Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dr. Henry's World's Tonic & Blood Purifyer

This 9" knife edge tonic/ bitters is very rare. It actually comes in two different molds, with one being more oval in shape with a tapered neck, and this mold, with a true knife edge shape, and a straight neck. Both have crudely applied top, and usually come in a turquoise aqua coloration which is very attractive. This product is related to the Dr. Henry's Sarsaparilla, and the Dr. Henry's Botanic Preparations. This one is interesting in that "purifier" is spelled incorrectly "purifyer". I know of about 10 of these in Western collections, with the majority being dug in California and Oregon. Has anyone heard of them being found elsewhere? It somewhat resembles the Bitter Witch in shape and size. I wonder if they were competitors? Obviously the Bitter Witch was more successful, as there are certainly more of them around. These come in some terrific deep colors, and usually are quite crude.


  1. I want to set the record straight of my doubt that Dr. Henry's World's Tonic is is connected to the far West. I have never seen any documentation that connects the product to California and especially the Dr. Henry's products found here. There is always a possibility that some bottles may have been blown in California but under that scenario it should have been marketed here - and to date I have seen no advertising here. The product was made by the Grafton Medicine Co. of St. Louis and advertised in the midwest beginning in 1872.

    Any information to the contrary would be of great interest to me.

  2. I agree with Eric.The embossing also seems very different than western embossing especially the "S" which is about as midwestern looking as it can get.The product is from St. Louis,and advertizing from there shows that. There are some real characteristics of Ohio glass that resemble California glass but wishin' it don't make it so.

  3. Post Script to my last comment. Don't write about bottles without looking at yours. I have thought about this piece for so long I imagined it had those crazy S's that the M'Leans(McLeans) and other mid west bottles have but just looked at mine and although it has fancy seriphs on the H,T N,D E etc. it has none on the S. Oh mouth, insert foot.One other thing that doesn't seem western is the strange use of periods which is something that is seen in Ohio embossing.