Monday, November 28, 2011

Cassin's O. K. Golden Plantation Whiskey Bottle

Here is proof to when Francis & Patrick Cassin had their embossed whiskey bottles in the market. The advertisement on left appeared September 2, 1874, the other on March 14, 1874.

JELLIS CLUTE WILMERDING.......... an original S.F. 49'er

Now that the Wilmerding line of bottles has been brought up again, I felt it would be a good time to share some of the information I've gathered over the yrs. I'll try and add some more to this in the next wk or so.
Within this liquor product line-- Mc Kenna's, S.H.M, C.W. Stuart's, and United We Stand; Jellis Clute Wilmerding (J.C. Wilmerding) was really the key figure. He was more successful than many people realize. According to the 1870 San Francisco census, and years before any of the aforementioned brands were his, he had amassed a "personal worth" of $300,000. The only other person I noticed on that list with a higher worth was Wm Ralston, of Comstock banking fame. J.C. was quite generous with his fortune, and upon his death bequested large sums to various local institutions, associating the Wilmerding name with philanthropy in San Francisco for several generations that followed.

Some other interesting facts about J.C. Wilmerding:

* Born April 28, 1833 in Moscow, N.Y. to Henry Augustus Wilmerding and Nancy Wilmerding
(nee Clute)
* His mother Nancy, died when he was only 12 yrs old (1845)

* His father, Henry, remarried in 1847 a woman by the name of Harriette Elizabeth Kellogg....... yep, I said Kellogg ! (I can hear all yer wheels turnin now !)

* Young Jellis (J.C.) was educated at the Temple Hill Academy in Geneseo, N.Y.

* Barely 16 yrs old, J.C. and two of his cousins, Edward and Felix Tracy, headed from N.Y. for California in 1849 aboard the schooner Samuel M. Fox which they chartered, arriving in San Francisco Sept 21, 1849
They soon pitched a tent on the beach and commenced business (I dont know what the initial 1849 business was..... maybe selling some spirits in those good ole black glass ale bottles ??)

* Bought the Fargo & Co business with Calvin W. Kellogg in Jan of 1869 (they posted several notices in early 1869 in the Sacramento Daily Union stating "Fargo & Co dissolved. Partnership formed under name of Wilmerding & Kellogg, who will continue the business. J.C. Wilmerding, C.W. Kellogg".

* Had $58,500. in liquors on hand during his 1876 property assessment

* He died in San Francisco on Feb 20, 1894 (Lowe Bros registered all of Wilmerding's brands with the State of Ca. later that same year). In 1896, firm becomes Wilmerding-Loewe Co. (J.C. never married nor had children, so there must have been some agreement preceding his death to retain his name and possibly a portion of the business for extended family members (probably his step-mother Harriette Kellogg Wilmerding, who lived until 1901 !)

Calvin W. Kellogg

I believe Calvin Kellogg was still involved financially in the Wilmerding line (after all, he was a banker...), up until his own death in 1895. His initial stayed on the cylinder bottles (W &K ) long after he was not listed officially in the SF Directory with Wilmerding. His initial also stayed on all the Peruvian Bitters square moulds up until the change on the red-whittle mould variant made in the mid 1890's (probably 1895 or 96 right after he died and before Wilmerding-Loewe sold the Peruvian brand ).

* CW Kellogg was a member of the Pacific Stock Exchange in 1875. The 1910 History of the S.F. Stock Exchange Board states: " CW Kellogg was a prominent figure for years in mining matters. He controlled the Julia Mining Co and other listed stocks, and amassed quite a forture in Bonanza days". The 1879 Annual Mining Review has him as a trustee in the North Ophir Mining Co Virginia, Nev; North Consolidated Virginia Mining Co; Julia Consolidated Mining Co; Ward Gold & Silver Mining Co,; Rough & Ready Gold Mine, Gold Hill, Nev; and the Seventy-Six Silver Mining Co, Pioneer, Ariz.

* Lived w/ his wife in 1879 at 415 O'Farrell St. S.F.

* President of the Neophyte Club in S.F. in 1885 (don't know what they did in this club??)

* Owned a famous horse named Sam Purdy (whom he named after Samuel Purdy, pres of the 1855 State Senate). Horse ws foaled in 1866 from a mare named "Whiskey Jane". His horse was assessed at a value of $8000. in the 1876 San Francisco Municipal Report.

