Looking at the two Caldwell’s Herb Bitters lattice variants
The Great Tonic
12 September 2018
I thought I would circle back to two tall triangular bitters bottles I picked up in 2002 when I first started collecting bitters. I’m talking about the Caldwell’s Herb Bitters with the 16 lattice grid and the Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters with the 24 lattice grid. Note the addition of “Dr.” in the second example. Both are pictured below from my collection. Also, notice the different mouths.
Bitters authority Frank Wicker has written about this brand before on Bottlepickers.com and done a fine job. I just wanted to retrace his steps and fill in a few gaps in my mind.
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
C 8 Caldwell’s Herb Bitters
THE GREAT TONIC / CALDWELL’S / HERB BITTERS // f // f //
Manufactured by L.A. Marshall & Co. Goshen, Indiana
12 3/8 x 2 1/2 (6 5/8) 1/4
16 squares in lattice panel
Triangular, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, With and without Metallic pontil mark, Scarce
Turner’s Gazeteer of the St. Joseph Valley (Michigan, Indiana) 1867
C 9 Caldwell’s Herb Bitters
THE GREAT TONIC / DR. CALDWELL’S / HERB BITTERS // f // f //
L…Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters Manufactured By Lawrence & Co.,
204 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, Pa.
12 3/4 x 2 1/2 (6 1/2) 1/4
Triangular with 24 squares in lattice panel, Amber, LTCR, Applied mouth and Tooled lip, Scarce
Note: The C9 Dr. Caldwell’s embossing is different than the C8 bottle. There is a minor variation in the motif; there are 16 squares in the lattice work in the C8 mold and 24 in the C9 mold.
Trade cards from Blattenberger & Co. Manufacturers and proprietors. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
C.9.5 has a misspelled “Tonic”.
From the best that I can tell, it looks like L. A. Marshall & Co. were first listed as manufacturers of Caldwell’s Herb Bitters in Goshen, Indiana in 1867. I suspect this might have been a labeled brand that was purchased by Keech & Frey located on Market Street in York, Pennsylvania the same year. Maybe they were different brands advertised the same year, but that would be to much of a coincidence.
Keech & Frey would order the first Caldwell’s Herb Bitters bottles with the 16 lattice grid that were metallic pontiled and eventually smooth-based. There was no “Dr.” reference in front of Caldwell though Frank Wicker reports he has an example. A mystery here. They would sell the bitters for two years as The Great Tonic. It’s interesting, E. Mishler of Mishler’s Herb Bitters fame was listed as an agent for Caldwell’s Herb Bitters in Berks County, Pennsylvania the same year.
1n 1872, Lawrence & Brother were offering empty Caldwell’s Herb Bitters bottles at auction at the Hartman’s Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I suppose they were ramping up for the second variant, Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters with the 24 lattice grid. We next see Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters for they first time noted as being manufactured and sold by Lawrence & Company at 204 N. Second Street in Harrisburg in the late mid to late 1870s.
By 1882, Blattenberger & Co., located at 102 Market Street in Harrisburg was listed in newspaper advertising wanting to buy empty bottles of Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters. Crazy all this recycling that was going on. Horace Blattenberger would then sell the bitters through 1885. That’s a long run explaining why there are so many bottles of both variants out there. Still a super-cool bitters bottle.
Advertising Trade Card (circa 1882) for Blattenberger & Co., Manufacturers and Proprietors of Dr. Caldwell’s Herb Bitters, 106 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From the Joe Gourd collection.
Framed, behind glass advertising poster for The Great Caldwell’s Herb Bitters. The Greatest Remedy of the Age, Sold Here, Try It! Spotted at the 2012 Houston Bottle Show.