Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Club Starting in Hangtown

Just in form Matt Levanti:

Hi Rick,
 we are string up the pot down here in Placerville and attempting to resurrect the Hangtown Bottlenecks antique bottle club. Four of us got together last month and made some loose plans, set goals and elected temporary officials. I announced the club at the 49'r club meeting last night and have invited some folks locally I know would be interested. I'mn trying to get the word out to anyone who would like to come out for an evening of bottle talk, and hopefully build a foundation for a strong active club. We intend on having raffles, show and tell and guest speakers in the future, the first few meeting will probably focus on organization of the club. Maybe a show here in Placerville too? I'm hoping you could post the attached flyer and this email on your blog as I know most of the active western collectors check in. The invite is open to all, as of the moment we are not asking for due's, but if the club takes root it will be a probability in the future.


Help support your local bottle will help secure the future of our hobby!!

March's Favorite Western Bottle Pictures

A  cabinet full of rare western beauties
Two variants of the Henley's IXL bitters
Canyonville show display of near mint insulators
Some of the western whiskies for sale at last year's Auburn show
Yellow green Cundurango
The three variants of the Dr. Renz Herb Bitters
A powerful group of western bitters
Love those curved R's
An interesting western medicine?
The Hirapicra Bitters
BOLD embossing!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Earliest Western Blown Medicines

Dr. Adolphus Anti Rheumatic Cordial
In the continuing series of the earliest western blown medicines its time to explore the Dr. Adolphus Anti Rheumatic Cordial. From what little information I was able to obtain it appears the Adolphus bottle was marketed in 1860 and the bottle blown at the San Francisco Glass Works. Adolphus and Jungerman claimed to be the manufacturers of the Anti Rheumatic Cordial along with a product called Dr. Adolphus' Health Resorative.
Adolphus advertisement from the Sacramento Daily Union October 1860 -as you can see Justin Gates and C.P. Morrill of later day Viriginia City fame sold the Adolphus product
The anti rheumatic cordial was advertised to cure not only Rheumatism but darn near everything from Gout to diseases associated with houses of ill repute. The Health Restorative was advertised to help with the pain of rheumatism. It is not clear if the two products were one in the same or two seperate bottled medicines. 
Dr. Adolphus advertisement for the health resorative taken from the Golden Era newspaper April 1860
The front embossed panel of the Adolphus bottle
Notice the crude embossing and the similarity of the R in Francisco to the R on the  Dr. Bowens Blood Purifier

The Adolphus base has an open pontil and is considered a colored pontiled medicine by medicine collectors
Thanks to Dennis Eastley for the pictures of the Dr. Adolphus
(Part Ttwo of a Three part series)


Friday, March 22, 2013


I am sorry to report Ken Schwartz passed away last night.  I do not have any details on services or any other information but will post more information as it becomes available.

Ken was a wonderful and caring person and a pillar of the western bottle collecting community...Sad News indeed....

Latest Update: Ken Schwartz, 83, of Redding died Friday at Vibra Hospital of Northern California in Redding. Arrangements are pending at Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel in Redding (243-1525).

Latest Update March 26th: As per Ken's request there will be no official services. I was told Ken's incredible collection of western whiskeys and other related western items will stay in place and are not for sale. Our condolences to Teenie and the family.

A nice tribute to Ken written by Jeff Wichmann is here:

Ken in front of a portion of his fantastic collection of Western Whiskey bottles

The Earliest Western Blown Medicines

 Dr. Bowen’s Blood Purifier

The Dr. Bowen’s Blood Purifier is one of the three earliest western blown medicines and a product from one of the the first western glasshouses to blow embossed bottles for the western market.
Warren Friedrich, in his book, Early Glassworks of California quotes the Daily Scientific Press of September 5th, 1860: " As an evidence of the success of the Glass Works ( ie: The San Francisco Glass Works ), we mention some of the leading houses here who have ordered and are supplied by this factory exclusively. Turner Bro., Front street; Dr. Bowen; Adolphus &; Co; Jungerman; Sansevain Bro.; Kohler & Co; Frohling; Billings &; Co., Folsom street; Dr. Boyce, Sacramento street, and others, all of which express their entire satisfaction"

