What was peened out of the Apple Brandy Bitters?


What was peened out of the Apple Brandy Bitters?

23 December 2014 (R•122414)

Apple-Touch-IconAThe Apple Brandy Bitters is another extremely rare bitters square that Jeff Wichmann pictured and sold on his new American Bottle Auctions | Bottle Store page. Previously I posted about the Acorn Bitters and Rose Hill Stomach Bitters from the page. His description for the Apple Brandy Bitters:

Two of the panels have areas where letters were peened out.

Apple Brandy Bitters: 9 7/8”. (Ring/Ham 9.5) Applied top, A.&D.H.C on base. Aside from a tiny flake on one panel edge, this example is in great shape. A medium to light amber, it is fairly crude with an uneven front panel and some light crudity to the rest of the bottle. Two of the panels have areas where letters were peened out. A handsome bitters, here’s another extremely rare bottle and the first we’ve seen. We are aware of only one example other than this one, it being dug in San Jose. Western? We have no idea. Grades an 8.9. 


In a previous post we have looked at Pure Apple Brandy Bitters made by Sanford, Chamberlain & Albers in Knoxville, Tennessee. This interesting figural barrel is pictured above. I believe we are talking about another brand here as the advertisements from The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) local section suggest below. Notice that they reference a W. W. Elliott on 66 South Pennsylvania Street. This is in the heart of the business district. He is selling a Elliott’s Pure Apple Brandy Bitters in 1877. Pure Apple Brandy Bitters to pull you back from bad health. Another angle for these bitters guys.


Blue Devils – Elliott’s Pure Apple Brandy Bitters advertisement – The Indianapolis News, Wednesday, June 6, 1877


Confidence Game – Pure Apple Brandy Bitters advertisement by W. W. Elliott – The Indianapolis News, Monday, July 30, 1877


Adam and Eve – Pure Apple Brandy Bitters advertisement by W. W. Elliott – The Indianapolis News, Wednesday, July 11, 1877


God Bless the man who first invented sleep! – Elliott’s Pure Apple Brandy Bitters advertisement – The Indianapolis News, Tuesday, May 22, 1877

So is this bottle from W. W. Elliott? Hard to tell. Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham do have a listing in Bitters Bottles for it but it offers no clues except the notation for the two slugged out strips and saying an example was dug in San Jose, California.

APPLE BRANDY / BITTERS // slugged out strip // slugged out strip // f //
8 7/8 x 2 3/4 x 7
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, Extremely rare
Example dug in San Jose, California

Very strange. Why would an Indianapolis bitters be found in San Jose? What was on the slugged out panels? And what did the A & D H C on the base mean? Was this the bottle maker? Maybe someone has some more information here.

Update: The initials A & D H C stand for Alexander and David H. Chambers who operated a glasshouse in Pittsburgh 1841-1888. Read: The Glass Factories and Bottles of Alexander and David H. Chambers.

W. W. Elliott Listings

IF, and that is a big if, Warren W. Elliott worked at Gapen & Catherwood in Indianapolis in 1872 selling wines and liquors, he might have left the company and for a very brief moment produced the Elliott’s Pure Apple Brandy Bitters in 1877. Possibly the Gapen & Catherwood embossing and address was slugged out of two panels. Elliott disappears from Indianapolis in 1880. Maybe he went to San Jose and drank his last bottle of bitters, tossed it in a privy and that one was found. Can only imagine now.

1860: Elliott & Ryan, wholesale liquor dealers, Indianapolis

1871-1872: Gapen & Catherwood (Philip M. Gapen and Joseph Catherwood), wholesale wines and liquors, 92 and 94 s. Meridan – Swartz & Tedrowe’s Indianapolis Directory, 1872 (see below)


1875-1876: Warren W. Elliott, bookkeeper, J Catherwood, 180 N. West – Indianapolis, Indiana City Directory

1877: Warren W. Elliott, res St. Charles blk – S.E. Tilford and Co.’s Indianapolis city directory, 1877

1878: Warren W. Elliott, rooms 15 St. Charles blk – Polk’s Indianapolis (Marion County, Ind.) city directory, 1878

1879: Warren W. Elliott, res 28 Hutchins blk – Polk’s Indianapolis (Marion County, Ind.) city directory, 1879

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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3 Responses to What was peened out of the Apple Brandy Bitters?

  1. Warren Friedrich says:

    Base markings are for the glass house of Alan & David H. Chambers.

  2. Occupational hazard I guess (as ex librarian) but was playing around with your recent post on the Apple Brandy Bitters bottle. Warren W. Elliott was found dead in his room in Aug of 1880 in New Orleans, according to snippets of a Indianapolis newspaper article that I was able to only partially access.

    However, prior to that, he was very very briefly a “correspondent” for a newspaper called The Indianapolis People, reporting from Arizona. He reports having arrived there in April of 1879 in the “Arivaca District” He traveled by steamer from SF to Los Angeles, stopping near San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, and eventually departing LA via the Southern Pacific RR to arrive in Yuma AZ. A 2nd article indicates he returned to Indianapolis in November of 1879, where he went to work at the Insane Asylum. He apparently didn’t care for the work, left to find employment in Cincinnati and then somehow ended up in New Orleans.

    I guess it’s theoretically possible, assuming he’s the same W.W. Elliott that made the Apple Brandy Bitters in Indiana, for him to have brought some along and left them behind in the West? Or sold/gave them to fellow travelers along the way?? A long shot for sure, and one that doesn’t adequately describe the removal of lettering on the bottle. But fun to ponder 😉

    Just thought I’d pass along some possible leads to other explanations

    Ellen Levesque

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