Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From Charles Festersen

Hi Rick ;
 I acquired an Oregon Grape Root Bitters not long ago and thought I would send you some photos for your website as nothing has been posted there on this particular bottle before. Below is the description and history of the bottle as published by Bill and Betty Wilson in there 1969 book Western Bitters. I hope it is of interest to your readers. - Charles F.
64. Embossed:   ORGON / GRAPE ROOT / BITTERS.   Cylindrical sixth. Extremely Rare. Made in 1885 only. Clear - 48*

 George and August Wolters had been in the wholesale liquor business for over six years in San Francisco when this new brand was introduced. The main ingredient for the formula was the bitter root of any evergreen shrub of the Barberry family which grows mainly in northern California and Oregon. The flower of the bush is the Oregon state flower. 
    The expensive clear flint glass bottle was discontinued after only one order from the glass works and the sold in paper labeled bottles for a year or so before it was discontinued.
Charles; the Oregon Grape Root Bitters, is indeed, a very rare and interesting western bottle from the Wolters Brothers firm. Thanks for the information and the pictures. - rs -
Anyone have any additional information on the Oregon Grape Root Bitters?

This bitters is pretty scarce. I don't believe these bottles are made of flint glass. They are what the glass works referred to as white glass, and I have seen this bitters in a sun colored amethyst tint.
Warren Friedrich

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sands Sarsaparilla


Abraham B. Sands of New York City opened his first retail drug store sometime around 1840. In 1842 he expanded his horizons and opened a wholesale store at another location installing David Sands in the original retail store. By 1843 Sands has published a informative pamphlet on the curative properties of their sarsaparilla product.  In early 1850 the firm of A B & D Sands emerged as a wholesale and retail drug company and were advertising regularly in local newspapers.

By 1851 David retired, was replaced by William Sands, and the firm was listed as A.B. Sands & Co. After 1851 Sands & Co. became primarily a wholesale drug operation. Sands produced other products (Horehound Cough Syrup, Liquid Opeldoc and Anodyne Liniment) but his sarsaparilla was by far his best seller. A.B. Sands & Co. continued in business until 1875 when the company was dissolved.
Pictured at right is the earliest example of the Sands Sarsaparilla. It has widely beveled corners and is embossed on three panels SANDS SARSAPARILLA NEW YORK. The Sand’s Sarsaparilla was distributed throughout the California  gold rush country. Open pontil examples of the Sand’s have been found from  San Francisco to the Mother Lode and the  gold rush camps and settlements of the Northern Mines. These bottles are considered  scarce but as with all gold rush era bottles are highly collectable and prized by western and gold rush bottle collectors. The Sand’s that I have examined, that were recovered from Sierra County, are usually pretty crude, highly whittled and usually come out of the ground without mineral staining

Pictured at left is a copy of a Sand's Sarsaparilla advertisement. The second variant of the Sand's bottle, on the right side of the ad, is being filled with the sarsaparilla product. Sand's sarsaparilla was coined by the company as "The Very Best Remedy for Purifying the Blood"

Pictured at right is the later variant of the Sands bottle that was produced sometime after 1858. It still has a pontil base, but is a larger size, different shape, and has “GENUINE” embossed on one panel.

One whole example of the second variant of the Sands was recovered from the gold rush settlement of Excelsior in the early 1990’s. Two examples were recovered from the southern Sierra County settlement of Plum Valley and another mint example was un-earthed at Brandy City by a Nevada City digger. Numerous broken examples have been found at the Sierra County gold rush camps of  Monte Cristo, Poker Flat, Chaparral Hill and Rattlesnake. This variant of the Sands is considered more common than the earlier example with the widely beveled corners but is still a scarce and collectable gold rush bottle.



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Wormser Brothers


The firm of Wormser Brother was located on the corner of California and Front Streets in San Francisco and listed as importers and jobbers of wines and liquors. Started sometime in 1856 Isaac Wormser, who was living in Germany, was the president of the company and his brother Lewis was the manager. In 1864 Lewis left San Francisco and his brother Simon took over management of the company. In October of 1867, during Simon’s management of the firm, they trademarked the “Golden Sheaf” brand of whiskey. By 1872 the Wormser Bros. business was sold to the firm of Braeg Frank and Dallemand.

