Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Here are some of my favorite digging pictures from 2013
The Pepsi privy
Tea anyone?
A packed pit
A typical Nevada dig
Full Face Cutter and....

This would be in the fist shovel full
Happy New Year to all and hope this year brings you a full privy
- rs -

Monday, December 30, 2013

Teakettle Whiskey on ebay

While looking through bottle listings on ebay this morning I noticed a Teakettle whiskey fifth up for auction. (go HERE to see the listing)

While I was looking at the other pictures posted on the site by the person auctioning the Teakettle the last picture of his/her bottle shelves sure caught my attention:

If my old eyes are not playing tricks on me I count twenty one ( yes, 21 ) Teakettle fifths and one Teacup whiskey fifth on those two shelves.

Impressive? you bet! What puzzles me is why would you auction off one of these Teakettles and leave yourself with only 21 Teakettles left in your collection.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A rare Surprise.

Recently I threw a minimum bid in on a nice early Sacramento applied top medicine. The description was vague at best and minor details such as condition and actual size were not in the description at all...only a few pictures. When the bottle arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find a mint condition LARGE size Dr. Lepper's Oil of Gladness, Sacramento. The smaller sized examples are scarce early meds, but I have only seen a couple of the large "economy size" variants. This one is crude and full of micro bubbles with a large applied top. While the majority of my acquisitions of vaguely described glass leaves me disappointed or requesting a refund, this was a nice surprise in a good way.I am full of "gladness".

The large and small size Oil of Gladness
The large size is 5 1/2" and the small 5" Both have applied tops.
- rs -


Quite a while back I acquired a bottle that I knew absolutely nothing about and had never seen before. What intrigued me about the bottle was the name CAL. VOLCANIC MINERAL WATER CO. embossed on the side panels of the bottle. Even though the name Cal. Volcanic was enough to spark my interest the "R's" in MINERAL and WATER were of the curved variety. Those curved "R's" are associated with the bottles blown in San Francisco and that was the clincher for the purchase.

The first mention of the Cal. Volcanic Water Co. product, that I could find, was in the 1880 Sacramento Daily Union newspaper. As you can see in the ad the mineral water was discovered in Southern California and was known as Fahrenkrug's Eradicator.

1880 Sacramento Daily Union mention of the Volcanic Water

The Sacramento Daily Union of March 1883 lists "California Volcanic Mineral Water, San Francisco, Cal" under the heading "Business Announcements". I am not sure if this is the beginning of the mineral water business or just a mention of an established business. It seems like the above ad from the 1880 Sacramento Daily Union would be the beginning time frame for the business and the advertisement below a mention of the established "up and running" mineral water business in San Francisco
March 1883 Sacramento Daily Union

Notice the curved "R's on the indented panel embossing
Flat western style medicine base
Early tooled type top
Shoulder and embossed indented panel
1883 Pacific Rural Press advertisement for the California Volcanic Mineral Water.
A remedy for blood diseases, rheumatism and liver complaint. A cure for kidney disease, dyspepsia and female complaints. Heck, this is not a mineral water. This is a western medicine in H. Fahrenkrug's  disguise of some sort of a mineral water eradicator hallucination  The bottle is shaped like a medicine, the contents are from southern California - and really mineral water in southern California?
I think this bottle is going on my western medicine shelf.

Cal. Volcanic Mineral Water

Friday, December 27, 2013

Speaking of Bases - Let's take a look at Star Bases!


How about these colors!
Thanks to Cal49er for these spectacular whiskies
Name That Base!
Western or Eastern?

According to the descriptions on ebay both of these bottles are western....Hmm....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

To all of our fellow collectors from the

Monday, December 23, 2013

Not Just Your Average Pratt's

Here is a duo of early medicines which might look familiar. At first glance they look like an aqua and yellow amber Pratt's New Life...right? The colored New Life's were virtually unknown until the "big dig" of 1998. At that dig, there were 25-30 of the New Life's dug, with maybe 10 being undamaged in any of the color variants. There were a handful of aqua examples found, about four in an orange amber, a dozen or so yellow amber's and five puce specimens. These are still rare bottles in any condition, but very rare in mint condition...no matter what the color.
 Anyway, this innocent looking aqua "New Life" is actually an "Abolition Oil"! The mold appears to be identical to the New Life, but it is a variant of the Pratt's Abolition Oil that I have not seen before. Maybe I just do not get out much, but it is a first for me. The embossing on the reverse is an extremely similar

" A. McBoyle & Co. San Francisco". The font is identical although the letter spacing is a tad bit different. I would be interested in knowing how many more of these are out there. Dale M.

Just wanted to add a few thoughts and pictures to Dale M's post
A. McBoyle Pharmacy  (Jason P collection)
Pratt's advertisement Sacramento Daily Union 1869
Pratt's New Life ( Dale M collection )
Pratt's Abolition and New Life advertisement
Western aqua Pratt's Abolition Oil and aqua Pratt's New Life ( rs collection )

San Francisco Call newspaper ad September 1896

Friday, December 20, 2013


Sol Levinson first appears in the Polk’s Seattle City Directory in 1904. His occupation listed as a travel agent. In 1911 he is listed as a manufacturer of King Solomon’s Bitters The business address is the same as his home address 7922 Wallingford Ave. Seattle, Washington. In 1924 he was listed as a " medicine manufacturer" again the business address and his home address are the same, this time at 7903 W. Green Lake Way. So it appears that King Solomon’s Bitters was a small company and operated out of his home.

