Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mills' Bitters A.M. Gilman

Update on the Mills' Bitters

The first listing for the Mills' Bitters in California is in, The Shasta Courier, July 22, 1854. It shows H. Gilbert of Shasta, Cal. selling it.

Here is an ad from the Nashville Union and American, Dec. 2, 1855. It shows what the Mills' Bitters was made for and from whom. It was highly advertised in Nashville, Tenn. during the 1850's.
The first listing for A.M. Gilman is in the San Francisco directory 1854. He is listed at 106 Battery St. S.F.
Next in 1856 he is at 82 Front St. and established the company name, A.M. Gilman & Co. in 1855
1861 -  324 Front St.
1862 - 414 Front St.
1864 - 409 Front St.
1871 - 322 Washington St.
1873 - 308 California St.
1876 - 308 California St. "Lick House" Billiard Saloon
1880 - 1516 California St.
There is no listing for A.M. Gilman after 1880.
The newspaper ads I found for A.M. Gilman start in 1857.
The first one is in the, Daily Alta, April 2, 1857
Next is in the, Red Bluff Beacon, April 11, 1861 and August 7, 1862

 Daily Alta, August 2, 1873
Daily Alta, Nov. 27, 1874

Daily Alta, Dec. 20, 1875

Daily Alta, June 4, 1876

Daily Alta, August 12, 1877

Daily Alta, Jan. 31, 1878

Daily Alta, August 14, 1878
This is the first and only ad for the Mills' Bitters and the very last ad for A.M. Gilman.

Strange that Mr. Gilman waited until the end of his career to produce the Mills' Bitters. After this ad in 1878, he is only listed one more time in 1880. He is listed as a merchant at 1516 California St. After that he disappears. Shortly after Mr. Cassin takes over the brand. Mr. Gilman had a 26 year run in the liquor business.  He had only one liquor business in the Santa Cruz area fail.

But, the great thing that A.M. Gilman did is produce a rare one year only Western Bitters.
Thanks Mr. Gilman


Saturday, February 23, 2019


Hey Rick;

“Two western diggers( JS &DM) teamed up recently in a western State and found three pits ranging from the early 1860s to the late 1880s. There were over 100 intact bottles found with these being the undamaged “favorites”. Quite a variety of glass from all categories. Nothing like digging fun glass in 10 foot deep mud filled holes!”

Monday, February 11, 2019

Aurora Oregon Show - this weekend

I'd strongly suggest calling before traveling to the show due to inclement weather (IE; a LOT of snow)! 

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Saturday, February 9, 2019

W.S. Wright- Revisited - A True Piece of History.

Recently I was able to reacquire a bottle which I dug many years ago...lost in the pick, purchased it later, traded it, and now am grateful to have back on the shelf. It is a dark aqua W.S.Wright blob soda with thousands of champagne bubbles, and in perfect condition. To me these sodas are among the most historically significant pieces of western glass.
William S. Wright came to California in the 1850s and initially settled in the Petaluma, California area. He ran

a store there until moving to the Comstock about 1860. Wright started in the soda water business in 1861 at Mill and B street in Virginia City. In the Summer of 1863, Wright placed an order for 24,000 soda bottles from the fledgling Pacific Glass Works. This large order actually made headlines in the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers. Obviously he had grand ideas of the demand for his bottled soda in the booming town. For such a large order of "custom" bottles, relatively few have survived. It is thought that a significant percentage of these bottles were poorly manufactured with flashes, numerous pot stones, and other impurities. In 1989 literally thousands of these "rejects" were dug in a large well or outhouse near the W.S. Wright factory. Only a handful were found intact, and most of these were loaded with chunks of charcoal, and stones. I have seen and held the killer dark green example with hundreds of stones throughout, and amazingly, none radiate. What a bottle!
The W.S. Wright has "Pacific Glass Works" proudly embossed on the base, and although no State is embossed, these are considered to be the earliest western blown soda bottle. They are also territorial which makes these bottles the earliest territorial soda bottles in the U.S.
Very few of the Wright sodas have been found outside the Virginia City area, which makes sense as there was most likely this one order. There are in my opinion about 30 undamaged examples in collections. All in all this is one important western bottle! Dale M.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"Great New Discovery"

The "London Jockey Club House Gin" ledger book has been discovered. Many questions will be answered. Who created it and where, who was buying it and selling it. Even the names of the sailing ships they were delivered on and how many cases made it to California and the West. A full article on the complete history of the London Jockey coming out soon in the Antique Bottle & Glass Collector magazine.