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 -


  1. Thanks Bruce,
    I really appreciate the research in your post. I am curious though as to how one explains the label on page 68 of Jeff's book on western bitters?

  2. By the way, for some reason on my computer at least, the images are not visible. Dale

  3. You are correct in that the attachements did not post to the article.

    The email that I forwarded was in MS Word format. Unfortunately, MS Word copy and paste is incompatible with the web format that Rick and I both use on our websites. I have converted it to .jpg format and sent it along so that the article can be reposted with the images.

    There is no doubt that the labeled Hamburger Trophen is attributable to Wm. Hoelscher & Co. As stated in an article that I posted regarding labeled whiskies some time back; paper doesn't lie. I've had several TOC labeled tooled fifth slicks over the years that contained western bitters. The Hiawatha from Ahrens Pein & Bullwinkle, the Orange Bitters from E. G. Lyons & Co. as well as the labeled and embossed Orange Blossom Bitters of Wolf Wreden and Co. all graced my display at one time.

    What I stated is that "I never could document if the embossed case style bottle was, or was not, distributed by the company." The embossed bottle, and not the brand, was the unknown.

    Regardless, it's a killer bottle, and one that any advanced bitters collector would be proud to be custodian of.