Sunday, October 12, 2014


Photo - Lou Lambert 

Without any question the Tea Kettle Bourbon bottle is one of the most beautiful, highly sought after western 5ths there is among collectors. These bottles come in a wide variety of shades of amber from yellow to chocolate,

They are also known in shades of old amber/olive,  green and even pale steel blue aqua. They are primarily found with an applied top but the some late variants come with a tooled top. The tooled top bottles are very rare and most have annealing flashes/cracks due to the poor annealing character of the glass used to make these later bottles.

Photo - Kelly Porter
 The wholesale liquor firm of Shea, Boqueraz & McKee were the west coast agents for the Kentucky distilled brand. They were located at the s/w corner of Front & Jackson St. in San Francisco California from 1871 to 1887.
The bourbon was imported from the Kentucky distillery in barrels and bottled in S.F. The West Coast liquor firm had a special 5th size bottle and mold made by the one of the San Francisco glass works to contain their product for the trade. 
Photo - Kelly Porter
The period between 1870 to about 1885 saw some of the most beautiful  hand blown glass whiskey bottles ever produced in the west.  It was almost as if the liquor dealers at that time were trying to out do each other to see who could produce the nicest looking bottle for their product.  Wholesale liquor dealers such as Shea Boqueraz. A.P. Hotaling, E. Martin and N. Van Bergen, to name just a few, competed for their share of the public's patronage 
Tea Kettle Bourbon was a very popular brand among miners and lumbermen here in the west.  This was high quality, expensive drinking whiskey for those who could afford it. The cost for a bottle of this whiskey was equal to a days wages for the average working man. 
 Virginia City Nevada was especially popular for this brand as most known examples have come from this area. Years ago a saloon privy on the divide between Virginia City and Gold Hill was dug that contained twenty seven whole examples and dozens of broken ones. 
The Tea Kettle Bourbon is one of the most popular and desirable bottles produced in the west. Most folks that collect western glass have a Tea Kettle in their collection or are looking to add one to their stable of western glass. 
Got your Tea Kettle yet?
Photo - Kelly Porter

Photo Bruce Silva
Thanks to Kelly Porter, Bruce Silva and Lou Lambert for the pictures and help on the text - rs -

1 comment:

  1. The Teakettle has always been a favorite of mine. You really could not ask for a more stereotypical western whiskey except maybe the Gold Dust. Early, with a picture,embossed "Bourbon", agents, and San Francisco all rolled in to one. Were it not for Virginia City, these would be extremely rare and would likely be five times the value at least. Dale M.