The James A. Clark barrel from Louisville


The James A. Clark barrel from Louisville

21 September 2016


Apple-Touch-IconAI have put out many barrel posts before but I missed the Clark barrel from Louisville, Kentucky. You see, there are only two examples, the last coming from the recent Glass Works Auctions Session 1 from the great Bob Ferraro Collection. Bob is known as Mayor Ferraro and the “Barrel King”. Many times I would come across an obscure barrel only to find that Bob would have an example. Like I said, the Barrel King.


Connie & Bob Ferraro

James A. Clark was a long-time grocer selling wines, liquors, tobacco, cigars, oysters, raisins, sardines, pickles etc. in Louisville, Kentucky. His Clark & Company address at one time was 219 Third Street which is embossed on the barrel though an advertisement in 1866 differs and says #73 Third Street (Old No. 219). We can find listings for him centered from 1864 to 1868. His partners were George W. Morris and Charles L. White. In 1868, White leaves and Clark takes on O. A. Knapp as a partner. The bottle most likely contained a bitters or bourbon, probably both as a label would state.

Mr. Clark was born on October 9, 1838 in Massachusetts and died on July 10, 1913 in Jefferson County, Kentucky.


“JAS. A. CLARK & CO / 219 THIRD ST / LOUISVILLE KY”, (unlisted), Kentucky, ca. 1865 – 1875, yellow amber barrel, 9 1/9”h, smooth base, applied ring mouth. A 2 1/4” vertical stress crack on a mold seam travels from the top of the lip down to the second ring. One of only two known examples and the first one to be offered at auction. Fortunately the damage cannot be seen when viewed straight on. Purchased from Steve Keith in 1997.


“JAS. A. CLARK & CO / 219 THIRD ST / LOUISVILLE KY” figural barrel – Kentucky collection


Jas. A. Clark & Co. Advertisement – 1864 Louisville, Kentucky City Directory

Select Listings:

1866: Charles L. White connected with James A. Clark & Co. listing.


Louisville Daily Courier, Tuesday, January 9, 1866

1866: James A. Clark Notice & advertisement.


Louisville Daily Courier, Friday, February 2, 1866

1868: Clark & Co. changes partners:


Louisville Daily Courier, Thursday, August 27, 1868

1880: Jas. A. Clark, Wholesale Liquors, living in Louisville, Kentucky, age 41, born in Massachusetts about 1839, married to Fannie A. Clark – 1880 United States Federal Census

1900 Jas. A. Clark, Wholesale Liquors, living in Louisville, Kentucky, age 61, born in Massachusetts in October 1838, married to Fannie A. Clark – 1880 United States Federal Census

Read more about barrels:

Barrel Series – Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic

Barrel Series – Turner Brothers New York & San Francisco

Barrel Series – The Mysterious Blue Barrel

Barrel Series – Original Pocahontas Bitters

Figural Barrel Series – Hall’s Bitters

Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters – aka Vertical Greeley’s

Peach colored Bourbon Whiskey Bitters added to Color Run

Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters – A Great Boston Bitters Barrel

The earliest and latest with the blue W. Wolf’s Pittsburgh barrel

Barrel Series – Brent, Warder & Co. – Louisville

Barrel Series – I. Nelson’s Old Bourbon

Barrel Series – B.M. & E.A. Whitlock & Co. – New York

Bennett & Carroll – Figural Barrel Series

Barrel Series – Liquore del Diavolo Figural Barrel

Barrel Series – Crow’s Celebrated Tonic Bitters

Barrel Series – Chapin & Gore – Chicago – Sour Mash

Barrel Series – Bininger Old Kentucky Bourbon

Barrel Series – Columbus in a Barrel

Barrel Series – W.C. Bitters

Barrel Series – Stillman & Breen

Barrel Series – Ben Franklin Bitters

Barrel Series – Highland Bitters and Scotch Tonic

Barrel Series – Smith’s Druid Bitters

Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the smaller ones)

Barrel Series – Roback’s Stomach Bitters (the big boys)

Barrel Series – Dr. Chandler’s Jamaica Ginger Root Bitters

Barrel Series – Favorite Bitters & Peoples Favorite Bitters

Barrel Series – Wormser Bros San Francisco

Barrel Series – Keystone Bitters

The Robinson & Lord Figural Barrel – Baltimore

The Hull Brothers barrel from Detroit, Michigan

Barrel Series – Out of the Ashes, the Wolford Z – Whiskey

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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