Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters – Council Bluffs, Iowa

Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters

John Brown Adkins – Council Bluffs, Iowa

09 December 2018

I recently received an email and newspaper clipping from Mark Wiseman about an unlisted Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters. He found the ad below in The Council Bluffs Bugle dated October 17, 1867.

The Magic Bitters

Looking at the ad above we can see that Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters was reportedly used extensively during the Civil War by thousands of soldiers who served in the Department of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland dates back to the creation of the Army of the Ohio in November 1861, under the command of Brig. Gen. Robert Anderson. The army fought under the name Army of the Ohio until Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans assumed command of the army and the Department of the Cumberland and changed the name of the combined entity to the Army of the Cumberland.

Described as eminently a western article and needed by “Every Western Family in the Land,” the bitters consisted of wild cherry bark, fruit and a healthy amount of rye whiskey. A gentle tonic invigorating for the blood and a beverage to be used as a stimulant. Yes, I bet it packed a punch.

Dr. Smith and the J. B. Atkins Building

We do not really see who Dr. Smith is as he is noted as the proprietor of the Magic Bitters but the ad notes that because he can not keep up with the demand for the bitters, that it is now being offered for the first time by J. B. Adkins, a druggist by trade, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He is pictured above in the studio shot. It must have been a short run as I am not aware of any bottles either embossed or labeled.

I like the photograph at the top of the post showing the two-story building with the J. B. ATKINS bas-relief letters on the front facade. If you look closely, you will see that John Brown Atkins is standing proudly in the doorway and his windows and shelves within are fully stocked. I also see a camel and rider sitting on a box. Look at the roof, as there is a cool sculptural mortar and pestle on top of the building and painted graphics on the side advertising J. B. Atkins selling Drugs, Chemicals, Perfumery, Paints, Oils, Glassware etc. His address is 351 West Broadway. You can see the numbers on a column on the left side of the building.

Dr. T. B. Lacey

It looks like the second story had a separate front entrance with stairs for his son-in-law, Doctor Thomas B. Lacey, Physician and Surgeon. His daughter Mollie had married Dr. Lacey in 1878. Two years later they had a son, Thomas Jr. You can see his sign and probably Lacey standing in the doorway. I wonder if this is really our Dr. Smith? Two windows are partially open, so with the dust, I hope he didn’t do his surgery upstairs.

Dr. THOMAS B. LACEY, a thirty-third degree Mason and while active one of the most prominent physicians in this section of the state of Iowa, holding the chair of surgery in the Creighton Medical Institute, died at his home 540 Sixth Avenue. Dr. lacey was one of a family of physicians. His father and his grandfather were physicians and his son Thomas Lacey, has followed in the same profession. In addition to being a thirty-third degree Mason, deceased was past grand commander of the Knights Templars of Iowa and past grand high priest of Royal Arch masons. He was also a prominent member and past exalted ruler of the Council Bluffs Lodge of Elks.

Five years ago he was forced to relinquish his practice and has since been an invalid, gradually losing ground. He is survived by his son Dr. Thomas Lacey and his brother Charles Lacey of Chicago, who was with him at the time of his death. He had been in the city for thirty-one years and at the time of his death was 55 years of age. The funeral will take place from the residence Wednesday afternoon.

Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, Monday, March 25, 1907

John Brown Atkins

John Brown Atkins was born in Wayne County near Detroit, Michigan on May 29, 1835. The 1880 United States Federal Census says his parents were from Ohio while the 1900 Census says his parents were from New York. He would marry Lydia B. Allen in Arapahoe County, Colorado on October 16, 1859 and they would have two children, Mollie who was born in 1861 and Henry Charles Atkins who was born in July 1866.

We first see J. B. Atkins in 1856 listed in a Michigan business directory as a partner with William Conger, the concern named Conger & Atkins, Druggists & Grocers.

In 1861, Atkins was commissioned as an officer in Company B, New Mexico 1st Infantry Regiment. He mustered out on May 1, 1862. After the war, John B. Atkins came to Council Bluffs in the summer of 1866 after a varied experience in the western and southwestern territories and on the Pacific coast. He opened a drug store in a small wooden building, which he erected for the purpose near the site of the building he subsequently built and occupied continuously with his drug store for nearly forty years.

In 1903, his health started to fail, so in August of that year he sold his business to Robert E. Anderson. Hoping to aid his health, John, his wife Lydia, and the rest of the family traveled to Los Angeles in October of 1903 in the hopes that under the genial influence of the tropical climate he might regain his wasted strength. Unfortunately John only lasted a few months in California and passed away December 5, 1903. His body was held in Los Angeles until February 1904 when he was returned to Council Bluffs for burial. John Atkins was a life long Mason and he was prominent in Masonic organizations in Iowa.

[Factual assistance in post referenced JOHN B. ATKINS – EARLY CITIZEN OF COUNCIL BLUFFS

Select Listings:

1835: John B Atkins birth 29 May 1835, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1856: Conger & Atkins (William Conger & John B. Atkins), Druggists & Grocers – Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory
1870: J B Atkins, Druggist, Age in 1870: 33, Birth Year: abt 1837, Birthplace: Michigan, Dwelling Number: 148, Home in 1870: Council Bluffs Ward 2, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Personal Estate Value: 6000, Inferred Spouse: L D Atkins, Household Members:, J B Atkins 33, L D Atkins 25, Mollie Atkins 9, Henry Atkins 7 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1880: John B. Atkins, Druggist, Age: 45, Birth Date: Abt 1835, Birthplace: Michigan, Home in 1880: Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Street: Third Avenue, Dwelling Number: 296, Marital Status: Married: Spouse’s Name: Lydia Atkins, Father’s Birthplace: Ohio, Mother’s Birthplace: Ohio, Household Members: John B. Atkins 45, Lydia Atkins 36, Henry C. Atkins 18 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1900: J B Atkins, Merchant (Drugs), Age: 65, Birth Date: May 1835, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1900: Kane, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Ward of City: Part 4th, Street: Sixth Ave, House Number: 540, Relation to Head of House: Head, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Lydia B Atkins, Marriage Year: 1860, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: New York, Home Free or Mortgaged: F, Household Members: J B Atkins 65, Lydia B Atkins 55, Henry Atkins 35 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1903: John B Atkins death 5 December 1903 (aged 68), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, Burial: Fairview Cemetery, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1903: J.B. Atkins  Obituary Newspaper notice (below) – The Nonpareil
A telegram from Col. J.J. Steadman to The Nonpareil last night announced that J.B. ATKINS died at Los Angeles, California. J.B. Atkins was a citizen of Council Bluffs for nearly forty years. He located here in the summer of 1866, after a varied experience in the western and southwestern territories and on the Pacific coast. He was born near Detroit, Michigan, 65 years ago. When he came to Council Bluffs he opened a drug store in a small wooden building, which he erected for the purpose near the site of the brick building he subsequently built and occupied continuously with his drug store until August 19 of this year when he retired from business.
It is believed that the body of Mr. Atkins will be brought here for interment in Fairview, where he had often expressed the desire to take his final sleep. It is understood to have been his wish that in case of his death during the winter the family should remain in California until spring, placing his body in a vault at Los Angeles until they were ready to return. At the present time it is believed that his wishes in this respect will be carried out. With Mr. Atkins at the time of his death were his wife, his son Henry, and his grandson, Thomas B. Lacey, Jr., and Dr. T.B. Lacey.
1903: Notice of the death of the Eminent Grand Treasurer of the Grand Commander of Iowa, Sir John B. AtkinsFreemasons, Grand Lodge of Iowa Bulletin, 1902
The Grand Commander of Iowa has issued a memorial notice of the death of the Kminent Grand Treasurer of the Grand Commandery of Iowa, Sir John B. Atkins, whose death occurred December 5th, 1903, at Los Angeles, whither his family had taken him in the hopes that under the genial influence of the tropical clime he might regain his wasted strength. Those of our readers who recall meeting him at Templar Park on the shores of Spirit Lake the past summer will not be surprised for few thought they would ever see him attain at that spot of so many hallowed associations, so feeble was he in health at that time, and so it has turned out. His tired, worn out body after an eventful life, has been laid in the vault to await transportation in the spring to his old home in Council Bluffs when the family return and at which time the funeral service will be conducted by the officers of the Grand Commandery. He was a useful and active citizen and served his city as he had served his Masonic bodies, faithfully and well. John B. Atkins received the symbolic degrees of Freemasonry at Fort Union, New Mexico; and his Chapter and Commandery degrees in Council Bluffs. He was an active and enthusiastic member of Bluff City Lodge, No. 71; Star Chapter, No. 47, and Ivanhoe Commandery. No. 17, and had served each body as its presiding officer. He had been seven times in succession elected as Eminent Grand Treasurer of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar, of Iowa, his first election being in 1897. He was also Treasurer of the Grand Chapter Charity Fund. His accounts and official acts show the utmost integrity and painstaking, and prove the honesty and trustworthiness of the man. Thus another of Iowa’s pioneers, a man loved and respected by all who knew him, has passed to his final reward.
Posted in Bitters, Civil War, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures, Remedy, Tonics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kohn & Adler’s Bitters – Rock Island, Illinois

Kohn & Adler’s Bitters

Rock Island, Illinois

08 December 2018

I recently received an email and 1866 newspaper clipping from Mark Wiseman about an unlisted Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters which led me to do a search for “Adler” information. This led me to another unlisted bitters advertisement for Kohn & Adler’s Bitters from Rock Island, Illinois (see top of post). There is no relation though, as the ad is from 1889. Here we are talking about Solomon and his two sons, Edward and Monroe Kohn and Joseph H. Adler.

Solomon Kohn was born in Austria in 1826 and received his U.S. citizenship in 1866. Adler was born in Bohemia (Dolní Pochlovice, Czech Republic) around 1832. I suspect the families knew each other well and they both came to America together. Margaretha Adler, daughter of Moses Adler and Elisabeth Adler would later marry Salomon Kohn, so there is a pretty solid link.

Rock Island, Illinois

This bird’s-eye view print of Rock Island, Illinois was drawn by Henry Wellge and published by American Publishing Co. in 1889. Rock Island was an industrious town along the Mississippi River. The lumber industry was thriving and railroad interests were growing. Furnishings and supplies for the railroads were manufactured in Rock Island as well as agricultural implements. Most railroad enthusiasts are certainly familiar with the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad.

One listing on the bottom of the print notes Kohn & Adler, Wholesale Liquor Dealers, 122 to 128 16th Street. They were one of the anchor businesses in the city. The illustration below is circa 1865 when Kohn & Adler were just getting started. Maybe that is Solomon and Joseph in the row boat.

Kohn & Adler

We first find Solomon Kohn listed as a storekeeper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1860 when he was 34 years old. He was probably a merchant long before that. Joseph Adler was a liquor dealer during this same time period though records are scarce for both of them in the early to mid 1860s. War years.

The liquor business of Kohn & Adler was established in Rock Island in 1868 though there was some type of business relationship as early as 1863 when Kohn & Adler were supplying the army for the Confederate States of America. The receipt below shows the sale of paper and ink.

In 1871, a newspaper notice states that “Kohn & Adler have fitted up their store in style, and have this day received a new sign.” I guess the 1868 date was a soft opening. Their address was noted as “opposite Harper House” which was a prominent hotel on 2nd Avenue and 19th  Street built in 1871.

Kohn & Adler thrived throughout the 1870s and 1880s and they served the midwest region of United States. Solomon Kohn would die on November 25, 1874 after a long illness and his son Edward would take his place in the business. By this time they were dealing in all types of spirits and alcohol including whiskies, brandies, gin, rum, wines ands cordials. The full-page directory advertisement below is from the 1868 Holland’s Rock Island City Directory.

In 1888, some type of odd legal action occurred between Kohn & Adler and M. Levy & Son, a competitor in Rock Island. Seems like you had two companies competing for mail which of course contained liquor order information and payments.

In 1889, they advertised their Kohn & Adler’s Bitters as a medicine “To Cure Spring Fever.” You could buy it for $1.50 a gallon. This sounds like a stoneware jug. I am not aware of any examples of bottles or jugs. Kohn & Adler were then located on the “Post Office Block” on Second Avenue & 16th Street.

Later in 1889 the partnership would dissolve by mutual consent, Joseph H. Adler was retiring, and Monroe Kohn would continue the business under the old name of Kohn & Adler until 1894, when the business would shut down.

Kohn-Bradford House

Kohn-Bradford House (Margaret Kohn), 602 18th Street, Rock Island Landmark, 1993.

Front gable brick Italianate with good integrity associated with doctor and merchants.

Architectural Style: Italianate, Construction Date: ca. 1878-80. Ornate Brick Italianate
This front gable Italianate structure is constructed of brick. Rarely are Rock Island’s 19th century homes constructed of brick, and then they are usually of this Italianate style. The Kohn-Bradford house features brackets, stone hoods above the windows and a cut stone foundation. The front porch is an early alteration, probably around 1906. There is a one-story addition on the rear that was added around 1900 for a doctor’s office. This office mimicked the main house with two over two windows, brick arches and virtually identical brick.

Succession of Owners: Margaret Kohn, a widow, and her sons Edward, Lewis, Max and Monroe, first occupied this home. The Kohn family operated Kohn & Adler, one of the largest distributors of fine wine and liquor in the Upper Midwest.

*Joseph H. Adler would live in Rock Island then Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Select Listings:

1826: Solomon Kohn, Birth Date: 28 June 1826, Birth Place: Hungary – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1860: Solomon Kohn, Storekeeper, Age: 34, Birth Year: abt 1826, Birth Place: Austria, Home in 1860: Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Post Office: Oak Creek, Dwelling Number: 280, Family Number: 280, Personal Estate Value: 400, Household Members: Solomon Kohn 34, Margret Kohn 30, Edward Kohn 9, Ann Kohn 6, Michael Kohn 4, Luis Kohn 2 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1863: Solomon Kohn, Merchant, Birth Year: abt 1824, Place of Birth: Austria, Age on 1 July 1863: 39, Race: White, Residence: Oak Creek, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865
1866: U.S. Naturalization, Solomon Kohn, Birth Place: Austria, Court District: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Date of Action: 3 Feb 1866 – U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992
1868: Kohn & Adler established (large advertisement further above).
1870: Joseph H Adler, Liquor Dealer, Age in 1870: 38, Birth Year: abt 1832, Birthplace: Bohemia, Dwelling Number: 71, Home in 1870: Rock Island, Ward 1, Rock Island, Illinois, Personal Estate Value: 5000, Inferred Spouse: Kate Adler, Household Members: Joseph H Adler 38, Kate Adler 34 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1870: Solomon Kohn, Wholesale Liquor Dealer, Age in 1870: 43, Birth Year: abt 1827, Birthplace: Austria, Dwelling Number: 287, Home in 1870: Rock Island Ward 1, Rock Island, Illinois, Personal Estate Value: 3500, Inferred Spouse: Margaret Kohn, Inferred Children: Edward Kohn, Annie Kohn, Max Kohn, Louis Kohn, Bertha Kohn, Morroe [Monroe] Kohn – 1870 United States Federal Census
1871: Newspaper notice (below) “Kohn & Adler have fitted up their store in style, and have this day received a new sign” – The Rock Island Argus, Friday, March 10, 1871

1873: J H Adler, Residence Year: 1873, Residence Place: Rock Island, Illinois, Occupation: Dealer In Wines, Liquors, Etc., opposite Harper House, res Orleans nw corner Deer – Rock Island City Directory, 1873
1874: Newspaper notice (below) – Mr. Kohn, of the firm of Kohn & Adler, started for New York for the benefit of his health – The Moline Review Dispatch, Friday, March 13, 1874

1874: Solomon Kohn, Death Date: 25 November 1874, Cemetery: Chippiannock Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois, Spouse: Margaret Kohn, Children: Edward D Kohn, Max Kohn – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1875: Newspaper Personal (below): J.H. Adler leaves for Europe for his health – The Rock Island Argus, Monday, April 5, 1875

1880: Newspaper notice (below): Lightening Strikes Kohn & Adler Building – The Rock Island Argus, Friday, July 2, 1880

1882: Full-page Directory advertisement (further above) – Kohn & Adler, Established 1868, Wholesale Wines & Liquors – Holland’s Rock Island City Directory
1882-1888: J H Adler (Kohn & Adler, Rock Island, Illinois), residence 610 18th, Moline – Moline, Illinois, City Directory, 1882
1888: J H Adler (Kohn & Adler), residence Milwaukee Wisconsin – Moline, Illinois, City Directory, 1888
1888: Newspaper notice (above in post): “A peculiar Suit” Kohn & Adler vs M. Levy & Son – The Rock Island Argus, Friday, August 3, 1888
1888-1889: Various Kohn & Adler newspaper advertisements – The Rock Island Argus
1889: Newspaper advertisement (top of post) “To Cure Spring Fever take Kohn & Adler’s Bitters, $1.50 per Gallon. Post Office Block, Rock Island, Illinois” – The Rock Island Argus, Thursday, April 25, 1889
1889: Newspaper notice (below): The firm of Kohn and Adler has been dissolved by mutual consent, J.H. Adler retiring, and Monro Kohn continuing the business under the old name of Kohn & Adler – The Moline Review, Dispatch, Friday, July 5, 1889

1891 & 1892: J. H. Adler, Monroe Kohn, Rock Island, Illinois, Kohn & Adler, r Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, Directories
1894: Newspaper notice (below) Kohn & Adler relocated to 1610 Second AvenueThe Rock Island Argus, Wednesday, June 6, 1894

1894: Newspaper notice (below) Kohn & Adler shuts its doors. – The Rock Island Argus, Monday, October 29, 1894

Posted in Bitters, Civil War, History, Liquor Merchant, Medicines & Cures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters – St. Joe

Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters

Simon Adler | St. Joe & St. Louis

06 December 2018

I recently received and email and 1866 newspaper clipping (below) from Mark Wiseman about an unlisted Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters put out by S. Adler & Company in St. Joseph, Missouri. This rang a bell. After researching, I found out that this is the same “Adler” embossed on Landsberg’s Century Bitters (see top of post).

Simon Adler

Simon Adler was a life-long liquor man born in Darmstadt Germany around 1830. His parents were also from Darmstadt which is a city near Frankfurt in southwest Germany. It’s known for the Mathildenhöhe district’s art nouveau buildings, like the iconic Wedding Tower. I’m not sure when Adler came to America, but he most likely arrived in New York at a young age and made his way to Saint Joseph, Missouri, arriving in 1859. St. Joseph (informally St. Joe) is north of Kansas City. Speaking of weddings, Adler would marry Anna Cohen (1847–1914) and they would have four boys, Irvin, Jessie, Arthur and Charles.

We next see Civil War Draft Registration Records for Simon Adler in 1843 in St. Joe. Then we see Simon Adler as the proprietor of Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters addressed at E. Side Market Square and 17 Third in St. Joe in 1866 and see him listed as a liquor dealer and rectifier with S. Adler & Company in 1870. They were housed in a 3-story brick building. Abraham Furst was his brother-in-law and partner.

The bitters was a remedy targeting a scourge named Asiatic Cholera. The second cholera pandemic (1826–1837), also known as the Asiatic Cholera Pandemic, was a cholera pandemic that reached from India across western Asia to Europe, Great Britain and the Americas, as well as east to China and Japan. Cholera caused more deaths, more quickly, than any other epidemic disease in the 19th century. Adler said the concoction or versions of the medicine and been in use for fifty years and used testimonials from Professors Chapman, Bird and Andral in London and Professors Geradin and Gatmard of Germany. I can find no examples of this bottle which could have been embossed or just sold with a label.

The 1870 United States Federal Census lists Adler’s personal estate value at $2,000 and his real estate value at $30,000 so he must have been fairly successful at that time. He reportedly was one of St. Joe’s most energetic and successful business man and popular and influential with his friends and business associates.

A 1975 St Louis Missouri City Directory, lists Adler, Furst & Company comprising of Simon Adler, president, Abe Furst, Henry I. Ruggies and Emanuel Fist. They were listed as distillers, rectifiers and wholesale liquor dealers located at 19 and 21 S. 2nd Street in St. Louis. Simon Adler would still reside in St. Joe while maintaining A. First Distilling Company in the same locale.

Events took a turn for the worse later in 1875, as Simon Adler became the target of U.S. federal agents in a scandal involving the switching of uncancelled duty stamps on liquor bottles and a series of articles appeared in the Missouri newspapers including the Globe-Democrat. At one point Adler’s stock was confiscated and the principals, Adler and his partner Abraham Furst, were imprisoned for a year and each assessed a fine of $10,000. They were accused of being conspirators with other indicted companies in the area.

By 1877, the company is listed as Adler Company with Simon Adler (president) and Emanuel Fist selling liquors at 19 S. 2nd Street in St. Louis, Missouri. Abraham Furst was still his partner. The Landsberg’s Century Bitters bottles, embossed “THE ADLER COMPANY, ST. LOUIS” were made during this period and were embossed 1876.

Read: Professor Byrne and Landsberg – Some Highly Decorative Bottles

Read: Looking at some Landsberg bottles

By this time, Adler had moved from St. Joe to St. Louis in 1878 and would die of softening of the brain (senile dementia) on September 7, 1884. Adler had gone abroad for several years prior to his death to obtain some sort of relief. He would leave his children a considerable fortune. The renamed Adler Distilling Company would continue with Abraham Furst as president located at 111 S. Main Street.

Landsberg’s Century Bitters

L 13  Landsberg’s Century Bitters 
LANDSBERG’S / “CENTURY” / BITTERS // sp // THE / ADLER COMPANY / ST LOUIS // sp // // u // motif eagle // 1876 // motif shield // motif sunburst with 1776 //
11 1/2 x 2 7/8 (6 1/4) Square, Amber, LTCR, Applied mouth, 4 sp, Rare
12 stars on bell shaped shoulder. An especially ornate bottle.
Note: Design No. 12,861 patented April 11, 1882 by Moses Landsberg of Chicago, Illinois. “The object of my present invention is to furnish a novel design for a bottle; and it consists of making the body of the bottle with four rectangular sides (panels), having arched tops, two of the alternate faces or facets being left smooth; or all four of the sides may be left plain; and in the arch spaces over the rectangular faces are represented respectively a shield, the figures 1876, a spread eagle, and a rayed sun. The edges of the sides of the bottle are corrugated in lozenges, while the base is surrounded by a series of hexagons. The neck of the bottle represents the handle, and the shoulder of the body of a bell, the bell being encircled midway by a ring of stars”.

Select Listings

1863: Civil War Draft Registration RecordSimon Adler, Birth Year: abt 1830, Place of Birth: Germany, Age on 1 July 1863: 33, Race: White, Marital Status: Unmarried (Single), Residence: Washington, Buchanan, Missouri, Congressional District: 7th – U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865
1866: Newspaper clipping (above): Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters – The Council Bluffs Weekly Bugle, June 28, 1866
1867: S. Adler & Company, Simon Adler, rectifiers, E. Side Market Square and 17 Third, Saint Joseph, Missouri – Frank Swick´s Resident and Business Directory of Saint Joseph, 1867-68
1870: Newspaper clipping (below): S. Adler & Co. rectifying house, three stories, brick – Saint Joseph Daily Union, Friday, April 1, 1870

1870: Simon Adler, Age in 1870: 40, Liquor Dealer, Birth Year: abt 1830, Birthplace: Baden, Dwelling Number: 269, Home in 1870: St Joesph Ward 4, Buchanan, Missouri, Personal Estate Value: 2000, Real Estate Value: 30000, Inferred Spouse: Anna Adler, Household Members: Simon Adler 40, Anna Adler 23, Irvin Adler 7, Jessie Adler 3, Arthur Adler 1 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1875: Adler, Furst & Co., (Simon Adler, president, Abe Furst, Henry I. Ruggies and Emanuel Fist), distillers, rectifiers, and liquors wholesale, 19 and 21 S. 2nd, Simon Adler residence St. Joseph, Missouri – St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1875
1875: Passage: Matters were looking bad for Simon Adler as well, and he soon became the target of US federal agents in a scandal involving the switching of uncancelled duty stamps on liquor bottles and a series of articles appeared in the Missouri newspapers including the Globe-Democrat. At one point Adler’s stock was confiscated and the principals, Adler and his partner and brother-in-law Abraham Furst, were imprisoned for a year and each assessed a fine of $10,000. They were accused of being conspirators with other indicted companies in the area. – Diary with Description of Legal Case of S. Adler Liquors. St Joseph, Missouri, 1875
1876: Adler, Furst & Co., (Simon Adler, president, Abraham Furst, Henry I. Ruggies and Emanuel Fist), liquors, 19 S. 2nd – St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1876
1876: Newspaper clipping (below): U.S. vs. Simon Adler & Abraham Furst. Indictment for implying certain packages of distilled spirits without effacing or obliterating the stamps thereon. – The State Journal, Friday, March 17, 1876

1876: Newspaper clipping (below): Simon Adler and Abraham First, of St. Joseph, liquor dealers, each one year in county jail and fine of $10,000 – St Louis Post Dispatch, Saturday, April 15, 1876

1876: Newspaper clipping (below): Simon Adler, one of the prisoners of the Cole County jail St Joseph Weekly Herald, Thursday, September 11, 1884

1877-1878: Adler Co., (Simon Adler, president, E Fist), liquors, 19 S. 2nd – St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1877
1880: Simon Adler, Age: 51, Liquor Merchant, Birth Date: Abt 1829, Birthplace: Darms, Home in 1880: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri, Street: Purton Place, House Number: 1725, Dwelling Number: 60, Father’s Birthplace: Darmstadt, Mother’s Birthplace: Darmstadt, Household, Simon Adler 51, Anna Adler 33, Irvin Adler 16, Jesse Adler 13, Arthur Adler 10, Charley Adler 8 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1884: Simon Adler death 7 September 1884 (aged 53–54), Burial, New Mount Sinai Cemetery and Mausoleum, Affton, St. Louis County, Missouri – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1884: Newspaper clipping (below): The Death of an Old St. JosephiteSt Joseph Weekly Herald, Thursday, September 11, 1884

1884: Newspaper clipping (below): The Death of Simon Adler – St Joseph Gazette Herald, Tuesday, September 9, 1884

1885: The Adler Distilling Co., A. Furst, pres, 111 S.Main – St Louis, Missouri, City Directory, 1885
Posted in Bitters, History, Liquor Merchant, Medicines & Cures, Remedy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pond’s Bitters “Makes You Go Some”

Pond’s Bitters “Makes You Go Some”

28 November 2018 (R•120418)

The story here is about three related Chicago-sold bitters. The first is Lash’s Bitters from California which inspired Rex Bitters and Pond’s Bitters, the subject of this post. Pond’s Bitters was a direct competitor of their Windy City rival, Rex Bitters.

These were primarily bitters sold as a laxative and ‘a permanent cure for constipation’ but contained quite a bit of alcohol, hence the Pond’s Bitters “Makes You Go Some,” monkey drinking on a chamber pot above. Doesn’t get much better then that.

First of all, some may think that Pond’s Bitters Company is related to Pond’s Extract Company which started out in 1846 as a patent medicine company when Theron T. Pond [1880-1852], a pharmacist from Utica, New York, began selling ‘Golden Treasure’, a homeopathic remedy he developed from witch hazel. This is not the case. Most of us remember Pond’s Cold Cream. I’ve gone back in ancestry trees but can not find a connection. There probably is somewhere down the line as both Pond’s came from New York.

Read: Pond’s Extract Company

Lash’s Bitters

Lash’s Bitters starts with John Joseph Spieker who moved to California in 1875. In 1876, at the early age of 20 or so, Spieker became a druggist in Sacramento and by 1878 he was a partner in Tufts & Spieker (A. C. Tufts and J. J. Spieker) who were druggists and apothecaries. In February 1884, John Spieker formed a new partnership with Tito M. Lash, and named the company T. M. Lash & Co. to produce Lash’s Kidney & Liver Bitters.

Tito hired an accountant in 1889, who found questionable accounting problems in the company’s books. In October of that year, an injunction was granted that denied Spieker access to any accounts, money, or property, and the partnership was officially terminated. Ten days later, Spieker bought out his former partner, and also Lash’s half of the rights to produce and market the firm’s line of products.

John Spieker then established a new company called Lash’s Bitters Co. and continued to manufacture Lash’s Bitters. The company moved to San Francisco in 1893, and a year later, it was officially incorporated as Lash’s Bitters Co. The business was very successful and in 1901, the Chicago office was opened with $1,000 in capital, and in 1904, the New York City office opened.

Read: Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART ONE | The Bottles

Read: Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART TWO | History

Read: Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART THREE | Humorous and Clever Advertising

George Morgan Pond

Pond’s Bitters is named after George Morgan Pond who was born in Tareytown, New York on 29 May 1854. Tarrytown is a village in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about 25 miles north of midtown Manhattan in New York City. He was the son of Loyal Sylvester Pond (Vermont) and Harriet Sarah Taylor (New Hampshire). He later married Louise Fitch in 1882. Their children were Annie, Kate, George Jr., Guy and Rainsferd Pond.

As noted above, Pond grew up in New York but something made him move to the west coast as we see him working as a clerk in Los Angeles, California in 1879. He was 25 years old at the time. In 1880, he is listed as working as a bookkeeper in Los Angeles. He moved to Sacramento in the 1880s and eventually Santa Cruz. In the mid 1890s, Pond was living in San Francisco and was working as a manager at A. Schilling & Co. (August Schilling and George F. Volkmann) wholesale dealers in coffee, teas, spices, flavoring extracts and baking powder at 108-112 Market Street. One block from Lash’s. It is during this period that he met John Spieker and Tito Lash. Whether he worked directly with them or as a business associate, I can not determine, but he must have gained their confidence as he moved to Chicago and opened and managed the Lash’s Bitters Co. office in 1901. The ad below is from a Chicago business directory that year.

The move for Pond to Chicago must have been sudden as the San Francisco City Directory in 1901, lists George M. Pond, as president of Pond & Company. They were doing foreign and domestic commissions, advertising novelties and calendars located at 12 and 22 Market Street in rooms 32-33. The directory would’ve already gone to press. I wonder if his company was doing advertising promotion for Lash’s and that was the connection? I doubt it was his son George Jr. as there would have been double listings in the resident section of directories from that period.

Pond’s Bitters Company

In 1909, George M. Pond left Lash’s and formed his own firm, Pond’s Bitters Company at 147 Fulton Street in Chicago. This picture card below shows Pond sitting on three boxes of his Pond’s Bitters surrounding by his office staff. [Joe Gourd Collection]

They would manufacture and sell Pond’s Bitters, their signature product. They also manufactured Pond’s Ginger Brandy, Pond’s Gin-Ger-Gin, and Pond’s Rock and Rye with Horehound. Their trade mark was a discobolus. Interesting that the head has been altered to face forward and down. Pre-PhotoShop cut-and-paste.

Pond would run the company with grand success until 1911 or 1912. It is then that we see John Schweger listed as president and Jacob Lamfrom as secretary at Pond’s Bitters Company now located at 723 Fulton Street. Pond would die on 30 May 1919, so maybe ill health or just advanced age made him leave the company.

Pond’s Bitters was now going national and in 1914, William F. O’Brien signed a contract with Pond’s Bitters Company to sell the bitters in parts of Pennsylvania and New York. The company would go on to manufacture Pond’s Cherry Whiskey (Cordial), Pond’s Kil-a-Kol and Pond’s Vermo Stomach Bitters. The Vermo Stomach Bitters was sold from 1919 to 1924 and was pitched as a tonic and appetizer. At this time, Jacob Lamfrom was President.

Suggestive Advertising

Just like Rex Bitters which started in Chicago in 1902, Pond’s Bitters put out a lot of advertising material and some of it was mildly risqué. Remember, Pond had a background in advertising and promotions in San Francisco. They would get in trouble with the same police chief and judge that hounded Rex Bitters when William E. Slaughter was president. In 1910, a summons was issued to Pond’s Bitters Company for distributing indecent advertising pictures near school houses.

Other complaints were filed against Pond’s Bitters Company by the city prosecutor for circulation of a picture postcard that, while innocent looking in itself, becomes offensive when held at a certain angle. Look at the card below when you turn it upside down and use your thumb to frame the new derriere image. [Joe Gourd Collection]

Of course, this is how advertising works. Catch your attention and then hopefully, you will read about the product and then buy some.

Read: If you can’t do business, drink Rex Bitters – Chicago

More trouble with the law

The Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 did not spell good news for the Pond’s Bitters Company. This act was set up for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes. On August 23, 1912, Congressman Joseph Swagger Sherley’s proposed amendment, the Sherley Amendment, to Section 8 of the Pure Food and Drug Act, was enacted. It prohibited ‘false and fraudulent’ labeling of a product (though not advertising). The red tape was piling up.

In 1916, the City of Chicago sued Pond’s Bitters Company for selling spirituous liquor without a license. Tests proved that their product was 20 per cent alcohol. Obviously the feint of selling the bitters as a medicinal product was wearing off.

With Prohibition taking effect in January 1920, this would all come to a boiling point. In October of that year, a U.S. judge specifically targeted the heads of Rex Bitters Company and Pond’s Bitters Company. The judge went on to say, “and I want the presidents, not the office boys or any other minor officials of these two companies.

Subpoenas were issued after a jurist had examined 60 quarts of liquor that had been seized by federal agents at local Chicago saloons. According to a newspaper report, “The 60 quarts were piled high in front of the jurist when he reached over and at random picked out two bottles. The first was that of the Rex Bitters Company, labeled ’22 percent alcohol’. The second was that of the Pond’s Bitters Company labeled ’20 percent alcohol’. These are rare remedies indeed to be found in saloons when Prohibition laws are in force,” said the jurist. Each of the defendants was fined $500.

In another bit of courtroom drama in 1920, Rex Bitters Company and Pond’s Bitters Company fought it out in front of the judge. A newspaper clipping (further below) was titled,”Bitter Folks Seem to be in Bitter Tangle.” where a Judge Landis made attempts to discover the extent of the sale in the trade of Pond’s Bitters. He had asked for samples from three saloon raids. He called to the stand Jacob Lamfrom, now president of Pond’s Bitters Company and asked,

How much of this stuff did you make last month?

Fifteen Hundred cases” Lamfrom answered, and added that all of it had been sold to wholesale druggists and grocers.

You didn’t sell any of it to saloons?

We do not solicit that trade.” sidestepped the president.

I asked you if you sold and of it to saloons,” replied the judge vehemently.

The conversation degraded from there and eventually the judge ordered Lamfrom to be taken by United States Marshall’s and put behind bars.

Interestingly enough, a witness for the rival Rex Bitters Company was present and supplied information that Pond’s Bitters contained 21 per cent alcohol. Hmmm…, Rex Bitters contained 22 per cent alcohol.

1924 would pretty much wrap it up for Pond’s Bitters Company.

Fulton Market

Pond’s Bitters, throughout their years in business, had many Fulton Street addresses. They hopped down Fulton Street (pictured above) a number of times from 1909 to 1924, eventually landing at Fulton Market on the corner of Fulton and Green Streets.

James Thompson’s original 1830 plan of Chicago was centered on Wolf Point at the fork of the Chicago River and included much of the area that is today the Fulton River District. The street grid and block layout imposed on this small area defined the pattern of Chicago’s development as the city grew. Commerce dominated the district for much of its history. Lumber and grain were shipped through the district, and Sears and Roebuck’s first mail order warehouse was located at Fulton and DesPlaines. Randolph Street became the center of wholesale produce distribution in the late 19th Century and was the site of the famous Haymarket Square labor riots of 1886 on Des Plaines Street.

The Bottles

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listings in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

P 120  Pond’s Bitters (above)
POND’S BITTERS // f // AN UNEXCELLED / LAXATIVE // f //
L…Pond’s Genuine Laxative Bitters
9 5/8 x 2 3/4 (7 3/8)
Square, Amber, LTCR, Common
Also some ABM

P 121  Pond’s Kidney and Liver Bitters (above)
POND’S / KIDNEY AND LIVER / BITTERS // f //  AN UNEXCELLED / LAXATIVE // f //
9 1/2 x 2 3/4 (7 1/4)
Square, Amber, LTCR, Common
Also some ABM
Considered to be the original and older than preceding. Some with Kidney and Liver partially obliterated.
Drug Catalogs: 1880 and 1885 Goodwin

V 15  Vermo Stomach Bitters (above)
VERMO / STOMACH BITTERS // f // TONIC AND APPETIZER // f //
833-845 Fulton St., Chicago, Illinois
9 1/2 x 2 3/4 (7 1/2)
Square, Clear, LTCR, Common

Newspaper advertisement for Vermo Stomach Bitters manufactured by Pond’s Bitters Company, Chicago – The Akron Beacon Journal, Wednesday, March 12, 1924

Newspaper advertisement for Vermo Stomach Bitters manufactured by Pond’s Bitters Company, Chicago – The Akron Beacon Journal, Monday, March 24, 1924

Advertising Trade Cards

The advertising cards in this post are primarily from the Joe Gourd and Ferdinand Meyer V collection. Most are catchy, humorous and inspire you to turn over and read the Pond’s Bitters Company product information. The addresses date the cards.

Probably the most interesting Pond’s Bitters advertising trade card of many. Reminds me of a piece by Dutch artist and graphic designer Maurits Cornelis Escher (M C Escher). Is this Sigmund Freud, George Morgan Pond or someone else? The reverse of the card provides no answer. – NIH U.S. Library of Medicine

Advertising Sign

Pond’s Laxative Bitters “Makes You Go Some” metal sign. 6 3/4 w x 5 h – Steve Ketcham

Advertising Currency

Pond’s Bitters Co. Bank of Prosperity Ad Note circa 1910. This ad note from the early 1900s touts, “The Best Laxative Known.” – Heritage Auctions

Select Listings:

1854: Birth: George Morgan Pond, 29 May 1854, New York, the son of Loyal Sylvester Pond and Harriet Sarah Taylor, married Louise Fitch – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1860: George Pond, Age: 4, Birth Year: abt 1856, Birth Place: New York, Home in 1860: Scarsdale, Westchester, New York, Post Office: Scarsdale, Family Number: 4448, Household Members: George Pond 4, Louis Pond 1 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1870: George Pond, Age in 1870: 14, Birth Year: abt 1856, Birthplace: New York, Dwelling Number: 16, Home in 1870: New York Ward 15 District 3 (2nd Enum), New York, New York, Inferred Father: Loyal Pond, Inferred Mother: Harriet Pond, Household Members: Loyal Pond 56, Harriet Pond 51, Annie Pond 23, Kate Pond 16, George Pond 14, Guy Pond 11, Rainsferd Pond 8 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1879: George Morgan Pond, Age 25, birth act 1854, Clerk, Los Angeles, California – California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898
1880: George M. Pond, Occupation: Bookkeeper in Store, Age: 27, Birth Date: Abt 1853, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1880: Downey, Los Angeles, California, Dwelling Number: 189, Marital Status: Single, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: New York – 1880 United States Federal Census
1887: Newspaper notice: George M. Pond registers at the Wilken’s House hotelSan Francisco Examiner, Sunday, 17 July 1887
1888: George M. Pond, Sacramento, $10 contribution “The Pratt Murder Fund” – The San Francisco Examiner, Sunday, 12 August 1888
1890: Mr. & Mrs. George M. Pond from Santa Cruz came to San Francisco Monday – The San Francisco Call, Monday, 14 April 1890.
1896: George Morgan Pond, Age: 42, Birth Year: abt 1854, Residence Year: 1896, San Francisco, California – California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
1896-1897: George M. Pond, ManagerA Schilling & Co. (August Schilling and George F. Volkmann) wholesale dealers coffee, teas, spices, flavoring extracts and baking powder, 108-112 Market), r 1318 Masonic Ave., San Francisco – 1897 San Francisco, California City Directory
1898: George Morgan Pond, Age: 44, Birth Year: abt 1854, Residence Year: 1898, San Francisco, California – California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
1898: George M. Pond, Com. SalesmanA Schilling & Co. r 1318 Masonic Ave., San FranciscoSan Francisco, California City Directory
1899: George M. Pond, Com. Merchant, Luning Bldg,, r 1318 Masonic Ave., San FranciscoSan Francisco, California City Directory
1900: George M. Pond, Merchant, Age: 46, Birth Date: May 1854, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1900: San Francisco, San Francisco, California, Street: Masonic Avenue, House Number: 1318, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Louise Pond, Marriage Year: 1882, Father’s Birthplace: Vermont, Mother’s Birthplace: New Hampshire, Occupation: Merchant (General Index), Household Members: George M Pond 46, Louise Pond 43, Florence Pond 16 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1900: George Morgan Pond, Age: 46, Birth Year: abt 1854, Residence Year: 1900, Street address: 1318 Masonic av, Residence Place: San Francisco, California – California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968
1901: George M. Pond, President, Pond & Co., foreign and domestic commissions, advertising novelties and calendars, 12 From and 22 Market, rooms 32-33, San Francisco – San Francisco, California City Directory
1901: Newspaper notice (below): Lash’s outlay $1,000 capital in Illinois – The Inter Ocean, Wednesday, May 29, 1901

1901: Lash’s Bitter’s Co., George M. Pond, manager, 149 and 151 E. Huron – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1902: Newspaper notice (below): Lash’s Bitters Co., George M. Pond, Manager, 149 and 151 E. Huran – Chicago, Illinois City Directory

1903: George M. Pond, r 1318 Masonic Ave., San Francisco1903 San Francisco, California City Directory
1909: Pond’s Bitters Co., 147 Fulton – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1909: Pond’s Bitters advertising trade card circa 1909. Pond’s Bitters Co., 149-155 Fulton Street

1910-1911: Pond’s Bitters Co., 723 Fulton – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1910: George M Pond, Manufacturer Patent Medicine, Age in 1910: 51, Birth Year: abt 1859, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1910: New Trier, Cook, Illinois, Street: Elmwood Ave, House Number: 730, Married, Spouse’s Name: Louise Pond, Father’s Birthplace: Vermont, Mother’s Birthplace: New Hampshire, Household Members: George M Pond 51, Louise Pond 50, Florence Pond 25 – 1910 United States Federal Census
1910: Newspaper notice (below): Summons issued to Pond’s Bitters Company, 721 Fulton Street, for distributing indecent advertising pictures near school houses – The Inter Ocean, Thursday, November 17, 1910

1910: Newspaper notice (below): Pond’s Ginger Brandy and Pond’s Rock and Rye, Pond’s Bitters Company, Chicago – Chicago Tribune, Saturday, July 16, 1910

1910: Pond’s Bitters advertising trade card circa 1910. Pond’s Bitters Co., 721-723 Fulton Street

1912-1913: Pond’s Bitters Co., (John Schweger, President, Jacob Lamfrom, Secretary), 723 Fulton – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1914: Newspaper notice (below): William F. O’Brien sign contract with pond’s Bitters Company to sell the bitters in parts of Pennsylvania and New York – The Scranton Truth, Saturday, June 20, 1914

1915: Pond’s Bitters Co., 833 Fulton – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1915: Pond’s Bitters advertising trade card circa 1915. Pond’s Bitters Co., 833-845 Fulton Street

1916: Newspaper notice (below): City Sues ‘Pond’s Bitters.’ for selling spirituous liquor without a license833 Fulton Street, Tests prove 20 per cent alcohol – Chicago Tribune, Saturday, June 17, 1916

1916: Newspaper notice (below): Pond’s Bitters Bookkeeper Felled by Bandit in Elevated Station (Mary O’Shea) – Chicago Tribune, Saturday, December 3, 1916

1919: Death: George Morgon Pond, 30 May 1919, Wilmette, Cook County, Illinois, Cemetery: Graceland Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1920: Newspaper notice (below): Boys, over 16, Wanted for light factory work at Pond’s Bitters Company, Fulton and Green Streets – Chicago Tribune, Thursday, March 11, 1920

1920: Newspaper notice (below): Subpoenas issued for heads of Rex Bitters and Ponds Bitters companies Journal Gazette, Saturday, October 16, 1920

1920: Rex and Pond’s Bitters fighting it out in court. “Bitter Folks Seem to be in Bitter Tangle, Jacob Lamfrom, president called to stand – Daily Arkansas Gazette, Monday, October 18, 1920

1922: War on all Dealers Selling “Bitters.” Vermo Stomach Bitters made by Pond’s Bitters Company – The Akron Beacon Journal, Thursday, May 4, 1922

1923: Pond’s Bitters Co., Jacob Lamfrom, President & Treasurer, J K Lamfrom, Secretary 833 Fulton Market – Chicago, Illinois City Directory
1924: Newspaper advertisement (above in post) for Vermo Stomach Bitters manufactured by Pond’s Bitters Company, Chicago – The Akron Beacon Journal, Wednesday, March 12, 1924
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If you can’t do business, drink Rex Bitters

If you can’t do business, drink Rex Bitters

Chicago

23 November 2018

Here is what I call a telephone bitters. A bitters product so late that you could call your favorite saloon, liquor or drug store and order a case of Rex Bitters using your Chicago Telephone Company issued telephone, if you were fortunate enough to have one. Illinois Bell would not form until 1923 when they began automatic telephone service in Chicago.

The first Rex bottles were amber squares followed by amber and clear round or cylinder bottles. There are a number of variants but we will look at the main examples for now. The primary listings within the Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham Bitters Bottles book are as follows:


R 41  REX BITTERS (Round Cylinder)

REX / BITTERS / CO. / CHICAGO // c //
Rex Bitters Co. 1712 – 1714 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
11 1/2 x 3 (7 1/2)
Round, Clear & Amber, ABM
Label: Drink Rex Bitters for your stomach’s sake. Good in all cases of biliousness, constipation, liver, kidney and blood troubles. Fine as a bracer in any case of over-indulgence in eating or drinking. Get Yours. You’ll Need It.



R 43  REX BITTERS, NOTHING ELSE (Square)

REX / KIDNEY & LIVER / BITTERS // f // REX BITTERS / NOTHING ELSE // f //
Overbrook & Co., Wholesale Liquors, Boston, Massachusetts
10 x 2 3/4 (8)
Square, Amber, LTCR, Common


R 44  REX KIDNEY AND LIVER BITTERS (Square)

R 44  REX KIDNEY AND LIVER BITTERS (Square)
REX ( l>s ) KIDNEY ( au ) / AND / LIVER ( ad ) / BITTERS ( s>l) // THE BEST LAXATIVE / AND BLOOD PURIFIER // f //
9 5/8 x 2 3/4 (7 1/2)
Square, Amber & Green, LTCR, Common (never seen a green square? Round, green screw cap bottles used in 1941)
Very similar to Lash’s Kidney and Liver Bitters

Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART ONE | The Bottles

Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART TWO | History

Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York • PART THREE | Humorous and Clever Advertising


Collectors tend to shy away from these later bitters though every serious bitters collector should have a Rex Bitters bottle as it tells a story. A story of the tail end of bitters production prior to Prohibition in United States, which in 1920 essentially shut the alcohol-laced bitters business down. Well, Prohibition tried to, as some bitters were quickly repurposed or disguised as medicines and sold illegally as we will see. In 1933, with the end of Prohibition, some of the more resilient bitters came back to life.

Rex Bitters Company

On December 3, 1904, three slick city lawyers incorporated Rex Bitters Company in Chicago with $5,000 in initial capital. William Edward Slaughter was set up as President and James P. McConnell was Secretary. The company would manufacture drugs and medicines from their 1545 Michigan Avenue address. A few months later, in 1905, the company placed many “Agents Wanted” ads in the Chicago Tribune and other regional papers looking for salesmen to work salary or commission. The business must have taken off fast as the group of men increased Rex Bitters Company capital stock from $5,000 to $50,000 later in the year.

Rex is Latin for “king” so I propose this is the origin of the Rex Bitters name though ‘℞’ is a symbol meaning “recipe”. It is sometimes transliterated as “Rx” or just “Rx”. This symbol originated in medieval manuscripts as an abbreviation of the late Latin verb recipere, specifically the second person singular imperative form recipe meaning “take”, thus: “take thou”. The Rex Bitters brand and graphics seem to play on these RX letters from their name throughout their years of advertising. Earlier trademark logo graphics placed a typographic “REX” diamond on a pyramid and said, “Nothing Else, As Old As The Pyramids.” An obvious king reference. Later, typography connected the “RX” letters under the”E”. [see above]

Rex Bitters Company primarily sold Rex celebrated Kidney & Liver Bitters (later just Rex Bitters). They also put out Rex Celery and Iron Compound, Rex Elixir of Bitter Wine, Rex Ginger and Brandy Tonic, Rex Ginger, Rex Hoarhound Tonic and Rex High Ball Cordial. They advertised the bitters as curing biliousness, malaria, chills and fever, neuralgia, constipation, pain in back, dyspepsia, sick headache, indigestion, sour stomach, and all “affections” of the kidneys and liver. They said it was compounded from barks, herbs, vegetables and said it acts on the stomach and bowels, kidneys and liver without painful feelings. They forgot to mention that it was high in alcohol content, twenty-two percent.

the label advised customers to give children a teaspoonful twice a day and at bedtime “if required.”

Despite this high alcoholic content, the label advised customers to give children a teaspoonful twice a day and at bedtime “if required.” Rex Bitters merchandising emphasized that it had been recognized as a medicine by the Internal Revenue Department which had slapped a special tax on such products to help pay for the Spanish-American War.

William Edward Slaughter

William Edward Slaughter was born in Washington D.C. in 1871. Both his parents were also from the District of Columbia. He grew up in New Orleans and was raised by Lizzie Seldon according to an 1880 U.S. Federal Census report. An 1890 New Orleans City Directory lists him as a student boarding at 158 N. Rampart. He reportedly completed high school but did not attend college. On September 7, 1895, Slaughter married Maggie May Fergusson in Washington, D.C. They would remain in Washington until 1900 or so where Slaughter would work as an insurance agent. Eventually, they would have three children, Wallace, Consuelo P. and William Slaughter Jr.

Slaughter must have observed and experienced the huge popularity of bitters in New Orleans as he moved to Chicago sometime around 1902 and started Rex Bitters Company. New Orleans was a pretty racy town and he brought some of that spirit with him to Chicago and used it in his marketing campaign. In particular, he used sex to sell his bitters. Only a few bitters companies were brazen enough to do this. They already had the women against them with the Temperance Movement which was gaining steam.

Racy Advertising

The risqué, suggestive sexual overtone advertising would get William Slaughter and his company in quite a bit of trouble as James McConnell, Slaughters partner, was arrested in 1905. This was due to the Chicago Police Chief going after the many Chicago Penny Arcades showing risqué and objectionable pictures. These were really the first peep shows. He also went after the risqué souvenir postal cards canvasing his town and being plastered in windows of drug stores and other retail establishments. The image below was on the opposite side of a Rex Bitters card and was captioned “Heart Trouble.”

Chief Collins wanted to suppress the vulgar picture card and photograph evil that was perverting the morals of the young. This material including some pretty saucy advertising for Rex Bitters. Actually, the initial objectionable material, according to Collins, included two cards, “one bearing a gross picture of a woman and the other a doggerel verse.” Pretty tame nowadays.

It seems as if the town has gone stark mad over vulgar pictures. They have been increasing in number everywhere, till man, woman, and child can’t miss seeing them. The postal cards are bad enough, displayed as they are in windows everywhere and sent through the mails. Worse than the postal cards, however, are the penny arcades. I am going to recommend the revocation of their licenses.”

Chief Collins

This nuisance with the law didn’t seem to bother the gents of Rex Bitters Company as business was booming and men were their primary customers, in saloons, bars and liquor stores. Additionally, Rex Bitters now had satellite offices in New York and St. Louis.

You would not see colorful images of the family, fancily adorned women, children, dogs and cats that populated many Victorian advertising cards on Rex Bitters material. The Rex Bitters cards below certainly demonstrate this point. Provocative image coupled with suggestive words. Advertising 101.

Some of the cards that Rex Bitters Company put out were pretty darn funny as they did not depict beautiful women in suggestive poses and situations. They seem to suggest that Rex Bitters will give you your manhood and that it is just too bad if women didn’t get it. Slaughter had a number of these tongue-in-cheek cards.

Complaining Women

This all would escalate in 1907 when William Slaughter himself was taken into custody at his home after a raid at the Rex Bitters Company. The Chicago Mayor and the same Chief Collins said it was because of women who had made numerous complaints of the offensive pictures and literature used to advertise Rex Bitters. The chief said that he had also heard that models were visiting the offices of Rex Bitters Company and posing for pictures.

The chief said that he had also heard that models were visiting the offices of Rex Bitters Company and posing for pictures.

Two examples of Rex Bitters studio model shots are represented below. During the raid, so much advertising material was seized that it would not fit in the patrol wagon so three express wagons were called to the scene. Apparently $5,000 worth of books and cards were taken. Slaughter was taken to the Harris Street station and released an hour later after posting a $1,000 bond. Eventually he was charged and fined $200.

Business was Booming but Storms on the Horizon

By 1910, business was booming and Rex Bitters was being sold widely in the Chicago area. It was time to expand. Wanted ads were posted in 1912 newspapers looking for “Bright, Wide Awake, Hustling men; one for Wisconsin, one for Ohio, one for Pennsylvania and one for New York. Rex Bitters Company was now located at 1712-1714 South Michigan Avenue and said salesmen, with gilt edged references, on commission, could make from $100 a week and up. That’s pretty good.

This must have been an interesting and stimulating office environment with a growing company in Chicago at that time. A Michigan Avenue address, racy advertising, models coming and going, cops raiding the office, what else could you have? Well, in 1911, Rex Bitters Company placed local ads saying that they were selling furs at their 3rd Floor office, for “a limited time”. Why not? I wonder what truck these fell off?

We need to understand that organized crime was in its infancy in Chicago in 1910. Al Capone was only 11 or so at that time. That year, Chicago police arrested over 200 known Italian gangsters known as Black Hand members in a raid in Little Italy. Also from January 1, 1910 to March 26, 1911, thirty-eight people were killed by Black Hand assassins, many by the unidentified assassin known only as “Shotgun Man”, between Oak Street and Milton Street – “Death’s Corner” – in Little Italy. With this, on March 15, 1910, the Chicago Vice Commission was organized by Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison, Jr., to be able to bring an end to the Levee District brothels and panel houses. Things would not get much better in Chicago for some time, with Prohibition looming. Rex Bitters is woven into this fabric.

thirty-eight people were killed by Black Hand assassins, many by the unidentified assassin known only as “Shotgun Man”, between Oak Street and Milton Street – “Death’s Corner”

Running A Blind Pig

The Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 did not spell good news for the Rex Bitters Company. This act was set up for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes. On August 23, 1912, Congressman Joseph Swagger Sherley’s proposed amendment, the Sherley Amendment, to Section 8 of the Pure Food and Drug Act, was enacted. It prohibited ‘false and fraudulent’ labeling of a product (though not advertising). The red tape was piling up.

There are numerous newspaper notices in American papers, in the mid 1910s, relating to saloons and bars being raided. Rex Bitters seems to be mentioned often. In the notice below from 1913, it says a “soft drink” emporium was raided and Rex Bitters was being sold illegally. They were “Running a blind pig” which is basically a speakeasy, an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Along with the bitters, the raid resulted in the confiscation of “two barrels of quantities of whiskey, wine, champagne, ginger, creme de menthe, and other intoxicants.”

Prohibition

This Rex Bitters ‘cat & mouse’ game would continue through the 1910s as the Rex Bitters Company expanded. With Prohibition taking effect in January 1920, this would all come to a boiling point. In October of that year, a U.S. judge specifically targeted the heads of Rex Bitters Company and John Lamson, president of Pond’s Bitters company. The judge went on to say, and I want the presidents, not the office boys or any other minor officials of these two companies.”

And I want the presidents, not the office boys or any other minor officials of these two companies.

Subpoenas were issued after a jurist had examined 60 quarts of liquor that had been seized by federal agents at local Chicago saloons. According to a newspaper report, “The 60 quarts were piled high in front of the jurist when he reached over and at random picked out two bottles. The first was that of the Rex Bitters Company, labeled ’22 percent alcohol’. The second was that of the Pond’s Bitters Company labeled ’20 percent alcohol’. These are rare remedies indeed to be found in saloons when Prohibition laws are in force,” said the jurist. Each of the defendants was fined $500.

All this must have pushed William Slaughter out as he moved on to run a glove manufacturing factory later in 1920. By 1930, he is the the manager of an electrical company in Chicago. After his death, Maggie M. Slaughter is found living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1955.

The company goes dark during the rest of Prohibition. There are no ads and no business listings until the Rex Bitters Company is reborn in 1935 as Rex Products Company. They are “Back on the market.”

Advertising is again posted wanting financially responsible distributers and liquor dealers to job and sell the famous Rex Bitters in Illinois and surrounding states. The ads state that Rex Bitters was a nationally known product before prohibition, and a big seller. The company is now located at 4301 Grand Avenue in Chicago.

Rex Bitters, now using green bottles with screw tops (above), would rise again and sell all the way up to 1941, when another big event would pretty much reshape the world and quiet Rex Bitters. Interesting, their last offices where noted as being in the Chicago Board of Trade building. Not to shabby at all.

There would be periodic advertising all the way up to 1957 for a non-alcoholic Rex Bitters cordial that could be used for cocktails. The Rex Bitters wings were finally clipped.

Advertising Trade Cards

The following Rex Bitters advertising card examples in this section are from bitters ephemera authority Joe Gourd.









Select Listings:

1871: William Edward Slaughter birth Washington, District of Columbia
1880: W. E. Slaughter, Student, Age: 9, Birth Date: Abt 1871, Birthplace: Washington, D.C., Home in 1880: New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, Street: St Louis Street, House Number: 155, Dwelling Number: 6, Race: White, Relation to Head of House: Son, Mother’s name: Lizzie Seldon, Mother’s Birthplace: Louisiana, Attended School: Yes, Household Members: Lizzie Seldon 43, W. E. Slaughter 9 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1890: William E. Slaughter, student, bds 158 N Rampart, New Orleans– New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1890
1895: Marriage William Edward Slaughter, Age: 24, Birth Date: abt 1871, Marriage Date: 7 Sep 1895, Marriage Place: District of Columbia, USA, Spouse: Maggie May Fergusson – District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953
1900: William Slaughter, Insurance Agent, Age: 29, Birth Date: Jan 1871, Birthplace: District of Columbia, Home in 1900: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, Street: F St SE, House, Number: 156, Sheet Number: 2, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 35, Married: Spouse’s Name: Maggie Slaughter, Marriage Year: 1895, Household Members: William Slaughter 29, Maggie Slaughter 29 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1904: Newspaper notice (below): New Incorporations: Rex Bitters Company, Chicago, capital, $5,000: Manufacturing drugs and medicines: Incorporators: George N.B. Lowes, R.D. Stephens, Albert, Keep – Chicago Tribune, Saturday, December 3, 1904

1905: Newspaper notice (below): Agents Wanted: On salary or commission, Rex Bitters, 1545 Michigan Avenue, Chicago – St Louis Post Dispatch, Sunday, July 16, 1905

1905: Newspaper notice (below): Rex Bitters Company, No. 1545 Michigan Avenue increases capital stock from $5,000 to $50,000, William E. Slaughter, President, J.P. McConnell, Secretary – Chicago Tribune, Monday, November 20, 1905

1905: Newspaper notice (below): Police Chief Opens War on Many Penny Arcades, James McConnell, officer of Rex Bitters Company arrested – Chicago Tribune, Thursday, October 5, 1905

1907: Newspaper notice (below): W.E. Slaughter, President of Rex Bitters Company arrested, “Raid Caused by Women” – Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, February 13, 1907

1910: William E Slaughter, Proprietor Maunfacturer Bitters, Age in 1910: 39, Birth Year: abt 1871, Birthplace: District of Columbia, Home in 1910: Chicago Ward 6, Cook, Illinois, Street: Grand Boulevard, House Number: 4929, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Maggie Slaughter, Father’s Birthplace: United States, Mother’s Birthplace: United States, Native Tongue: English, Employer, Home Owned or Rented: Rent, Farm or House: House, Household Members: William E Slaughter 39, Maggie Slaughter 37, Wallace Slaughter 12, Consuelo P Slaughter 9, William Slaughter Jr 1 – 1910 United States Federal Census
1910: Newspaper advertisement (below): Rex Bitters, The Peer of All Bitters – Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 23, 1910

1911: Newspaper advertisement (in post above): Rex Bitters Co. selling furs, 1712-1714 S. Michigan Avenue, 3rd Floor – Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 5, 1911
1912: Newspaper Wanted ad (below): Wanted Rex Bitters Co. Salesmen – Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, December 3, 1912

1913: Newspaper notice (notice in post above): Saloon is Raided, Selling Rex Bitters in a “soft drink” emporium, Running a blind pig”- The Times, Tuesday, February 4, 1913
1916: Rex Bitters Co. Products (Chicago): Rex Elixir of Bitter Wine, Rex Ginger and Brandy Tonic, Rex Ginger, Rex Hoarhound Tonic – National Association of Retail Druggists, 1916 publication
1920: William E Slaughter, Manufacturer Glove Factory, Age: 48, Birth Year: abt 1872, Birthplace: District of Columbia, Home in 1920: Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, Street: Drexel Boulevard, House Number: 4711, Residence Date: 1920, Spouse’s Name: Maggie Slaughter, Father’s Birthplace: District of Columbia, Mother’s Birthplace: District of Columbia, Employment Field: Employer, Home Owned or Rented: Rent, Household Members: William E. Slaughter 48, Maggie Slaughter 47, Consuelo Slaughter 19, Wallace Slaughter 22, William Slaughter 11, Glenna Weidel 28 – 1920 United States Federal Census
1920: Newspaper notice (below): Subpoenas issued for heads of Rex Bitters and Ponds Bitters companies Journal Gazette, Saturday, October 16, 1920

1930: William Slaughter, Manager Electrical Co., Birth Year: abt 1871, Birthplace(?): Louisiana, Marital Status: Married, Home in 1930: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Street address: Chappel Avenue, Ward of City: Seventh, Block: 64, House Number: 7048, Home Owned or Rented: Rented, Home Value: 90.00, Radio Set: Yes, Lives on Farm: No, Age at First Marriage: 24, Attended School: No, Father’s Birthplace: United States, Mother’s Birthplace: United States, Household Members: William Slaughter 59, Maggie Slaughter 58 – 1930 United States Federal Census
1935: Newspaper Wanted ad (below): Wanted Rex Bitters distributors after Prohibition, Rex Products Co. – Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 17, 1935

1940: William Slaughter, Age: 69, Estimated Birth Year: abt 1871, Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, Marital Status: Married, Relation to Head of House: Head, Home in 1940: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Street: Chappal Avenue, House Number: 7042, Farm: No, Inferred Residence in 1935: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 57.50, Attended School or College: No, Highest Grade Completed: High School, 4th year, Income Other Sources: No, Household Members: William Slaughter 69, May Slaughter 68 – 1940 United States Federal Census
1941: Newspaper Advertisement (below): Tone Up Your System With Rex Bitters – The Decatur Herald, Tuesday, May 20, 1941

1957: Newspaper Advertisement (below): The new Rex Bitters nonalcoholic cordial  – Chicago Tribune, Friday, April 26, 1957

Posted in Advertising, Bitters, Ephemera, History, Humor - Lighter Side, Liquor Merchant, Medicines & Cures, Regulations, Temperance, Tonics, Trade Cards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Henry Fess Jr. Jaundice Bitters

Henry Fess Jr. Jaundice Bitters

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

18 November 2018

Here is an extremely rare Jaundice Bitters from Milwaukee, Wisconsin put out by Henry Fess Jr., who was a prominent wholesale and retail druggist. The bottle recently showed up in an online auction that included other rather common bottles.

Fess came to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh in April, 1846 and initially was located next door to Ludington’s Corner, at what is now 405 East Water Street. That year, to attract customers, he announced in local newspapers that he had just received a large assortment of medicines from New York.

Henry Fess was born in Switzerland in 1815 and came to America with his parents. He received his citizenship papers in 1816. He later married Catherine M. Fess (1815–1885) and they had one daughter, Croesdella C. Fess.

Ludington’s Corner showing Ludington’s Building, circa 1885, on East Water Street.

Ludington Building, circa 1890

Water Street is a prominent historic street and an entertainment district in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is the site of the city’s original building, City Hall, and multiple historic landmarks. Today it is still the major north–south road running through downtown and is home to Milwaukee’s Theater District, Water Street Entertainment District, and much of the city’s political activity.

In 1851, Fess moved to 377 East Water Street, Heidie’s Block; and from there, in 1853, to 395 Martin’s Block, where he conducted a robust business. He moved once again to what is now at 436 Milwaukee Street. His business was then called the Milwaukee Drug Warehouse. Advertising stated that he was a Wholesale and Retail dealer in Mediterranean, India, and all Foreign and Domestic Drugs etc. He also sold dyes, paints, oils, brushes, varnishes, chemicals, window glass, druggist glassware and other articles that were typically found in a drug store in that era. Yes, and he sold pure wine and brandy too.

In 1868, Henry Fess filed for bankruptcy and rebounded quickly as he was advertising his celebrated Tonic Bitters in 1869. His advertising that year said it was “Designed for the use of the Medical Profession and Family. It is a invaluable remedy for all diseases of the Liver and Kidneys, and the best Purifier of the Blood in the world, and has been used here by Physicians and others for 20 years“.

Steven Libbey of the Wisconsin Antique & Bottle Club has a few pictures on his web site of this bottle and reports the following, “This aqua bitters bottle from Wisconsin is embossed “H. FESS JR.” on the front, “MILWAUKIE, WIS.” on the back, “JAUNDICE” on the left panel and “BITTERS” on the right. Note the old German spelling of Milwaukee. It has a smooth base and a square blob, unlike the other varieties that have the double collar lip and pontil mark. Henry Fess Jr. was a prominent Milwaukee druggist in the 1840’s and 1850’s. There are a couple of varieties of pontil marked and smooth based bitters and at least one pontil marked druggist bottle known from this company. From left to right below are iron pontil marked bitters 8 1/4″ tall, open pontil bitters 7 1/4″ tall, and open pontil marked medicine. All are Henry Fess Jr. The large size is found with smooth base, IP (iron pontil) and OP (open pontil).

