Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitters – Racine, Wisconsin


Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitters – Racine, Wisconsin

25 January 2015 (R•012615)

Apple-Touch-IconAHere is another tough-to-find bitters that showed up and was snapped-up in moments on Jeff Wichmann’s American Bottle Auctions Sale Page. The Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitters is from Racine, Wisconsin and is embossed, “D.B.V.M.C.” which means, “Dr. Bull’s Vegetable Medicine Company”. Take a look at the typography as the gothic typestyle is very odd for a bitters. You will also see an extremely rare sample size in this post. The listing in Bitters Bottles from Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham is as follows:


DR. B. L. BULL’S / VEGETABLE BITTERS // f // D.B.V.M.C. / RACINE, WIS. // f // b // I.C.C.O. //
9 x 2 3/4 (6 3/4) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip, Rare
B 258.5  DR. B. L. BULL’S VEGETABLE BITTERS (sample size)
DR. B. L. BULL’S / VEGETABLE / BITTERS // f // D.B.V.M.C. / RACINE, WIS. // f //
4 1/8 x 1 3/8 (3) 1/4
Square, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip, Extremely Rare

DR. B. L. BULL’S / VEGETABLE BITTERS D.B.V.M.C. / RACINE, WIS. IC Co. on base. (B 259) Tooled top. A tidy bitters but nonetheless pretty hard to find. We are aware of only two selling in the past. You have to admit it’s a pretty brightly colored bottle and has the serif lettering, someone gave it a good try. Be the first one on your block to bring home the Bull’s. Has some minor roughness on panel edge, we’ll show you in video. Grades a 9.0. – American Bottle Auctions Sale Page


DR. B. L. BULL’S VEGETABLE BITTERS D.B.V.M.C. Spinner (Click Image or Here) – Steven Libbey Collection


Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitters Racine, Wis. (sample size) This is a rare sample size bitters bottle with heavy text embossing in an interesting font. It also comes in a grown up (quart) size. It is embossed D.B.V.M.C. RACINE (stands for Dr. Bulls Vegetable Medicine Co.) and “DR. BULL’S VEGETABLE BITTERS” on the opposite panel. It has a tooled lip. – MrBottles.com

B 258.5 Bull's tc

Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitter advertising trade card – Bitters Bottles Supplement


MEYER v. DR. B. L. BULL VEGETABLE MEDICINE COMPANY – United States Courts of Appeals Reports: Cases Adjudged in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Volume 18, 1895 – By Samuel Appleton Blatchford (Read)

Adolph Carl Meyer v. Baxter L. Bull

The Dr. Bull’s brand is confusing here because there are other Dr. Bull medicines out there including Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup from Baltimore, E. Bull’s Luxury Bitters from Louisville, Kentucky and Dr. Bull’s Compound Cedron Bitters, also from Louisville. As noted, this bottle is embossed Dr. B. L. Bull from Racine, Wisconsin. Read: Dr. John Bull and Louisville at that time

In 1855 or so, in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. John W. Bull began the manufacture and sale of a cough remedy known as “Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup,” which was put up in packages of a characteristic form and appearance. Dr. Bull was first listed as a druggist and was in business until the early 1870s when he sold the rights to his patent medicines to August Vogeler and Adolph C. Meyer eventually of A. C. Meyer & Co. (see pics below) Read: So who is A.C. Meyer?





Around 1888, the Dr. B. L. B. V. M. Co. prepared and sold a cough syrup in a wrapper of a different color from A.C. Meyer and marked and designated “Dr. B. L. Bull’s Celebrated Cough Syrup”. A.C. Meyer caught wind of this. A rather grand court case occurs when A.C. Meyer sues the Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Medicine Company.

This suit was brought by Adolph Carl Meyer against the Dr. B. L. Bull Vegetable Medicine Company, to restrain the defendant from using in connection with the manufacture and sale of an article or remedy the designations “Bull’s Cough Syrup,” “ Bull’s Celebrated Cough Syrup,” “Dr. B. L. Bull’s Celebrated Cough Syrup,” or “ Dr. B. L. Bull’s Cough Syrup,” and from using certain labels which the defendant was using. The complainant derived its title to the trade-marks “Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup” and “Bull’s Cough Syrup,” which it claimed were infringed, by various mesne assignments from one Dr. John W. Bull, who in 1855 began the manufacture and sale at Baltimore of a certain remedy having the characteristics of a cough syrup, to which remedy he gave and applied the name and designation “ Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup,” used it as a trade-mark, and printed it on a certain form of label. Further facts are stated in the opinion and in the statement made by the court.

Select Listings

1846: Baxter L. Bull, Birth Nov 1844 in New York

1880: Baxter L. Bull, Physician, age 34, Racine, Wisconsin – United States Federal Census

1885: B. L. Bull, Physician, 835 Park Avenue – Racine, Wisconsin City Directory

1890: Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Medicine Company (B.L. Bull), mnfrs. Dr. Bull’s Vegetable remedies, 1013 State – Racine, Wisconsin City Directory

1892: Baxter. L. Bull, Physician, 719 Villa – Racine, Wisconsin City Directory

Read about some other Wisconsin bitters:

Ritz’s Juniper & Wild Lemon Bitters – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Indian Blood Bitters – Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Sunny Castle Stomach Bitters – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

With and without the words Monopole Bitters

McManman’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters – Milwaukee

Dr. Mampe’s Herb Stomach Bitters from Oshkosh

Unlisted Dr. Bourbon’s Aromatic Forest Bitters

Dr. Warren’s Universal Tonic Bitters – Fond du Lac

Young America or Young Frankenstein?

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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