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– This is a very nice example of what is reported to be a Western blown tonic bottle and possibly related to the California Dr. Henrys products (e.g., Dr. Henrys Sarsaparilla). It has the deep blue aqua color typical of the 1870s and 1880s products blown at the SF&PGW (or predecessors) and have been reported to be found in the West, though some seem to come from back east also. The shape, size and embossing pattern was probably chosen to emulate the way more popular Dr. McCleans Strengthening Cordial & Blood Purifier though the mold engraver (or Dr. Henry?) had a problem correctly spelling purifier choosing to spell it Purifyer to the delight of modern bottle collectors. Unlike the McLeans product, this bottle has the noted embossing spread over both sides of the body…once again to the delight of collectors.
In any event, this example is 9.2 tall, flask shaped body (over 4 wide and 2 thick), blown in a post-base mold, lacking evidence of body air venting although boldly embossed, and a crudely applied double ring lip or finish with an appearance and manufacturing signature dating it to the 1870s. The glass is, as noted, a rich blue aqua with a nice assortment of bubbles in the glass and a bit of other crudeness to the body. Condition is near mint with no issues besides one surface open bubble at the heel that has no depth at all; it appears to have been professionally cleaned to my eye. Great example of a very rare tonic bottle that Ive seen a couple examples sell for $500 or more in recent years. This example is well priced at$250
– Is that a great name or what!? These are quite rare bottles of which Ive seen maybe 6 or 7 of; here is an extra one Ive come into possession of recently. Dr. Kurnitzki was a doctor (or at least used the doctors title) who produced several different patent medicines – including aWire Grass Kidney & Liver Medicine- in the southern city of Charleston, South Carolina (the K&L medicine notes the city; the tonic bottle does not have the city embossed). This bottle is a light to medium amber in color, has a very crudely applied oil finish or lip (globby-ness completely – 360 – around the base of the finish), smooth indented base, and is 9.5 tall; these bottle date from between 1875 and maybe 1885 based on manufacturing features.
This example has been professionally cleaned as most non-stained examples have been. These bottles are of a glass type that apparently stains easily and/or are all found in areas (SC) that are prone to staining glass with highly basic or alkaline soils? With the cleaning – which did not compromise the still very bold embossing – this bottle is near mint, the only issue being some very, very minor roughness with no depth (more felt than seen) to one side of the lip rim that is likely to have been in-making. There is also must faintest wisps of haze a couple edges inside…very hard to see. This bottle also has some cool glass particles imbedded in the base and a couple sand grain sized glass fragments standing out from the lower size below the S inKURNITSKIS(click images to enlarge) – all in making and caused by glass from previous bottles coming off in the mold. I think these are neat reminders of the hand-made nature of these mouth-blown bottles. As nice as an example as one can find! Incidentally, wire grass (wiregrass) is a native grass to South Carolina (and elsewhere) -Aristita stricta- which makes decent cattle forage when young, is closely linked with the native Longleaf pine ecosystems in that area, and from which I have absolutely no idea how they would make any type of medicine! Maybe some type of alcohol extract…with the emphasis on the alcohol.$250
– This bottle is one of the oldest I have for sale and among the earliest embossed patent medicines bottles made in the United States. It is also one of a small handful of over 4 sided medicine bottles that are embossed on every side – six embossed sides in this case. And if that were not enough, it is also unusual in that it has left hand embossing, i.e., it reads from the base to the shoulder (and best read holding it in ones left hand) whereas the vast majority of vertically embossed bottles read right handed.
According to the late John Odells book on pontiled medicines (a great book BTW!) the product first claimed to have been sold in 1830 and continued (apparently) until about 1843 when it was renamed Rowans Improved Tonic… and the bottles (likely) began to be embossed as such (I believe IMPROVED / TONIC on one side?). Not sure of the precise dates of manufacture, but suffice to say 1830s and 1840s…early!