The Bowen’s Blood Purifier was composed of Sarsaparilla, Yellow Dock, Dandelion and Iodide of Potass and it was contended it eradicated all diseases from the body without leaving any unpleasant symptoms produced by other medicines that contained mercury and arsenic.
Dr. Bowen's advertisement from the Golden Era newspaper October 1860
The Dr. Bowen's Blood Purifier - the deep blue aqua color can be seen in this photo
Front and side panel of the Bowen's

Iron pontil on the base of the Dr. Bowen's
Embossing on the front panel of the Bowen's
Thanks to Dennis Eastley for the pictures of the Dr. Bowens and to Dale Mlasko and Warren Friedrich for the information on the three earliest western medicines
(Part One of Three)

I had a question about the Dr. McDonald & Levy bottle:
Where was the pontiled Drs Mcdonald & Levy Sacramento city bottle blown???
For the story on the Dr McDonald bottle go here:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just back from the southwest.......
Can you guess in which town this street is located?

The bottles Mr. Lacour produced

Lots of down poles along Route 66

Insulators and rusty metal rule in the southwest

The Hackberry Hotel

The Navajo Bridge

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blobs & Insulators -- Kissing Cousins?

About a year and a half ago I shot this quick photo while playing around with western blob sodas and EC&M SF insulators in my back lit showcase. I've always had the dream of putting up a show display of these, even well before I started collecting blobs. I thought for years that at some point I really want to do this and start collecting western-made blob sodas. Well, that point in time arrived a couple of years ago and I have since worked casually at collecting western-made blob sodas that correlate with the colorful shades found in the EC&Ms in my collection. The intention of such a display would be to show the remarkable similarities in the color of western blown blob sodas with the western blown EC&Ms.

Although not proven 100% by written documentation, it is extremely probable that EC&Ms were blown at one or both glasshouses that produced most of the blob sodas: Pacific Glass Works and/or San Francisco Glass Works (or when they merged as one). EC&M usage has been documented on lines erected from about 1872 to around 1880. Documentation from 1870 & 1874 has been found proving that Pacific Glass Works produced some type of glass insulator.

The quality of the pic isn't that great, since it was a quick afterthought before dismantling the temporary lineup, but I wanted to share it nonetheless. Such a display can also be difficult to photograph properly due to the variations in the density of glass--blob sodas being thinner glass than what is found in the much thicker glass of the EC&Ms.  A proper exposure for the EC&Ms would wash out the sodas. When comparing the similarity of colors with the EC&Ms, one must look through the thicker bases of the sodas, not the thinner glass of the bodies. Some have been found to appear as though they were from the same glass batch!

The green sodas can of course be the most difficult to acquire, but I'm trying desperately to close in on them. Once I am content that my matching soda acquisitions are somewhat complete, you will likely see a display at a show in the future...hopefully in the very near future!


And From Denny Bray
2012 Canyonville Display
The 2012 Canyonville show was one of the largest I've seen over years. Along with a very large selection of insulators and bottles were several great displays. This display shows the similar colors that EC&M's and western sodas share. It has long been thought that EC&M's were indeed produced by the San Francisco glasshouses. Most of these 1870 California sodas blown in San Francisco are very close in color to their EC&M counterparts and help to validate that EC&M's were produced in the West. Thank you to Bill Ostrander for the picture and Bruce Silva for the loan of the display case.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 8th and 9th, 2013 (Friday & Saturday) Chico, California - 47th Annual Antique Bottle, Insulator & Collectible Show and Sale

Friday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm, $5 admission, Saturday 9:00 - 4:00, Free admission

Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, Chico, California.

Contact: Randy Taylor, PO Box 1065, Chico, California 95927, 530.518.7369/
Stop by my sales table and say hello - rs
Thanks to American Bottle Auctions for the picture & text

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How About Some Diggin' Pics!

