Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Geo. S. Dickey Pioneer Chemist

According to George Dickey he started his apothecary business in San Francisco early in 1850.

The above ad place by Dickey in October of 1864 claims he started his business fourteen years earlier in 1850. This is the earliest ad I could find for Dickey while he was operating at Howard and Third Street in a frame building.

The above 1872 advertisement for the Pacific Chemical Works has an endorsement from  Dickey at his new address of Fourth and Market along with the endorsements of some pretty well known San Francisco chemists and apothecaries.

A "run" of Dickey's - the bottle third from the left is a earlier variant of the Dickey Chemist bottle possibly dating from the early 1870's.
An early flat base Dickey
Late 1870's - 1880's indented base
I believe the above advertisement is for the embossed Dickey bottle
(early multi tasking - a remedy for acne that you can brush your teeth with )
The amber examples in this picture date from the 1890's
Flat embossing on the early 1870's era bottle
Sharp embossing on a 1890's example - notice anything different about this bottle?
Yep, the pestle is on the left side of the mortar instead of the right side.
The Dickey Pioneer 1850 Chemist S.F. is not a rare or expensive bottle to obtain and can be found at almost every western bottle show. If you are looking for a historic western medicine bottle to add to your collection that comes in several variants and colors consider old Geo. S. Dickey's pioneer chemist bottle.
From Andrew K:
Here are some photos of the rare mid to late 1880s variant. I have dug two examples of these and both were in solid 80s holes. I believe it could be the same as the third example from the left in your run that you identified as an early 70s example. Is that one also tooled ? The base and embossing seem to be identical. For as 'common' as these are, we really don't dig too many.
The blue example (that I have pictured) is the same as the amber example that Andrew has pictured. I believe Andrew is correct on the age of these bottles as mid 1880's and yes it has a tool top. It is believed that the tool top with the flat embossing is earlier than the applied top examples.



  1. Great post Rick!
    Maybe someone can post a photo of the "stove pipe" version which I believe is the first variant. It has only "Pioneer 1850" and a mortar...nothing else. These have a squashed down tooled type top and a super long neck. DM.

    1. DM,
      I have been looking for the early stove pipe Dickey for years. Saw one at Anderson quite a few years ago but M.H. from Reno beat me to the punch on the bottle. I haven't seen one since. Anyone have a picture of the early Dickey that they would like to share?...or one they would like to sell!

    2. If I ever get smart enought to do this confuser thing I could post some pictures . Beside the stove pipe blue one there was a stove pipe clear and one with a light green color . There was also a olive green one with Dickey one it dug broken .I have the pieces . R Siri

  2. Dick Homme of the L.A. Bottle Club has a HUGE collection of Dickey's, including many rare examples and the stovepipe!

  3. anyone know the date of the stove pipe early one? I dug one long age and was traded but it appeared to be in the late 1860's.k.gressel..

  4. How about the mid to late 80s example that is amber, and almost identical to the 70s blue examples ?

    1. I dug two blue stove pipes and an aqua one in a hole in Santa Rosa .In the hole was several broken pontiled pickles including an amber Baker and Cutting a whole lot of mutisided meds all pontiled and three Hostetters the large amber ones . That was before I started collecting Hostetters so I didn't keep one. The the large amber smooth base 1857.

  5. I have an older amber Dickey that I dug. It has the dot in the center of the base, and appears to be from the same mold as the blue Dickeys that are pictured above in the photos with the amber Dickey. I consider this to be the oldest of the Amber Dickey's. I havent seen many of these, and myself have only dug 2 or 3 over the yrs.

    Also, I believe the oldest of the blue Dickey's (not including the mold with only the Pioneer 1850 mortar & pestle.... we call those "the Dickey without the Dickey !!") to be the mold that has a deep recessed rectangle on the base. The tops on these are a flared tool-top, similiar to early Eastern Meds. The examples I've dug, have come from late 60s - early 70s holes.


  6. Has anyone seen an amber with an applied top? I have seen one in a collection in Portland. it has the indented base with the dot in the center. I agree with AP on the early deep cobalt tooled/flared lip version with the rectangular indented base being very early. I dug one in Virginia City in a layer of pontiled inks and other 60s glass. Not sure if it dates before or after the "non Dickey" stovepipe. If it is later, it is not by much. DM

  7. DM - I had an amber with an applied top that I dug in Sacto back in the 80's. Sold it at a show many yrs ago,,,dont recall to who.. It was the dot base mold, same as mentioned in your above response, and same as the tooled one I mentioned earlier..only it was applied. I dont recall seeing any other applied top ambers, but I'm sure there must be more out there.