In any event these are early, crude, and light glass bottles that have a lot of appeal for an aqua medicine bottle. It is about 5.5 tall, blown in a true two-piece hinge mold, and sports a nice blowpipe style pontil scar; clickbase viewto see such. The lip is a short, tapered banded example that was tooled or rolled over to the outside to form it. The surface of the bottle is very wavy, lumpy and crude which is largely a function it appears of the rough, unpolished surface of the likely iron mold it was made it. The bottle also appears to have been professionally cleaned at some point and there is still some faint surface etching visible on most of the sides. However, it is very hard to see due to the noted crude as blown surface and is non-distracting. Outside of the noted glass surface issue, the bottle is otherwise in about perfect condition with no chips, cracks, dings, flashes, or other issues. Great bottle that is one of the earliest of the medicinal tonic bottles Ive collected.$125
Bark-Root Tonic – Celro-Kola Co., Portland, Ore.(label only) – This is an early machine-made labeled tonic bottle that has a great original-to-this-bottle label as noted, which was a mild laxative averaging 25% alcohol. This is a somewhat later product of theof Portland, Oregon. There are at least two earlier embossed versions of this bottle dating from the 1900 to 1910s era – one mouth-blown, one machine-made. (I have examples of both which I may offer for sale in the near future.) This example has the one label on the side as shown with the other three sides not labeled nor embossed. Several of these machine-made labeled examples were found, if I remember the story correctly, in an old house in Washington many years ago. Ive seen a couple since (a recent one sold on eBay for $175 or so!) though they are a rare bottle. this example is in mint condition with the original cork and about 99% of the label which only has some mild chipping along the edges and equally mild discoloring in a few spots. (Note: bottle sits straight up and is not tilted like the image shows; my poor camera work.) The base has the IPG in a triangle makers marking in the center of the base, used by the, San Francisco, CA. which dates it to the late 1910s to early 1920s most likely, meaning this was probably one of those legal medicines that one could still purchase during National Prohibition without getting thrown in jail! Neat labeled medicinal tonic and Western manufactured bottle.
COLUMBIAN / TONIC / (very elaborate CT with TRADE MARK) / COLUMBIAN / MEDICINE CO / FRANKLIN / OHIO- Talk about lots of bold embossing! This oversized prescription type (a Blake style) bottle is strongly embossed for a patent medicine instead of a pharmacist, i.e., Columbian Tonic. The bottle has a tooled prescription style finish (aka lip), is 8 tall with a smooth base which is faintly embossed with W. T. & Co. for Whitall, Tatum & Co. which was probably the largest producer of druggist (aka pharmacy) bottles between the late 1870s and maybe 1920 or so (although the company continued into the mid-ish 1930s). This bottle likely dates from the mid-ish 1890s as I suspect the name was inspired by the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition in nearby Chicago? The glass is just about crystal clear with just a slight manganese dioxide induced pink tint, which is visible in the image. Condition is immaculate with no chips, cracks, nicks, staining or any other post production fact, it looks to have never been buried. Ive only seen a few of these through the years and believe them to be quite rare – certainly very rare in this essentially perfect condition. Even though clear/colorless glass, this bottles size and boldness of embossing would make a great window bottle, where it may turn a bit darker amethyst(?).
This is embossed on three non-indented sides (4th side for label). Just over 9 1/2 tall with a tooled brandy finish (or long tapered collar with a ring to some), blue aqua in color, smooth base, ca. 1880-1885. This is one of the rarer and more desirable tonic bottles and was almost certainly produced by the same company in Philadelphia as the very common Dr. Hooflands Bitters. Apparently this brand didnt do too well or was much more limited in distribution as the tonics are hundreds of times rarer than the bitters. Condition of this example is mint…period. I can find nothing wrong with it and am only selling it because I recently acquired a ever so slightly better one (a bit more crudeness). This bottle does have a lot of nice bubbles in the glass and some stretch marks on the neck so it has its crudeness too. Nice big, scarce, tonic bottle.
