Sunday, August 19, 2012

Marden and Folger- San Francisco

Here is a recent find from the Gold Country foothills. It is embossed " Marden and Folger, San Francisco", and has a nasty tubular pontil. I cannot help but notice the resemblance to the Bovee spice which is also from San Francisco, and pontiled.

 This is the first example which I have had the opportunity to acquire, and I have not seen another. Does anyone have any other details on this spice? Date of manufacture, or numbers known in collections? Thanks! Dale M.

This ad was taken from the California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences 31 July 1863 confirming that Marden & Folger were in business together as early as 1863....They bought out the business of WM. Bovee & C0. in 1861. This bottle is to early to have been manufactured on the west coast - rs


  1. Dale,
    From my research this bottle most likely contained their fresh California ground mustard that they advertised. They were successors to Wm. Bovee and operated from 1861 to 1866.

  2. Dug broken ones in Placer Co, CA, gold rush campsites, but never close to a complete example.

  3. Ira Marden was employed by Wm. Bovee as late as 1860, but by the next year had left Bovee and entered into the coffee and spice business with James A. Folger at 521 and 523 Front St.

    Ironically, Bovee had teamed up with one George C. Waller and moved right next door to Marden and Folger at 515 and 517 Front St. I can only imagine the conflicts the went on between neighborly competitors.

  4. I guess that the "fire was too hot", which maybe encouraged M & F to move down to 220 Front St early in 1863.

  5. Dale,
    I'm aware of 2 other examples. Hope that helps any with your rarity assessment.
    It's interesting that Marden & Folger were the successors to Bovee. Makes sense now why the bottle moulds look the same. I have a Bovee in my collection that I bought from Betty Zumwalt when she was selling many of her food bottles.
    In fact, the bottles are so similar, that when I saw the Marden & Folger at Reno, I assumed it was a Bovee !


  6. My GGG was Ira Marden and I have a book about the early start of Marden and Folgers in San Francisco.
    Ira hired a young 16 year old Jim Folgers to help build a coffee mill. From the geneaology I have his daughter was Nellie Marden who married my GG John McCarthy .. I understand he sold his portion of the business to go on the Gold Rush - but returned to continue his coffee business and won awards in a State Fair . Don't have all the details but could find them if you're interested -- Would love to own a piece of family history like your bottle !

    Shannon Mulvihll

    1. Shannon Mulvihill can be reached at and she is very interested in Marden and Folgers bottles. Thank you