The Pioneer History of Milwaukee, in 1884, stated that “Henry Fess is one of our most respected citizens; and although like many others, he failed to get rich, has the consolation of knowing that he has the respect of his fellow citizens. He is of a very quiet temperament, is not aggressive; in fact, this is his great fault. He is no talker, greets every one cordially, if acquainted, and if he tells you a thing is so, you can depend upon its being true. I have known Mr. Fess intimately for many years, and hope the day is far distant when his pleasant face and lithe form shall be seen upon our streets no more.”

Fess was a life-long druggist who had his own bitters. Not too bad. He would die in 1901 in Milwaukee.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

J 24  H. Fess Jr. Jaundice Bitters
H. FESS JR. ( au ) // JAUNDICE // MILWAUKEE MILWAUKIE / WIS. / BITTERS //
8 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 (5 1/2) 3/8 *
Rectangular, Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare
* Second size reported

Select Listings:

1815: Henry Fess birth, 1815, Switzerland
1846: Newspaper announcement (below): New Drug Store, Henry Fess, Jr., Wholesale and Retail Druggist – Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Saturday, July 25, 1846

1850: Henry Fess, Druggist, Age: 30, Birth Year: abt 1820, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Home in 1850: Milwaukee Ward 1, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Family Number: 2147, Household Members: Henry Fess 30, Catharine Fess 28, Crosdella Fess 3 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1850: Newspaper advertisement (below): Milwaukee Drug Warehouse, Henry Fess, Jr., Wholesale and Retail dealer in Mediterranean, India, and all Foreign and Domestic Drugs etc. – Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Thursday, March 21, 1850

1853: Newspaper advertisement (below): Removal Milwaukee Drug Ware House, Henry Fess, Jr., No. 195 East Water Street – Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Wednesday, January 26, 1853

1857: FESS: Henry Jr. druggist, 195 East Water, h 190 Van Buren – Milwaukee City Directory for 1857-58
1860: Henry Fess, Merchant, Age: 40, Birth Year: abt 1820, Birth Place: Pennsylvania, Home in 1860: Milwaukee Ward 7, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Post Office: Milwaukee, Dwelling Number: 163, Family Number: 149, Real Estate Value: 6000, Household Members: Henry Fess 40, Catharine M Fess 35, Croesdella C Fess 12 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1865: Henry Fess Jr, Druggist & Chemist, 207 E Water, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, City Directory, 1865
1868: Newspaper notice (below): Henry Fess Jr. declares bankruptcy – The Daily Milwaukee News, Thursday, April 23, 1868

1869: Henry Fess Jr, ret druggist, 107 Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin City Directory
1869: Newspaper advertisement (below): Henry Fess, Druggist, 107 Wisconsin. Selling his celebrated Tonic Bitters – The Daily Milwaukee News, Thursday March, 11, 1869

1870: Henry Fess, Druggist, Age in 1870: 51, Birth Year: abt 1819, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Dwelling Number: 249, Home in 1870: Milwaukee Ward 7, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Personal Estate Value: 5000, Household Members: Henry Fess 51, Catherina Fess 45, Catherine Fess 22 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1877: Henry Fess Jr., Retail Druggist, 434 1/2 Milwaukee – City Directory for Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1880: Henry Fess, Druggist, Age: 60, Birth Date: Abt 1820, Birthplace: Switzerland, Home in 1880: Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Street: Jefferson Street, House Number: 464, Dwelling Number: 188, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Catherine Fess, Household Members: Henry Fess 60, Catherine Fess 48, Croasdella Fess 20 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1882: Henry Fess Jr., Druggist, 436 Milwaukee, r 464 Jefferson – City Directory for Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1900: Henry Fess, Jr. Age: 85, Birth Date: Apr 1815, Birthplace: Switzerland, Home in 1900: Milwaukee Ward 18, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ward of City: 18th, Street: Kane Pl, House Number: 364, Immigration Year: 1816, Marital Status: Widowed, Father’s Birthplace: Switzerland, Mother’s Birthplace: Switzerland, Years in US: 84, Naturalization, Household Members: Henry Fess 85, Catherine C Fess 52 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1891: DRUGGISTS’ REGISTER, List of pharmacists in attendance at the Milwaukee meeting, Aug. 11, 12, 13, 1891., Henry Fess, Jr.Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, Volumes 11-19, Wisconsin Pharmaceutical Association
1901: Henry Jr Fess, Death Date: 11 December 1901, Death Place: Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Wisconsin, Death Index, 1820-1907
Posted in Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buck’s Aromatic Bitters – a First Rate Tonic & Remedy

Buck’s Aromatic Bitters – a First Rate Tonic & Remedy

14 November 2018

I came across some newspaper advertising for Buck’s Aromatic Bitters and was curious about the brand. It looks like the proprietors were Captain John Thomas Buck and Dr. Pinckney T. Baley (pictured above), working under the name, Buck & Baley, in Jackson, Mississippi. They were wholesale and retail druggists who also put out Buck’s Diarrhoea (sic) Syrup and Buck & Baley’s Chemical Yeast Powder.

Like many other druggists of the time, they hopped on the medicinal tonic and remedy band wagon and came up with their own bitters. They said it would cure the usual ailments that most bitters claimed during this era in the south such as Dyspepsia, Indigestion, Want of Appetite, Flatulence, Acidity of the Stomach and General Debility.

There are only Jackson, Miss. newspaper advertisements for the bitters in 1867 through 1869. Each year is represented below. There is only one bottle example that I am aware of. I can not find any other collateral material such as a label or trade cards.

The Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement is as follows:

B 248.5  Buck’s Aromatic Bitters
// f // BUCK’S // AROMATIC BITTERS // JACKSON. MISS //
8 3/4 x 2 7/8 x 2 1/8
Rectangular, Amber, NSC, Applied mouth, 3 sp, Extremely rare

Buck’s Aromatic Bitters, Jackson Miss. – Mississippi Antique Bottles & Jugs (2004), Justin McClure

Read More: Some Extremely Rare Mississippi Bitters

On the Buck side, this seems to start with Robert Luther Buck who was born in Virginia in 1816. He was a doctor and partnered with John Thomas Buck and Dr. Pinckney T. Baley in the 1865 or so, the firm name being Buck, Baley & Co. in Jackson, Mississippi. They were druggists and apothecaries located on State Street. They sold the usual drugs and medicines along with paints, linseed oil, lard oil, window glass, putty, dyes and other convenient items. They also sold wines and liquors for “medicinal purposes”. They filled prescriptions at all hours and sold to “The Ladies”, perfumery, cocaine and portable lemonade, which is a tasty syrup. So they ran a drug store like a hardware store that was a liquor store and sold cocaine….and lemonade.

Portable Lemonade recipe, circa 1850

Pinckney T. Baley, born in 1832 in Georgia, was one of the pioneer physicians in Jackson, Mississippi. He was the son of Stephen P. Baley (1806-1876), the long-time proprietor of S.P. Baley & Co. in Jackson from the late 1830s to 1850s. S.P. Baley sold mainly groceries, hardware and liquor. He got his start when George Finucane & Co. disposed of their entire stock to S.P. Bailey & Co. in 1838. Pinckney T. Bailey truly was a doctor and attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia though he first entered the drug store trade when he bought a one half interest in the Yandell & Baley Drug Store located on the corner of State and Pearl Streets at No. 1 Cheapside in Jackson, Mississippi in 1853. His partner was Dr. Henry William Yandell (1835 – 1918) who graduated from medical school in Kentucky.

G. Finucane & Co. S.P. Baley & Co. • Yandell & Baley • Buck, Bailey & Co. Buck & Baley

Pinckney next partnered in what I believe to be the same drug store, at the same address (corner of State & Pearl Streets) with Dr. Robert Luther Buck and Captain John Thomas Buck, a southern Civil War veteran, sometime during the Civil War. Two physicians and a druggist, seemingly the perfect match. Dr. Robert Luther Buck died in 1866 and the firm became Buck & Baley, the concern that produced Buck’s Aromatic Bitters.

They split in 1873, where Baley continued his medical practice. John T. Buck, born in 1839 in Tennessee, started out as a druggist in Kentucky in 1860. He would eventually move on to other occupations including being a City Clerk and Tax Collector in Jackson, a Baptist newspaper editor and a Savings and Loan Association official for the State of Mississippi. Baley would die in 1888 while Captain Buck passed on in 1906.

A little background for an extremely rare bitters. It’s interesting to learn and imagine about the circumstances, lives and times of three men who made a bitters.

Newspaper advertisement for Buck’s Aromatic Bitters – Clarion Ledger, Thursday, January 19, 1867

Newspaper advertisement for Buck’s Aromatic Bitters – Clarion Ledger, Monday, July 13, 1868

Newspaper advertisement for Buck’s Aromatic Bitters – Clarion Ledger, Thursday, July 29, 1869

Select Listings:

1816: Dr Robert Luther BuckBirth Date: 4 Aug 1816, Front Royal, Warren County, Virginia, Spouse: Elizabeth Buck, Children: Robert Luther Buck, Claiborne Cage Buck, Ellen Stewart Buck, Amanda Stewart Buck, Charles Buck, Mary Elizabeth Buck, Robert LeWright Buck, Jennie Cage Cole, Frances Hamilton, Dr. William Stewart Buck, James Duncan Buck, Infant Daughter Buck – U.S. Find A Grave Index
1832: Dr Pinckney T. Baley, Birth Date: 1832, Birth Place: Georgia
1838: Newspaper notice (below): G. Finucane & Co. disposes of entire stock to S.P. Bailey & Co. – The Southern Sun, Saturday, December 29, 1838

1839: Newspaper notice (below): S.P. Baley & Co. received, per steamboat Grand Gulf, at G. Finacane’s old stand – The Weekly Mississippian, Tuesday, January 29, 1839

1839: John Thomas Buck, birth 29 August 1839, Tennessee
1850: John T Buck, Age: 11, Birth Year: abt 1839, Birthplace: Tennessee, Home in 1850: District 2, Christian, Kentucky, Household Members: Samuel D Buck 46, Annis L Buck 17, John T Buck 11, Henry C Buck 2 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1853: Newspaper notice (below): Copartnership, I have sold one-half of my Drug Store to Doctor P.T. Baley, now Yandell & Baley, corner of State and Pearl Streets, No. 1 Cheapside – Flag of the Union, Friday, April 22, 1853

1853: Newspaper advertisement (below): Patent Medicines being sold by Yandell & Baley, No. 1 Cheapside – Flag of the Union, Friday, June 17, 1853

1856: Pinckney T Baley, Publication Year: 1856, Publication Place: Pennsylvania, School Name: Jefferson Medical College, Residence Place: Mississippi – US School Catalogs
1858: Newspaper notice (below): W.W. Divine, druggists, books transferred to S.P. Bailey & Co. in Jackson, Mississippi – The Weekly Mississippian, Wednesday, December 29, 1858

1860: Robt L Buck, MD, Age: 43, Birth Year: abt 1817, Birth Place: Virginia, Home in 1860: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Post Office: Jackson, Dwelling Number: 315, Real Estate Value: 35000, Personal Estate Value: 30000, Household Members: Robt L Buck 43, E Buck 32, Willie Buck 14, Fanny Buck 12, Charley Buck 7, Claiborn Buck 5,M Buck 4,A Buck 2, Buck 7 Months – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: John T Buck, Age: 20, Occupation: Druggist, Birth Year: abt 1840, Birth Place: Tennessee, Home in 1860: Hopkinsville, Christian, Kentucky, Post Office: Hopkinsville, Dwelling Number: 217 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: P T Bailey, MD, Age: 29, Birth Year: abt 1831, Birth Place: Georgia, Home in 1860: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Post Office: Jackson, Dwelling Number: 300, Family Number: 307, Occupation: M D, Real Estate Value: 4000, Personal Estate Value: 26,300, Household Members: P T Bailey 29, E M Bailey 27 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1861: John T Buck, Age at Enlistment: 21, Enlistment Date: 21 Feb 1861, Rank at enlistment: Captain, State Served: Mississippi, Birth Date: 29 Mar 1839, Death, Date: 31 Jul 1906, Death Place: Jackson, Mississippi – U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
1865: Newspaper advertisement (below): Buck, Baley & Co., Dr. R.L. Buck, Dr. P.T. Baley and John T. Buck, Druggists & Apothecaries, State Street, Jackson, Miss. – The Daily Mississippian, Sunday, October 1, 1865

1866: Dr Robert Luther BuckDeath Date: 15 Jan 1866, Cemetery: Greenwood Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi – U.S. Find A Grave Index
1866: Newspaper Special Notice (below): Co-partnership between Dr. R.S. Buck, Dr. P.T. Bailey and John T. Buck dissolved due to death of Dr. R.S. Buck. Buck, Bailey & Co. now Buck & Baley –  Daily Mississippi Clarion and Standard, Sunday, July 15, 1866

1869: Newspaper advertisement (below): Pure Catawba Wine being sold by Buck & Baley. – Tri Weekly Clarion, Thursday, December 16, 1869

1870: Jno T Buck, Druggist, Age in 1870: 30, Birth Year: abt 1840, Birthplace: Tennessee, Dwelling Number: 600, Home in 1870: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Personal Estate Value: 4,000, Household Members: Jno T Buck 30, Hattie L Buck 23, William J Buck 1 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1870: Pinckney T Baley, Occupation: Physician, Age in 1870: 38, Birth Year: abt 1832, Birthplace: Georgia, Dwelling Number: 535, Home in 1870: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Personal Estate Value: 5000, Real Estate Value: 10000, Inferred Spouse: Emiline Baley, Household Members: Pinckney T Baley 38, Emiline Baley 34, George A Baley 7, Annie E Baley 9, Mira Baley 6, Farrar P Baley 4, Emmie Baley 8/12 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1873: Newspaper notice (below): Dissolution of Partnership, Captain John T. Buck and Dr. P. T. Bailey in Jackson, Mississippi on December 1, 1873. Buck buys Baley out and continues.  – The Clarion Ledger, Thursday, December 18, 1873

