Cheers, Jason P.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thought you might have an interest to add this to the A. McBoyle & Co. thread. This is a pretty rare chamfered-corner druggist I picked up a few years ago. It might well be rarer than the SF-blown patent medicines from the same firm. Obviously available at a fraction of the price of a "puce-amber" example. This is the only example I've seen personally and I won it on ebay a few years ago when Ken Werner sold off his druggist collection.
Cheers, Jason P.
Cheers, Jason P.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Another of the western medicines with a great name is the Pratt's New Life, A. McBoyle, San Francisco. These early medicines have a unique shape with an unusually long neck, and crudely applied top. In the late 1970s I saw my first example in aqua, and was not even aware at the time that they were made in colors. In 1998, about 25 were found in one cache in colors from aqua, to yellow amber, and even a puce amber! Prior to these examples being dug, I know of few collectors who had even seen a colored specimen.
James Pratt was a San Francisco druggist starting in the 1850s. After retiring in the later 1860s he apparently gave the business, and some of his "secret" formulas to his son Perry. He must not have taken to the medicine business as Perry gave sole agency to Alexander McBoyle. McBoyle must have figured out the biz because 3 years later Perry made him a full partner and retired as well. The Pratt's brand was very successful and different varieties of medicines were manufactured including the popular Abolition Oil which is fairly commonly found in the West. The Pratts formulas were sold until about 1900.
Since the grouping of New Life's were discovered in 1998, a completely new version of this medicine was found...a large cobalt blue specimen which remains the only example known to my knowledge. I have also seen an aqua example in the larger 8" size. The New Life pictured here was found in Nevada and was not part of the original grouping found in San Francisco. For an early bottle, these are seldome crude but this example is extremely whittled, and full of black striations, and overall character. I would be curious to know if any other colored examples have been dug in any locations other than San Francisco. For some reason the vast majority of these have damage, mostly in the form of flashes in the top.
The name "New Life" was yet another attempt to depict the promise of health and vitality. As rare as these bottles are, it must not have caught on.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
The early Dr. Lepper's Oil of Gladness is a fascinating bottle to me for several reasons, not the least of which is the great name. These bottles are usually quite crude and are fairly early by most western medicine standards, later 1860s or so. Another interesting aspect of these medicines is that they are one of the few which are embossed on all four panels leaving no room for a label. I assume then, that the box and wrapper were quite ornate and attractive. Does anyone have a box for one of these?
According to Wilson, Doctor Andrew Lepper was a practicing physician in Sacramento, and traveled out to the mining camps around the Sierra foothills. In 1865 he gave sole agency to his "Oil of Gladness" to Justin Gates who operated a wholesale drug business with his brother James. Dr. Lepper also sent wagonloads of medicines up to the mines as sort of a traveling medicine show. Can you imagine the "dog and pony show" this must have been to the miners at the time who were enduring so much hardship, and likely had more aches and pains than one can imagine?
The bottle comes in two sizes- the large "economy size" at 5 1/2" and the regular 5" size. The larger bottle holds more than twice the capacity of the smaller version. The small size is one of the West's smallest early patent meds. It must have packed quite a whallop!
In my experience the larger size is much more scarce than the small size, although all would be considered very scarce. I would like to hear from some Sacramento diggers, and Gold Country diggers as to your impression of which size is the toughest to find, and the ratio.
Early Western medicines are so colorful in their names, and claims to cure anything that ails you. The Oil of Gladness boldly embossed "Sacramento" is one of the most flamboyant, and interesting of all!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Here are a few pictures of the jar collection of fellow collector and digging buddy George Koolery of Parksville British Columbia. George is active in the British Columbia bottle collecting community and helps with a couple of different shows in the Vancouver and Nanaimo area. Here's a few of George's (and my) favorites:
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Posted by California Kid at 6:33 AM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Here is a Western bottle that I have not been able to find any information on. It is 5 1/4" tall and though tooled, it appears fairly early circa mid 1870s. The embossing reads; " Dr. S.P.P. Vandenberg's Sr. Worm Syrup" I am not sure if this is for livestock, or humans...maybe both? I know it is shown in Tim Higgin's book, but with the top knocked off. I believe it is extremely rare, and would like to know any information possible, Thanks.