ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS
19 July 2012 (R•031414) (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. 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 then Cincinnati where he died in 1867.
Roback claimed to be a Swedish noble, among other things, but was eventually exposed as a charlatan. He caused quite a scandal and as you can see from his picture, he preferred to imagine himself as a relic of the 17th century. From Charles W. Roback’s self-published book called The Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic (see below)
The post is about the popular and smaller, Ring | Ham designated R 74, Roback’s Stomach Bitters from Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a follow-up post to the larger, R 73 barrels (see comparison photograph above and read: Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys).
The R 74 mold is smaller, shorter and thinner than the R 73 mold and easier in the hand. You can also build a stronger color line-up (see run further below).
Very nice illustration of a labeled Dr. Roback’s Stomach Bitters from The Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Ohio), January 05, 1865
In this post we will also look at Dr. Charles Roback a little closer by perusing one of his almanacs, looking at some of the other Robacks popular products and brands, and looking at his rather odd, Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic book he published in Boston.
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
10 thousand sold in one month. The most popular stomach bitters in use.
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
R 74 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 Cincinnati, Ohio
9 3/8 x 2 3/8 (7 1/8)
Amber – Common; Olive amber, Olive green and Yellow olive – Scarce
O of Ohio under E of Bitters
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.
Color run of the smaller DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS (R 74) – Meyer Collection
DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS in a yellowish olive amber color from Glass Works Auctions (2006) – Meyer Collection
Incredible, light yellow with topaz overtone DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS from a Bottles and More Galleria Auction (2005) – Meyer Collection
Pulled from an attic and never cleaned, DR. ROBACK’S STOMACH BITTERS in an olive color with a yellow tint, from a Bottles and More Galleria Auction (2005) – Meyer Collection
“DR C.W. ROBACKS / STOMACH BITTERS / CINCINNATI. O”, (R-74), Ohio, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium olive green barrel, 9 3/4″h, smooth base, applied tapered collar mouth. Some dried inside contents and a flat 1/8″ chip is off the top of the lip. A reasonable number of olive green Robacks barrels exist, mostly being so dark that you need a strong light to see the color. This is not one of them, as the pure green color is quite stunning in normal lighting! – Glass Works Auctions (March 2013)
ROBACK’S SCANDANAVIAN BLOOD PURIFIER. Midwestern medicine bottle in a great dark aqua with lots of crudity to the glass. Wish it said Salt Lake City on it somewhere. – Utah Bottles
“Dr. C.W. Roback’s / Scandinavien / Blood Purifier. / Cincinnati. O” Medicine Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Oval, brilliant deep bluish aquamarine, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 7 5/8 inches. – Norman C. Heckler Auction
Roback’s Blood Pills were sold in boxes inside wrappers sealed with wax. The wrappers on white paper were first issued June 29, 1867 and last issued in June of 1874. 340,217 were printed on old paper and 182,725 on silk paper. The copy above is on old paper. The wrappers were supplied in sheets and cut apart with scissors. Some of the guidelines can be seen on this one. – rdhinstl
DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Page 31 – An Extensive Medical Establishment – Indiana State Library
DR. C. W. ROBACK’S MEDICAL ALMANAC – 1861 – Page 34 – Dr. Roback’s Stomach Bitters – Indiana State Library
First edition of Charles W. Roback’s self-published book on astrology, necromancy, witchcraft, spiritual phenomenon and much more. The book was published at Boston in 1854 and consists of 236 pages plus contents and some advertisements for consultations with Roback, his galvanic chains and other items. Original green cloth with gilt ornaments, page edges gilt. Roback claimed to be a Swedish noble, among other things, but was eventually exposed as a charlatan. He caused quite a scandal and as you can see from his picture, he preferred to imagine himself as a relic of the 17th century.
The Mysteries of Astrology and the Wonders of Magic by Dr. C. W. Roback – 1854 – Boston
Read More on Figural Barrels
Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys)
Barrel Series – Dr. Chandler’s Jamaica Ginger Root Bitters
Barrel Series – Favorite Bitters & Peoples Favorite Bitters
Barrel Series – Wormser Bros San Francisco
Barrel Series – Mist of the Morning
Barrel Series – Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic
Barrel Series – Turner Brothers New York & San Francisco
Barrel Series – The Mysterious Blue Barrel
Barrel Series – Original Pocahontas Bitters
Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters
Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters – aka Vertical Greeley’s
Peach colored Bourbon Whiskey Bitters added to Color Run
Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters – A Great Boston Bitters Barrel