Although the King Solomon Bitters is known to be a Seattle bottle I know of two examples of this bottle that were dug in the Tonopah and Bridgeport area. It is interesting that such a scarce bottle would be found in somewhere other than the Seattle area.

It is also interesting that a small business run out of the owner's home could afford to have a embossed bottle produced to hold his product. Some of the other scarce local bitters that have been found in other places than were they were manufactured, or bottled, include:

Jewel Bitters A. Fortlouis a San Diego bottle. One example found in Sierra City.

E.L. Bailey's Kidney and Liver Bitter's a Sacramento bottle found in Goodyears Bar.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Sole Agent is Back!

Utah's Sole Agent has returned to the blog community and has three new posts on his site in the last week. You can find the Western Glob Top Whiskey site HERE

Seems like interest in western whiskies is heating up so click on over to see what's new in the western whiskey world

Glad to see the old sole agent is back!  - rs -

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Head on over to the new and revised Western Whiskey Gazette  HERE  to see what our Western Whiskey guru has in store for the future.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Upcoming Western Shows

2014 Western Bottle Shows
25 January 2014 (Saturday) Anderson, California – Superior California Antique Bottle Clubs 38th Annual Show and Sale at the Shasta County Fairgrounds, Anderson, California, Saturday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Early admission: Call for information, Set up day: Call for information, Cost of admission: Call for information,

Superior California Antique Bottle Club, Contact: Mel Hammer, 530.241.4878 or Phil McDonald, 530.243.2903



21 & 22 February 2014 (Friday & Saturday) Aurora, OregonOregon Bottle Collectors Association Bottle, Antiques & Collectibles Show & Sale at the American Legion Hall, 3rd & Main Street, Aurora, Oregon, Free Appraisals, Friday, 1:00 – 5:00 pm set-up, $5 Early Bird Admission, Dealer drop-off at 12:00 Noon, Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Admission by Donation, Dealer set-up and Early Birds 8:00 am – 9:00 am, Information: Mark Junker, 503.231.1235 or Bill Bogynska 503.657.1726, billb@easystreet.net, www.obcaweb.org,



07 & 08 March 2014 (Friday & Saturday) Chico, California48th Annual Antique Bottle, Jar, Insulator & Collectable Show & Sale at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, California. Friday, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, $5 Admission, Saturday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Free Admission, Contact: Randy Taylor, 530.518.7369 (cell), PO Box 1065, Chico, California 95927, or RTJarGuy@aol.com


28 & 29 March 2014 (Friday & Saurday) Morro Bay, California46th Annual Mooro Bay Antique Bottle Show and Sale at the Morro Bay Veterans Hall, 209 Surf Street, Morro Bay, California 93442, Show Times: Friday 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Early Bird – Friday 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, Free admission and Free Early Bird, San Luis Obispo Bottle Society, contact: Richard Tartaglia, Show Chairman, 546 Hillcrest Place, San Luis Obispo, California 93410, 805.543.7484, dirtydiver53@gmail.com


For information or a dealers sale packet contact Gary or Darla Antone 925 373-6758

Monday, December 16, 2013

W.S. Wright- A True Piece of History.

Recently I was able to reacquire a bottle which I dug many years ago...lost in the pick, purchased it later, traded it, and now am grateful to have back on the shelf. It is a dark aqua W.S.Wright blob soda with thousands of champagne bubbles, and in perfect condition. To me these sodas are among the most historically significant pieces of western glass.
William S. Wright came to California in the 1850s and initially settled in the Petaluma, California area. He ran

a store there until moving to the Comstock about 1860. Wright started in the soda water business in 1861 at Mill and B street in Virginia City. In the Summer of 1863, Wright placed an order for 24,000 soda bottles from the fledgling Pacific Glass Works. This large order actually made headlines in the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers. Obviously he had grand ideas of the demand for his bottled soda in the booming town. For such a large order of "custom" bottles, relatively few have survived. It is thought that a significant percentage of these bottles were poorly manufactured with flashes, numerous pot stones, and other impurities. In 1989 literally thousands of these "rejects" were dug in a large well or outhouse near the W.S. Wright factory. Only a handful were found intact, and most of these were loaded with chunks of charcoal, and stones. I have seen and held the killer dark green example with hundreds of stones throughout, and amazingly, none radiate. What a bottle!
The W.S. Wright has "Pacific Glass Works" proudly embossed on the base, and although no State is embossed, these are considered to be the earliest western blown soda bottle. They are also territorial which makes these bottles the earliest territorial soda bottles in the U.S.
Very few of the Wright sodas have been found outside the Virginia City area, which makes sense as there was most likely this one order. There are in my opinion about 30 undamaged examples in collections. All in all this is one important western bottle! Dale M.

Sunday, December 15, 2013