The Wormser Brothers produced some of the more desirable western bottles while they were in business in San Francisco. The earliest glass container from the Wormser firm is the large whiskey flask horizontally embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO. The Wormser  flask is considered very rare with possibly 8 to 12 examples in private collections. Several of these early containers seem to have poor quality glass with annealing checks and other manufacture related problems. It is not known if this bottle was blown in a San Francisco glass house or manufactured in the east and distributed in the west. 

Horizontal embossed Wormser flask circa 1867-69

It is believed the barrel shaped bottle with an applied tapered top and a smooth base embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO was produced for a very short period of time, possibly in 1869 only. Although I could not find any advertisements to confirm what these bottles contained, Western collectors believe this container held a whiskey bitters product.

Wormser Bros. barrel style bottles

This barrel shaped bottle comes in various shades of amber from light yellow to darker brown amber. Most examples show very little crudity but a couple examples that I have observed have some pretty good whittle to the glass.

It is thought that there are between 25 and 30 of the Wormser Bros. barrels in collections at the present time. 
 Years ago, in the Virginia City area, several examples of the Wormser barrel were recovered from a large bottle digging excavation.
Vertical embossed Wormser flask

The last bottle produced by the Wormser Bros. is the vertically embossed flask. These bottles were more than likely manufactured post 1869. They come in colors ranging from dark chocolate to green and are the most common of the Wormser bottles.



Thanks to American Bottle Auctions, Western Whiskey Gazette, Western Whiskey blog site and Dale Mlasko for the images - rs -

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Mystery of the 1856 Patent Suspender Buckle
By Nicholas Kane
Back in the fall of 2001 I obtained permission to metal detect and dig a fantastic property. This camp produced many 1850s belt clasps and other metallic artifacts such as this suspender buckle. I was familiar with the buckle's 1856 Patent date but not with this elaborate embossing. Like it was yesterday I clearly remember gridding out a slope backwards through four foot tall poison oak that was below a large camp.
The camp was infested with square nails up top and most of the better targets were pitched down the hill where the poison oak happened to be. I spent close to four hours looking for the mate to this buckle with no avail. I never recovered the mate but did get a few hits from items such as a brass frame from a 1/6th plate image, brass shoe tips and a camphene or whale oil lamp burner that I thought were the buckle.
I managed to bring the "poison" home to my wife after immersing myself in the patch and I was in the dog house for quite some time after that. That poison was a beautiful green and just starting to  turn red.

I had a suspicion 15 years ago or so after a few hours of online research what the crossed U.S. and British Naval flag meant. Since that time I realized I really should do some research and see what I could come up with and share my findings with fellow history enthusiasts. I decided to try and find a western connection to the eastern event first for appeal and.... EUREKA!
This buckle dates from the correct period and I strongly believe it was created for this special event, as we all know, was often done during the mid 19th century.


Friday, April 6, 2018

F. Chevalier & Co. - the other side of the business

New post by Bruce Silva over at Western Whiskey Gazette
Check it out!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Charles Langley

Alfred, James, and Charles Langley were born in Staffordshire, England in the first quarter of the 19th Century and in 1849 followed the world to California in search of gold. Unlike most adventurers, they were unprepared for gold fever, but - being two chemists and an accountant - they were well equipped to treat fevers of another kind.
                                                                   Image Brent Henningsen

 By the time the gold rush slowed to a ramble, the two eldest Langley brothers were ready to move on. Leaving Charles in San Francisco, Alfred and James travelled north with the new wave of gold seekers and wasted no time in opening the first wholesale and retail drugstore in the rapidly growing town of Victoria, British Columbia. Charles remained in San Francisco and was married to Helena who birthed one child, Charles Jr, born in 1857.

Following is what I believe to be the timeline of Charles Langley's doings in the wholesale drug business of San Francsico.

1854-1855: Hogg & Langley
1855-1861: C & AJ Langley
1861-1865: C Langley
1865-1869: Langley Crowell & Co
1869-1879: C Langley & Co
1880-Post 1900: Langley & Michaels

Charles Langley died on July 26, 1875 at the age of 51.

