Dr. B. L. Bull’s Vegetable Bitters – Racine, Wisconsin
25 January 2015 (R•012615)
Here 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:
B 259 DR. B. L. BULL’S VEGETABLE BITTERS
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
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.
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