– These Arabian Tonic bottles have always been a favorite of mine – have had several through the years – in that they are big in size, nicely embossed, a bit earlier in age (1870s), and have a great name! This bottle is 9.5 tall, 3.25 wide and about 2 thick. It also has an applied patent finish, blown in a post-mold (smooth base), lacks any mold air venting, and as noted likely dates from the 1870s (possibly late 1860s or very early 1880s) era I would estimate from the manufacturing characteristics. This example is boldly embossed and is essentially mint with just a bit of content haze in the upper front shoulder that takes a bright light to see. It also has some nice bubbles in the glass, a pleasant blue aqua color, stretch marks on in the neck, and a bit of slop over below the lip. I dont believe it has every been buried and certainly not professionally cleaned. One of the bigger, better, and fairly scarce medicinal tonic bottles!$65
– This bottle is a very interesting, very early 20th century (1900-1910) wine tonic – common sub-species of medicinal tonics – bottle that was bottled in a standard Bordeaux style wine bottle. The bottle was produced in a turn-mold as it has no side-seams and the distinctive concentric horizontal rings on the body typical of that manufacturing method. It also has a tooled banded champagne style lip or finish, smooth base with a 1.25 kick-up and bump (mamelon) in the center, 11.6 tall, and is a nice medium olive green color.
The bottle is labeledVin Zymo Brand Elixir Wine Tonicwhich was produced byPurexo Productsof San Francisco, CA. It notes a 20 or 30% alcohol level (there is a hole that obscures part of percentage) which is much higher than the usual levels of wine (12-15%) so must have been fortified to give it extra medicinal qualities. The label also notes that itcontains valuable medicaments(whatever that means)in properly blended fully matured California wineand isfree from iron and laxatives. The bottle is in about mint condition (a little scratching on reverse) and the original label is very colorful and 95%+ intact and still solid. Bottle used for and pictured on theHistoric Bottle Website.Interesting California wine related item from the era when the government was just beginning to really crack down on quackery.$20
JOYNER / UNITED DRUG CO. (in a shield) / TRADE MARK / SPOKANE / U.S.A.- This is a scarce druggist bottle from Spokane, WA. that is quite rare with the original label and string around the neck that probably had some tag attached at some point. Clickclose-up of the embossingto see such. This 7 3/8 tall (12 oz.) bottle from the early 20th century has a tooled, unusual two-part lip or finish – what is called the reinforced extract or collared ring depending on what reference is used. It also has a large majority of the original label (see image) which notes that it containedIdeal Blood Mixture and Tonicwith an alcohol level of 20%; it also notes all the maladies it would treat – from acne to malarial poison. The bottle is also embossed just above the label with 12 OZ., has a smooth base, clear or colorless glass and is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, staining or other issues…reflecting it having never been buried. It does have a bit of dirt inside which would certainly wash out easily, though I did not since I didnt want to possibly disturb the label integrity. This bottle was acquired for use in helping illustrate some concepts on theHistoric Bottle Website.Nice item with bold embossing and a pretty nice original label.$25
MULLS GRAPE TONIC / ROCK ISLAND, ILL.- Interestingly enough, this bottle was blown in the exact same mold as the labeledlisted above. This is indicated via a close inspection of the embossing pattern between the two (identical) and the presence of an embossed 3 mold number on the base. As with the other example, this bottle is the smaller rectangular variant in a medium amber color with a touch of red (blown out of the same batch as the labeled example?), 7.5 tall, smooth base (the noted embossed 3), a tooled oil type finish (long tapered collar), and dates from the very late 1890s to early 1900s. Condition of this example is also near mint; no noticeable issues like chips, cracks, or staining.
– This is embossed on the shoulder of this wonderful pair of very rare and colorful medicinal tonic bottles that contained some form of extract of the coca leaf – a narcotic. Clickreverse viewto see such. This was probably a locally distributed (somewhere on the Eastern seaboard) competitor to the very popularCoca Marianifrom France. The larger regular size bottle is a rich green color – some would call it Lockport green after the glassworks in New York that made bottles in this color…and possibly the glass company that produced these items. It is 8.75 tall, smooth base, ladies leg type neck, crudely applied single banded lip or finish, and probably ca. the 1880s. The smaller sample size is also of the same color (a tad lighter probably due to the thinner glass), smooth base, similar – though tooled – lip, 5.3 tall, and ca. the same era – 1880s most likely. The condition of the larger bottle is sparking mint with no staining, chips or cracks…just a very tiny spot of roughness on the side of the finish in one spot which is very hard to see. The sample size is also essentially in mint condition, though it appears that someone at some time buffed the top surface of the lip. This is very hard to see and fooled me for years (it was sold to me a mint and didnt look very close) but a close inspection shows that it has been buffed slightly to smooth out (I suspect) a flat flake? Not much was ground down, but the polished look to the rim is not original, in my opinion. In any event, these are very rare bottles…Ive never seen another sample size and only a couple of the regular size. Both for….SOLD!
