R. H. Becker’s Celebrated Russian Bitters – New Brunswick, NJ
He is the sole proprietor of Becker’s Celebrated Russian Bitters, an article that is known throughout the length and breadth of the land…
26 November 2013 (R•021818)
Jim Hagenbuch over at Glass Works Auctions is celebrating their 100th auction. Congratulations! One of the stand-out bitters in their auction, to this bitters collector (because I do not have an example), is the R. H. Becker’s Russian Bitters from New Brunswick, New Jersey. Jim notes it as being a tooled lip, but I sure do no see that. A quick search tells us the following:
R. H. Becker, Wines and Liquors, No. 182 Neilson Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey
[from The Industries of New Jersey – Part 4, 1882]
The wholesale wine and liquor and importing house of Mr. R. H. Becker, at No. 182 Neilson Street, was established by that gentleman in 1867. He now carries a large stock and does an extensive annual business. Fine wines, liquors of all kinds, etc., are always in stock and are guaranteed to be as represented. The best wines prepared in the old country are imported direct by Mr. Becker, and furnished at the smallest cost. His store is a fine one, 25 x 60 feet in size, well fitted up, and provided with every convenience. In the rear is a handsomely fitted up private office, elegantly carpeted and furnished, and here it is that Mr. Becker may be found industriously engaged in managing his numerous enterprises.
A competent force of clever assistants are employed in the preparation of the Bitters, and daily shipments are made to all parts of the globe.
He is the sole proprietor of Becker’s Celebrated Russian Bitters, an article that is known throughout the length and breadth of the land, and that has met with an unprecedented sale strictly upon its merits. It is prepared and put up in the Becker building, a handsome four-story brick structure, 50 x 100 feet in size. The bitters is a sure cure for dyspepsia, and enjoys a well-deserved popularity. A competent force of clever assistants are employed in the preparation of the Bitters, and daily shipments are made to all parts of the globe. Mr. Becker also conducts a sample-room at No. 184, adjoining his liquor store, and the best of beer, wines, cigars, etc., are provided. It is also finely fitted up, 25 x 50 feet in size, and is well kept. All the business is managed and carefully looked after by Mr. Becker in person, and he is largely interested in various other enterprises of less importance.
Mr. Becker is a native of Germany, but has long resided in this country. He is a wide-awake, progressive and thoroughgoing business man, active and enterprising, prompt and reliable, and a gentleman well known and highly esteemed both in and out of business. By industry, energy and perseverance he has built up a large and lucrative trade, and he merits the substantial returns due his personal and well-directed efforts.
The Carlyn Ring and W. C. Mam listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
B 45 BECKER’S RUSSIAN BITTERS
R. H. BECKER’S / RUSSIAN BITTERS // c //
10 1/2 x 3 (6)
Round, clear, STC, Tooled lip, Ring at base of neck, Extremely rare
We are talking here about Rudolph H. Becker from Germany. There are quite a few listings from 1866 through 1906 for Mr. R. H. Becker. A some point, I start getting hits for a John H. Becker in the saloon and liquor business. I am having trouble linking him to Rudolph as R. H. Jr. was the son. There is even the Scow Schooner, R. H. Becker from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. That’s really interesting and there is a great story behind it, but I can not link. Here are a few representative listings:
1866: R. H. Becker, 68 Neilson, New Brunswick, NJ, New Jersey State Business Directory
1867: The wholesale wine and liquor and importing house of Mr. R. H. Becker, at No. 182 Neilson Street, was established., The Industries of New Jersey – Part 4, 1882
1879: Son of R. H. Becker narrowly escapes drowning. Fredonian Illustrated Family Almanac … and Calendar of Local Events
1886: R. H. Becker (also R. H. Jr.), liquor dealer, Continental Hotel, 14 Neilson, h do, New Brunswick City Directory
1886: John H. Becker, saloon, 158 George, near rr depot, h do, New Brunswick City Directory
1887: R. H. Becker Wines and Liquors advertisement (see above), manufacturer of The Celebrated Russian Bitters – The Scarlet Letter: Annual Publication of the Greek Letter Fraternities of Rutgers College
1890: R. H. Becker, prop’r, Continental Hotel and wholesale liquor dealer, 202 and 204 Neilson, h do, New Brunswick City Directory
1893: Becker, R. H. Jr. Hotel Brunswick, December 1, 1893, Directory of the New York and New Jersey Telephone Company
1893: UNDER ARREST AT NEW BRUNSWICK, Louis NICKEL, who was formerly the secretary of the Fred. HOWER Brewing Co. of this city, is in jail at New Brunswick, NJ on a charge of obtaining $10,000 by false pretenses, from his aunt, Mrs. R. H. BECKER, the wife of a New Brunswick wholesale liquor dealer. – Bklyn Daily Standard Union – 16 January 1893
1896: R. H. Becker’s celebrated Russian Bitters ‘Like a thief in the night’ advertisement (see above) – The Daily Times (New Brunswick, New Jersey) 15 December 1896
1899: Use Becker & Tietjen’s hoarhound rock & rye, for coughs, colds and throat troubles, Becker & Tietjen, 295 (B street?), The Daily Times (New Brunswick, New Jersey) 1 June 1899
1901: Rudolph H. Becker, prop., Brunswick Hotel, Main, h do, New Brunswick City Directory
1903 – 1909: John H. Becker (Becker & Tietjen) h 120 Bayard, 1909-10 New Brunswick City Directory
1906: Rudolph H. Becker, wholesale liquor dealer, 191 Neilson, h 100 Bayard, New Brunswick City Directory
1909: Becker & Tietjen (John H. Becker and George M. Tietjen) liquors, 54 Dennis, 1909-10 New Brunswick City Directory
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Above: Reproduction view map of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey drawn and published by Packard & Butler Lithographers in 1880. The township of New Brunswick emerged in the early 1700s as a trading center along the Raritan River. It is home to Rutgers University. The university, first called “Queen’s College” was founded in 1766 and instruction started in 1771 with one teacher holding classes at a local tavern. Classes were held in taverns, boarding houses and at the College Hall Building until the Queen’s College Building was completed in 1808. The school closed its doors after the War of 1812 but re-opened in 1825 using its new name honoring Revolutionary War hero and philanthropist Colonel Henry Rutgers. The college created their New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in the year of this map’s publishing.
Robert Wood Johnson began his popular Johnson & Johnson Company in New Brunswick in the 1870s as “Seabury & Johnson”. In 1880, when Johnson was unable to add his brother James into the firm, he sold his shares of the firm to Seabury. Later, when Seabury couldn’t keep up his payments to Johnson, the company control was again in the hands of Johnson, who with his brother and then his sons, molded the pharmaceutical giant to its current heights.
The map from 1880 shows New Brunswick in the year that Robert Wood Johnson married his first wife Ellen Cutler. It includes buildings, bridges, canal and clearly labeled street names.