Monday, September 21, 2009

Advertising their products.

For the past couple of years I've been researching as much as possible to be able to fill in the histories behind some of the bitters that I like to collect. I think it adds a tremendous amount of interest to the bottle itself, knowing some history about it, when it was marketed, for how long and where it was advertised. Interestingly, when we put out the Western Bitters Survey we listed some 94 different embossed bitters; and when you count the known variations of these there are over 100 examples currently accounted for. Yet, when I began my research efforts to document these bitters products I found that certain bitters were difficult to find any type of advertisements for them, and I wondered why. I still haven't found an answer; but the proprietors of these products must have felt it unnecessary to expend the effort or the monies to promote their goods. I was fortunate to have been able to provide a story for some of the early western bitters that I covet, however there are a few that I have found little if anything on. Some of these products, the agent or proprietor probably left it up to the wholesaler or retailer to promote the product. One of the products that I have found little information on its marketing has been the Dr. Boerhaave's Stomach Bitters. Above you will find the only advertisements I know of for this product. It was a relatively short lived bitters being advertised only during the March '68 thru January '69 time period. Wertheimber and Waterman were the manufacturers and dealers for this bitters.
The earliest advertisement is the bottom ad which shows only Siegfried Wertheimber at the earlier address of 311 Commercial St, S.F. in early 1868. The advertisement directly above it shows both S. Wertheimber and Louis Waterman at their later location at 219 Commercial St, S.F. This ad ran thru most of 1868 and into January 1869. The ad above and to the left show the agents for Oregon being Millard & Van Shuyver, this ad ran from May 15th, 1868 thru January 28th, 1869. This same advertising form was used in a Los Angeles paper by a local druggist who sold this product during the 1868 time as well.
I know of 9 collectors with whole examples of this bitters, one collector who has 2 examples, accounting for 10 examples in collections that I am aware of. The prevalent colors seem to be a dark green, old amber and yellow-olive. If this is a western made bottle it would most likely have been blown at Pacific Glass Works. I have no evidence to substantiate this though.
Wertheimber & Waterman exhibited their products at the 1868 San Francisco Mechanics Institute Fair, the San Francisco Daily Alta California reported this in their Sept 9th column on the fair's exhibiters "Wertheimer & Waterman have two casks, lettered in gold leaf, containing respectively the Boonekamp and Maag Bitters. They also have a large collection of bottles containing Boerhaave's stomach bitters, and the new drink known as the 'Splendid'."
Shortly after the last advertisements of this product, the partnership of S. Wertheimber and L. Waterman was dissolved on September 25th, 1869, Siegfried Wertheimber selling all his interest in the firm to Phillip Wertheimber with the firm name staying the same. It is not known whether the Dr. Boerhaave's bitters was still being carried or marketed by the new firm, one would have to find an advertisement or a labeled example of this product to know.

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