Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters



04 July 2012 (R•011715) (R•091516)

Apple-Touch-IconAToday I will start a new series on Figural Barrels akin to the previous Fancy Squares, Figural Pig or Figural Cannon Series. With an email from Tim Henson that included his nice Hall’s Bitters pictures, this seems as good as any other place to start.

What is interesting about the Hall’s, is that there are two (2) mold variants. The older, and more sought after, ‘straight line’ Hall’s Bitters with 10 rings above and 10 rings below the embossing and the later, more common, 14 rings in four segments, Hall’s Bitters (pictured to the left).

This post will explore both examples of Halls.

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10) barrel with crudely applied top – Henson Collection

Hi Ferd,

I’m actually still working on my bottle room at this time. Once I have it completed, i’ll send you some photos of it. Pontiled sodas and mineral waters are the emphasis of my collection, but I also have some bitters that I really enjoy as I actually started out collecting them.

I don’t think I ever showed this one to you, check it out and let me know what you think? I have a few Hall’s Bitters in different colors, but this one I aquired at the Belleville, Illinois show last year. It just jumped out at me! It has the most “drip” I’ve ever seen on a Hall’s or any other barrel actually. The top sits crooked and I love it. Must have been the glassblowers first week! It’s also the darkest Hall’s I’ve ever come across. Have you ever seen a darker example? A really deep dark chocolate brown. The seller was kind of reluctant to part with it but i’m glad he did.

Tim Henson

[source Bottle Pickers] There is not a lot of information about Edward E. Hall and his Bitters bottles. We do know that he was a grocer and that he produced a very popular Bitters which he put in a glass bottle shaped as a barrel, in New Haven, Connecticut. Here is what is listed in the New Haven City Directories.

1865: Hall Edward E. grocer, 227 chapel C. State, H 5 Academy.

1876: Hall Edward E. grocer, 212 State, H 12 Academy.

1883: Hall E. E. & Son (E. E. and E. Jr.) grocers 250 Chapel. Hall E. E. Jr. (E. E. Hall & Son) bds 12 Academy.

1897: Hall Edward R. (E. E. Hall & Son) 770 Chapel H 307 Lawrence. Hall Edward E. & Son (E. E. Hall) grocers 770 Chapel.

The first barrel that Hall would use was embossed HALLS BITTERS (straight line Hall’s) with 10 rings above and 10 rings below the embossing. This barrel is the most sought after being the rarest of the two barrels that Hall used. His second style of barrel was embossed HALL’S / BITTERS // E. E. HALL’S NEW HAVEN / ESTABLISHED 1842. This barrel has 14 rings in four segments. This Bitters barrel was the most popular being listed as common in amber.

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

H 9  HALL’S BITTERS, Circa 1855 – 1865
HALL’S / BITTERS // c //
9 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ (8 3/4)
Barrel, 10-10, Amber and Puce, FM, Applied mouth, Very rare

The earlier HALL’S BITTERS barrel (H 9) referred to as the ‘straight line’ Hall’s. Medium coppery amber – Meyer Collection


“HALL’S / BITTERS”, (Ring/Ham, H-9), American, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium copper puce barrel, 9 1/2”h, smooth base, applied mouth. Several non-offensive tiny surface bubbles have openings. A fairly rare bottle in a very rare color! – Glass Works Auctions #112 – Bob Ferraro Collection – Session 1

H 10  HALL’S BITTERS, Circa 1860 – 1880
HALL’S ( au ) / BITTERS ( ad ) // E.E. HALL NEW HAVEN / ESTABLISHED 1842 //
E. E. Hall   212 State Street   New Haven, Conn.
9 1/8 x 2 3/8 (7 3/8)
Barrel, 10-10, Amber and Yellow, NSC, Applied Mouth, Common
Seal: Foil mouth seal impressed Halls Bitters in circle and 6 petal flower in center.
The Evening Register October 21, 1873: It has now been 29 years since we commenced the preparation of this article. Boston Directory 1810-1885.

Lot: 81 “Hall’s / Bitters” Figural Bitters Bottle, America, 1860-1880. Barrel form, golden yellow with a topaz tone, applied square collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 9 inches. R/H #H-10 Attic condition with 99% original label and neck foil, beautiful color, strong embossing, a fine example. – Norman C. Heckler

HALLS BITTERS barrel (H 10) in golden amber –

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10) barrel in golden amber – Meyer Collection

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10) barrel in a vibrant yellow – Meyer Collection

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10) barrel in a deep dark root beer color – Meyer Collection (notice the crooked neck)

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10)barrel in a deep chocolate amber color – Meyer Collection (notice the crooked neck)

HALL’S BITTERS (H 10) color group – Meyer Collection

Fully labeled HALLS BITTERS with foil on neck and mouth – FOHBC Reno Expo – Jack Stecher

Read more on Figural Barrels

Barrel series – Original Pocahontas 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

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 Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters

  1. bottle.kid says:

    Hi Ferd,

    Nice to see you do a series on barrels. I love your Hall’s color run! The straight liner is fantastic. I’ve always been pretty partial to figural barrel bitters and whiskeys. I remember when I first started out collecting I came across some photos of Bob Ferraro’s legendary collection. The barrel form really sparked an interest with me so much that at first they were all I went after. I was amazed at how many different examples are known but very seldom seen, and what a color run that can be put together on these fine pieces of glass. Bob was kind enough to send me a list one time of all the known barrel bitters and whiskeys out there, and i’ve continued a search for these elusive bottles.

    Looking forward to this barrel series!

    ~Tim Henson

    • I remember freaking out when I saw Bob’s great barrels in the background of an article too! I quickly made plans to see in person. Bob and I talk barrels often. I just counted mine and I now have 59 different molds and colors.

  2. RCGLASS says:


    Another great post, everything I needed to know right at my fingertips. This post alone is responsible for my next run….of Halls barrels! I’ve been bitten again



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