It joins a group of 18 figural cannons.

R. & G. A. WRIGHT, 7 inch figural cannons. Probably held cologne. This is the first time this pair has been together in half a century. – Aprill Collection

12 1/2″ & 7″ figural cannons. embossed R. & G. A. WRIGHT / PHILADA. An amber example of the larger bears a full label identifying the contents as “GREAT GUN COLOGNE”. – Aprill Collection

This is the amber puce and deep amethyst R. & G. A. WRIGHT figural cannons. Same measurements as the last pair. – Aprill Collection

R. & G.A. WRIGHT / PHILADA. from the 2011 Norman C. Heckler –  Thomas McCandless Collection Auctions 95 & 96

R. & G.A. WRIGHT / PHILADA. from the 2011 Norman C. Heckler – Thomas McCandless Collection Auctions 95 & 96


1854 advertisement for R. & G. A. Wright Philadelphia – Manufacturers of Perfumery – Philadelphia City Directory

Listing for R. & G. A. Wright, Philadelphia, PA., – Extracts, cologne, cosmetics, pomades, oils etc. in the 1876 Official Catalogue – US Centennial Commission

Vintage genuine Hungarian Eau De Cologne bottle Philadelphia rare! Signed R. & G. A. Wright! Says the only genuine Hungarian cologne! It measures 5 1/2 inches tall and has a cork top which is partially intact! As you can see the original label is intact!! – eBay (fleamarket_secrets)

Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association noting any exhibit of Wright products, Volume 24 – 1877

R. & G.A. WRIGHT cannon figural. Top broken off. Full label. – Aprill Collection

Description of an art print for the Wright emporium on Fourth Street in Philadelphia – Library Company of Philadelphia: 1981 Annual Report

R. & G.A. WRIGHT cannon figural. Top broken off. Full label. – Aprill Collection

Discussion of the Wright factory size. I do not get this. 100 square feet and one of the largest factories in France, England or America! – Philadelphia and its manufactures: a hand-book exhibiting the development … by Edwin Troxell Freedley

Read Further: General Scotts Artillery Bitters – The Ultimate Cannon Barrel Figural

Read Further: Tobias Barto and his Great Gun Bitters – Reading, PA

Read Further: Figural Cannon Bottles – J T GAYEN / ALTONA

Read Further: A. M. Bininger & Co. Figural Cannon

Read Further: Sol Frank’s Panacea Bitters – Great Form

Read Further: Thad Waterman “Warsaw” Stomach Bitters – Figural Cannon Barrel, Lighthouse or House Roof?

Read Further: Brown’s Castilian Bitters – Transitional Cannon Barrel Figural

Read Further: Castilian Bitters – Brown & Embree Proprietors – New York

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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3 Responses to R. & G. A. Wright – Great Gun Cologne

  1. mikedickman says:

    Wow! What a group! And without the label and advertisements, who ever would have guessed that these bottles held cologne?! Thanks for the photos, Charles and Jane, and thanks to Ferd and Elizabeth for this amazing website!

  2. Maxbitters says:

    A while back we dug a purple puce large size “R. & G.A. Wright, Phila” cannon in Northern California. Seems odd that the bottle contained cologne as it was found with mostly liquor bottles.

    • Incredible. Where did this example end up? I was rather surprised to see that this bottle was a cologne. Seems odd that it could have been refilled and reused as a whiskey with more sound, robust and masculine whiskey bottles available.

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