Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best of 2014

  As we wind down the year, I have been reflecting on 2014 in regards to glass. It has been an amazing year with incredible bottles dug or discovered nationwide. My western bitters collection has seen the addition of some beautiful early pieces and I thought it might be fun for some to post your favorite addition for 2014. I know that many are reluctant to let anyone know anything about their collection of glass, but to me this site is about sharing, so for anyone of like mind, I would love to see your favorite addition for the past year. Maybe you dug it, or found it at a yard sale...maybe you found it on line.
  Here is mine...possibly the only problem free example of the Cassin's Grape Brandy Bitters Variant 1. While the details of the find will not be disclosed, suffice to say it was found in 2014. I was extremely grateful to add this one this past year. Happy 2015! DM

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Bottles for Sale Site

Jeff Wichmann over at American Bottle Auctions has opened a new Bottle Sale Site.

You can find Jeff's site HERE
Lots of interesting stuff over at Jeff's site but not sure if the prices are fixed or you can make an offer on what's for sale
Take a look at Jeff's new site - rs -

Thursday, December 18, 2014

San Jose Soda Wors, Cal.

Check out this crude and nasty San Jose Soda Wors, Cal. blob soda that showed up at the Roseville show. These are pretty tough to find as it is, but this example is totally full of bubbles, swirls, and chunks. I have seen these in some nice colors ranging from deep aqua to fairly green. a nice addition to my western blown soda collection. DM

John R. Williams Stockton Druggist

The Williams Balsamic Cream of Roses bottle is a tough one to acquire. It was blown at the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works circa late 1880's  as shown in the following picture:

It stands 5 1/4 inches tall with a tooled top and as far as I know only comes in this medium blue color. I acquired my example from Chuck Erickson several years ago at the Santa Rosa Bottle Show - Thanks Chuck!
As for the National Horse Liniment - I haven't, as of this date, seen an embossed example

Happy Holidays

from the Western Bitters News

Old worn bottle brushes make festive Christmas decorations
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us here at the WBN
THANKS to all the contributors and visitors to the Western Bitters News
- rs - 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Colors of the Season

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas with the colors of the and green. 2014 has been an epic year in glass and here is hoping everyone has a fantastic 2015! Dale and Melissa.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 49er Historic Bottle Show a Success!

 The Roseville Show was a great success - Jerry Forbes
Good show that was well attended. I was surprised by the number of people compared with last year. I saw a good number of sales so there should be a lot of happy sellers. I am having some photo issues on my computer so will pull a few directly off my camera.
The first is the table of Jeff Wichmann. You would think he was giving away bottles as it was jammed with potential buyers for a good while. I don’t even know what was so great because I couldn’t breach the crowd. That is Jeff, himself, on the right side, who could not even get to his own table!
The second photo is a major display of unembossed whiskey bottles except for the base markings which included a central ray generally described as a “star”. Max Bell put this together but It had a number of contributors and is a sort of esoteric collecting specialty in the West as a good number – maybe all – of these bottles have been attributed to the San Francisco glass houses.
The third photo is a nicely lighted display of colognes included some “swirled” glass.
Eric M. (McGuire)

This year’s show had some very interesting and exciting bottles appear on tables for sale, including an American Life Bitters (Omaha, Neb.), St.,Nicholas Stomach Bitters (small size), Dr. Henley’ s Eye Opener, Cassin’s Grape Brandy Bitters, Alex Von Humboldt’ s Stomach Bitters, New Almaden Vichy Water (large size), E.G Booze Cabin Whiskey, Kelly’s Old Cabin Bitters, Holtzerman’ s Stomach Bitters (two roof), Bryant’ s Stomach Bitters (both cone & leg variants). A lot of bottles exchanged owners during this show! A very memorable show for me.

Warren Friedrich



Congratulations to show chair Mike McKillop, club president Max Bell and the 49er club.

Thanks to Eric McGuire, Warren Friedrich, Jerry Forbes and Peachridge Glass for the pictures and review of the show - rs -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More on the Hamburger Trophen Bitters

From researcher extraordinaire Bruce Silva:

Spotted Dales post on the Hamburger Trophen Bitters along with his notation that Wm. Hoelscher was the distributor. I first got to looking through the books by Wilson, Thomas & Wichman, and noted what they had regurgitated over the years about Wm. Hoelscher. Next, I accessed directories and newspapers from the era in hopes of adding something concrete that Dale could add to the article, and which would support the idea that the bottle he has was indeed distributed by Hoelscher.
That little exercise turned into an eye opener as just about everything written is wrong. Wm. Hoelscher died in the fall of 1880... Here's the string of events that I uncovered;

 I never could document if the embossed case style bottle was, or was not, distributed by the company. There was nothing in the way of sole agency, or other advertising in any of the California or Nevada papers for the brand, and the firm didn't puff it in any of the liquor trade publications. The paper label that Wilson and Wichman pictured appears to date TOC, but the firm never advertised the brand, so until a bill head surfaces, dating will remain a mystery.
Always impressed with Bruce's investigation of  a subject no one else seems to want to research. The Hamburger Trophen Bitters also comes in a small "sample size" embossed bottle. I have dug several examples in Sierra City over the years. Thanks Bruce for taking the time to run down the info on Hoelscher. - rs -

The first go round on this post the newspaper clips were missing - I corrected this  - rs -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

San Francisco Milks

Just in from Ken Morrill

Thanks Ken for some very interesting info on a rarely seen or discussed field of western glass collecting

Hamburger Trophen Bitters

Here is an aqua case gin style bitters which has been a mystery to me for years. This aqua tooled top is very elaborate in it's embossing with what look like Veloceraptors on both sides of a crest. These are pretty rare and this is the only example I have actually handled. It showed up in Roseville this week.
 According to several western bitters references, this was a bitters put up by Wm. Hoelscher & Co. in San Francisco. Hoelscher was also responsible for a few nice western whiskey bottles. I believe the Hamburger Trophen Bitters was distributed in the 1890s and other than not being milk glass, closely resemble the Rothenberg, and Hartwig case gin bitters from the same time period. I have no clue who John Carl Mitau was, but hopefully someone does. I would also like to know how many of these exist in collections. I know they also come in an amethyst in addition to this aqua.
Kind of an odd ball but a nice and rare western bitters from a well known Western liquor distributor.
( As always, click on the photo to enlarge)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ROSEVILLE ! December 5th & 6th 2014....See You There!

This years display will feature western star base whiskies


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Western Star?

A Recent Attic Find!

Here's a recent attic find. Nice turn of the century Damiana Bitters from the company famous for Phoenix Whiskey, Nabor, Alfs and Brune.

Check out the label and intact neck foil!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Old Church Dig

Here are a few photos of a recent dig behind an old church sent in by a anonymous digger:
"Church holes are pretty good in my experience. This 1870s church had two holes behind it with one consisting of local druggists, foods, and liquor bottles. The second one was 1890s and had numerous inks, one liquor and this beautiful crucifix candle stick. It was next to the small demijohn in the hole". 
While not an early 60s pit, it was fun and the candlestick was great to find behind the church.