Monday, July 28, 2014

John Joseph Spieker

Sometime last evening I ran across an interesting connection to a Sacramento bottle while reading Ferdinand Meyer's post, over at Peachridge Glass, on the history of Lash's Bitters
 J.J. Spieker Bottle
John Joseph Spieker or J. J. Spieker in most historical documents, was born on 26 February 1855 in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. His parents were John G. Spieker and Marie Theresa Niehoff. Both were from Germany though some records say the father was born in Ohio and his mother in New York. John Joseph moved to Sacramento, California in 1875 and was married in San Francisco in 1879 to Cornelia Ackley, who was also from Sacramento. She would later run the business after his death.
Sacramento embossed on side panel

In 1876, at the early age of 20 or so, J. J. Spieker became a druggist in Sacramento and by 1878 he was a partner in Tufts & Spieker (A. C. Tufts and J. J. Spieker) who were druggists and apothecaries. They produced a medicine called Yerba Santa Cough Balsam. In February 1884, John Spieker formed a new partnership with Tito M. Lash, and named the company T. M. Lash & Co.  The 1880 United States Federal Census also lists Spieker as a druggist in Sacramento while a city directory at that time notes a J. J. Spieker, druggist and apothecary, on the northwest corner of 6th and K. He is living above the shop. In 1881, he moves to a house in Sacramento keeping the shop address. As late as 1900, the United States Federal Census lists him as a druggist in San Francisco.
6th and K Street embossed on other side panel

Later, John Joseph Spieker would be regarded as a pioneer in the Bay Area and was identified with the high social, philanthropic and culture of San Francisco. In the 1900s, at some point, he would become the president of the Eureka Land and Lumber Company in Ross Valley near San Francisco. To support this, the 1910 Federal Census, lists Spieker as a manufacturer of lumber products in San Francisco. John Joseph Spieker died in 1912 in San Francisco.
Applied single collar top
Ferdinand's pinpointing of the start date of Spieker's business in 1876 and taking in partner Tuft's in 1878 could possibly date the J.J. Spieker Druggist bottle to a two year only production. I will bet you that Spieker didn't have a mold made for the bottle the first year he was in business. That possibly puts the Spieker Druggist bottle as a one year only bottle.
The example in my collection is 5  7/8 inches high, has an applied top, medium whittle and a bunch of garbage in the glass.  It is a light yellow green in color. I was lucky enough to acquire this bottle from fellow western collector Ken Edward. 

 Pratt's Abolition Oil and J.J. Spieker Druggist bottles
Thanks to Ferdinand Meyer for finding the connection.


  1. Great looking bottle! Love that lime green color. 1876 would make that bottle a product of S.F.& P.G.W. Pacific Glass Works having recently been shutdown and the property put up for auction and sold in May 1876. The first advertised listing for S.F. & P.G.W. appeared in April 1876. Just think, this bottle was made at the King Street, foot of Fourth Street location San Francisco, 138 years ago.

    1. Warren,
      Thanks for the information on the manufacture of the bottle. It amazes me how much research you have done on the western glass houses and how much of that info you can retain.

  2. Nice early Druggist Bottle with historical significance. Especially connection with Tito M. Lash-Sacramento, Ca.