Check Out This Log Jam !!!!!

 Nice H.C. Hudson Western Spice
Green San Francisco Glass Works w/ a Crudely Topped Spice 
Rare  1880's era Oregon Blood Purifier

A Pile of Broken Dreams
Thanks to our Oregon Amigo for the Photo's
A note from the digger:
By the way thanks for the encouragement on the early pits I have hit…so far the lot has produced, a green SF Glass Works soda, an applied Fleckenstein Mayer pint flask, a green Hudson spice, a green aqua early IXL. Some blacks, pickles, pontiled spices, and the Schnapps. Killer broken JT Daly gins, a broken black large Rosenbaum’s, broken small and large black Hostetters, a Fleckenstein Mayer glop pint in olive green(!) …it has been fun but not epic like the California boys are used to.
I would call it epic -rs

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Metal Detector Finds Bottle

I know all of us diggers dream of having a glass detector for finding bottles. It would be the ultimate bottle digging machine...Well, today, my brand new metal detector did just that,detecting a side yard of an early house. It was a nice strong signal and only 5" deep. ARE YOU SHITTING ME! were the words I belted out. I swung that detector over that bottle 100 times and still got that strong beeping signal. Once I removed the beautiful cornflower blue Dickey's from its tomb. I dumped out the dirt and a brass fob and chain were inside.... My dream of owning the first glass detector was crushed. So I will stick to good old fasion LUCK.

After a quick rinse.
Hmmm. What is it? A Rosenbaums? A Boerhaave's?
Just a nice old schnapps. Oh well!
Nice early find Dale !

Dr. Champlain's

Awhile back there was a posting on the Dr. Champlain's Ligneous Extract. These are crude and relatively early western medicines which are quite scarce. Years ago, several were found with labels intact and other advertising such as wrappers, flyers, and other related paper. I have read with great interest the "testimonials" indicating the amazing ability of this miracle cure for dyspepsia, and of course the dates of said testimonials. It appears that Dr. Champlain created his ligneous extract in the 1860s, yet apparently he patented the stuff in 1872. The testimonials date from about this time. For overall western glass characteristics it is a tough bottle to beat. Good color, crudity, embossing, and scarcity. I would estimate there are about 25 or so in collections. DM

Base of the Dr. Champlain's

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oakland GlassWorks-OGW

 Here is a nasty crude quart size ammonia. These have become a collecting category in themselves and a beautiful collection can be assembled representing virtually every western glass color in existence. I have collected the early western blown ammonia's for many years, and on rare occasion, have been fortunate to find one with the base embossing "OGW". This stands for the Oakland Glass Works. This glass works was an extremely short lived business which was located on the corner of Linden and First Streets in Oakland. It appears that anyone attempting to establish a glass factory in California really seemed to have a curse on them. The glass works were either destroyed by fire, or could not seem to figure out how to manufacture a quality product ( Baker and Cutting). Since even the ancient Roman's were able to blow glass vessels centuries before ( these artifacts can still be purchased for the price of  a tooled top fifth), and glass factories in the East, and Mid-West were cranking out quality glass a hundred years prior to the short lived "OGW".
I believe that the Oakland Glass Works were only in the biz for about 6 months, beginning in September 1884, and the proverbial fire in June 1885 marked the beginning of the end for this company.
  The bottles themselves are very attractive and exhibit characteristics which appear to be early 1870s in many cases. Apparently they were just not in to the latest glass blowing technology, or were not the most skilled. The glass character and crudity make it difficult to believe that  these bottles were mid 80s, although of course they are. This company's bottles left behind for collectors are in the form of demijohns, flasks, squares, medicines, and of course a few ammonia's. The applied top ammonia's are very rare in my experience, and the tooled top examples are also very tough to find.

  I know that there a few collectors who specialize in OGW pieces, and believe that sharing their collections with the members of this blog would be very interesting. DM