* Calvin W. Kellogg died April 12, 1895 in San Francisco (about a yr after J.C. Wilmerding). Kellogg was originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Wilson states Syracuse, N.Y. but my research showed otherwise. I still don't know Calvin's exact relationship to J.C.'s stepmother, Harriette. Both were Kelloggs and most likely associated with the same Kellogg family in Ann Arbor of later Kellogg's cereal fame. With his death in 1895, the firm's name change in the 1896 SF Directory to Wilmerding -Loewe Co fits correctly. In my opinion, this is when the Loewe Bros got full ownership (from Harriette Kellogg Wilmerding?) and changed the Kellogg's cylinders to "W.L. Co.". This guy was major invested/ involved, for his name to even replace the McKenna's name as the brand on the Nelson County Whiskey bottles and still appear far after his death.
The embossing change from McKenna's to Kelloggs may have also occurred in 1895 or 1896. The W & Co cylinder was probably one yr only (1895 or 96),also accounting for their extreme rarity,
The timing of the deaths of the two principals is very coincidental with the embossing changes on the McKennas/Kelloggs cylinders.
It appears after Kellogg's death, that another family member opened up shop at a different address in 1897 at 122-124 Davis St. Then moved to 404 Sansome St in 1898, until the last listing in 1901 (same year Harriette Elizabeth Kellogg Wilmerding died). She may have been the one selling the later non brand embossed Kellogg whiskies (but not the WL Co Kellogg's Nelson County brand that Loewe bros obtained and registered in 1894). Some speculationn on my part on this, but there was still a C.W. Kellogg Co. listed in the SF Directory selling liquors from 1897-1901, which started two yrs after Calvin died and up until the same yr J.C. Wilmerding's stepmother Harriette died. Coincidence, probably.......but that's what I came up with, anyways..

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Thanks for the great commentary on the C&I fifths and the relationship of the S.H.M. and the Stuarts moulds.   I went back and reviewed a posting we had two years ago about the Wilmerding bottles ...What a tangled web we weave.   Many of the questions or theories that were raised have been answered/debunked.      Good on you guys!     That is one of the original goals of the site,  to form ideas or theories,  and to put them out for comment.     Sometimes the comments or push back are meaningful and constructive,  sometimes not so much.     I've discovered that no matter how obscure of a little detail that I have noticed about a particular bottle,  when it is finally spoken of... other collectors had noticed it as well.   Some have even formed a theory as to why.    When a few people start commenting on it,  someone will try to find the answer.   It's human nature.. answer the question, solve the problem, dig deeper and prove the prevailing consensus wrong. 

I agree with A.P. about the age of the C&I - S.H.M... post 1880.  Which means the Stuarts ( if using that S.H.M. mould) would be ? ? ? 1882?, 1884?...????

I think the C&I - Mckennas made it's appearance in the late 1870's.   I'm hanging my hat on the fact that I found three broken ones in a privy at a small Utah smelter town that was in operation from 1875 -1879.   Is my sample trustworthy?  I'm not positive.   Other bottles in the hole were '70's,  the hole had not been previously dug.   

Either way,  I have a small problem with the two Mckennas bottles.   Why would they need two moulds?   
Look,  in my little brain,  I'm  perfectly fine with the S.H.M. bottles.  Curved leg R variety.. early 1874-1877/8,  C&I base variety... appeared a few years later - 1880/2 - 1884?  whatever.   Maybe the brand was reintroduced,  ????  maybe the first mould was damaged.   
The Mckenna's bottles overlap in dates of usage!   The curved R variety - what? 1876-1883 or 84 or 1885.  When were the toolies made?   If the C&I Mckennas are running from 1879/80 - 1882/83 or so, there is that overlap!    Reading Warren's glass works research gave me a better idea about how many bottles are being produced from these moulds.    Two moulds for Mckennas, with the western -curved leg R variety being both older and newer than the C&I variety.  Whew!!      I guess there is an answer to the riddle out there,  somewhere.  Will it answer the question as to the origin of these western C&I moulds??  Are they western??     For years, the C.W. Stuarts bottle had the Cassin's back half as part of it's mould.    'Till it didn't !!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Sans - serif font
Serif Font

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Howdy all;

I received an email from Bill Curtis this morning regarding his acquisition of the C. W. Stuarts, and his observation about the similarity of the embossing area coverage on the Stuarts and the embossing pattern on the SHM. In the email, Bill sent a couple of rubbings along with the possibilty of the Stuarts bottle being a reworked SHM mold. An interesting consideration to say the least.

Bill noted,

Hello Bruce I got a Stuart`s last week after looking at it I dont beleive it is made from the Cassin`s mold you can see the slugged out area on the Stuart`s fits the SHM but not the Cassin`s also the Cassin`s has a different bottom and the shoulders are different and if the Stuarts was made from the SHM that would explain the circle on the front of the Stuart`s let me know what you think maybe you can put this on your site.

First off, congratulations to Bill for having the good fortune to have the opportunity to acquire the bottle and have the funds to do it with (both at the same time). Seems like, at least for me, I have money when there's nothing available or visa versa... The Stuarts is a key piece and Bill should be mighty pleased to add it to his collection!