1880: John F. Buck, Age: 40, Birth Date: Abt 1840, Birthplace: Tennessee, Home in 1880: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Street: Congress Street, Dwelling Number: 52, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Hadie Buck, Father’s Birthplace: Virginia, Mother’s Birthplace: Virginia, Occupation: Local Editor, Household Members: John F. Buck 40, Hadie Buck 33, William Buck 11 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1880: Pinkney T. Baley, Physician, Age: 45, Birth Date: Abt 1835, Birthplace: Georgia, Home in 1880: Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, Street: State Street, Dwelling Number: 158, Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Emeline M. Baley, Father’s Birthplace: Georgia, Mother’s Birthplace: Georgia, Household Members: Pinkney T. Baley 45, Emeline M. Baley 46, Anna E. Baley 19, George A. Baley 19,Myra L. Baley 15,Farrar P. Baley 13, Cornelia A. Baley 10, Lelia E. Baley 8 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1888: Dr. Pinckney T. Baley death 12 May 1888 (aged 55–56), Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, Burial Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, Section 4, Lot 42, new cemetery – U.S. Find A Grave Index
1890: John T. BuckCity Clerk of the City of Jackson – Charter of the City of Jackson, and Revised Ordinances of 1890
1900: John T Buck, Occupation: Sec. Building And Loan, Age: 60, Birth Date: Aug 1839, Birthplace: Tennessee, Home in 1900: Jackson Ward 1, Hinds, Mississippi, Ward of City: 1, Street: Jefferson, House Number: 511, Institution: Belhaven College (Female) Line 2 To 8 Inclusive, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 77, Father’s Birthplace: Virginia, Mother’s Birthplace: Virginia, Household Members: John T Buck 60, Hadie L Buck 52, William J Buck 31 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1901: John T. Buck, Secy, Building and Loan Assn., Jackson, Mississippi, V president, Miss Baptist Publishing Co., res 511 n Jackson – Jackson, Mississippi, City Directory, 1901
1904: Newspaper notice (below): Conditions in Baltimore (fire-stricken city) – Jackson Daily News, Thursday, February 18, 1904

1906: John Thomas Buck death 31 July 1906 (aged 66), Burial Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, Section 1, Lot 134, new cemetery – U.S. Find A Grave Index
Posted in Apothecary, Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Remedy, Tonics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters – P. H. Drake & Co.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters Lady’s Leg

P.H. Drake & Co.

07 November 2018

Looking at the motif of the monogram “PHD & Co.” on a Sazerac Aromatic Bitters bottle leads you to Patrick Henry Drake, the proprietor for the famous Drake’s Plantation Bitters. You can see the link with the product name and Drake below with the monogram in the advertisement from Bitters Bottles.

The bottles are called a figural lady’s leg due to the sensual shape of the bottle neck. Three great examples are pictured at the top of this post from the great Bill Taylor figural bitters collection out in Oregon. The cobalt blue example is unique. Bill is known for his extensive collection of lady’s legs bitters.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

S 47  Sazerac Aromatic Bitters
// b // SAZERAC AROMATIC BITTERS // s // motif monogram PHD & Co.
12 1/2 x 3 3/8 (5)
Round lady’s leg, ARM, Applied mouth, Milk glass – Common; Amber – Very rare;
Cobalt – Extremely rare
Note: Sewell T. Taylor, in the 1830s, imported Sazerac Brandy from Messrs. Sazerac de Forge et Fils, Limoges, France. In 1865, Tom H. Handy invented Sazerac Bitters from a secret formula based on boiled herbs. It is believed that this was a flavoring bitters originating in New Orleans.
Almanac: Morning Noon & Night, 1870-1871
Advertisement: 1872 Thomas H. Handy & Co. successors to John G. Schiller, Importers of Sazerac Brandy, Wine and Liquors, 14 and 16 Royal Street, and 11 and 13 Exchange Place, New Orleans. Advertisement 1881 Thos. H. Hardy, importing agent, Sazerac brandies, fine wines and liquors. Imported and domestic cigars. Nos. 9 and 11 St. Charles Street. New Orleans Directory 1915. Handy was listed at 118 Royal Street.
If the PHD monogram stands for Patrick Henry Drake then this could be the Drake’s Sazerac Bitters, Thompson 117.

By most accounts, around 1850, Sewell T. Taylor sold his New Orleans bar, The Merchants Exchange Coffee House, to become an importer of spirits. He began to import a brand of cognac named Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. Meanwhile, Aaron Bird assumed proprietorship of the Merchants Exchange and changed its name to Sazerac Coffee House.

Legend has it that Bird began serving the “Sazerac Cocktail”, made with Sazerac cognac imported by Taylor, and allegedly with bitters being made by the local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud.

The Sazerac Coffee House subsequently changed hands several times, when around 1870, Thomas Handy became its proprietor. It is around this time that the primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey, due to the phylloxera epidemic in Europe that devastated the vineyards of France.

The creation of the Sazerac has also been credited to Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a Creole apothecary who emigrated to New Orleans from the West Indies and set up shop in the French Quarter in the early 19th Century. He was known to dispense a proprietary mix of aromatic bitters from an old family recipe.

According to popular myth, he served his drink in the large end of an egg cup that was called a coquetier in French, and the Americanized mispronunciation resulted in the name cocktailThis belief was debunked when people discovered that the term “cocktail” as a type of drink first appeared in print at least as far back as 1803—and was defined in print in 1806 as, “a mixture of spirits of any kind, water, sugar and bitters, vulgarly called a bittered sling.”

Read: Peychaud’s Cocktail Bitters – L.E. Jung and his Gators

At some point, Patrick Henry Drake obtained the sole right to manufacture and sell Sazerac Aromatic Bitters. By this time he had split from Demas Barnes and formed P.H. Drake & Company in New York. Thought Drake commenced with his plantation bitters in 1860, he did not start marketing Sazerac Aromatic Bitters until January 1st, 1869.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in yellow amber with olive tone.

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in white milk glass (see base picture below) – Heckler Auctions

Sazerac Aromatic Bitters in white milk glass (see bottle picture above) – Heckler Auctions

Lot: 129 Bitters or Whiskey Type Bottle, America, 1860-1880. Cylindrical form with lady’s leg neck, brilliant deep sapphire blue, applied mouth with ring – smooth base, ht. 12 1/4 inches; (light patchy interior haze, two pinpoint flakes on edge of mouth). Similar in form to R/H #S-47 Possibly a labeled Sazerac Aromatic Bitters, as the color, size and form are identical. Generally fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler | Auction #170

Select Listings:

1827: Patrick Henry DrakeBirth Date: 22 Feb 1827, Birth Place: Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, United States of America – U.S. Find a Grave Index
1849: Patrick Henry Drake, First Marriage Date: 10 Jun 1849, Father: Benjamin Drake, Spouse: Jane Eldridge Lewis, Child: Virginia Maria Drake, Julia Randall Drake – North American Family Histories
1850: P H Drake, [Patrick Henry DrakeAge:23, Birth Year: abt 1827, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1850: Ithaca, Tompkins, New York, USA, Gender: Male, Family Number: 556, Household Members: Maria Drake 53, P H Drake 23, Jane Drake 23, Mary Drake 24 – 1850 United States Federal Census
186o: Patrick H Drake, Manufacturer, Age: 31, Birth Year: abt 1829, Gender: Male, Birth Place: New York, Home in 1860: Binghamton Ward 3, Broome, New York, Post Office: Binghamton, Dwelling Number: 456, Family Number: 487, Real Estate Value: 5000, Personal Estate Value: 1500, Household Members: Patrick H Drake 31, Jane E Drake 31, Virginia N Drake 10, Julia R Drake 3 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Patrick Henry Drake and Demas Barnes formed a partnership in 1860 in New York City to manufacture and market Drake’s Plantation Bitters, initially called Plantation Toddy – History of Drug Containers and Their Labels By George B. Griffenhagen, Mary Bogard
1867: Demas Barnes and Patrick Henry Drake dissolved their partnership and Plantation Bitters was transferred to P.H. Drake & Company
1869: January 1st, 1869, P.H. Drake & Co., New York, sole right to manufacture and sell “SazeracAromatic Bitters (advertisement above) – Bitters Bottles
1870: P H Drake [Patrick Henry Drake], Age in 1870: 43, Manufacturer Of Bitters, Birth Year: abt 1827, Birthplace: New York, Dwelling Number: 117, Home in 1870: New York, Ward 21, District 16 (2nd Enum), New York, New York, Inferred Spouse: J E Drake [Jane Eldridge Lewis], Inferred Children: Mary E Drake , Virginia Drake, J E Drake, Household Members: Mary E Drake 25, Virginia Drake 19, J E Drake 14, P H Drake 43, J E Drake 42 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1880: Patrick H. Drake, Chemist, Age: 57, Birth Date: Abt 1823, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1880: New York City, New York, New York, USA, Street: West 56th St, House Number: 38, Dwelling Number: 122, Relation to Head of House: Self (Head), Marital Status: Married, Spouse’s Name: Jane E. Drake, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: New York, Household Members: Patrick H. Drake 57, Jane E. Drake 51, Virginia Drake 28, Julia Drake 22 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1882: Patrick Henry DrakeDeath 4 Nov 1882, Death Place: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Cemetery: Spring Forest Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Binghamton, Broome County, New York – U.S. Find a Grave Index
1882: Patrick H Drake, Merchant, Age: 55, Birth Date: abt 1827, Birth Place: Ithaca, New York, Death Date: 4 Nov 1882, Death Place: Boston, Massachusetts, Hotel Brunswick, Cause: Acute Pericarditis, Father: Benjamin Drake, Mother: Maud Drake – Massachusetts Death Records
1883: After Drakes death business operated by William P. Ward, Proprietor
Posted in Bartending, Bitters, Brandy, Figural Bottles, History, Liqueurs, liquor, Medicines & Cures, Spirits, Whiskey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial

Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial

05 November 2018

Norman C. Heckler & Company has an exciting Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial that I have never seen before in their current Auction #170. Their write-up is as follows accompanied by their fine photographs of the bottle:

Lot: 63 “Dr. Wright’s / Tonic Bitters / And / Invigorating / Cordial” Bitters Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Square with beveled corners, yellow with an olive tone, applied sloping collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 10 inches. R/H #W-163.5 Extremely rare and beautiful with a pristine exterior surface. One of two known examples. Fine condition. Estimate: $6,000 – $12,000  Minimum bid: $3,000

Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial Bitters was put out by Homer  (Hoemer) Wright in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from about 1855 to 1858. He sold his bitters in quart bottles for $1. Yes, this is early Pittsburgh glass with an iron pontil. As good as it gets. Previously an amber example was recorded. This one is yellow with an olive tone with lots of character. It is extremely rare, either color.

Dr. Homer Wright was born in Wellsville, Ohio on April 8, 1833 and was a son of Dr. Hugh Wright, an eminent physician, and Ann (Laughlin) Wright, both from Ireland. Dr. Wright came from Shippensburg, Pa., lived for a time in Wellsville, Ohio and practiced in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and in 1845, at the time of the great fire in Pittsburgh, was practicing at No. 8 Grant Street in Pittsburgh. This was also the location for his manufactory and principle depot for his bitters and Dr. Wright’s Family Medicines.

Dr. Wrights parents had moved to Pittsburgh when he was quite young, and his education was obtained in the public schools of the old Second Ward. After leaving school he began the study of medicine under his father, but later abandoned professional ambitions and entered the manufacturing business in Pittsburgh, the center of the glass manufacturing industry in the United States

Homer Wright had a number of patents and is best known for being partners in Collins & Wright (Henry H. Collins, Benjamin F. Collins & Homer Wright). They were the purchasers of the Pittsburgh Britannia Manufacturing Company in the early 1860s, a concern established in 1838 by Orrin Newton. The company, under its new title and ownership, continued the manufacture of britannia ware, pewter buttons, and metal trimming used in the production of glass tableware, such as salt and pepper shakers. Homer Wright died in Pittsburgh on June 3, 1919.

A much more complete biographical sketch and a picture of Dr. Wright can be found below. His eldest son, James Homer Wright (1869-1928), practiced pathology in Boston from 1893 until his death in 1928. He was rather well known. His biography is also below.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

W 163.5  Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial
DR. WRIGHT’S TONIC BITTERS // AND // INVIGORATING // CORDIAL // f //
10 5/16 x 2 7/8
Square, Amber, Yellow with olive tone (add), LTC, Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare

Homer Wright

History of Pittsburgh and Environs, Volume 1, American Historical Society, 1922 – Pennsylvania

HOMER WRIGHT – A man of studious, quiet disposition, Mr. Wright’s tastes called for a professional career rather than a mercantile life, but when his course was directed in commercial lines he brought from these sources valuable result. It was his intention to follow in his father’s footsteps, his study of medicine having been begun when circumstances prevented the execution of his plans, and his long and useful life was spent as a manufacturer. Homer Wright was a son of Dr. Hugh Wright, an eminent physician, and Ann (Laughlin) Wright. Dr. Wright came from Shippensburg, Pa., lived for a time in Wellsville, Ohio, practiced in Beaver county, Pa., and in 1845, at the time of the great fire in Pittsburgh, was practicing on Grant street. Dr. Wright came to Western Pennsylvania in stage-coach days, and was a pioneer settler in some of the sections in which he lived.

