Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys)

ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS

(R 73)

18 July 2012 (R•122113) (R•091516) (R•091318)

Dr. Roback was neither a Doctor nor a Roback. He was an unsuccessful farmer, turned salesman, who in 1844, escaped debtor’s prison in his native Sweden. 


ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS, Prince, Walton & Co. poster (reproduction) – Meyer Collection (I had this framed and it looks great in my bottle work room)

The large (R 73) DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS on the left and the smaller (R 74) DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS on the right – Meyer Collection

Apple-Touch-IconAThe post is about the popular, larger, Ring | Ham R 73, Roback’s Stomach Bitters from Cincinnati, Ohio. I will follow up with a post on the smaller R 74 barrels (see comparison photograph above). The R 73 is a big, robust figural barrel that is great to hold. It is even paired with a partially clothed rubenesque woman in the popular advertisement (pictured above). It embodies everything you want in a barrel. You can find them crude, full of bubbles and with pontils which makes it even more exciting. The colors are not as vibrant as an Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic but none-the-less, strong enough to do a run of ambers leading to green. The Roback’s also have support information and related material, some of which I have referenced below. Notice how the artistic image of the building appears on the Roback’s poster, letterhead, tax stamp and label. Now that is consistency!

The Carlyn Ring & W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

R 73  DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS, Circa 1865 – 1875,
DR C. W. ROBACK’S ( au ) / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI, O ( ad ) // c //
Prince, Walton & Co.   Successors to C. W. Roback   Sole proprietors
Nos. 56, 58, 60 & 62 East 3rd Street   Cincinnati, Ohio
10 x 2 5/8 (8)
Round barrel, 10-10 in front, 6-6 in reverse, LTC, With and without Metallic pontil mark, Amber – Common; Green and Apricot – Very rare
Advertisement: 10 thousand sold in one month. The most popular stomach bitters in use. Good for all derangement of the stomach, biliousness, liver complaint, and general debility. They possess wonderful tonic properties, giving tone to the appetite and digestive organs. Debilitated ladies and sedentary persons will find in them an excellent tonic.
Note: Dr. Roback was neither a Doctor nor a Roback. He was an unsuccessful farmer, turned salesman, who in 1844, escaped debtor’s prison in his native Sweden. He started in Boston as Dr. Roback selling horoscopes and founded an astrological college. He sold galvanic chains which were a cure for worms in children. He also sold love powders. He moved to Philadelphia and the Cincinnati where he died in 1867.

Read More: Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the smaller ones)

Big amber variant with lots of color. DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection

Crude yellow amber DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS with red iron pontil. Ex: Earl ‘Pat’ Patterson collection – Meyer Collection

Light to medium root-beer amber DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection

Yellow olive DR C. W. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS – Meyer Collection

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“DR. C.W. ROBACK’S / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI, O.”, (Ring/Ham R-73), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1870, deep olive green barrel, 9 7/8”h, smooth base, applied tapered collar mouth. Fine example. In past sales we have sold a few of these, always in a dark olive color. This one is considerably lighter in color and passes light easily. Here’s one that just missed the pontil rod, but certainly of the same period. Purchased from a 2008 Bottles and More Auction. – Glass Works Auctions – Bob Ferraro Collection – Session 1

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“DR. C.W. ROBACK’S / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI, O.”, (Ring/Ham R-73), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1870, medium yellow with a hint of amber and olive barrel, 9 3/4”h, red iron pontil, applied tapered collar mouth. A few light scratches are on the reverse of the embossing. Nice glass whittle and very close to being pure yellow! Purchased in 2004 from Jeff Burkhardt at the FOHBC Show in Memphis, Tennessee. – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection – Session 1


Dr. Roback’s Manufactory

RobacksAd1870Building

Advertisement for U.S. Proprietary Medicine Co. and Celebrated Roback’s Stomach Bitters – 1870 Williams’ Cincinnati Directory

Paper Receipt: C.W. Roback Company paper letterhead and receipt (signed by Charles W. Roback), dated April 4, 1865. Nice graphics on letterhead depicting building with heading to the right, ‘Office of / C.W. Roback / Distiller / Rectifier / And / Manufacturer / Domestic Wines & Liquors, / Catawba Brandy, / Roback’s Stomach Bitters. Receipt measures 8” x 9 ¾”, near mint. Signed by C.W. Roback. – Meyer Collection (from American Glass Gallery)


The Scandinavian Remedies – Dr. Roback’s Blood Purifier

Dr. C.W. Roback of Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a group of proprietary medicines in 1855, designating them as “Scandinavien” in 1857. A year later the designation was changed to “Scandinavian” and applied to Blood Pills and Blood Purifier. All were distributed through a wholesale druggist, Demas Barnes. The United States Proprietary Medicine Company, also of Cincinnati, took over the business in 1866, whereupon “Dr.” Roback was listed in the city directory as “Manufacturer of Fine Cut and Smoking Tobacco.” The six-cent stamp was issued first, for use on the Stomach Bitters. It appeared on April 24, 1867 and was last delivered on June 18, 1868. 63,622 were issued, all on old paper. The four-cent stamp, used on bottles of the Blood Purifier, was first issued on May 14, 1867 and last issued in July of 1875. 192,968 were printed on old paper and 38,750 on silk paper. The copy above is printed on experimental silk paper, so counted with the old paper copies. –  rdhinstl’s Page

DR. C.W. ROBACKS SCANDINAVIAN BLOOD PURIFIER PURELY VEGETABLE LIVER COMPLAINT. Applied top and smooth base with partial original label. This is one with a familiar name and not the first time we’ve seen the Roback name associated with the country of Scandinavia. This one has about two-thirds of the original label, which shows a building and street scene. The bottle itself is quite crude and stands somewhat askew. Notice the large bulbous top and overall pristine condition of this rare bottle. Here is a bottle that appeals to not only the bitters collectors, but also medicine collectors alike. – sold by American Bottle Auctions

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The Scandinavian Remedies – Dr. Roback’s Blood Purifier (circa 1856)


Newspaper Advertising – Dr. Roback’s Stomach Bitters

Roback’s Stomach Bitters advertisement – The Evansville Daily Journal, Friday, October 2, 1863

Roback’s Stomach Bitters advertisement – The Fremont Weekly Journal, Friday, July 15, 1864

Roback’s Stomach Bitters advertisement – The Daily Milwaukee News, Friday, January 4, 1867


Select Listings:

1844: Dr. Roback was neither a Doctor nor a Roback. He was an unsuccessful farmer, turned salesman, who in 1844, escaped debtor’s prison in his native Sweden.
1855: Dr. C.W. Roback of Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a group of proprietary medicines in 1855, designating them as “Scandinavian“.
1857: Roback modified the word “Scandinavian” and applied to Blood Pills and Blood Purifier.
1863: Earliest Roback’s Stomach Bitters advertisement – The Evansville Daily Journal, Friday, October 2, 1863
1864: Dr. C. W. Roback, Roback’s Stomach Bitters, Nos. 56-62 East Third Street, Cincinnati, Ohio
1867: Prince, Walton & Co., (Succesors to Dr. C. W. Roback), Proprietors, Nos. 56-62 East Third Street, Cincinnati, Ohio
1870: U.S. Proprietary Medicine Co. and Celebrated Roback’s Stomach Bitters – 1870 Williams’ Cincinnati Directory

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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 Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys)

  1. Froggy says:

    My favorite barrel, especially the fat, gutsy large size. But damned if it isn’t about the toughest barrel to build a color run in!

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