Based on the above timeline and Warren's research, we can safely deduce that the clear "C Langley" variant was blown in 1865 only while the aqua variant was blown after 1869 (but no newer than early 1870s based on empirical analysis).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

F. Chevalier - Spirit, Bitters & Wine Merchant

Whiskey, wine and bitters merchant Fortune Chevalier was born in 1815 in Belle Isle, France. As a young man Chevalier apprenticed as a stained glass craftsman and together with a group of similar craftsmen, he worked all over France repairing the stained glass windows at various castles and churches.
In 1850 Fortune sailed to San Francisco with the intent of establishing a window construction and repair business but by 1857 was running a small unrelated business in bustling Placerville.
Chevalier later moved to Sacramento and went to work learning the wine and liquor business at the wholesale house of A.H. Powers & Co. Sometime after leaving Powers & Co. Chevalier started his own wholesale liquor concern at 42 K Street in Sacramento.
Chevalier became the sole agent for Old Castle Bourbon Whiskey and in 1872 he moved the business to San Francisco.
Three years later he took Augustus Comte into partnership. Comte had years of experience in the wine business and was possibly brought in as a partner to expand Chevalier's business into the wine market.
Meanwhile the F. Chevalier & Company was producing some of the most desirable and coveted glass containers ever blown on the west coast. The spiral neck Chevaliers Old Castle Whiskey, F. Chevalier red whittled Whiskey merchants fifth and the Chevalier Castle flask are all considered extremely collectable and high dollar additions to a western bottle collectors shelf.
Not as rare but just as collectable are the Chevalier bitters and cordial or tonic containers. The Celebrated Crown Bitters was produced from sometime in 1880 to around 1886. This bottle comes in both an applied top and tool top example. The applied top bottles are a little cruder and a lot more desirable than the tool top examples.
Chevalier also produced a "generic" product bottle after 1886 embossed The F. Chevalier Co. San Francisco. Western collectors generally believe that this container contained the Celebrated Crown Bitters also. In my opinion this bottle could have been used for the bitters, but also could have contained a cordial or tonic product.
Even though the two Chevalier bottles are a little later than the highly desirable late 1860's and early 1870 bitters bottles, they are still very collectable "western squares". The applied top and tool top Celebrated Crown Bitters along with the tool top Chevalier product bottle sure make a nice grouping of western bitters to have sitting on your shelf

Monday, February 19, 2018


More Than Meets Your Eye
The California gold rush produced some interesting and rare products that were contained in square glass bottles. Gin, various brands of schnapps and more than a handful of medicated, aromatic and other vague sounding alcohol based concoctions competed for their share of the California market.

Did the companies that produced and sold these products understand or care what words they had blown in the containers that held their products? I, for one, think they probably did. They chose carefully what they had embossed in their bottles to entice consumers, that could read, into buying their product. For those potential customers that couldn’t read, horses, jockeys, animals and other attractive objects were blown into their glass bottles. I’m not an expert on 1850-60s’ marketing, but I do know a little about the California gold rush. During the beginning of the gold rush you could sell anything you could get to California. Not so true during the mid to late 1850’s. By the late 1850’s every liquor distributor on the east coast was “riding the elephant” and the California market was flooded with goods from the east. Just take a look at any late 1850’s California newspaper and count the advertisements for cases of liquor products being auctioned right off of the wharf that the supply ship was moored to.

What this all boils down to is the competition was extremely fierce during the late 50s’ and early 60s’. Liquor distributors had to use their wits to compete in an over supplied market. “Medicated Gin”, “Aromatic Schnapps” and “Club House Gin” were but a few of the products that were being pushed on the buying public. The advertisements for these products claimed to cure as many ailments as the patent medicines of the period. Oh, and by the way, they tasted better and left you feeling tipsy if not downright comatose.

Ever wonder what these early gold rush squares contained? I certainly have. Two of the foremost products were Gin and Schnapps.

Gin - we all know that gin is a strong colorless alcoholic beverage made by distilling or redistilling rye or other grain spirits. There were dozens of varieties of gin and each agent claimed theirs was the best tasting, most medicinal or had the greatest healing properties.
London Gin is your basic run of the mill dry tasting gin and usually doesn’t have any flavorings or spices added. Old Tom Gin is a lightly sweetened gin that was very popular back in the day. Dutch or Holland gin was typically distilled from Juniper berries and had a distinctive aroma and flavor. And then there’s the medicated gin (containing some sort of medicine), Cordial Gin (a stimulating and invigorating concoction), Clubhouse (high class belonging to a club) kind of gin and it goes on and on.

Schnapps, on the other hand, is a Dutch spirit distilled from potatoes and sometimes other grains. Schnapps was possibly the first widely distributed liquor based product during the gold rush. We find scads of them in the early gold rush camps and towns here in California, and like the gins, there were dozens of different brands and types.

Udolpho Wolfe’s Aromatic Schnapps, the most common of schnapps found here in California, was a distilled spirit flavored with spices to give it a pleasing aroma and flavor. Voldner’s Aromatic Schiedam Schnapps was distilled from juniper berries, and as such, had a very different aromatic flavor.
The word Schiedam refers to not only to the city in Holland but to a particular type of schnapps. The recipe for Schiedam schnapps varied by manufacturer but almost always included the addition of honey, nutmeg and orange flower water to give it that “aromatic” flavor. Yummy! Schnapps was always advertised as a medicinal product and recommended for family consumption.

 These early western distributed square bottles are becoming harder to acquire and in greater demand by western bottle and gold rush memorabilia collectors. Clubhouse gins, aromatic schnapps, or one of the dozens of colorful embossed or un-embossed square glass containers, that made their way to California during the middle of the 19th century are a very collectable part of early California history.

Thanks to Max Bell for the pictures and contributions to this post

Thursday, February 15, 2018


" Wanted any 1850s heart shaped suspender buckles or examples with a rivet on the bottom " .
Thank You ,
Please contact :
Nicholas Kane

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

California's First Star

Image by Peter Loeser
Alvarado's California Flag             

California "Lone Star" Republic Flag 1836
In 1836, Juan Alvarado vowed to gain increased autonomy for California from Mexican rule with either "bullets or words." He hoisted this white flag with a single, centered, red five-pointed star at Monterey.
In 1834, Alvarado had been elected to the Alta California Legislature as a delegate and appointed customs inspector in Monterey. The Mexican government had then appointed Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Guterrez as Governor against the wishes of the legislature. In November of 1836, Alvarado and Jose Castro (with Vallejo's political support) surrounded the presidio at Monterey and forced Guterrez to surrender power to them. At the time of Alvarado's revolt, he still favored remaining a part of Mexico, and working with the Mexican government. With Vallejo's political support, he went on to become a two-time Governor of Alta California from 1836-1837, and later between 1842-1845.

The red star signifies freedom and independence from Mexico. The original flag is preserved at the Autry National Center in Pasadena, Cal. It is the oldest surviving California flag.

This is how the five pointed western star began in California. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018


I love a mystery.. well, let me qualify that statement. I love to solve a mystery. At any one time I have several mystery's running around inside this old noggin.

Some of these mystery's are major, some minor. Take for instance the "Western R". Now here's a major mystery. When did the Western curved "R" first appear on western bottles? Is this "R"unique to one particular glass house or did both the SFGW and PGW use the curved "R"? Is this "R" from just one mold maker or was it used by several different craftsmen over a span of years? And just when did they quit using this "Western R"? This, for sure, is a mystery that I have tried to solve for a long time. Every time I think I am getting close to a conclusion another piece of information sends me off in another direction, or backward, and brings more questions than answers.

One of the minor mystery's that seems to be spinning around in perpetual motion is the N. Mills/ Fish's Infallible Hair Restorative. Here's a bottle that has collectors, and myself, debating if this bottle was blown in the west or is just another eastern made piece of glass used to market a western product. Take a look at that unique apostrophe shaped like a 7 and the funky R that seems to be curved in instead of out like the western "R". The only bottles that I can recall that share these qualities are all, I believe, eastern. The Fish's N. Mills, Fish's B.F. Fish, Risley's Buchu, and the Ghirardelli's Branch soda. Having said that, and now have scores of western collectors on the war path, lets move on to the reason for this post: THE WESTERN STAR.

Just when I was happy concentrating on one major, and the minor...small potato's Fish's mystery, Oregon collector Dale Mlasko throws down the gauntlet on "THE WESTERN STAR" Rat's !!!, another darn mystery. If I had any gumption I could let it go, but no, the seed has been planted and its already started to grow into a low rent, although interesting, mystery.

The  STAR Of THE UNION star is a exact match to the earlier gold rush buckle star. Crisp, sharp points and canted.


Dale claims that the square bottle with a star and TM embossed on it could quite possibly be a western blown bottle.  Dale's contention is that several western merchants have a star prominently displayed or embossed in the glass of their product. That is correct but the star on the bottle is not canted like the star on the advertisement.

Hmm... TM with star, J.F. Cutter Extra has a star in a shield, good ol' Jesse Moore has two stars in its logo and one is canted like the advertisement for the Star of the Union Bitters. The Bay City soda has a star, but its not pudgy like the J.F. or Jesse Moore star. If we are talking stars we had better look at the shape for clues as to whether its an eastern, military, shining, Carl's Jr. or western star, shouldn't we? Having dealt with a few mystery's over the years standard operating procedure dictates that, first off, you get as close to a subject as you can. If that doesn't help, then you get as far away as possible to get a different view of the whole situation. so.......

After a quick trip to Marysville  for a Carls Jr. burger I noticed the star on the burger wrapper didn't look anything like our (so-called) western star, its points were rounded and it had a smiley face on it. We can eliminate Carl's Jr.'s star as being modeled after the Star of the Union Bitters star.

Just look at a military star it means business, not bitters!

The Jesse Moore stars are a little more rounded in the web than the Star of the Union Star. The lower star in the Jesse logo is canted like the star in the advertisement for the (so-called western) bitters, but the similarity ends there. The J.F. Cutter star is way fatter and the web is a lot more rounded than the star embossed on the TM bottle.

What does all this information add up to? Basically, with the small amount of detective work that I have done, there doesn't seem to be any connection between the Star of the Union star and any of the stars embossed on known western bottles. Now if any of you have any theories or other evidence to link the TM star to a western product..........


Jesse Moore canted star

 CLICK on the pictures to enlarge - rs -

Monday, January 15, 2018

More Mott's


At our last meeting Frank Ritz brought two bottles embossed with the above title but each was also embossed with different proprietors. One embossed A.H. POWERS & CO., and the other embossed with SPRUANCE, STANLEY & CO. A simple question was posed as to which bottle is the oldest. They look virtually identical in manufacture, so the challenge was on.
Let me first start with a little background on Aaron Hubbard Powers. He was born March 16, 1829, in New Durham, Strafford Co., New Hampshire. Ten years later he moved with his parents to Boston, MA. Another ten years witnessed young Powers, along with his brother, Lucius, pooling their money along with a company of about 150 other California bound gold seekers, and purchasing the Steamer Edward Everett and stocking it with supplies that could be sold for profit in San Francisco. The company set sail for California January 12, 1849, sailing around South America, and arriving at San Francisco on July 6th. The Powers brothers immediately headed for the mines on the Mokelumne River along with about 100 members of the company. Their overall success was abysmal and the supplies along with the Edwin Everett was sold and divided among the company.
 Aaron and Lucius Powers remained in the vicinity of Redwood City, San Mateo County, for a few years and had some success in the logging industry. They sold trees for construction of some of the earliest wharves in California and telegraph poles for some of the first telegraph lines. Aaron soon met and married Emma Louisa Sweazey, a native of England and daughter of William J. Sweasey - in 1853.
 In 1855 the couple moved to Calaveras County, near Campo Seco, where Aaron took up farming and stock raising. Meanwhile his brother, Lucius, gave up farming and opened a storage and commission merchant business in Sacramento for agricultural products. In 1864 Lucius opened a wholesale liquor company - L. Powers & Co. In 1867 Aaron Powers and family moved to Sacramento and joined his brother’s liquor company as a clerk. His brother, Lucius, died in Sacramento on October 1, 1875. Aaron remained in the liquor business until 1887 when he sold out and moved to Fresno County where he had purchased 250 acres of farmland. Aaron and especially his son, Lucius, left an impressive legacy in the field of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley of California – a crop growing and shipping dynasty that has lasted to this day.
 Aaron and Emma Powers produced a total of nine children:
Eugene S. Powers: 1854 - 1869 
Emma Powers: 1856 - 1857 
Martha Kate Powers: 1858 - 1921 (She married Carl Ewald Grunsky. He was one of three students who comprised the first graduating class of Stockton High School, in 1870.) 
Charles Powers: 1861 – 1928
 Frank H. Powers: 1864 - 1920 
Jennie Louisa Powers: 1867 - 1835 
Aaron H. Powers: 1869 - 1921 
Lucius Powers: 1872 - 1933 
William John Sweasey Powers: 1875 – 1938 
Tragically, two years after Aaron and Emma Powers moved to Sacramento, their first born son, Eugene, sought to beat the hot August heat with two friends. They headed for the American River where the other two boys successfully swam to the other side. Young Eugene didn’t know how to swim and thought he could wade across. Alas, he went over his head and slipped into the murky waters, not to be seen alive again.
 Emma Powers died near Fresno, CA, July 24, 1902, of complications from diabetes. In 1906 Aaron Powers departed from his residence near Sanger, CA, for New England to visit his home state of New Hampshire one last time. From there he decided to continue on for an extended tour of Europe, also with the hope of visiting his son, William, who was studying medicine in Berlin. Aaron died in Vienna, Austria, on April 9, 1907, and his remains were shipped back for interment in the family plot at Sacramento. 
James M. Henderson, was born in Ohio, in March 1830. His wife, Margaret, was the sister of Aaron H. Power’s wife, Emma Louisa. Henderson. A 49er, Henderson began farming in the vicinity of Galt, CA, at an early day. After a few years he retired from business with Powers and resumed farming, but retained his house in Sacramento, which he built in 1869. His wife was Margaret A., born in England July 1829. She came to the U.S. in 1841 with her father, William Sweasey, and family. They were married in Stockton in 1850, and had five children, three of whom were living in 1900. 

