Barrel Series – Chapin & Gore – Chicago – Sour Mash


Gardner Spring Chapin & James Jefferson Gore

Next in the figural barrel series is the rather common, Chapin & Gore Sour Mash whiskey from Chicago. Chapin & Gore were major liquor merchants with quite a bit of history as you will see below. I like this bottle because it is in a different form than most barrels and it comes with a stopper which is pretty cool.

Amber, 8 1/2″, Barrel shaped whiskey bottle, 8 1/2″ high.
With correct matching amber glass stopper.

From OASG: Chapin & Gore listed as wholesaler 1870-1919. According to (John) Panek  in the early 1850s, Gardner Spring Chapin, a broker in mining stocks, met James Jefferson Gore, who was handling freight overland to Nevada. Gore, sick, and in need of money, asked Chapin for a $200 loan so he could continue on to Nevada. The loan led to a lifelong friendship. Chapin moved to Fairbault, MN, where he opened a dry goods store. When the business went poorly there he moved to Chicago and established a grocery on Madison street. Gore became a successful businessman and sought out Chapin in Chicago. They opened a grocery store in 1865 at the corner of State and Monroe. Gore convinced Chapin to add a liquor department, and soon liquor was their major enterprise.

Just before the big fire in October 1871, they put out a brand of their own which they called “1867.” Gore soon added the words “Sour Mash.” The firm prospered and gained world wide fame. Branches were established in Kansas City, Indianapolis and Paris, and the partnership acquired their own distillery in Kentucky (RD #10, 6th District?). Gore died in 1891.

The company used the brand names, “Chapin & Gore Sour Mash 1887” and “Old Jim Gore”.

Business name timeline: Chapin & Gore (1870-1910, 1913-1918), Chapin & Gore Inc (1911)

Address timeline: 162 State (1870-1871), 71-75 Monroe (1873-1902), & 142 22 nd (1873-1880), &121 Clark (1877-1880), & 73 S Halstead (1877), & 152 22 nd (1894), & 214 31 st (1894), 16-22 Adams (1904-1910), 61-67 E Adams (1911)

Chapin & Gore Building, 63 East Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois

The Chapin and Gore Building, at 63 East Adams Street, was commissioned by Chapin and Gore, a liquor distilling firm, to combine warehouse and office spaces with a street level retail store and bar. Built in 1904 by one of the most progressive architectural firms of the early 20th century, architects Hugh M. G. Garden and Richard Schmidt demonstrated the aesthetic possibilities of a functional building through exterior expression of interior functions, fine brickwork, and decorative terra cotta. The building’s ornamental capitals and cornice were removed in the 1950s. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 27, 1979 and later designated as a Chicago Landmark on January 21, 1982.

The Chapin and Gore Building is currently the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra administration. It is part of the Symphony Center campus, attached in 1997 to Orchestra Hall. The Rhapsody Restaurant is on the ground floor, serving orchestra patrons and the public. [source Wikipedia]

CHAPIN & GORE / CHICAGO // SOUR MASH / 1867, amber, 8 1/2″, figural barrel shaped whiskey bottle, with correct matching amber glass stopper – Meyer Collection

CHAPIN & GORE / CHICAGO // SOUR MASH / 1867, amber, 8 1/2″, figural barrel shaped whiskey bottle – Meyer Collection

Figural barrel, CHAPIN & GORE / CHICAGO // SOUR MASH / 1867, HAWLEY GLASS CO HAWLEY PA on base, applied top with internal screw threads, has the original stopper which is embossed AMERICAN SCREW STOPPER CO. NY – sold by

Figural barrel, CHAPIN & GORE / CHICAGO // SOUR MASH / 1867, HAWLEY GLASS CO HAWLEY PA on base, applied top with internal screw threads, has the original stopper which is embossed AMERICAN SCREW STOPPER CO. NY – sold by


CHAPIN & GORE – CHICAGO” (on shoulder) / SOUR MASH / 1867”, (Denzin, CHA-33), Illinois, ca. 1867 – 1875, olive yellow barrel, 8 1/2”h, “H. FRANKS PATD. AUG. 1872” on smooth base, applied mouth with internal screw threads, correct “PAT. AUG. 6” embossed amber glass screw thread closure. Two ‘V’ shaped chips, each about 3/8” wide are off the side of the applied mouth, otherwise perfect. After looking at hundred’s of amber Chapin & Gore barrels it is refreshing to see one in a different color! – Glass Works Auctions | Auction 98

Caricature of George Ade and Orson Collins Wells, 1912, by William Herman Schmedtgen. George Ade lived in Chicago and was a nationally-known satirist and playwright. By 1899, his Fables in Slang was syndicated across the country, and his fans included Mark Twain. Ade travelled all over the world with his companion, Orson Collins Wells, a Chicago businessman. This painting hung at one of the male-only Chapin & Gore bars in downtown Chicago. – Chicago History Museum

Later, 1954 Chapin & Gore Whiskey advertisement featuring Buffalo Bill Coty – eBay

Vintage whiskey, CHAPIN & GORE Shot Glass – eBay

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About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V, President, Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors, 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. Ferdinand 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.
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