Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dr. Wonser's U.S.A. Indian Root Bitters

In researching this bitters product, I came across two interesting advertisements. The bottom ad is the earliest I've found for this product. The ad was placed in The Gilroy Advocate paper and ran from June 25th, 1870 for 3 mos. Notice that the manufactory and depot for this bitters was at 645 Third Street, S.F. He was not at this address very long, as the upper ad indicates by December 17th, 1870 he had relocated to 418 Sacramento St. The upper ad was placed in the San Francisco Daily Examiner on December 17th, 1870 and ran for 1 month.
The time frame that his product is being marketed is interesting as San Francisco Glass Works had not begun operations at their rebuilt facility until September 12th, 1870. The lettering style is the same as the earlier large lettered Renz's bitters bottle, both bottles probably made by the same pattern maker.
The bottle itself is interesting in that it has been made in two variations. Both are the amber colored examples. One variant has a configured base with sharp edge and a stepped ledge going into a concave circle with small center dot. The more often seen variant has a rounded edge base with a semi-shallow kick up with center dot, the aqua examples also share this mould feature. I do not consider the different style tops to be a variant, this is just a difference of lipping tools used for the completion of the mouth.


  1. Whiskey base and early IXL base is what the two amber mold varients bring to mind...

  2. That's a pretty good assessment. I suspect that this bottle was made at the Pacific Glass Works also.

  3. Please include the 2 or 3 'GREEN' examples that I know to exist here locally,as 2 of the 3 are bottles that I have dug. Dave Acorn,06/01/2010.