The labeled Constitutional Beverage (Bitters?) from New York
18 March 2014
I suppose many of you may have noticed that gorgeous, rectangular, yellow-olive, Constitutional Beverage bottle in the Glass Works Auctions “Winter be Gone” Catalogue Auction 101 that ended last night. I bet many of you are not aware that this bottle is catalogued as a labeled bitters bottle, C 224 L, in Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham. The listing is below.
C 224 L CONSTITUTIONAL BITTERS
// s // CONSTITUTIONAL / BEVERAGE / W. OLMSTE
AD & CO // sp // NEW YORK // *Incorrectly spelled “Olmstead” in Bitters Bottles
292 Washington Street New York
10 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 2 1/4
Note: New York City Directory 1868 until 1878, Public Ledger (Philadelphia), July 28, 1869
As you can can see, this is a pretty darn cool bottle. Look at that applied ring mouth. Killer! Many times you will see this bottle miss-spelled “Olmstead” instead of the correct spelling “Olmsted”. So who is W. Olmstead?
From most accounts, I can see that Waller Olmsted was born on July 1, 1809 in Pennsylvania. His father was born in Connecticut and his mother, Rhoda Brown, was born in Pennsylvania. He was married to Maria Downer. Waller’s flame shone brightly from 1868 to 1880 in New York City. He set up Olmsted and Company at 292 Washington Street but commuted to Brooklyn where he lived. One year he was even listed as a doctor. Waller produced a “Beverage” (embossed on bottle) which was kind of smart and fairly unique in the bitters world. This allowed him to sell it as a drink, bitters, patent medicine and tonic. It is like he couldn’t make up his mind. What we need to find here is some advertising and a labeled example to clarify his intent. Obviously a form that represents a bitters bottle, I sure would like some more evidence. Oh, and this bottle is coming to Houston. Some records show Waller Olmsted fading away in Elmira, New York.
Olmsted & Company – Waller Olmsted
1809: Waller Olmsted born 1 July 1809. Born in Pennsylvania. Father born in Connecticut, Mother (Rhoda Brown) born in Pennsylvania, Spouse Maria Downer – 1880 United States Federal Census
1868: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), patent medicines, 292 Washington, h – Brooklyn, New York City Directory
1869: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), beverage, 292 Washington, h Brooklyn – New York City Directory
1870: W. Olmsted & Co., meds, (Olmsted refused) 292 Washington – New York City Directory
1872: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), tonic, 292 Washington, h Brooklyn – New York City Directory
1873: Waller Olmstead, (M. D.) 292 Washington, N.Y. h Throop av. c Walton – Brooklyn New York City Directory
1874: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), patent medicines, 292 Washington – New York City Directory
1875: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), bitters, 292 Washington – New York City Directory
1876 – 1879: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), patent medicines, 292 Washington – New York City Directory
1880: Olmsted & Co. (Waller Olmsted), tonics, 292 Washington, h Brooklyn – New York City Directory
1884 – 1889: Waller Olmsted, h 109 E Hudson – Elmira New York City Directory