Friday, October 21, 2011

Jewel Bitters- A. Fortlouis & Co.













There are two versions of this rare bottle. The John Bowman variant, and this A. Fortlouis version. Both date to the 1880s, and while the Bowman name is fairly easy to pin down, the A. Fortlouis type not so much. There are at least two San Diego, California whiskey bottles with the A.Fortlouis name embossed, but Fortlouis was known to have distributed liquor from Seattle, Washington in the later 1880s. This example was found in Washington state and interestingly had a lead top, and neck covering stamped clearly " John Bowman, San Francisco, Cal." I was not able to acquire the lead foil top when I purchased the bottle. Research has raised the possibility that Bowman, and Fortlouis were in a partnership of some kind when these bitters were produced, and this new evidence could lead to this conclusion as well.







Why though, would "partners" manufacture completely different versions of the same product " Jewel Bitters"? They appear to be the same mold, and approximate age with applied tops. I have not seen advertising for either variant, but this would likely provide some clue as to what the relationship was between Boman, and Fortlouis.







The Bowman variant is very rare with perhaps 6-10 known. The A. Fortlouis is extremely rare with less than 6 known.

7 comments:

  1. A while back I dug a Jewel Bitters ( A. Fortlouis) in of all places, Sierra City CA. I consigned it to the then Glassworks "Western Roundup" auction.
    It was undamaged and a murky shade of dirt brown. It sold for a very dissapointing price and I never did find what collection it landed in.
    Although it is considered very rare, I hope it is more desirable now then it was back in the 1990's
    rs

    ReplyDelete
  2. I dug a Jewel (Bowman) Bitters around 10 years ago off Market St. here in San Diego, Cal. with Jon L. and Rurick K., part of the top was gone so I ended up selling it to some guy who was going to have it repaired. Rick

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  3. Albert Fortlouis was my great grandfather. Would love to track down one of these bottles. If you find out where they ended up,
    please advise.
    Lisa Fortlouis Wood
    Fortlouis@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. BTW
    My grandmother Elise was born in San Diego. Albert Fortlouis spent time there and also lived in Carson City Nevada, near Wyatt Earp I am Told

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He lived near Earp on Tombstone, AZ.

      Delete
    2. He lived near Earp on Tombstone, AZ.

      Delete
  5. Albert Fortlouis was my great grandfather. Would love to track down one of these bottles. If you find out where they ended up,
    please advise.
    Lisa Fortlouis Wood
    Fortlouis@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete