Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pratt's New Life & Abolition Oil

Although the Pratt's New Life and Pratt's Abolition Oil are not bitters, they sure are early and interesting western bottles, and in my opinion, a very nice addition to a western collection.

American Bottle Auctions, in their latest auction # 49, had both of these Pratt's product bottles up for grabs, and grabbed they were. The New Life brought a respectable $475 with the Abolition Oil finishing at $425.

Both of the Pratt's products were manufactured and marketed by San Francisco druggists and chemists A. McBoyle & Co. McBoyle & Co. believed in the power of advertising and patronized local newspapers heavily and frequently.

The earliest mention of the Abolition Oil, that I have found, is in an April 1867 advertisement. Advertisements for the New Life start sometime in the early months of 1868.

Pratt's Abolition Oil for Abolishing Pain was advertised as a general pain reliever for all aches and pains, while the Pratt's New Life was a blood purifier and Liver Invigorator ( just like the bitters products claimed). Both products were very popular and some of the west's "best sellers" during the time period that they were marketed.
Even though the two Pratt's bottles are not big, square and have the word bitters embossed in the glass, they sure pack a lot of western history and are a "bargain" when it comes to purchasing western made glass.
Congratulations to the winning bidders.
Got Pratt's?


  1. The Abolition Oil pictured is the earliest version in my opinion, and has the flared tooled top. The applied "backwards S " version is later. I have dug the pictured version in 60s holes. The New Life is a very under valued bottle. Before 1998 when about 30 of these were dug in S.F. there might have been 3 of the amber toned New Life bottles known...maybe. I had never seen one(only aqua) and virtually every Western collector I know, had never seen one. I own a super whittled dark orange amber example that was dug in Nevada, and if it were not for the Big Dig examples, I would value the New Life in amber at $1000-$2000. Even the group dug in the city consisted mostly of damaged examples, with flashes, and checks present in 80% of them. A mint example is still a very rare bottle with all the great charactaristics I love in Western glass. Colored, early, applied top, embossed San Francisco, cool name, and rare. Someday these will get the respect they deserve...I believe $475 is a very low price of admission to pay for this bottle. M.E.

  2. i just dug up one of the pratts abolition oil bottles on a jobsite i am on. its been buried for who knows how long and has a small chip in the neck but other than that its in good shape. If anyone is interested in it E mail me at M_Rogers86@yahoo.com

  3. I have a green pratts w/the S in "Abolishing" backwards. Is this worth anything?Am very willing to sell it