John Moffat Phoenix Bitters Support

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John Moffat Phoenix Bitters | Support

16 December 2012 (R•031614) (R•103118) (R•040219 – Hagenbuch Example)

This post developed to show support information and imagery for John Moffat Phoenix Bitters.

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JOHN MOFFAT

John Moffat, born 3 August, 1788; died New York City, 3 November, 1863; married in Troy, New York, 10 September 1816 to Rachel Marie Brinckerhoff, (daughter of Isaac Brickerhoff and Sophie Quackenbos).

John Moffat invented and first started selling Moffat’s Phoenix Bitters in New York City around 1834 or 1835 (according to almanacs and advertisements). His remedies were among the many bitters brands flooding the 19th-century market, claiming a host of medicinal virtues for the thousands of customers seeking relief. No doubt their high alcohol content made these products especially appealing to the public.

Moffat advertised extensively (see examples below) and Phoenix Bitters soon became a success. Touted the “Universal Cure,” when taken at night Moffat’s formula was said to “promote insensitive respiration and relieve the system of febrile action and feculent obstructions as to produce delightful convalescence in the morning.”

His son William B. Moffat assumed the business in 1838, and had the product patented in 1862.

John Moffat brought suit against his son William for a dissolution of the copartnership (see newspaper transcript below from the New York Times)

WILLIAM B. MOFFAT

William Brinckerhoff Moffat, born New York City, 17 March, 1818; died New York City, 11 April, 1862; married New York City 1 July, 1854 to Julia Augusta Mitchell, (daughter of Robert Mitchell) born 1831; died New York City, 3 September, 1866.

William B. Moffat assumed the business in 1838, and had the product patented in 1862. However, John Moffat’s name continued to be embossed on the bottles. By 1845, the company had introduced at least one other remedy, Moffats’s Vegetable Life Pills, along with Moffat’s Almanac, a popular advertising medium to promote patent medicines, including bitters. Moffat’s Agricultural Almanac for 1845 featured “certificates of remarkable cures performed by Moffat’s remedies.”

As noted in a newspaper advertisements of the era, “no traveler by land or sea” should be without John Moffat’s & Cos medicines, “essential to the system undergoing changes from a variation of climate” and “also in allying sea-sickness.”

Moffat was listed as Physician and sole proprietor of Moffat’s Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters, Room P in the Moffat’s Building, 333 Broadway (see New York building picture below), residence, 125 Fifth Avenue.

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Moffat Genealogies, Descent from Rev. John Moffat from Ulster County, New York by R. Burnham Moffat – 1909

MOFFAT GENEALOGY

MoffatGenealogiesThere are a number of examples of Moffat Genealogies: Descent from REV. John Moffat of Ulster County, New York available for purchase. The Moffat name is well researched and documented.

333 BROADWAY MOFFAT BUILDING

Moffat_BroadwayandFranklinStreet

Look carefully at the MOFFAT letters painted on the top right side of the back building. Taken at Broadway between Franklin and Leonard Streets, Believed to date to May 1850. From New York: An Illustrated History, by Ric Burns and James Sanders. Moffat and his family lived on Union Square, but he also owned the building that bore his name at 337 Broadway.

JOHN MOFFAT PHOENIX BITTERS

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Impressive group of the various JOHN MOFFAT PHOENIX BITTERS bottles – Stecher Collection (Read more: Jack Stecher and his John Moffat Phoenix Bitters)

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M 113 JOHN MOFFAT PRICE 1 DOLLAR PHOENIX BITTERS NEW YORK, clear, solid pontil, out folded lip, bold embossing, ex: Gardner Collection, lot 1615, ex: Greer Collection, lot 1394, extremely rare, possibly two examples – greatantiquebottles.com

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JOHN MOFFAT PHOENIX BITTERS ex: Carlyn Ring – Bill Ham Collection

JOHN MOFFAT – NEW YORK – PHOENIX / BITTERS – PRICE 2 DOLLARS”, (Ring/Ham, M-109), (Odell, pg. 170), New York, ca. 1840 – 1860, yellowish olive amber, 7”h, improved pontil scarred base, applied ring mouth. A tiny in making flake is off the inside edge of the base, otherwise in sparkling pristine perfect condition. A very crude applied lip does not completely cover the sheared lip. Also note the two tiny fully intact ‘wings’ of glass on the side of the neck that protruded through the mold seam. There are two variants of the 2-dollar phoenix bitters and this is by far the rarest! A high percentage of the known 2-dollar phoenix bitters are dug and cleaned, so it is very refreshing to find one like this that wasn’t! $5,700 – Glass Works Auctions Direct Sale (2019) (see below)

JOHN MOFFAT – NEW YORK – PHOENIX / BITTERS – PRICE 2 DOLLARS”, (Ring/Ham, M-109), (Odell, pg. 170), New York, ca. 1840 – 1860, yellowish olive amber, 7”h, improved pontil scarred base, applied ring mouth. A tiny in making flake is off the inside edge of the base, otherwise in sparkling pristine perfect condition. A very crude applied lip does not completely cover the sheared lip. Also note the two tiny fully intact ‘wings’ of glass on the side of the neck that protruded through the mold seam. There are two variants of the 2-dollar phoenix bitters and this is by far the rarest! A high percentage of the known 2-dollar phoenix bitters are dug and cleaned, so it is very refreshing to find one like this that wasn’t! $5,700 – Glass Works Auctions Direct Sale (2019) (see above)

FATHER vs. SON

The Proprietorship of Moffat’s Pills The Case Decided.; SUPERIOR COURT GENERAL TERM.

Before Justices Robertson and Monell.

Published: April 24, 1863 (New York Times)

John Moffat vs. Julia A. Moffat, widow of the late William B. Moffat, et al. — This action was commenced in 1854 by John Moffat, claiming an interest as partner in the business owned by his son, of manufacturing and selling “Moffat’s Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters,” and was tried before Justice Bosworth, at a Special Term of the Court, in 1857, then occupying the attention of the Court for over two weeks. On the trial the parties to the action were examined as witnesses in their own behalf, and the trial resulted in a judgment in favor of the defendants.

An appeal was taken by the plaintiff from that judgment to this branch of the Court, and, pending the appeal, the then defendant, William B. Moffat, died. The action was then revived by his executor, in order that the appeal should dispose of the case.

The appeal was argued at the last General Term, when decision was reserved.

The Court now rendered decision, affirming the judgment of Justice Bosworth in the Court below.

P.G. Clarke and Chas. O’Conor, for plaintiff; G. Tillotson and Jas. T. Brady, for defendants.

PHOENIX BITTERS ADVERTISING

Eight early Moffat Almanacs for years 1845, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1852, 1853, 1856, and 1860. Also included is an early un-opened box of Moffat’s Life Pills, c. 1850. – American Glass Gallery | Auction #21

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Moffat’s United States Almanac – 1844New York Historical Society

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Advertisement for John Moffat & Co’s Genuine Vegetable Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters – The Golden Era, San Francisco, California, Sunday, March 5, 1865

This is a reproduction of an 1860 Cure-all advertisement poster.

This is a reproduction of an 1860 Cure-all advertisement poster.

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Interesting, long winded and early advertisement and testimonial for Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters in The Public Ledger and Newfoundland General Advertiser on Tuesday, November 7, 1843

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Moffat’s Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters advertisement – The Daily Evening Express, Lancaster, PA, December 6, 1860.

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14 Bottles of Phoenix Bitters listed in this 1841 Buffalo, NY Business Directory

Select Listings:

1788: John Moffat, born 3 August, 1788.
1816: John Moffat married in Troy, New York, 10 September 1816 to Rachel Marie Brinckerhoff (daughter of Isaac Brickerhoff and Sophie Quackenboss).
1831: Newspaper notice (below): To Let: The new there stay back House and Store, John Moffat, 259 Broadway – The Evening Post, Tuesday, April 5, 1831

1834-35: John Moffat invented and first started selling Moffat’s Strengthening Bitters in New York City around 1834 or 1835.
1836: Newspapers advertisement (below): J. Moffat’s Strengthening Bitters, Small Bottles $1, Large Bottles $2, 52 Hudson Street – New York Daily Herald, Wednesday, January 13, 1836

1836: Partial newspapers advertisement (below): J. Moffat’s Phoenix Bitters – New York Daily Herald, Wednesday, January 13, 1836

1838: William B. Moffat assumed the business in 1838
1855: John Moffat, Gentleman, Birth Year: abt 1788, Age: 67, Relation to Head: Head, Residence: New York City, Ward 18, New York, New York, USA, District: E.D. 1, Household number: 624, Household Members:, John Moffat 67, Rachell Moffat 63, John L Quackenbos 37, Sophia Quackenbos 34, Sophia M Quackenbos 11, John M Quackenbos 3, Charles Y Quackenbos – New York State Census
1859: William B. Moffat, physician, sole proprietor Moffat’s Life pills and phoenix bitters, room 9, Moffat’s building, 335 Broadway, h 124 Fifth avenue – Troy’s New York City Directory
1862: William B. Moffat had Moffat’s Phoenix Bitters patented in 1862.

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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1 Response to John Moffat Phoenix Bitters Support

  1. RCGLASS says:

    The absolute BEST assembly of Moffat’s information EVER
    This site continues to amaze, well done Again!

    A shout out to Jack Stetcher , a great guy who has been in this game for decades
    A true enthusiast and worthy of the hall of fame!

    RC

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