Homer Wright was born in Wellsville, Ohio, April 8, 1833, and died in Pittsburgh, June 3, 1919. His parents moved to Pittsburgh when he was quite young, and his education was obtained in the public schools of the old Second Ward. After leaving school he began the study of medicine under his father, but later abandoned professional ambitions and entered manufacturing lines. In the late sixties, in association with Henry and Benjamin Collins, under the firm name of Collins & Wright, he was a purchaser of the Pittsburgh Britannia Manufacturing Company, a concern established in 1838 by Orrin Newton. This company, under its new title and ownership, continued the manufacture of britannia ware, pewter buttons, and metal trimming used in the production of glass tableware, such as salt and pepper shakers. The operations of Collins & Wright were pursued in the center of the glass manufacturing industry of the United States, and the firm prospered in exceptional degree. Their location for many years was on Second avenue, between Wood and Smithfield streets; later they moved to First avenue and Cherry way; and in 1905 occupied the factory at Fifty-fifth and Butler streets, where the business is still conducted (1921) by members of the Wright family. Homer Wright continued active and prominent in the affairs of the firm until a few years prior to his death in his eighty-seventh year, and retained a firm, keen grasp upon practical affairs long past the usual age of retirement .

There were two influences of paramount importance in Mr. Wright’s life—his business connections and his home. In the world of affairs he became known for uprightness of character and steadfast adherence to lofty principles of business conduct. He was the possessor of a memory of almost unlimited capacity, and its retentiveness and exactness were the causes of remark among his friends. He read widely in current and classical literature, and in the pursuits of home life, the companionship and love of his family, found life’s highest rewards. Mr. Wright was confirmed in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, of Pittsburgh, but after his marriage attended and was for many year s a trustee of the Second Presbyterian Church, of Pittsburgh. A blameless life won him the heartfelt benediction of all who knew him, and until his death respect and honor were paid him and have since been accorded his memory in the same measure.

Homer Wright married, Jan. 2, 1868, Sarah Livingston Gray, who died March 11, 1894, daughter of James H. and Julia (Livingston) Gray. Children: 1. James Homer, a world renowned pathologist, for twenty-five years pathologist of the Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston, Mass.; married Aagot Lunde, of Christiana, Norway. 2. Edwin L, manager of Collins & Wright; makes his home with his sister, Mary R. Wright. 3. W. Howard, secretary of the Commercial Lithographing and Printing Company of Akron, Ohio; married Janette Williamson Swan, daughter of John Swan, a former postmaster of Allegheny, Pa., and has children: Janette Ramsey, Christine Livingston, and Virginia Swan. 4. Mary R., resides at No. 917 North Negley avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Select Listings:

1833: Homer Wright was born in Wellsville, Ohio, April 8, 1833. Homer Wright was a son of Dr. Hugh Wright, an eminent physician, and Ann (Laughlin) Wright. – History of Pittsburgh and Environs, Volume 1, American Historical Society, 1922 – Pennsylvania
1845: Dr. Wright came from Shippensburg, Pa., lived for a time in Wellsville, Ohio, practiced in Beaver county, Pa., and in 1845, at the time of the great fire in Pittsburgh, was practicing on Grant street. – History of Pittsburgh and Environs, Volume 1, American Historical Society, 1922 – Pennsylvania
1850: Homer Wrights, Student, Age: 17, Birth Year: abt 1833, Birthplace: Ohio, Home in 1850: Pittsburgh Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA, Household Members: Hugh Wrights 45, Ann Wrights 42, Homer Wrights 17, Eliza Wrights 14, Agnes Wrights 9, Henry Laughlin 23 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1855: Newspaper advertisement (see below): Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial – The Tennessean, Wednesday, December 19, 1855

1857: Newspaper advertisement (see below): Dr. Wright’s Tonic Bitters and Invigorating Cordial, prepared only by Dr. Homer Wright, Proprietor Dr. Wright’s Family Medicines, Manufactory and Principle Depot, No. 8 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The Wyandot Pioneer, Thursday, March 12, 1857

186o: Homer Wright, Age: 24, Birth Year: abt 1836, Gender: Male, Birth Place: Ohio, Home in 1860:, Pittsburgh Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Post Office: Pittsburgh, Dwelling Number: 2107, Family Number: 2703, Occupation: Student, Household Members: Name Age, Hugh Wright 56, Ann Wright 53, Homer Wright 24, Agnes Wright 18 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1863: Newspaper advertisement (see below): Collins & Wright, Britannia and Brass works, No. 139 Second Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The Pittsburgh Gazette, Saturday, October 10, 1863

1864: Newspaper advertisement (see below): Collins & Wright, Britannia and Brass works, No. 139 Second Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The Pittsburgh Gazette, Monday, June 6, 1864

1867: Newspaper patents notice (see below): Patent for an Improved Jug Top, Homer Wright, Pittsburgh, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, Saturday, October 12, 1867

1868: Homer Wright married, Jan. 2, 1868, Sarah Livingston Gray, who died March 11, 1894, daughter of James H. and Julia (Livingston) Gray.
1869: Newspaper patent notice (see below): Patent 3637 dated October 27, 1868 for a Fruit Jar, Henry H. Collins, B.F. Collins and Homer Wright, Pittsburgh – The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial, Thursday, September 16, 1869

1869: James Homer Wright (pictured below) was born on April 8, 1869, in Pittsburgh, the oldest of five children of Homer Wright and Sara L. GrayDr. Wright’s father had a business that made decorative glass tableware. – James Homer Wright (1869–1928) – by Robert H. Young and Robert E. Lee

James Homer Wright (1869-1928), the eldest son of a Pittsburgh glass merchant, was educated in Baltimore and practiced pathology in Boston from 1893 until his death in 1928. In 1896, when not quite 27 years old, he assumed directorship of the newly founded Pathology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, a post he held for the next 30 years. He is remembered eponymously by the blood cell stain that bears his name and the Homer Wright pseudorosettes of neuroblastoma, but he made many additional contributions to pathology. These include the following: determination of the cellular lineage of multiple myeloma, identification of the megakaryocyte as the cell of origin of blood platelets, recognition of the cell of origin of the neuroblastoma, demonstration of spirochetes in syphilitic aneurysms of the aorta, and clarification of misconceptions about actinomycosis. Additionally, Wright coauthored, with Dr. Frank B. Mallory, the book Pathological Technique, which was a staple of laboratories for >40 years and exemplifies Wright’s wide-ranging interests in, and contributions to, practical aspects of pathology including staining, culture and frozen section techniques, photography, and development of the rotary microtome. He received Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from Harvard University, the University of Maryland (his alma mater), and the University of Missouri. He was the recipient of the Gross prize in 1905 for his publication on actinomycosis and the Boylston Medical Prize in 1908 for his discovery of the origin of platelets, and he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1915. Although shy and somewhat austere in the workplace, a different side was shown by his anonymously sending flowers to a young Norwegian opera singer whom he subsequently married. The pathology laboratories of the Massachusetts General Hospital were named the “James Homer Wright Pathology Laboratories” in 1956. Today James Homer Wright is remembered and honored 100 years after his description of the stain that, along with the pseudorosettes of neuroblastoma, carry his name into eternity and ensure his great contributions will never be forgotten. – James Homer Wright: a biography of the enigmatic creator of the Wright stain on the occasion of its centennial. – Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, PA
1870: Homer Wright (Collins & Wright), Brittania Manufacturers, 139 Second Avenue, res. 8 Grant, Hugh Wright, physician, 8 Grant – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1870
1880: Homer Wright, Age: 47, Brass & Tin Manufacturer, Birth Date: Abt 1833, Birthplace: Ohio, Home in 1880: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Street: Logan St, House Number: 41, Dwelling Number: 438, Married, Spouse’s Name: Sarah Wright, Father’s Birthplace: Ohio, Mother’s Birthplace: Ohio, Occupation: Brass Foundry, Household Members: Homer Wright 47, Sarah Wright 33, James Wright 11, Edward Wright 7, Howard Wright 5, Mary Wright 9/12 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1900: Homer Wright, Manager Britannia Ware, Age: 67, Birth Date: Apr 1833, Birthplace: Ohio, Home in 1900: Pittsburgh Ward 8, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Ward of City: Eighth, Street: Cliff St, House Number: 20, Marital Status: Widowed, Father’s Birthplace: Ohio, Mother’s Birthplace: Ohio, Household Members: Homer Wright 67, L Edwin Wright 17, W Howard Wright 25, P Mary Wright 20, Teresa Wetzel 36 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1919: Homer Wright died in Pittsburgh on June 3, 1919.
Posted in Auction News, Bitters, Blown Glass, Cordial, Glass Makers, History, Medicines & Cures, Tonics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Everlasting Bitters – Atlanta, Georgia

Life Everlasting Bitters – Atlanta, Georgia

01 November 2018

Here is a great bitters square that John Pastor had in his recent American Glass Gallery Auction #21 which closed earlier in the week. The picture at the top of the post is from the auction. The Life Everlasting Bitters is one of the top Georgia bottles (see list further below).

Here is the auction write-upon the bottle:

“LIFE EVERLASTING / BITTERS / ATLANTA, GA.”, America, 1880 – 1890. yellowish golden amber, square with beveled corners, tooled sloping collar – smooth base, ht. 9 ½”; (professionally cleaned with some light etching, swirls and streaks of tiny bubbles on the interior surface of the glass; a couple of hard-to-see ¼” hairline fissures from a potstone or un-dissolved slag, otherwise excellent). R/H #L91. The condition issues are relatively minor, the bottle displays near mint. What a great name! Believed to be a unique example! One of Georgia’s top bottles. If you want something unique and different, this is it! A great bitters, and a bottle that would also appeal to those who collect nostrums and quackery.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

L 91  Life Everlasting Bitters
LIFE EVERLASTING / BITTERS / ATLANTA, GA. // f // f // f //
9 5/8 x 2 1/2 (7) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip and Applied mouth, 1 sp. Extremely rare

The only direct reference I find is this “The Seven Wonders” Newspaper advertisement (below) noting a Life Everlasting Bitters sold at Heinitsh’s City Drug Store in Columbia, South Carolina in 1875. The problem is, this isn’t Atlanta which is embossed on the bottle. Columbia is a little more than 200 miles east of Atlanta.

The Seven Wonders Newspaper advertisement: Life Everlasting Bitters sold at Heinitsh’s City Drug Store – The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina) Sunday, July 4, 1875

One has to wonder if this bottle is related to the Ponce De Leon Bitters, also from Atlanta (see comparison above). Pretty darn similar! Both bitters names seem related.

Juan Ponce de León (1474 – July 1521) is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth, reputed to be in Florida. He was a Spanish explorer and conquistador and became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named. If this is the case, the brand was started by George J. Howard.

Read: Ponce De Leon Bitters – George Jefferson Howard and the Coca-Cola Connection

There was a syndicated piece that appeared in many newspapers and periodicals around the country in the late 1890s and early 1900s that reads:

Theophrastus Esculapius Stubbe, proprietor of the Universal Life-Everlasting Golden Bitters, was in his office, and about him was gathered an eager group, listening to an account of the wonderful cures he had wrought with his medicine. By and by a man in sober garb—a thin, pale-faced man, sedate and melancholy— entered the office and inquired for the proprietor. “I am the , man,” said Theophrastus Esculapius Stubbe, with dignity. “You are the proprietor of the ‘Universal Life-Everlasting Golden Bitters’?” said the pale visitor. “I am. How can I help you?” “I have come to see if I couldn’t get you to establish an agency for your bitters in our town. I want you to send a smart man—one who can sell a large quantity of your medicine.” Theophrastus rubbed his hands and smiled exultingly. “You see,” pursued the sombre visitor, “my business is getting dull, and I thought with your help we might revive it.” “Can’t you take the agency yourself, my friend?” asked the great Stubbe. “No, no,” said the melancholy man, with a shake of the head. “It wouldn’t do for me. People might think I was interested.” “Ah! What’s your business?” “I am an undertaker!”

Edward H. Heinitsh

Practical Apothecaries, Fisher & Heinitsh Pharmaceutists and Druggists newspaper advertisement – The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina), Friday, June 9, 1865

Newspaper Advertisement: Queens Delight and Sarsaparilla, Fisher & HeinitshThe Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina), Tuesday, August 28, 1866

Newspaper Advertisement: Heinitsh’s Horse Powder, E.H. Heinitsh, Pharmacist – The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina), Wednesday, March 10, 1869

Newspaper Advertisement: Edward H. Heinitsh, The Drug and Chemical Store – The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina), Sunday, September 25, 1870

The Seven Wonders Newspaper advertisement: Life Everlasting Bitters sold at Heinitsh’s City Drug StoreThe Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina) Sunday, July 4, 1875

Newspaper Advertisement: A New Life jn the Land!, Dr. Heinitsh, E. H. Heinitsh & SonThe Daily Phoenix (Columbia, South Carolina), Thursday, November 1, 1877

Newspaper Advertisement: Heinitsh & Reagan Will Open About September 1, H.E. Heinitsh & J.S. ReaganAsheville Citizen Times, Friday, July 15, 1892

Posted in Advertising, Apothecary, Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment