Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Wait...It is a Star"

When my financial services career gets in the way of my passion for glass, I either go digging, travel to a bottle show, or hit the junk shops. Today was "junk shop day" and I had visions of blue Wolf Barrel's or green Angeli S.F. flasks. Such was not the case today, but in the back of a dark cabinet, I noticed an amber square with it's neck foil and cork. After digging through the ACL sodas, I was surprised to find a very crude western bitters! This is a Star Kidney and Liver Bitters, with a Wait's label and neck foil. There are about half of the contents remaining, and they look tasty! I have seen the Star Bitters before, and the Wait's brand. I was not aware of a connection.
 I know this is not a super old or rare bitters, but it was a nice surprise for a stressful day of managing funds, and benefits plans.

  Any other antique or junk shop finds lately? Dale M

Hi Dale;
Back in the 80's when I had a fairly complete collection of western squares, I had two variants of the Star Kidney and Liver B itters. They were quite similar; the difference being that the embossing pattern on one was slightly tilted to the right at the top, whereas the other was straight up and down.

 I did quite a bit of research at the time on the company and found out that Star was actually a competitor to Wait; both originally doing business out of Sacramento . 415 19th St. to be exact. According to Wilso, Star B itters Co. was owned by the Heilrath B ros., along with a Wm. Kliensage, who joined in a couple years after the inception of the company in 1908. Although it was rumored that the company moved to San Francisco in 1912, I found documentation contradicting this in the form of the Treasury Dept. / IRS records of 1917, which clearly states that the Star B itters Company was still located in Sacramento at that time. The National Drug Clerk of the same year reinforces this.
Getting back to the anomaly of a Waits label on a Star B itters, I'd have to side with Warren . Wait was located at 531 J St . in Sac. B oth bottles were blown by SFPGW and both company's were in business at the same time. Perhaps a shipment got mixed up and being fierce competitors neither wanted to communicate with the other. Wait figured he'd get a credit for the botched deal, keep the bottles and end up with some free glass. (Wow! there's some conjecture! rs) However, most of the pirated labeled bottles that I've encountered over the years had the paper applied over the embossing. There's no doubt in my mind that yours is the real deal; the neck foil is the proof in the pudding.

Verrry interesting~


Here's a map of their respective locations. A is Star, B is Waits



  1. Dale,
    That might be a pirated bottle used for a Wait's Kidney and Liver Bitters product. I had a Star Kidney and Liver Bitters bottle that had a front and back label for Goging's Wild Cherry Pepsin and Iron Tonic product.

  2. Bruce,
    Actually by the time both of those embossed bitters products were being manufactured and marketed, the glassworks that was responsible for their manufacture was the Pacific Coast Glass Works (PCGW).

  3. Warren;
    Right you are. Apologies for the typo as I was "cramming" to get my reply out prior to flying into the wild blue yonder.

    Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka