Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters – Lockport Glass Works



Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters – Lockport Glass Works

16 October 2012 (R•100918) (R•041219)

Apple-Touch-IconAThe Jack Stecher picture of the three great labeled Upstate New York Bitters bottles (see top-most picture) on Peachridge Glass recently prompted me to go back and look at further information for each bottle in the picture. In this post we will specifically be looking at the great semi-cabin form for the Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters from Lockport, New York.

This is a great bottle that has a wonderful name and embossed date, embossed motif of an eagle in flight and an embossed  5 pointed star. The product was made at the well known Lockport Glass Works. It was rather interesting to search and gather the information available of the various persons involved with the production, marketing and sales of the brand. It was also disheartening to learn of all their financial woes.

Read More: Some of Jacks labeled Upstate New York Bitters

Read More: Dr. Walkinshaw’s Curative Bitters from Batavia, NY

The characters: John W. Steele, Wallace W. Steele, George A. Torrance, the Hon. Richard B. Hoag and Benjamin Fletcher

The Location: Lockport, New York

Read More: History of Lockport, NY

Example of a STEELE’S NIAGARA STAR BITTERS at the Corning Museum of Glass

Wallace W. Steele was one of Lockport’s leading wholesale liquor men. He was born in Lockport, N.Y. on September 10, 1849, and has always resided in that city. He attended the Lockport public schools and afterwards took a thorough course at the Rochester Business College. His first business experience was with the wholesale liquor firm of John W. Steele & Co., in which he remained as a partner until 1878, and upon the organization of the succeeding company, became the senior member of the firm of Steele, Torrance & Co., which continued until 1883, when Mr. Torrance and Hon. R. B. Hoag retired, and since that date he has conducted the business alone under the name of L.L. Steele. In November, 1872, he was married to Lydia L. Freeman, daughter of Benjamin F. Freeman of Middleport, N.Y. He is a prominent member of Genesee Commandery No. 10, Ames Chapter No. 88, Bruce Council No. 15, Red Jacket Lodge F. & A. M., No. 646. He served his ward on the Board of Supervisors for Niagara county for the years 1876 and 1877 to the full satisfaction of his constituents. He is also a member of the Exempt Firemen, having served a full term with Protection Hook and Laddcr Co. No. 1, and is at present an active member of the Sons of St. John and Malta. Under many business difficulties in former years, he has always shown that indomitable business energy which has enabled him to laugh at misfortune and to place himself in the front ranks with the successful men at the present time. – From: Landmarks of Niagara County, New York. Edited by William Pool. D. Mason & Company, Publishers, 1897

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

S 183  STEELE’S NIAGARA STAR BITTERS, Circa 1864 – 1870
JOHN. W. STEELE’S / NIAGARA motif 5 pointed star BITTERS // sp // JOHN. W. STEELE’S / NIAGARA. STAR. BITTERS // motif eagle in flight to the left // // s // motif 5 pointed star // 1864 // motif 5 pointed star // motif 5 pointed star // // b // backwards 1
Steele, Torrance & Co.  Lockport, New York
10 x 2 7/8 (6 7/8)
Square, ARM and LTCR, Applied mouth, 4 sp, Amber – Scarce
Green and Yellow olive – Rare
Star on shoulder over third panel is upside down

Read more on Peachridge Glass: A Great Sunday Dig in Saginaw unearths a Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters

The Company: Steele, Torrance & Co., wholesale and retail liquor dealers on Lock Street

Read: Bitters Were Sweet for the Steeles of Lockport

1883 – Steele, Torrance & Co. Lockport, New York debt – American Counting Room

Failure of Steele, Torrance & Co. – Lockport NY Daily Journal 1883

The Gallery – Stecher and Meyer Examples

Detail of label on a STEELE’S NIAGARA STAR BITTERS (see top-most picture above) – Stecher Collection


Shoulder detail STEELE’S NIAGARA STAR BITTERS – Meyer Collection

Top detail STEELE’S NIAGARA STAR BITTERS – Meyer Collection

“John W. Steele’s” / “Niagara” (motif of star) “Bitters” – “John W. Steele’s / Niagara Star Bitters” – (motif of eagle flying right) – (motif of star) – “1864” – (motif of star) – (motif of star), America, 1864 – 1875. Medium amber shading to a lighter golden amber along the sides, square semi-cabin with beveled corners, applied sloping collared mouth with flat band – smooth base, ht. 10”, sparkling mint! R/H #S184. An absolutely pristine example of this scarce, desirable mold! – American Glass Gallery Auction #9

Lockport Glass Bottles Held Patent Medicines – Clarence O. Lewis

Article titled Lockport Glass Bottles Held Patent Medicines – Lockport N.Y. Union-Sun & Journal, Wednesday, March 1, 1961 – submitted by Brian Wolff

A Great Sunday Dig – Nic Meyer

The raw and unearthed Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters – Nic Meyer (Read more on Peachridge Glass: A Great Sunday Dig in Saginaw unearths a Steele’s Niagara Star Bitters)

Glass – Lancaster and Lockport, New York – by Jean W. Dunn

Read: Lancaster and Lockport, NY Glass by Jean W. Dunn

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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