The little blue U.S.A. Hospital Bottle

Couple of pics of the U.S.A HOSP DEPT I mined from Ferdinand Meyer’s home. It is a Baltimore blown bottle and stands 4 3/4″ tall. The base shows no seams what so ever. – Brad Seigler

The little blue U.S.A. Hospital Bottle

01 August 2012

I thank Brad….he is happy and I am happy. Can’t beat that!

Brad Seigler visited with us at Peach Ridge recently, after the Houston Antique Bottle Show, (Read: 2012 Houston Antique Bottle Show – Rain or Shine!) and looked at my Bitters collection. As Brad was heading for the door and we were saying our good-byes, I remembered I had a hidden cache of smaller bottles on a wardrobe in one of the upstairs guest bedrooms. I believe I purchased or found most of these bottles in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 70’s when I was at student at the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. I asked Brad to take a quick peak and grab a bottle for a visit gift. Brad reached up and pulled out a few bottles that were concealed behind some decorative wood trim. These were very dusty as they had been setting up here for years. One was this little blue, U.S.A HOSP DEPT bottle. It seemed like a nice token as Brad had driven all the way out to see us, so I said “keep it”. I honestly had forgotten about the cache and certainly did not know anything back then about USA Hospital Dept bottles. Anyway I thank Brad….He is happy and I am happy. Can’t beat that!

Read More: U.S. Army Hospital Department bottles

USA Hospital Department bottles were used by the Union army during the Civil War to carry a variety of chemicals, drugs, and even alcohol. They came in various sizes and colors, and were shipped to supply depots across the country, including St. Louis. These bottles would have been stored with other medical supplies in a pannier, a large wooden or reinforced wicker crate that weighed 88 pounds when filled. Hospital Department bottles were manufactured in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, though some archaeological evidence suggests that some may have been made in St. Louis. (source: The Civil War in Missouri)

“What is odd about this bottle is the fact that it is pretty early, but has next to no whittle. It is a well made little gem. I will forever be greatful to Ferd for this bottle. I will never forget the day it came to me. Thanks again Ferd you are a great friend and el presidente”

Brad Seigler

Follow-up email I received from Brad last night…

I know you are a busy man but if you get a moment the next time you have your camera plugged into the pc would you send me the pics from the day I visited? I would be very appreciative.

Also would you let me know the height of the tallest of your sample Bitters bottles? I am building shadow boxes that hang in windows and I want to build one for you to say thanks for allowing me into your home and the gift of such an amazing bottle. If you don’t want to use it, I understand but I think you will like it. The way they are built it can either be hung in a window or snapped into a wooden base then displayed on a table as a center piece. The front pane of glass slides out so the bottles can be placed on the shelves and then slid back in place. both the front and back are made from glass so that light can pass through the shelves. They are the best way I have seen to display small bottles and your mini Bitters awesome inside one.

Hope you had a great time in Reno!


Even though I do not like it here is the bottle with a bit of white to help with the pic. I love this little bottle. – Brad Seigler

Another example of the small U.S.A. HOSP DEPT bottle – The Civil War in Missouri

A U.S.A. HOSP. DEPT. bottle made for US Army. Applied top. When looking for the perfect hospital department bottle, simply a picture of this outstanding specimen might suffice. Crudely applied top, millions of bubbles, hammer whittled, and in an exotic light to medium citron.

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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