Friday, January 22, 2010

A-Tisket A-Tasket, A Lilienthal In A Basket

It was a Dark and Stormy Night, worst than the olde Mole can remember for down here in Dago on the Border. A long wet drive and a Nice Prize. Pedal to the metal, (35 MPH) screaming down the "Not so Freeway" blaring "Basket Case" by Green Day, Dr. Barnes asks his alter ego Mr. Rick "Are You F'ing Insane" Why Yes I am, Why do you ask, wish I could see the end of my truck so I know where I am going, its pouring. Ahhh the Flask Gods got me back to the Cajon Zone. Yes, Gary and Anthony, I am speaking RickBonics again. But, Dudddddeeeeee I gots the Flask. Anybody seen one of these before? Gots the top, gots the shape, gots the size and a label to boot. I can't see through the wicker very well, I am not sure if it is embossed or not? Did they make these Lil Flask unembossed? or at least this style of flask? Ahhh Who Cares, mighty fine addition to my little collection. Dr.Barnes/Mole/Rick


  1. Very cool find Rick. I havent seen one. Got me wondering now if they all came in wicker, and maybe that's how so many survived the rough journey and subsequent tossed down the rocky hillsides in the White Pine, Nev area. Have you compared the size/shape to an embossed Lilienthal yet? Russ U. would know about these, as he has been collecting Lilienthal since the 60s. As you will recall, he had the display at the Reno National a few yrs back.

  2. I believe this is a significant find. There are bottles frequently wrapped in wicker, but to my knowledge, this is the only Western flask I have seen with the original label on the outside of the wicker. This pretty much proves that this particular product was sold in wicker intentionally. One would think though, if this was the norm for flasks headed down the bumpy road to parts far away, that we would find more in wicker. I always thought that wicker was added by someone after the fact in their crafters class. The label makes me wonder if there is a tri-cities Lilienthal under there. I would be x-raying it to see what little surprise is hiding! Pretty neat !

  3. The only other Western Flask I have heard of in wicker was a J. Angeli flask that was found in SF in an antique store, but, I am not sure of that?? This one has the shape and height of a Hi or Low Lilenthal, the base narrows in a touch, wider shoulders. The 3 Cities looks like as a banded flask, a pretty straight sided bottle. I can't see in the wicker very well, I will need to have one of the boys with the young eyes check it out later, I am going in to the the Dr.s tomorrow to have my neck stretched, for real, I have a pinched nerve in the neck shoulder area. They put you on this machine and secure your neck in these tongs and then every 10 seconds this thing pulls you straight. I asked the Sweet looking gal running this gizmo if she might wear in one of those like black hood things, she said it was Friday, casual dress day, so she left it home, Think she was pulling my neck?? I will ask if it is possible to x-ray the flask instead of other body parts. Kool flask whatever it is? Dr. Barnes

  4. The antique store find in wicker was an Old Bourbon Castle flask. I never saw it in the wicker covering though, and do not know if it had even a trace of a label. I believe the Angeli find was not in a cacoon, just out there waiting for someone to throw down their $15 bucks and take her home. You are likely correct in that the style of your flask would indicate an earlier union oval style...but that woven wood will fool you sometimes. I would leave it as is...unless it is a never seen before embossed flask, any amber Lil would be much less interesting, or valuable as the one wrapped in sticks, with a label. M.E.

  5. You are correct Sir, I remember now it was the Castle, I remember Jon talking about it. Yes, I agree, I will leave it in the sticks. I think its pretty Kool the way it is actually. Too bad it wasn't Grange Green though. R

  6. Interesting post and congratulations Mole on your nice find. For years I knew where there was what appeared to be a Grange flask in wicker sitting in business along with a bunch of other no so intriguing stuff. It had the right shape and the very distinctive top these bottles have. The bottle was up high and not within reach unless by ladder. I'd asked the proprietor several times over the years if I could buy, trade or just look at it and was met by the same negative response each time. Unfortunately after years of trying I opened my big mouth and told someone else about it and within six months it was gone. The owner claimed he didn't know where it went.
    It's well documented that women and children were employed at the glass houses to basket wrap certain bottles. I don't believe all were basket covered but what's interesting here is; why were certain ones wrapped and others not????????

  7. Quite an unusual find, Rick! Come on over soon and we can take some pictures of that bottle in the mix with some other Lilienthal bottles and a Cyrus Noble Drinking (shot) glass.

    From a business standpoint, I don't see how it would've made any sense for any of the old whiskey agents to intentionally take an embossed bottle (higher cost to make b/c of the embossing) and then instantly cover it all up with wicker. If you knew you were going to cover a bottle in wicker, there's no reason for a bottle to have any embossing, right?

    I would seem to think that any of the wicker-wrapped examples still in existence today are a later by-product, thus straying away from the original intent of any embossed bottle.

    I'm thinking R. Siri would know the most about this, specifically in regards to western whiskeys that ended up covered/protected by wicker??


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.