While researching this product I happened upon an article in the Sacramento Daily Union of January 1, 1880, that gives a nice account of the activities of A.H. Powers to that point. I reproduce it here:  

A copy of the article from the Sacramento Daily Union of January 1, 1880, that describes what was soon to become A.H. Powers & Co. It should also be added that A.H. Powers withdrew from his brothers firm to join in the partnership of Powers & Henderson in 1870.  

Now, lets try to date these two bottles. Fortunately Frank Ritz’s A.H.POWERS & Co. version of the two bottles carries a label. However, it is the same label that was used when the product was originally registered by Powers & Henderson. We know that the label was copyrighted in 1877 and trademarked in the State of California in 1877. But the name embossed on the bottle is that of A.H. POWERS & CO. This company didn’t form until after Powers & Henderson and then Wilcox, Powers & Co. ran their course. Therefore, the bottle would have to date after the beginning of 1884
The original front and back labels for DR. MOTT’S WILD CHERRY TONIC as trademarked with the Secretary of State for California on December 3, 1877, by Aaron H. Powers and James M. Henderson.
This advertisement from the Sacramento Daily Union on September 20, 1879, documents the formation of Wilcox, Powers & Co. from the previous firm of Powers & Henderson in August 1879.

Since A.H. Powers & Co. was not formed until February 1884, the embossed bottles containing DR. MOTT’S WILD CHERRY TONIC, with the name of A.H. POWERS & CO. embossed, could not have been blown before this date.


By February 1884 Richard W. Wilcox had left the firm of Wilcox, Powers & Co., and the newly formed company of A.H. Powers & Co. was born.

The two bottle variants were unquestionably blown in the same mold. Only the proprietors names were modified from A.H. POWERS & CO. to SPRUANCE, STANLEY & CO. Simple reasoning would determine that the Powers version was made first even though there is no evidence that Spruance, Stanley & Co. either purchased the brand or it was transferred to them. Obviously, since Spruance, Stanley & Co. were partners in the firm of A.H. Powers & Co., there may not have been any official statement or transferrence of the brand. It seems most likely that when Aaron Powers retired in 1887 the Dr. Mott’s Wild Cherry Tonic name could have been transferred to Spruance, Stanley & Co., since that company continued on in San Francisco. The only issue I have with this apparent logic is that all specimens of the bottle have applied tops, and the date of 1887, while still possible, is a little late for this technique. The Spruance, Stanley & Co. variant must be some of the latest applied top bottles made.
At least the question of which variant came first is easy to resolve simply by close inspection of the two bottles. And, their date of manufacture would have to be after February 1884.

The first of the two bottles embossed DR. MOTT’S WILD CHERRY TONIC, with A.H. POWERS & CO. as proprietors. It was blown from about early 1884 to no later than 1887 when Powers liquidated his business and moved to Fresno County, focusing entirely on agriculture.
The second version of the DR. MOTT’S WILD CHERRY TONIC bottle, embossed with the name of SPRUANCE, STANLEY & CO. as proprietors. Close examination of the bottle shows the seam mark of the slug plate, indicating the mold had been modified. Other minor “fingerprints” show the mold to be identical for each variant.
This article was written a few months ago for the NBCA newsletter. Thanks Eric for reprinting it here
 - rs -


From Charles Festersen


Hello Rick - I read your article on the Dr. Mott's variants and their associated rivet marks and found it interesting. As you stated both of the Mott's variants, the Luis Taussig square, and the Acorn Bitters all share 2 rivet marks in common. There is, however, another  western square that has the same 2 characteristic rivet marks and shape as the Mott's; though it is a slick. I've attached photos that include the slick with it's 2 rivet mark counterparts. You can see the rivet marks in the closeup and the rather nice green color of the bottle. Is it another Mott's variant? Could be. Maybe it was the one that was a label only bottle. I hope this information was of interest. - Charles
It is always a surprise to find different bottles with the same characteristics. Thanks Charles for the new info on the Mott's related bottles - rs -

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Bondy Brothers

San Francisco Gold Rush Merchants
 Bondy Brothers & Co. – Belt Manufacturers New York
Bondy Brothers period correct display assembled by Nicholas Kane includes clasps, leather and cloth for the manufacture of belts
The first mention, that I have discovered, of Adolphus and Joseph Bondy is a listing in the 1851 New York City directory for Bondy Brothers & Co. Belts, working at 138 Delancy Street and residing at 140 Delancy Street.
This 1851 listing also shows a Gustavus Bondy residing at the same address as Joseph and Adolphus Bondy
This 1852 New York directory shows Adolph and Joseph doing business as Bondy Brothers & Co, belt manufacturers 126 William Street

The 1852 San Francisco directory has a listing for A. (Adolph) Bondy doing business at 121 Sacramento Street San Francisco.  
As with other New York businesses, that were trying to capitalize on the gold rush market in California, the Bondy’s opened a store in San Francisco to sell goods that were manufactured at their New York business. William Taussig & the Pollack brothers were other gold rush based businesses that manufactured in New York and sold in San Francisco to the gold rush market.  
Bondy Brothers& Co. New York belt clasp. This clasp was found without the Bondy Brothers marked wreath
Image Nicholas Kane
Bondy ad for the California & Australia market
Image Google books


The Bondy stamped clasp has their name stamped on the belt loop of the wreath. Several stamped eagle clasps, recovered from the California gold camps, have been found with the Bondy marked wreath attached


This stamped roped border eagle clasp was recovered with a Bondy marked wreath
Image Nicholas Kane
The 1854- 55 New York City directory lists Leo Bondy working in military ornaments and residing at the same address as Adolph and Joseph Bondy
Rare one cent token stamped Bondy Brothers & Co Belt Manufacturers New York
Image American Numismatic Society
Belt slide, wreath and tongue (missing disk) for the Bondy cast clasp. Notice how thick the casting is on this clasp
Images Nicholas Kane
Disk and belt loop for the cast Bondy clasp.
Image Rick Simi
1857 – 1858 New York directory lists the Bondy’s also manufacturing gloves
As the gold rush market declines, in 1859, the Bondy Brothers move their business to 6 Dey Street in New York City and begin to manufacture shirts.
Bondy Brothers stamped clasp
Image Rick Simi
1863 New York Directory lists Adolph dealing in shirts and Joseph working in whalebone. Whalebone was used in the manufacture of ladies corsets
The 1875 New York directory shows both Adolph and Joseph move to 25 Howard Street and are working in ribbons. The ribbons could possibly be for Civil War veteran organizations or some sort of trimmings on hats or clothes.
In the US, from 1873 to 1879, 18,000 businesses went bankrupt, including 89 railroads. Ten states and hundreds of banks went bankrupt. Unemployment peaked in 1878, Hard times for the citizens of the United States and the Bondy Brothers trying to make a living manufacturing and selling ribbons.
The last listing for the Bondy Brothers appears in the 1878 New York City directory listing them as commission merchants and manufacturing ribbons in
 New York City and residing in New Jersey.


Daily Alta California
San Francisco Directory’s
New York City Directory’s
American Numismatic Society
Nicholas Kane
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