Arabian Bitters – One Thousand and One Nights

Did you know that there is an Arabian Bitters from Savannah?

ArabianNightsPoster

I wonder what the product name was inspired from? Arabian Nights?

ArabianHorseCardPainting

Or maybe from a horse or some mystical place?

OneArabianNight

Maybe from a dance or Aladdin’s Lamp?

ArabianDancingVintage

Let’s see if we can find out?

Arabian Bitters – One Thousand and One Nights

Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston and Washington D.C.

08 April 2013 (R•013119)

Apple-Touch-IconAI was first reminded of the elusive and mystical Arabian Bitters when I started the Houston series of posts (Read Part IIA) and found an interesting little advertisement (pictured below) for 25 Boxes of Arabian Bitters that was being advertised by Fernandez, Alvarez & Co. in the Houston Weekly Telegraph in 1860. They had just received the bitters that were “superior to any other Bitters.” So, who sent these 25 boxes of Arabian Bitters? 1860 is fairly early for a bitters in this part of the country.

"Example was found in 1937 in Fort Pulaski, now at the Museum in Savannah, Beach.

What caught my attention was the product name. They must be talking about the Arabian Bitters from Savannah, Georgia right? That bottle is pictured below. The Carlyn Ring and Bill Ham listing in Bitters Bottle Supplement is:

A 80   Arabian Bitters
ARABIAN BITTERS // sp  // LAWRENCE & WEICHSELBAUM / SAVANNAH GA // f //
9 3/4 x 2 3/4 (7) 1/2
Square, Amber, LTC and LTCR, 3 sp, Applied mouth, Rare
Example was found in 1937 in Fort Pulaski, now at the Museum in Savannah, Beach.
savannah-circa-1838

Savannah painting, circa 1838

The Savannah Arabian Bitters

Lawrence & Weichselbaum

ArabianBittersSavannah

"What can you tell me about this bitters bottle? It is embossed ARABIAN BITTERS on one panel and LAWRENCE & WEICHSELBAUM / SAVANNAH, GA on the opposite panel. It has a smooth base. It is one of the first bottles I ever recovered. I have never seen one for sale. Any info is appreciated. I found this bottle (actually, two of them) on private property not too many miles from the mouth of the Suwannee River. They may have been from an early logging camp, or they may have been tossed onto the bank from a steamboat tied up for the night. Harry

Question on Antique-Bottles.net in 2004

ArabianBitters_GWA

“ARABIAN BITTERS – LAWRENCE & WEICHSELBAUM / SAVANNAH GA”, (A-80), Georgia, ca. 1870 – 1880, yellow amber, 9 1/2”h, smooth base, applied tapered collar mouth. A 1/2” open bubble exists on one shoulder corner. A scarce Southern bitters bottle! – Glass Works Auctions February 2013

ArabianBittersHinelySide&Bottom

Arabian Bitters ex: Charles Gardner – Hinely Collection

Lawrence & Weichselbaum

In 1871, Joseph S. Lawrence was the proprietor of J.S. Lawrence & Co., family groceries, located at 198 Broughton, in Savannah, Georgia. He was also listed as a salesman with Lippman & Bro. who put out Lippman’s Great German Bitters. I have a really nice yellow example myself. Jacob Weeks Weichselbaum was born about 1848 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1867He first clerked in 1871 with Lippman & Brother where he presumably knew Joseph S. Lawrence.  Jacob and Lewis Lippman had previously opened offices at 71 New Street in New York, in 1871 and closed the same year. They also operated out of Savanah and remained in business until 1875.

Lawrence & Weichselbaum are the names embossed on the Arabian Bitters bottle from Savannah. They were located on Market Square. It looks like they were partners only in 1874 and 1875 which would be the date for the bitters. They had plenty of legal problems relating to unpaid debts so this probably led to their downfall. Lawrence moved on to other endeavors where Weichselbaum would work as a druggist and physician. Weichselbaum would eventually get a higher degree from the Savannah Medical College in 1880 and practiced medicine for many decades. He died in October 1926 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah, Georgia.

WeichselbaumBottleDug

Lawrence & Weichselbaum, Druggists, Savannah, Ga. Several of these bottles were found in Vault 2, Unit 2. – Cluskey Archaeology Project Timeline – GSU Field Day, March 8, 2013

The Washington D.C. Arabian Bitters

Arabian Manufacturing Co.

A 79.9. Arabian Bitters
ARABIAN BITTERS / AN OLD AND RELIABLE TONIC /
ENTERED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS IN 1874 //
ARABIAN MANUFACTURING CO. / WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S.A.
9 1/2
Square, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip, Extremely rare, Unlisted

Arabian Bitters, Arabian Manufacturing Co., Washington, D.C. – Meyer Collection

Other Arabian Bitters

At first I was fairly certain the Lawrence & Weichselbaum Arabian Bitters from Savannah was the brand being advertised in Houston in 1860. Unfortunately, I was wrong and this is a dead end as those Arabian Bitters bottles were only sold in 1874 and 1875 only, the years Lawrence & Weichselbaum were partners.

There are no other Arabian Bitters right? There is certainly not another one listed in Bitters Bottles or Bitters Bottles Supplement. Well, wait a minute… I possess an Arabian Bitters from Washington, D.C. of all places. It is pictured above. An unlisted example that will be listed in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2. It is a later 1895, tooled lip example, made by the Arabian Manufacturing Co., so that pretty much rules out the Washington D.C. Arabian Bitters. They priced their bitters at $1 and reduced it for a brief time to 50 cts.

I can not find any other advertising related to the 1860 Houston example. I can only surmise that the name ‘Arabian’ was used for its mystical and middle eastern reference, such as in the material at the top of this post. Maybe this is a reference to One Thousand and One Nights which is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, from the first English language edition (1706), which rendered the title as The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment. The next advertisement below uses some of this exotic wording. Read: How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream, 1790-1935

In 1865, I see some advertising (below) in the Charleston Daily News that I missed before for The Genuine Arabian Bitters or Salah-Adin being sold by Von Holten, Tamsen & Company located at No. 190 King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. They said it was “The Greatest Discovery of Medical Science” and noted that they were selling it in the city both retail and wholesale. Again too late for the 1860 Houston advertisement.

I also found the newspaper advertisement below for an Arabian Bitters being sold at Depot, 65 Decatur Street in New Orleans in 1877. Maybe this was the Savannah or Charleston brand. Hard to tell. Maybe it was their own brand though no proprietor is listed.

Here is another amusing ad from new Orleans in 1873. Amusing because they think “Bitters de Arabes” is Oriental. Editor probably had an office in the French Quarters. It could be the same bitters as the one noted in the advertising above, or is it a clue to yet another Arabian Bitters?

So again, who was making this Arabian Bitters being sold in Houston in 1860? I seem to be no further along in solving the problem. Case is still open.

Select Listings:

1848: Jacob Weichselbaum, Birth Date: abt 1848, Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1860: Newspaper advertisement (below) Just received in Houston, 25 Boxes of Arabian Bitters that was being advertised by Fernandez, Alvarez & Co. in the Houston Weekly Telegraph in 1860.

1865: Newspaper advertisement (above in post) The Greatest Discovery Medical Science – The Genuine Arabian Bitters being sold by Von Holten, Tamsen & Co., No. 190 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. – The Charleston Daily News, Thursday, November 2, 1865
1867: Jacob Weichselbaum Education: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, 1867 – Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929
1867: Jacob Weichselbaum, Ph.G., This., Xanthoxylum Fraxineum, Physician and pharmacist. Ad. Savannah, Ga. – The First century of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, 1821-1921
1870: Joseph Lawrence, Clerk, 73 W Broad, Savannah, Georgia – Savannah, Georgia, City Directory, 1870
1871: Directory Listing (below): Joseph S. Lawrence, J.S. Lawrence & Co., family groceries, 198 Broughton, Salesman with Jacob Lippman & Bro. – Savannah, Georgia, City Directory, 1871

1871: Directory Listing (below): Jacob Weichselbaum practiced in Savannah, Georgia and clerked in 1871 with the Lippman & Brother who put out Lippman’s Great German Bitters. – Savannah City Directory, 1871

1873: Newspaper advertisement (in post above) “Bitters de Arabes” is Oriental. – The Times, Tuesday, August 12, 1873
1874: Directory Listing (below): Jacob Weichselbaum (Lawrence & Weichselbaum) – Savannah City Directory, 1874

1875: Lawrence & Weichselbaum, Market Square – Bonfort’s Wine and Liquor Trade Directory for the United States, 1875
1875: Lawrence & Weichselbaum court case papers. Example.

1877-1879: Typical Newspaper advertisement (above in post) Arabian Bitters, Depot, 65 Decatur Street, New Orleans – Pioneer of Assumption, Saturday, May 10, 1879
1880: Jacob Weichselbaum Birth Date: 1848, Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA, Type Practice: Allopath, Practice Specialities: Savannah, GA, 1880, Licenses: GA, 1880, Practice Dates Places: Savannah, GA, 1880, Hospital: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Medical School: Savannah Medical College, 1880, (G), Education: Philadelphia College Pharm., 1867, public school – Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929
1880: Jacob Weichselbaum, Agt, Druggist, 108 Barnard, Savannah, Georgia  – Savannah, Georgia, City Directory, 1880
1895: Newspaper advertisement (above in post) Arabian Bitters, Price $1, Reduced this week to 50 cts., Arabian Manufacturing Co., 1009 H Street, Washington, D.C. – Alexandria Gazette, Wednesday, June 19, 1895
1900: Jacob Weichselbaum, Physician, Age: 50, Birth Date: Aug 1849, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Home in 1900: Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, Ward of City: Chatham, Street: Gordon Street, House Number: 102, Sheet Number: 12, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Jessie Weichselbaum, Marriage Year: 1875, Father’s Birthplace: Germany, Mother’s Birthplace: Germany, Household Members: Jacob Weichselbaum 50, Jessie Weichselbaum 49, William Weichselbaum 22, Lillie Weichselbaum 14 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1926: Dr Jacob WeichselbaumDeath, Cause of Death: surgery, complications, hernia, intestinal obstruction; Date: 4 Oct 1926, Cemetery: Laurel Grove Cemetery (North), Burial or Cremation Place: Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, Spouse: Jessie Weichselbaum, Children: Lily Levy – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1937: Arabian BittersLawrence & Weichselbaum (Savannah, Georgia) example was found in 1937 in Fort Pulaski, now at the Museum in Savannah, Beach. – Bitters Bottles Supplement

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 Arabian Bitters – One Thousand and One Nights

  1. Example of an Arabian Bitters added from the Robert Hinely collection. Ex: Charles Gardner.

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