The S & W or W & S or whatever Monogram Bottle
22 August 2013
Brenda Dacus Crosby posted the above photograph of a bottle on the PRG facebook page asking for help identifying the monogram. A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol.
She said she was new to bottle collecting but had been led to believe that this was a Smith & Wesson gun oil bottle. I felt compelled to help her out as I suspected this was not a Smith & Wesson logo on the bottle. Their logo is quite different (see below).
Apparently Michael Urbansky had sold another example of this bottle (see below) on ebay recently and said, “I had the bottle with me at Shupp’s Grove before I sold it on ebay. I was told by some experts that it was a Smith and Wesson bottle. Also, the person who won the auction was a gun expert who had previously purchased a Winchester gun oil bottle from me, and he confirmed that it was a Smith and Wesson bottle.”
I’m not buying the Smith & Wesson theory until a labeled example shows up. If you look closely, the logos are just too different. I am in the brand identity business and when you have a logo like Smith & Wesson, and you stick with it for over a hundred years, then why would you use something similar on your bottle? That’s just it, you don’t. Sure it could be an error, there are spelling errors on lots of bottles. Again, why go to all the trouple of putting the wrong, albeit similar mark on your bottle?
I was impressed with the Jim Eifler quick study of the bottle monogram (see above). This helps isolate the typographic forms. As I mentioned to Brenda, I see equine forms like a horses head (yellow lines) and a riding crops (pink). Maybe this is a horse med? Others think a local druggist bottle with the initials of the maker. This sounds good too.
Another similar bottle was posted with yet another similar mark (see above). This being an A. S. Hinds almond lotion from Portland, Maine. Almost since the beginning of typography and symbology, people have been overlapping and intertwining letter forms. No telling what this mark is.
Can one of you identify the mark and bottle?
[from Brenda Dacus Crosby]
Smith and Wesson just emailed me this, I thought I would share with you all…..
It seems that I have seen one of those before, and that it wasn’t connected to the Smith & Wesson firearms people at all. Since I cannot remember the particulars about it, I have sent contact to some people that I believe can explain it for you (and me). As soon as I get answers, I will send the info along to you. It looks like a neat piece of history that you have there.
Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation