Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lilienthal & Co.

Dale's recent "Red & Green" Lilienthal Christmas post inspired me take and share a few pictures of the Lilienthal & Co.bottles my dad and I have been able to put together so far....

Here's a representative sampling of about half of the different shapes and embossing patterns found on the various Lilienthal & Co. bottles. I can't think of another set of early whiskey bottles (other than Cutters) featuring so many uniquely different shapes, styles, and sizes as the Lilenthals.

Left to Right: AT Banded Cognac-style flask, AT Large-pattern fifth, AT Banded Pint flask, TT Banded 1/2 Pint flask.

Here are some pretty rare flasks to find; and I haven't heard of any of the following having been dug recently....

Left to Right: Green colored High S.F. variant (with partial "Blue Lick" whiskey label on reverse), Amber colored High S.F. variant, and a orange toned Low S.F. variant.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Palm tree blues

Sometimes the soothing sounds of waves and trade winds, along with tropical temperatures needs a little opposition. Rick's post got me to thinking of the other "soothing sound" we hear while at our Sierra cabin. The snow is arse deep now, but wait until it begins to melt in the Spring. The river roaring by makes outside conversation nearly impossible, but lulls you to sleep in the evening.

Friday, December 17, 2010


This time of year, the relentless Oregon winter gloom, accompanied by rain, snow and pogonip (ice fog), turns my thoughts to Hawaii.
I've always had a soft spot for "the islands". My father lived on the big island (Hawaii proper) forever. My daughter and her family resided on Oahu, just outside of Pearl Harbor off and on for several years. I've spent my share of time on these islands, as well as Kauai and Maui. There's just something about the warm sea air, tropical breezes and billowing white clouds that soothes the inner beast.

And of course, there's the history~ Lots and lots of history; much of it intertwined with the pre-prohibition San Francisco wholesale liquor trade. Molokai, Hawaii and Oahu are all well known for the quantity and quality of western tooled and glop top whiskies found there. The towns, cane plantation dumps and mountain ravines have in the past (and continue to) give up treasures. Treasures with names like Spears Pioneer, Cutter, M. Rothenburg (cluck - cluck), Lilienthal, and Spruance Stanley all abound in collections over there. Hilo, Kona, Lahaina, Wailua, Ewa, Kihea, and of course Honolulu, have all produced spectacular S.F. whiskey finds over the years.

And we can't forget to give due credit to the whiskies indigenous to Hawaii proper. A thriving liquor trade existed from the eighties through to prohibition. The oldest, C.L. Richards & Co. - Honolulu S.I. (Sandwich Islands) dates to around 1858, is olive green and should by all rights have a big ol' blowpipe or iron pontil scar on the base. As far as I know, there's only two in existence.

Next in the batting lineup is the slug plate MacFarlane & Co. I've spent countless hours in the archives, located on the Iolani Palace Grounds in downtown Honolulu. There's a wealth of information there, if one is patient and dogged enough to figure out how and where it's stored... MacFarlane (actually G.W. & Co.) dates back to the early eighties. He was first located in the Beaver Block, a two-story structure located at Fort and Queen Streets, which was completed in 1882. Progressive, his building sported the first elevator (albeit manual and not electrified) in the islands, allowing patrons easy access to the second floor, from the Beaver Saloon located on the first. Competition must have been stiff as the front page of the January 1, 1887 (Honolulu) Daily Herald has multiple advertisements for Hackfield, Lilienthal, Spruance Stanley, Martinelli, and of course, MacFarlane. Conjecture has long been tossed about that MacFarlane & Co. actually became part of the Lilienthal corporate umbrella and the slug cylinders bear more than a passing resemblance to the Van Schuyver and Crown Distilleries slug plates. If so, the merger occurred post 1887 as evidenced by this newspaper. The MacFarlane slug plate was made over a wide time span, and as such, the bottles evolved from the crude glop tops of 1882, into the neatly made tool top era, ca. 1910.

Walter Chamberlain Peacock, abbreviated to W.C., was another successful wholesale liquor magnate whose success spanned many years. W. C. was originally an English businessman. Upon his arrival in the islands in 1881, Peacock entered into the Hawaii wholesale liquor arena with George Freeth. Later, Freeth took leave and the firm of W. C. Peacock & Co. was born. In 1890, Peacock had the Royal Saloon Building built in Honolulu’s Chinatown district at Nu‘uanu and Merchant Street. As his liquor fortunes continued to pile up, he branched out and had the 75-room, 4-story Moana Hotel constructed, which opened in Waikiki on March 11, 1901.

Each room featured a bathroom and telephone (luxurious amenities at the time). The hotel also boasted Oahu's first electric elevator. The bottles produced for the Peacock empire range from the red whittled "German Connection" glop tops of the nineties, through the neatly tooled era. Most of the later bottles look as though they could have been blown yesterday.
Sadly, prohibition spelled the end for the wholesale liquor portion of Peacocks financial success story.

Lovejoy & Co. can be positively dated as far back as 1899. The Honolulu Republican announced that one parcel had arrived aboard the S.S. China on Jan. 4, 1899 and another on the S.S. Alameda on Dec. 6, 1899, destined for Lovejoy & Co., but was being held pending receipt of duties to be collected by the U.S. government customs house in Honolulu. Hawaii had been added as a US territory in the summer of 1898 and an ongoing battle between the feds and the local merchants had been simmering for months (sound familiar?). A lengthy search of the archives revealed that David H. Lewis and John D. Holt were the principals doing business under the firm name of Lovejoy & Company. Interesting to note that both Peacock and Lovejoy sued the Republic of Hawaii on March 29, 1899, in an attempt to recover their goods. The disposition of the case is not known although all indications are that they lost the suit since the classified ads announced an upcoming auction of their goods some months later. Regardless, Lovejoy & Co. continued to prosper well into the 20th century. Although not, common, the amber tooled cylinder is a mainstay in most western whiskey collections.

Last, but not least, enter Hoffschlaeger & Co. I found one reference to Ed Hoffschlaeger & Co dating as far back as 1889, although there was no indication of whether he was involved in the sugar business or in retail goods at that time. I was able to trace the firm proper, as liquor dealers, back as far as 1895. The (Honolulu) Independent posted an advertisement on Nov. 7 for Ed Hoffschlaeger & Co, located on King St. opposite Castle & Cook, dealing in Wines, Liquors & Beers of the highest grade. He also boasted a large selection of carpets and rugs, along with sewing machines, baby carriages, pianos, organs and guitars. Sounds like a 19th century version of Wal-Mart if you ask me... A like ad, that appeared in the Daily Bulletin dated October 30, 1893, is virtually identical, but lacks any reference to liquor. Hoffschlaeger too, was a victim of held goods by the Customs House having one package withheld from the shipment that had arrived aboard the S.S. China on Jan. 4, 1899.

The S.S. Kinau was part of  the Wilders S.S. (steam ship) Co. fleet of mail ships that made a constant and revolving circuit around the island chain at the turn of the century, delivering goods and mail.

The preceding trade card announced to the inhabitants of the big island, that their orders from Hoffschlaeger & Co. would soon be filled.

Since the firm does indeed date to the tail end of the applied top era, there could quite possibly be a globby floating around somewhere. At this time though, all are neatly made with tooled tops in shades of amber. Most are quite light, although I've seen one that approaches espresso in color. Like Lovejoy and Peacock, the firm prospered until being killed off by prohibition.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Colors of Christmas-Green and Red

In order to spread a little Christmas spirit, here is some green and red decorations for the shelf.

I hope everyone is having a nice Christmas season!

Dale M.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Auburn Report- Whiskies and Other Stuff...

The Auburn show was a cornucopia of vessels this year. In addition to the sweet Western Bitters available for sale ( and some not), there were some great whiskey bottles on tables, and behind them. I saw a spectacular John Van Bergen, and Chalmer's ( sort of a whiskey), a top example of a Snowflake, a PMSS, a Blakes, Non-Crown Cutter, Choice Old Cabinet, Old Gilt Edge, Bird Cutter, a few OK Cutter's, and a nice Teakettle. Early flasks were well represented with a Star Shield, Castle Bourbon, two Miller's large design, and one Miller's small design ( which I took home.Could not resist a green small Miller's) , two AAA Old Valley flasks, a Brickwedel, and a few different Lilienthal's. All in all a strong showing of quality fifths and flasks. The prices were also pretty "affordable" if that can be said for Western glass these days...the Snowflake with nice whittle and character was $3850. I thought that was a great value, but I am not sure it sold at that.
It is interesting that this particular show, and perhaps Reno bring out so much good stuff that one could really get into some financial trouble if not careful. Usually you might find one good piece for the collection at a show, but Auburn had me deciding between several pieces in several categories. I suppose this is a nice "problem" to have! I look forward to next year, and had better start saving my $$$$ now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's Happening

What's been shakin' in the western whiskey world lately? Are all you collectors asleep?

Seems to me with all the western items available at Auburn we should have some sort of report about what changed hands.

Or... have all you whiskey guys gone underground. And by the way, where the heck is the sole agent, I'm getting mighty thirsty for some whiskey news!


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Whiskies find tough love on ebay
Earlier today two very nice western whiskey fifths closed on the ebay auction site.
Fifth number one, a J.H. Cutter Sole Agent, described as “a very crude and whittled 1870s Western whiskey” “The color is light honey amber, and the top is crudely applied. The embossing is very strong, with the jewels on the crown easily seen. There is an "A. No.1" on the reverse shoulder. Condition is about perfect with a few light scratches, but otherwise a sparkler!” finished at a disappointing $156.99
I followed this bottle throughout the run of the auction and still can’t figure out why it went for such a bargain price.

The real shocker for me was the Newmark-Gruenberg Old Judge fifth that closed at just over $650. Described by the seller as “Here is a top specimen of a very tough to find Western whiskey. This crudely applied "glob top" fifth is a light yellow with topaz tone. This is a super color for this San Francisco whiskey! The embossing reads " Newmark Gruenberg & Co, Old Judge Bourbon, S.F." This one does not have the patent date on the base. Condition is gem mint, and it has never been tumbled. A sparkling perfect example of this early San Francisco whiskey!”
As I watched these auctions I kept wondering when the bidding on these two items was going to take off. Unfortunately for the seller it never did and the winning bidders, in my opinion, found a real bargain.

Goes to show you never know

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Adventures of Fleck, En, Stein, & Mayer

The Trio in different lighting:

I'm on the way up to Portland for Thanksgiving old city where these bottles were all once shipped off to, after being blown in San Francisco.

Pictured Left to Right (Below): Union Oval 1/2 Pint Flask (TT) with embossing inside of slug plate, Knife-edge Pint Flask (AT) with full-faced embossing, Open-faced Fifth Cylinder (AT) with open-faced embossing, and Knife-edge Pint Flask (Transitional TT) with embossing inside of slug plate.

And while I'll be visiting their destination place; they will be making the journey back towards their place of birth, not too far off from S.F.

Coming soon to an Auburn sales table near you....(all but the dark flask on the right will be offered for trade or sale).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Auburn 2010

Hey All, getting ready for the road trip to my favorite Bottle Show in Aburn, Cal. put got the boxes packed and working now on Insulators and Western Tradecards. Stop by AKA. Dr. Barnes, AKA. The Mole or better known as Rick Hall, Table #30 in the Upper Building and say HI, its always fun to put Faces with Emails, Ebay Handles and the Bottle Blogs Group Members. As my friend Gary W. would say "Buy like there is No Tomorrow" Should be another Fun Show, Looking forward to it. Dr.Barnes

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Proud "Pride"

Dale recently mentioned that it seemed to be up to Lance and he to keep fresh posts appearing. I thought I'd help out as well. A couple of bottles sit proudly on my shelf; both "prides". One sports a glop top, the other tooled. And hence, this post is a tie in to the blurb that Dale recently put forth.

The previous article pointed out the overall rarity of this particular bottle in glop top. Originally thought to be blown exclusively with an applied top, one example with a crudely tooled top appeared around 2000. I'll take it a step further and point out that the glop tops outnumber the tool tops by at least 10 to 1. Assuming a total count of between 30 - 40, that leaves, at the most, 3 - 4 tool tops in collections.

I can personally account for one mint one and one damaged example. I don't care what one uses as a criteria for scarcity, a tooled Pride is just flat rare~

Thomas dated the Pride as being blown between 1874 - 1879. I've owned five over my forty some years of collecting. All were, quite obviously, blown in the same mold.The brand was registered with the U.S. Patent Office to Livingston & Co. in 1873. So, Thomas was no doubt correct with his ca. 1874 dating. Livingston left the company in 1878 so that, and not 1879, would definitely spell the end of the bottles embossed Livingston & Co.. However, based on the few surviving examples, one would think that the embossed bottles were most probably only made for one run, and then sold in paper labeled slicks after the embossed supplies ran out.

According to Thomas, they have been found along the Pacific coast from Trinidad to San Jose and in Nevada - Belleville, Candaleria and Cerro Gordo (there's that name again). A major find of Prides occurred in the Trinity Mountains of Northern California many years ago. The hillside below the mine superintendents residence produced a total of seven intact and damaged examples. Odds are, there probably are still five (making up the rest of a case of twelve) waiting to be recovered. Hope springs eternal...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AMERICAN BOTTLE AUCTIONS - My 2cents worth......

There's some nice Western bottles being offered this time around at "American Bottle Auctions" a few of you are likely interested in. I had a chance to view many of the bottles first hand on a recent trip to the auction house. For those interested I have a page on my website at highlighting a few of the Western items in this round.
Auction closes on November 14th, check it out at Oppertunity knocks for some rarely offered Western bottles.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

They Are Still Out There!

Well, I guess it is up to Lance or myself to post stuff...I thought I would share a recent discovery with all you "bloggers".

Recently I received a phone call from a plumbing contractor. He said that he had been doing some work under an 1860s house in "anytown, Oregon", and had found a crusty old flask with it's contents, and cork. It was embossed "S. Adolph, & Co. Salem, O." The flask was laying under about an inch of that grey light hanta virus laden dirt that we find when we crawl under old buildings. This house was being remodeled, but had modern plumbing, and electrical circa 1950s, so people had crawled around that house numerous times.
The contractor indicated that he had not yet told the actual homeowner about the find, but would later in the day...he asked what the bottle would be worth, and would I be interested? I was very excited, and told him to discuss it with the homeowner, and have either of them let me know if the bottle was available. If it was, I would make them an offer, and they could discuss it. He told me the homeowner's name, and hung up the phone. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. There were only two pints, and one half pint known, and I had two of them already in my collection. I waited for the phone to ring...for 5 months.
One day while I was in a TOC privy, my cell phone rang and it was the homeowner N.J. He stated that the bottle was available for me to purchase if I was interested, and he would be in Medford on the following Friday. He would meet me, and I could take a look at the flask, and we would work something out. He was going to provide a finders fee to the plumber from the proceeds.
Friday came, and just as promised, N.J. was at the meeting location carrying a little playmate cooler. In the cooler was a pint flask wrapped in rags,, and completely black inside and out. The contents had dried to a brick consistency, and the outside was coated with black crust. I could not tell if the bottle had a crack all the way around, or was mint, but I made an offer, and the deal was done. This was pretty risky.
I removed the doubled over leather "cork" and used paint thinner to remove the black tar stuff. I was relieved to find the flask in pristine mint condition!
While not the most elaborate or fancy embossed flask, this is the only tooled top pint known, and proves that there are still some great finds to be made out there. It is one of the West's rarest flasks, and one of Oregon's top bottles.The Hotaling glob top fifth from this Summer and this flask are great pieces of history found by non collectors!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pride of Kentucky

Here is a bottle that is somewhat of a mystery to me... They are supposedly fairly prevalent, with over 30 examples in collections. I just do not see the glob top Pride available for sale, nor have I heard of a mint example being dug for many years. This bottle sure looks fairly early, with the "fat" body, and early style base similar to an early non-crown Cutter Hotaling. But, they also come tooled, which like the Mc Kenna's, indicates a pretty long run. This example is an old amber, and has a strong strike for this bottle. This has been a fifth that I have had the hardest time upgrading, as there just does not seem to be any available. Once highly regarded, and firmly in the "top 25" they seem to have fallen out of favor a bit, but nobody is letting go of theirs! Anyone out there dug a Pride? Ever? It would be great to see some nice examples posted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Antique Store Bottle Finds

A few weeks ago I managed to find these two bottles in a local antique store. Out of all the antique stores in Southern Cal I've ever visited, these finds take the cake, especially the Fenkhausen Whiskey fifth! As surprising as it was to find these bottles, the prices were equally exciting. The bottle on the right is an unembossed western square/bitters with an applied top. One collector has confirmed this to have been a once labeled bitters product from Red Bluff, CA. It might take another 10 years or more to find some more good bottles in an antique store....but the search is always part of the fun!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Western Bitters Site Back Online

Fellow collectors,
After receiving an email from Bruce Silva informing me the pirates that hijacked the Western Bitters News site had abandoned it, I spent the time to try and resurrect and restore the content of the Western Bitters News.
I am happy to announce that the Western Bitters News is back online at the new address and I will try to keep fresh content on the site every week.
I have the Annual Forest City Applefest to attend today (in the pouring rain) but will start adding new content to the site on Monday and look forward to keeping this site alive for all of us collectors to enjoy. I have all of the old posts up and running for those that want to look them over.

See you over at

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canyonville Show Pick Up...

This year's Canyonville show was larger than ever, with all tables sold, and some great displays. There is a full report on the Western Tooled Top Gazette.

It seems that every year, I am able to add a quality piece to my collection, and this year was no exception. In addition to purchasing a pretty golden olive Lacour's Bitters, and an ice blue Chas. Bernard, S.F. spice, I was able to acquire this incredible deep colored Farmer's Horse Medicine. This is the large size, and it is very crude with some great glass characteristics. I now have two of a nice ice blue, and this example. Both were dug in the same Northwest town. It is a nice surprise to be able to find a bottle like this at a show, but Canyonville always provides a chance at this nice Western glass brought in by diggers, and collectors that rarely attend the other shows in the West. I guess this show is not such a "secret" any more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How About Some Bottle Pics

Here is a few Gaslights, all unembossed, all applied tops, vibrant colors, the blue one has deeper cobalt patches or swirls running through it and serious galss swirls in the shoulder and body, a looker for sure. Dr.Barnes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bottle Digging: Rock & Roll

Earlier this Spring, my younger bro and I set out for a weekend dig in Southern Cal to see if we could locate some old privies and find a few noteworthy old bottles. We never would have foreseen or predicted what would happen on our weekend adventure....In this episode we bring to you an unexpected digging experience, Rock & Roll!

Summary of Day One...Can you say ABD-ed, circa 1985??

Time to catch some sleep after a long hot day at the local luxury motel. Check out the air conditioning unit....I can't wait til someone lists this thing on eBay as being in "MINT" condition right??? The rest of the room and amenities were in similar condition, yikes! We should've slept on a dirt lot somewhere. We felt lucky enough to avoid catching any bed bugs.
Some of the features on this house looked pretty "late," but an old looking porch, architectural style, and windows...
Our 1895 Maps told us it was at least that old, with the side of the house suggesting solid 1880's....
After an hour or more of probing we finally poked out floater hole with a layer around the 6 foot level. It was time to open it up and see what we could find....
Lots and lots of huge boulder rocks from the 6 to 9 foot level....
We figured out what people mean by "hitting rock bottom," and NO bottles. A non-ABD floater hole with no more than a few broken shards.
But wait! While peeling one of the walls high up at the 4 foot! A totally rad 1880's-90's champagne bottle, NOT! But seriously, we've never been this excited about finding an unembossed champagne. Bit hey, at least the hole kicked us one large-sized intact bottle....
Then the real fun began, as Rob & Gerty (the homeowners) made us ribs, chips & guacamole, and cold beer! To our surprise they also have a full-blown Karaoke set up in their backyard, so we sang the bottle blues....Out with the ROCKS and in with the ROLL!
Two brothers, Two days, a few outhouses, one champagne, gracious hosts, free dinner, beer, and karaoke....PRICELESS!
We can't wait for our next bottle adventure. Rock On!

New Western Glass Works Book

I just wanted to let all of you fellow bottle collectors know that Warren Friedrich's new book on Western Glass Works is being published later this month and will be available at the Auburn California 49er Bottle Show on December 3rd & 4th.
This new book takes a factual look at the development of the Western Glass industry and the beautiful glass containers it produced. If you are interested in the development of Western Glass I highly recommend this new

More information on this new book on Western Glass Houses is listed below:
A Book on Early California Glass Works: 1859 through 1899

I have recently written and will publish a comprehensive book on the above subject matter. This book is 230 pages and will contain 290 illustrations. It will be printed on 80 lb or 100 lb gloss paper in color and have a sewn binding with hardcover. Unfortunately this will not be as reasonably priced as I had hoped for. The price will be $100 for each book and the publisher will have the books ready for me by December 3rd. I plan on bringing these books to the Auburn Bottle Show and will be sharing a table with Roger Terry for distribution of them.

These books will be published 1 time only, and I have a deadline of October 18th to let the publisher know exactly how many to order. For those that are interested in purchasing a book, please call me at (530) 265-5204 anytime to discuss anything further. Because of the cost I am requesting that these books be pre-sold.

Please send payment of $100 by check to:

Warren Friedrich
11422 Ridge Road
Nevada City, Ca. 95959

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Swirly Flask

Neat looking Knife Edge Pint Flask, a Crude Tool Top, has a Nice White Swirl running through the body, it also leans heavily, barley stands up. Thank You Swapmeet God's. DB