Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lacour's Bitters

Circa: April 1867 – November 1869

This unusual shaped bottle was first produced by Louis Lacour in 1867. It is believed that the bottle was designed to resemble a lighthouse and the word Sarsapariphere is a French conjunction of sarsaparilla and lighthouse.
This bottle comes in three variants and western collectors speculate that the first two variants were made by the same mold maker at the San Francisco Glass Works. These same western collectors lean toward variant three being blown at the Pacific Glass Works during the 1868 to 1870 time period.
(Pictured at right are two examples of the first variant from the Warren Friedrich collection)

Relation to Sierra County
Although I do not have conclusive proof that any examples of the Lacour’s bottles have been discovered in Sierra County, I do have reports of shards of this bottle being recovered. Early Downieville diggers report that two broken examples of the Lacour’s Sarsapariphere were discovered at Chips Flat in the 1960’s. Another report from a Nevada City digger has shards of an amber example being un-earthed in the Alleghany area in the 1990’s.
Even though there are possibly as many as 75 examples of all variants of the Lacour’s bottle, collectors of western glass, bitters and figural bottles consider the Lacour’s an extremely desirable, difficult and expensive bottle to obtain for their collection.

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