– This is embossed vertically within an arched sunken panel on the front (well, the embossing makes it the front I suppose) with the other three unembossed sides also being indented with rounded arching at the top. This is a quite rare Southern (Memphis, TN. in my research) tonic bottle that infrequently is offered for sale in my experience with medicinal tonics. (Note: One correspondent on this bottle years ago noted that it contained a Tonic Bitters but was embossed only Tonic – much like the Warners Tonics were labeled as Tonic Bitters.) This offering is additionally a spectacular example – the best Ive ever seen. The color is a beautiful yellow with a bit of an amber tint and possibly just a touch of green; the images to the right portray the color pretty well (click to enlarge) so judge for yourself. It has a very crudely applied oil finish, is 9.5 tall (a bit over 2.5 to each square side), has a smooth circular domed base, and dates from or just after the American Civil War (1860s to possibly early 1870s) based on the look and manufacturing features. The glass surface is very wavy and crude with lots of small to moderate size bubbles throughout the glass. The condition of this example is near mint with a very faint content line on the inside a bit over halfway up the body and a few very small, vary shallow open bubbles on the surface. This bottle may have been professionally cleaned, but I cant say for sure; if so it was very lightly. All in all this is an exceptional bottle which if it said Bitters instead of Tonic would be priced much higher.SOLD!
– Although these bottles arent real rare, they are much in demand for obvious reasons – the pyramidal shape, roped corners, crudeness & age, and just an overall esthetic appeal that is undeniable. It is one of the better (i.e., higher value) medicinal tonic bottles out there. This examples stats are: 10.5 tall, smooth base (with ample wear indicating it was never buried), somewhat crudely applied brandy style lip or finish, a noticeably lighter yellowish amber color, ca. 1860s to 1870s. This example is in near mint condition with the only issue being that there appears to be a very faint overall content haze to the inside – most likely from having some liquid (original contents?) stored in it for some extended period of time. The outside is sparkling clean (no haze) with no scratching of note and maybe a tiny rub here and there if one looks very closely. It is essentially in mint condition with no chips, cracks, or other damage. Beautiful lighter colored example; see the comparison photo showing the bottle (left) with a medium amber example.SOLD!
MEXICAN – TONICboldly embossed on two separate sides (the narrow sides). Medium amber with a bit of a reddish tint (see enlarged images), rectangular with wide beveled corners, almost 11 tall, tooled long tapered collar with ring, smooth base, American ca. 1890-1900 based on the manufacturing based diagnostic features. This is a BIG and fairly rare tonic in a great shape for which the place of origin is unknown…anyone know?
The couple of Mexican tonics Ive acquired through the years came from the Mid-west, though some think it is Western in origin. I just dont know. The bottle is essentially shaped like a big eight-sided flask – 4 1/2 wide and 2 1/2 thick – and has some nice bubbles scattered about in the glass. Condition of this specimen is about mint with no staining or cracks; just a very small nick on one heel corner. A boldly sized tonic bottle that isnt seen often.SOLD!
Dr. JONES / RED / (cloverleaf) / CLOVER TONIC- This is embossed horizontally on the front indented panel; the reverse is embossed vertically withGRIGGS & CO. / OTTAWA, ILLS.8 3/4 tall, crudely applied brandy finish, smooth base, ca. 1875-1885. The color of this fairly crude example is a brilliant orange amber with maybe a touch of red to my eye. It is unusual for a square bitters type bottle like this to have horizontal embossing on one side and vertical on the other, though this feature is shared with the regionally competitive and popularPrimleys Iron & Wahoo Tonic(Indiana). This particular example is in very good condition with some ample wear to the base (maybe never buried and sitting somewhere?) and a few small wear spots on the sides. There is also a small (1/8th square) abrasion mark on one back side corner that is very minor and non-detracting (most wouldnt even describe it) and a tiny bit of content haze in a couple shoulder corners. Otherwise this is a very nice example with bubbles, neck stretch marks, body crudeness (wavy panels – see pictures) and great color.SOLD!
