Friday, March 22, 2013

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:



  1. Where was the pontiled Drs Mcdonald & Levy Sacramento city bottle blown???

    1. The Manzanita bottle is from 1855 and to early to be western blown.

    2. I guess I should have checked my notes before I answered the question about the Manzanita bottle. The date on the bottle could be as early as 1853. Levy & McDonald split up in 1854 so my best guess is the bottle would be 1853 -54 not 1855.
      See the link I put up to the post on the Manzanita bottle

  2. Thanks for the info. I had purchased my example of the compound extract of manzanita several years ago from e-bay, complete with the western curved rs, so the glassworks backeast would be anyones guess??

  3. The text from Warren's book is extremely interesting. Pretty much nails down that the Bowen's, Adolphus, and Rowler's were western blown at the earliest western glass house...Turner Bro's???? Maybe DE could post a picture of his deep colored pontiled Turner Bro's. Med. She is a beauty and the only one I have ever seen! DM

  4. Is there a town embossed on the other side panel of the Bowen's ?

  5. Yes. The bottle is embossed as DR BOWEN'S / BLOOD PURIFIER / SAN FRANCISCO