Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters from Oshkosh

Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters from Oshkosh

02 June 2014 (R•042919)


Apple-Touch-IconAAfter the pretty lady’s legs we’ve been looking at, I wanted to take a moment and look at a squat little fellow from Oshkosh, Wisconsin that is more like a bull dog in stature. The Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters, put out by John Thielen, definitely has that German look that you see with the Carl and Ferdinand Mampe bitters and liquor bottles with the prominant embossed elephant.

Read: Wicker Visit – Austin Healey’s and Elephants.

Not a big stretch to think that they are related.

Read: Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters of Wisconsin, You Make the Call.

Another reason we are looking at Wisconsin, is the extremely rare bitters bottle that sold last night on ebay. That story will wait for another day.

Top color picture: Collection of Frank Wicker


Carl and Ferdinand Mampe bitters and liquor bottles with the prominant embossed elephant – Wicker Collection

My example of the Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters has been sitting alone for almost a decade on a shelf in my aqua room since it joined my collection, as I won it in the FOHBC live auction at the 2004 Memphis Expo. Let’s put a little light on this portly guy. The Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

6 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 3 (5 1/2) Rectangular, NSC, Aqua – Common, Clear and Blue aqua – Scarce, Citron green – Extremely rare
Embossing on (slightly) narrower sides.
Advertisement: John Thielen, Sole Agent for the sale of Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, November 11, 1891

JT_MampesJohn P. Thielen was born in Germany in 1849 and was the son of Peter Thielen (1810-1887). Peter and his son John, immigrated the United States around 1864 from Neuenberg, Germany. John Thielen’s bothers and sisters included, Anna (1835 – 1900; m. Nicholas Faugsten) of Oshkosh, Frank X. (1840 – 1914; m. Magdelna) of Oshkosh, Catherine (1844 – 1921; m. August Timm) of Chicago, Illinois and then moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and Paul Thielen (1845 -1894; m. Mary).

Our subject, John P. Thielen, married Johanna “Anna” Sonnenberg of Oshkosh, and they were married for 65 years until 1921 when the family relocated to Los Angeles, California. John P. Thielen died in 1934 at 84 years old in Los Angeles of heart trouble.


During his years in Oshkosh, John Thielen may have run the largest and best stocked wine and liquor house in town. John first got his start with Weidener and Thielen and eventual went out using his own name selling imported and domestic wines, liquors, gins, brandies, cordials, ales, porters and whiskies. His specialities included “Silver Spring” pure rye whisky, Badger Club and of course, his Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters. Business was strong in northern Wisconsin and Michigan. He was also president of the Silver Spring Distillery Company. This company was organized in 1892. The Dr. Mampe’s bitters was certainly a late 19th century brand that looks good in any bitters collection despite its ungainly proportions.

Select Timeline Events

1849: John Thielen born in Neuenberg, Germany.
1864: John Thielen arrives in United States.
1870: Marriage to Johanna “Anna” Sonnenberg of Oshkosh. John Thielen listed as laborer in 1870 US Federal Census.
1873: P. Thielen & Son (Paul & John Thielen), grocer – Wisconsin Business Directory
1880: Main Street, Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin – John Thielen living with wife and four children. He works at a saloon1870 US Federal Census.
1884: Weidner & Thielen, (August Weidner and John Thielen) liquors, 26 and 28 Washington streets. also 186 Main street, Firm dissolves in 1886.
1885: MusicianMember of the OLD ARION BAND – Clarinet player. In his daughter’s obituary stated her father as a master musician; he was also a member of the Butterick Orchestra; his brother Frank was a singer.
1891: John Thielen, liquors, 146 Main, moves to Washington Street (see advertisement below) Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters mentioned – Oshkosh City Directory

John Thielen, wines and liquors moves to Washington Street – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 11 November 1891

1893: John Thielen, wholesale liquors, 26-28 Washington. Brother Frank X. Thielen has saloon and grocery at 150 Main – Oshkosh City Directory
1897: John Thielen advertising cover mentions Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters (see below).
Mampe's BittersCover_JG

1897 John Thielen advertising cover mentions Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters – Joe Gourd Collection

1903: John Thielen, wines and liquors, distiller, 26 Washington (two brothers running sample rooms on Main street) – Oshkosh City Directory
1912: John Thielen, wholesale wines and liquors, 26-28 Washington – Oshkosh City Directory
1920: John Theilen, residence Los Angeles. 1920 US Federal Census

Former Local Man Dies in the West – John Thielen 1934 obituary

1934: John P. Thielen died in 1934 at 84 years old in Los Angeles of heart trouble (see above obituary).

Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection


Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection


Two Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters. One in blue aqua and the other in an odd apple green – Wicker Collection


John Thielen profile – Pen and Sunlight Sketches of The Principle Cities in Wisconsin – 1893


A large group of boarders are gathered in front of the Phoenix House, 234 Main Street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Joseph Schneider, the owner, is standing to the left of the door; his sons, William and Joseph, Jr. are standing beside him. Daughter Irene Schneider is sitting in an upstairs window. Other men identified on the back of the photo are: Frank Schmidt; Jo Jo; Leo Meitinger; J. Hesig; John Thielen; Angus Monroe; John Marx; Joseph Marx; Mark Marx; Lary; and J.D. Rose. A few of these men are listed in either the 1889 or 1891 Oshkosh City Directory as residents.

Badger Club Whiskey image from Pre-Pro.com

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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