– Yum! Sounds like this was as hard to swallow as cod liver oil. This is a very rare tonic bottle – in fact, only one of two Ive heard of – that is a modified semi-cabin shape (steeply tapered shoulders; see close-up image) . It is possibly from one of the famous Townsends of sarsaparilla fame (S. P. Townsend or Jacob Townsend…akaOld Dr. Townsend) though that is speculation. This particular bottle did come from New England so it is possible. In fact, these are actually rarer – in my experience – than the other Townsends tonic bottle – theDr. Townsends Aromatic Hollands Tonicwhich is the same shape as the later (1880s)Dr. Townsends Sarsaparillabottles. (Note: I will be adding a Hollands Tonic to this list in the future.) Maybe this Townsends Tonic is from the maker ofOld Dr. Townsends Sarsaparilla?
Anyway, this bottle is square, 10 tall, a light to medium amber in color, has a crudely applied long tapered collar (aka oil finish with a lot of glob on the outside and particularly on the inside), smooth base (post-mold type base), embossing is very bold (all on one side), and dates from the 1880s. Condition of the bottle is essentially mint in that I cant really find any thing wrong with it – no chips, cracks, dings, flea-bites – just the lightest of wisps of haze in a couple small spots on the surface. Great bottle with a unique shape which – like theDr. Blendigos Toniclisted above – is one of the better rarities in the medicinal tonic realm.SOLD!
DR. THENARD- One of my favorite of the picture medicinal tonics Ive offered several of these over the years – all sold pretty fast. This one has the typical applied long tapered collar (aka oil finish), is about 9 tall, has a smooth domed post mold type base (dot in the base and vague number), and no evidence of mold air venting dating these between about 1875 and 1885. I still have never found out where these originated though many are found out West here, though I believe they are found in various regions of the U. S. Never commonly encountered (like theReeds Gilt Edge Tonicbottles, which the Gold Lions may be a knock-off of), these also arent great rarities either. However, the embossed lion, embossing on two sides, and great name make them popular. This is a pretty good example in the typical golden amber color (done on purpose due to the Gold in the name?) with no chips, cracks, or outside staining, though it has some scattered light content haze to the inside (a bit heavier just inside the lip). There are also a few small onion skin type open bubbles on the surface with no depth (one shows in the Dr. Thenard side image), a few minor abrasions on the unembossed panels, and one small flea bite at the heel on one unembossed side. As the images show this is really a pretty good looking bottle – with the issues very minor – with some decent crudity and bubbles the glass.SOLD!
– This is a bit of an enigmatic bottle in several ways. First it is labeled (95%+ intact; see photos) which is quite informative (clickclose-up of labelto see such) except that it doesnt note where the product was made! This wouldnt be a huge issue except that the base is embossed boldly withP. G. W.which was the makers marking for thePacific Glass Workswhich, to quote Dr. Julian Toulouse, was the first glass-container factory west of the Rockies being founded in about 1862. It operated until 1875 or 1876 (there is some differences of opinion on the date) when it was combined with theSan Francisco Glass Worksto form the SF&PGW. To my memory, there arent a lot of bottles with thePacific Glass Worksmakers marking on it; the only one for sure I can think of is the Victory fruit jars (likethis oneI sold some time back) and a scarce body non-embossed blob soda bottle that is base embossed with this makers name. Ive never seen another example of this bottle, sans label, either, or any other bottle that had P. G. W. on the base, though there must be some out there since Toulouse described it. In any event, this is a pretty cool bottle on its own with a somewhat crudely tooled brandy finish or lip (smaller tooled lips likes this began in the 1870s on medicine bottles) with the original cork, no apparent mold air venting, and a wonderful color that is hard to describe but I would call it an olive yellow…it is not amber. ClickHEREto see another image which shows the color pretty well to my eye…and a great color indeed! The bottle itself is essentially mint as it has never been buried; just a few small scuff marks on the back side. The label is as you can see in the image which is virtually all there but a bit edge raggedy with some staining marks. Although I cant guarantee that this was definitely a product of thePacific Glass Works, there arent any other good choices that fit the letters on the base. Interesting bottle & label in a great color with a great makers marking!SOLD!
– Two different sizes! This is embossed on the shoulder of both these bottles – the regular size (a scarce bottle in its own right) and the much rarer sample size! The taller bottle is almost 9 tall; the sample about 4. Both are light to medium amber in color, have the unique pedestal shape that is very unique, tooled ring type one-part lips, smooth bases, and date right around 1900 I would guess.
These tonics seem to come out of the East, though I dont know specifically where. Both bottles are in good shape though have some light (large) to moderate haze (sample) that isnt too detracting. There are no chips or notable cracks, though upon close inspection the large size has a short (4 mm) flash in the back which is hard to find. A nice, pleasing-to-the eye pair of food tonics. Incidentally, there were a lot of food based tonic products during the era from the 1880s until well into the 20th century, including what was essentially just beer marketed as malt tonic. This offering was almost certainly one of the many wine tonics (VIN) that were popular during that same era. A lot of this marketing was a futile attempt by producers of alcohol products to make them more medicinal and try to stave off the evil (to them) Temperance types, who of course won the battle with the passage of National Prohibition which took effect in 1919/1920. Those were the days!SOLD!
– This is all embossed on three sides of this rare early 1900s medicinal tonic bottle from the South. Also included with this bottle is an original tin ofRamons Tonic Regulatormade by the same company -Brown Manufacturing Co. that dates from the same era, i.e., the very early 20th century. The bottle is about 6 5/8 tall, has a tooled double ring finish or lip, and is a nice sun colored amethyst color (whether irradiated or not I cant say). It has a smooth base which is embossedDIXIEindicating production by theDixie Glass Workswhich was located in Tallapoosa, Georgia and operated from 1898 to either 1906 or 1907. The bottle is essentially mint; the only issue I can see is a very, very, very faint iridescence to the inside that is even and almost invisible. The can is a really neat item that is full of whatever the formula was (fine granular) and has a folded flyer about the product sitting on top of the product and which appears to be in good shape (I didnt open an inspect it, but it has information about the ailments it treated/cured). The can is in good shape with some soiling and rust spots here and there but is almost all readable (one narrow side is hard to read but the same as the opposite narrow side). The product was for the…quick relief in Liver Complaints, Biliousness, Dyspepsia, Bilious Headache, Costiveness…among other things. Nice pair of rare tonics for one price.SOLD!
embossed around the shoulder of this nicely shaped quasi-tonic – probably a liqueur with medicinal qualities. Color is a beautiful golden yellow (see picture), round drum shaped body with a ridge at the base and shoulder, long ladies leg style neck, plain indented base, fairly crudely applied wide single band type collar, 10 1/4 tall, American ca. 1870-80. Bottle has no stains or cracks and some nice long bubbles in the glass. It does, however, have an extremely shallow, flat side-of-the-lip flake that is 3/16 long and 1/8 wide with some accompanying roughness right at the edge of lip. Doesnt amount to much and by describing it I make it seem more than it is – but its better to have more information than less, eh? There is also an small (1/8 diameter) impact mark on the side of the bottle that has no depth or radiations but its there – really no problem. This makes a beautiful window bottle (thats were I have it now) with its clear yellowish color. Though not quite a figural, it does have some unique shape attributes that make it a handsome piece of 19th century glass.
H. J. DWINELL / DWINELLS / NERVE TONIC / MORRISVILLE / VT.- A rare tonic from New England! Within the universe of medicinal tonic bottles are a small subset of what appear to be medicinal tonics that were as much beverage as medicine; this is a rare example of such from Vermont. It is boldly embossed as noted above within a somewhat oval slug plate (glassmakers just called them a plate or plate mold) this bottle is of relatively hea