Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A.P. noted the relative small number of pre-1875 fifths. I'll start this little exercise and plan to make changes for awhile. Help me with the dates of service and colors. Here is the listing of fifths and flasks that were in service prior to 1875. Some came and went before 1875, others started before '75 and carried on somewhat longer.
I tried to list the 5 colors that I would consider if I was collecting a grouping of each of these bottles. Green - truly green. Yellow Green is a click or two more toward yellow. Yellow Amber - light amber shades (pure yellow coloration is rare). Old Amber - Plain ol' amber, sometimes with the olive amber shade. Dark Amber - Very dark, chocolate amber or dark olive amber. You can find several shades of yellow amber and old amber if you are collecting the Circles or Star in Shields. I don't want to split hairs, my point is trying to identify the very few fifths and flasks that come in the 'full rainbow' or all 5 colors. The Teakettle has the royal flush + 1 (the joker) aqua.

Dates I have used are from Thomas, or my own estimation or guess. Dating whiskey bottle usage, exactly, -to quote 'old cutters' - is a s.w.a.g. The bottled product, in cases or in the consumer's hand, is not subject to spoilage. Wholesalers and retailers had no worries about the product going bad. Inventory was kept on hand until sold. The Cutter bottles in particular were constantly changing. There had to be some overlap in bottle usage, possibly a couple of years in some cases.
Please give me direction if you think some date changes need to be made, or if you have seen examples of bottles in colors that I have a question mark next to. Post a comment or email me, thanks.


Old Castle 1872-1885?


Jockey Club(t-19) 1870?-1873

Yellow Green/Old Amber/DarkAmber

CutterCircle(t-43) 1873-1877

YellowGreen/YellowAmber/OldAmber/Dark Amber

J.F. Cutter Star&Shld(t-46) 1870-1884


Cutter Hotaling Crown Shldr(t-47) 1872-1874


Cutter Martin Crown Shldr*no circle (t-48) 1873-1874


Cutter Hotaling non Crown(t-49) 1868-1871


Cutter Martin Mid Crown(t-50) 1875-1878


Evans & Obrien(t- 64) 1871-1873 (They were agents for Miller's Extra)


J. Moore Chielovich (t-90) 1871-1875


Laurel Palace(t-96) 1872-1874


Pride Of Kentucky(t-108) 1874-1883


G.O.Blakes Pond,Reynolds (t-115) 1872-1875


G.O.Blakes More, Reynolds(t-116) 1875*-1880
* I know, not pre-75. Same mold as t-115 and nice colors...


California Club House(t-119) 1872-1874


Teakettle(t-136) 1871-1887


S.T. Suits - Walker Bros.(t-148) 1872-1874


Thos. Taylor Virginia, N.(t-151) 1871-1877?


Gold Dust - John Van Bergen(t-154) 1872-1875


Gold Dust - N. Van Bergen(t-155) 1875- 1880 (N. Van Bergen advertised as Sole Agents for Gold Dust from 1875-1880 and began advertising as Sole Proprietor for Gold Dust only in 1880)


Old Woodburn(t-159) 1875- 1880 (N. Van Bergen advertised as Sole Agents for Woodburn from 1875-1880)


Weil Bros.(t-162) 1870?- 1872?


McKennas(t-168) 1874?-1883


* I believe the C&I variants are a bit newer, 1877-1879 or so.

S.H.M(t-169) 1873-1876 *


* I believe the C&I variants are even more recent than above, 1878-1880
or so. We need more info on the four C&I fifths. Would make a nice article.


Wormser Bros (Horizontal variant) 1868-1869

Wormser Bros (Vertical variant) 1869-1871

J. Angeli (March 1871-May 1872)

Old Castle (1872-1876?)

Lilienthal (1872-1880)

AAA (1871-1880)

Millers (1871-1879)


  1. Are you sure about the N. Van Bergen date range ending in '76 ?? The pits I've seen N. Van Bergens in have all been around 1880.

  2. SoleAgent,

    It is my opinion that the Pride of KY and McKennas had longer runs than what was previously thought, same goes for the Teakettle. These 3 bottles all have also been found with tooled-tops and also in newer holes. I would put the TeaKettle up to 1887. In 88' McKee left the business. The Pride and McKennas I believe run into the 80's as well, even though Kellogg left Wilmerding in 1877,78. Either that, or someone reused the molds later on and covered the embossing with their own labels.....
    Also, I'm skeptical any McKenna's were blown before 1875. Has anyone dug them with the 3 earlier Cutter bottles?
    Wilson also states that in 1879 N. VanBergen bought the Gold Dust brand and changed the words Sole Agents to Sole Props. The amber N. Van Bergens probably run up to 1879 at the latest. John VanBergen was out of the picture by the end of 1874. So 1875-79 on the N's is how I would call it.


  3. Add these colors seen on whole examples:

    California Clubhouse--- Olive-amber
    Evans & O'Brien------- Olive Green
    N. Van Bergen-------yellow-amber, olive-amber; dark-amber
    Jockey Club ----- Dark amber; orange-amber
    Pride of KY ------- Olive-amber
    E. Chielovich --- Dark reddish amber; orange-amber
    S.H.M ---- dark amber; orange-amber; dark reddish=amber

    Broken examples:
    S.H.M ------ pure green (as in Belleville/Saline Valley Clubhouse green)
    John Van Bergen------ every whiskey color known except the Joker !
    Old Woodburn--- yellow amber

  4. A.P. and Andrew - Thanks for the imput on the Gold Dust N. I didn't check Wilson, went by Thomas info. 1876 buyout of Barkhouse Bros. I have to defer to diggers of these bottles and shards, a highly educated guess is better than my S.W.A.G. 1875-1879 seems like more of these amber N's would be around. The aqua horse is well known, quite a few examples, so sales didn't slack off after N took over. Just interesting that there are nearly twice the John's, as amber N's. What date on the aqua N, early 1880s?
    Changing the dates for the listing, also pushing the dates on the Teakettle, Pride, Kennas as mentioned.
    Could consider dropping the McKennas to post 1875? The only problem I have with that is the examples found in Columbus. Hard to know when they were used, other fifths there are S.H.M., Pride, older Cutters, and of course Cal.Club. They could have come in a little later, but most of the activity seems to be 1872-1875 and there are a bunch of McKennas in there broken. I think the S.H.M. predates the McKennas, we find them in Utah alongside Suits, early Cutters, small Millers. ??? I'll keep revising...

  5. I have dug both the applied and tooled Prides in the same hole. NVBs seem to run the entire decade from '75 to '85. Also, we dug two broken McKennas this spring. They were in a shallow pit, along with "fat boy" Star/Shields(T46), and early 4pc mold Circle Hotalings(T43). Why is it that the "good ones" are nearly always busted and the "junkers" come out mint?

  6. I "think" that the Cutter T-49 may be as early as 1866, as there are references to J.H.Cutter embossed bottles existing in that year. Provenance will be difficult, but not impossible. I be workin' on it.

  7. OldCutters.. The town I dug my tooled Pride in didnt even start until 1879, not one bldg there until 1879 and didnt really get going until the early 80s. That is another reason why I suspect the Prides had a longer run than previously believed

  8. SoleAgent... Wasnt Columbus still going good when neighboring Candelaria was up in full swing in the late 70s? I think there have been Pride of Kys found in Columbus also. I would put the McKennas after 1875.

  9. Just curious as to whether the Cutter A no.1 (T-40) is in the pre 75 range? Thomas states 1874-79. I have one that is extremely crude and whittled to death with a nice olive tone. Looks "early", but would like feedback. Thanks, ME

  10. A.P. - Columbus had several lives, first as the lead town in the mining district late '60s. The borax boom gave it the most prosperity 1873-75, and that dropped off after the biggest player moved to Fish Lake. The town of Caldelaria was platted in 1876 I believe, and drew away most of the rest of the population of Columbus. There are quite a few water wells in Columbus that serviced Candelaria in the late '70s early '80s. There were a few people there, but just a fraction of the boom times of the earlier '70s.
    A point that agrees with A.P.'s contention about the McKennas might be drawn from a single basement dug two years ago in Columbus. A mint S.H.M. and a mint Pride, along with several broken examples of each. No Mckennas pieces in the hole. The age range on the Pride is starting to make my head hurt. Long lived son of a gun!!
    Hard to get a real grasp of the exact usage date in these towns of the "golden triangle" of whiskey bottles. Espec. in beer label town.

  11. M.E. - I agree with you about the T--40 looking earlier, they almost always seem to have nice whittle and color. I don't know where Thomas got his info. on the 1874 start date on this bottle, or the 1873 date for the Bird for that matter. My experience with the T-40 and the OK T-41 would put them at the very late '70s at earliest and well into the late '80s on the T-41. Hotaling registered the O.K and A No 1 Trademarks in Cal. in Dec. 1881. Had been using these "devices" on bottles for several years before this date. I think the T-40 could be late '70's, but not as early as '75.
    What about the Bird Cutter?? Anyone ever find out what the bird means. Was Hotaling just flipping the bird to all the imitators, or doing his own imitating of W.A.Gaines' OLD CROW. Doesn't much look like a crow.

  12. SoleAgent... I was aware of Columbus's seemingly 9 lives, as I've read and re-read the fantastic book by Hugh Shamberger "Candelaria and Its Neighbors" many times over. That area, as you have very appropriately dubbed the "Golden Triangle of Whiskies", has always fascinated me. You read my mind on my inferring that the McKennas found in Columbus were used during its second or third go-round. From most of my research, I found most of the embossed glob-tops to be in the late 70s to mid 80s (1877-86)period. I think as we delve into this more, we are going to see the pre-'75 Club getting smaller and more exclusive. We will also see some that started pre '75 and ran past that date, but I think if we are doing pre '75 bottles that didnt run beyond that date, we are going to see a very tight club.
    I guess I had heard incorrectly re: the recent finds of the SHM & Pride out in the "Triangle". I had heard they came out of a basement in Teels Marsh or Marietta. Pls confirm...


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  14. Wow, I sure messed up the last comment -
    I had talked to one of the diggers of the Pride & SHM and he "claims" that they were dug in Columbus. His claims are sometimes misleading but you can take that for what its worth. According to the account relayed to me they were dug from a hole that was ABD but when they probed the hole got through a cap to a lower layer of trash. The pride & SHM were dug from that layer along with a Hostetter's and some other bottles that escape my memory.
    I have dug at Columbus for years and anything you find there you deserve, its one rough place to find a bottle.
    Now if Bob D. hasn't got to those horse corrals on the outskirts of town they might be worth looking into.....

  15. Thanks G.O.. That proves again that no place is totally "dug out". Did you get a look-see at either of those two bottles. I'm curious as to the colors and conditions....

  16. Millers and SoleAgent: I agree with both of you on the T-40 (A No. 1)characteristics and that the T-41 (OK)is a later bottle. For the small number of them around, most are crude and whittled and mostly the same color. Might not have been many batches of these blown... I also dont know where Thomas came up with the dates for these. I do have documented finds of these together with other late 1870s fifths such as the 2-name Bear and Blakes More-Reynolds. When I dug mine, there was a broken Blakes More-Reynolds laying next to it in the privy. Could these T-40's have been the short interim bottle for the A No 1 product during 1876 until Hotaling changed his mind and decided to just add the A No 1 embossing to the reverse of the Circle Cutters to avoid confusion with the OK & A No 1 use ? We do know the Blakes More Reynolds is post '75. Wilson stated, and directory info confirms, that More took over from Pond in late '75 with the G.O. Blakes brand, and then disassociated himself from the Blakes brand in '78 and started selling GH Clarks in the same bottles after a simple mold change. The first Circle Cutter with A No 1 on the reverse shows up about 1877, so with all this, that would put the T-40 at 1876-77 (probably only 1876, since they are so rare). That's what I came up with. I think when the T-41 OK bottle came along, Hotaling decided to shit-can the T-40 because they looked to similar. I suspect the T-41 OK started right afterwards. The Birdie must've been the earlier OK bottle used up to about 1877 when the T-41 OK most likely started.
    Maybe OldCutters can help on this one....

  17. SoleAgent: On the N. VanBergen population, you might look at it this way. If he hadnt gone to the aqua bottle, there would be 3 times as many "N"s as Johns !


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