Thursday, April 7, 2011

Early California Medicines

Two of the most historic, and desirable western medicines are the blue Fish's Infallible hair restorative, and the Dr. Parker's Indian Tla-Quillaugh. Both date from the 1863-64 time period, and represent beautiful examples of western glassblowing. The Fish's also comes in an aqua indented panel medicine form, but the beautiful blue "oil can" shape, and the tall cylindrical form of the Dr. Parker's are simply stunning to me. Check out these advertisements which are seldom seen.

The Dr. Parker's are extremely rare, and were actually trademarked in 1864. They are found in shades of puce and green. Interestingly, two other bottles( western bitters) blown in San Francisco at the same time are also found in puce and green. Of course, I am refering to the Salutaris Bitters, and the Wideman / Chappaz. All of these bottles are very tough to find, and for the elaborate advertising used, they all must not have been too successful, or the "recyclers" got them! I would estimate that there are about 6-9 examples of the Dr. Parker's in collections, and most are damaged, and repaired to my knowledge. I do not have an example in my collection, but sure would love to acquire one!

The blue Fish's are a few more in number, but would still be considered rare with about 15 known examples, including a few with condition problems. I only know of one specimen dug in recent years, and that one was found in 2010. Some are deeper blue, and very crude. There were 3 examples dug in Hawaii a few years ago, and these are a lighter shade.

These colorful and rare pieces of western history are rarely offered, and even more rarely dug these days. Maybe 2011 will be the year when more examples are found!


  1. Both bottles would have been blown by the Pacific Glass Works, as S.F.G.W. was not in business at the time the blue Fish's was manufactured in 1864 and marketed by Redington & Co.

    The Parker bottle was marketed in 1864 from the newspaper advertisements I found. Both are early western products and very desireable examples to collect.

  2. Great ads for these two rare bottles, I haven't seen them before. The Parker's looks to be the label for the bottle.

    Man, do I love that "60's" western blown glass.

  3. How many of the Parker's are around? I think Jim L.formally of Kingsburg might have had one?