Rather than offering up an opinion in response to Bills email; I'm going to respond with a number of facts and questions. Maybe we can put our heads together and come up with a reasonable group hypothesis.

As we all know, mold modifications were a common place occurrence and we've seen numerous examples where So and So became So and Co. when the second "So" dissolved the partnership. Same goes for Bottled "For" being peened over, replaced by Bottle "By", etc. etc.

We also know that the glass factories maintained an inventory of blank half plate molds. These blank half plate molds were stocked for two purposes. They were stocked in order to allow the mold cutters ready access to blanks with which to fill an order for an embossed mold. They were also used as the back half (plain label side) of a two piece mold bottle.

We also now know, subsequent to the discovery of the Wilmerding & Co sign that documents both east and west coast distribution, that the firm was actively merchandising C. W. Stuarts, McKenna's, United We Stand, SHM (and a few other brands) concurrently.

John Thomas offered a hypothetical dating of this group as follows; Stuarts - ca. 1875 - 1883 / McKenna's - ca. 1874 - 1878 / United We Stand - 1878 - 1883 / SHM - 1874 - 1878. We discovered that the dating of the Untied We Stand was erroneous and that it was originally produced for the 1876 Centennial celebration. The length of the run, however, is still unknown but the commonality of all four bottles dates to ca. 1876 - 1878.

According to Thomas, the Stuarts was blown excusively by C&I of Philadelphia. The McKenna's and the SHM were blown both by C&I and in San Francisco, the United We Stand only in S.F. since none have been documented with the C&I base mark. Cunningham and Ihmsen remained in business until 1878. The question then begs, if the Stuarts and the SHM were blown at the same time, and by both eastern and west coast glass works, what would be the logic of modifying the mold by slugging out the embossing when both molds were in concurrent use?

We then look at logistics. Assuming that the SHM mold was no longer needed, and that the S.F. glass works decided to created a new half mold for the Stuarts, which makes more sense. Would they 1) Peen out all the embossing and then re-cut the old mold with a new "pattern" or 2) simply take a new fresh half plate mold out of stock and cut in the new "pattern"?
Personally speaking, based on my research, John Thomas assumed a lot without having the facts to back up his statements. As I've stated previously, John did the best with the research tools that he had available and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for giving us the foundation of research upon which we've continued to build. And in his defense, a lot of his assumptions made sense at the time based on the documentation that he had available.

Regardless, when one takes all the facts into consideration regarding the Stuarts, you have to question whether the shield was a reworked mold at all; regardless of whether it was a Cassins or an SHM~


Hi All;

Thanks for catching the mistake in my original posting. I had two draft copy's open and mistakenly posted and emailed the rest of the gang the one with typos and the oops re the SHM being western only. The correct one posted on the tool site. I've now posted the correct one along with a copy of Bills rubbing and a photo of the Wilmerding sign.

I've got two SHM's at this time. Both came from the same base and front and back half molds. Quite obviously blown at different times, though since one is a rich olive green amber with the other being an extremely light yellow orange (like the color of a dried apricot). Both bases are void of glassworks initials so assume they are western. Since their is no plural or possessive words, no seraph is present.

Another consideration is the back half mold. There's the issue of the shoulder logo on the label half of the mold. The K is vastly different from the W&Co. on the SHM, and much additional effort would have been required to peen out and re-cut it as well. But there's no evidence of a rework on the rear half of either. Finally, assuming that the rear are two different half plates, why re-cut only the front half, but not the rear?

 As far as the point or seraph in between the T and the S goes in regards to the Stuart's, it does have one pictured in Thomas. I'm not sure if that example is the C&I or the S.F. variant. But, according to Bill, the Stuarts was blown only by C&I so it's a moot point. My western McK does not have one but my Miller's, Simmond's Nabob, Blake's and OPS / Hotaling's all do. I suspect that it may have been an intentional omission on the McK mold since it is not present on the sign while the Stuart's on the sign does have it.

Take care & Happy Thanksgiving!


Bill sent the following to Denny so thought I'd attach it as well;

I went to Ken`s this morning and got a rubbing of the C&I SHM. Here it is. Can you send it to somebody to post it? I have been trying to figure out how to down load a picture onto Roger`s site, it is beyond me. You can see there is a little difference in the size of the C&I embossed area due to the smaller size of the C&I SHM bottle. It fits the pattern on the back of the Stuarts better than the S.F. made SHM. The C&I SHM lettering and the 1 has points/saraphs, and straight legged R's. The SF SHM has curved R's.
Denny replied;
You're right, seems like the C&I SHM lettering fits the area of the Stuarts back pattern even better than the SF SHM in your original rubbing.
I'll forward this along to the website guys via this email. I'm not sure I would be successful either in attempting to post your attached picture correctly.

C&I above with straight legged "R's" vs. S.F. blown mold variant below.

Hi Guys,

Western cylinder collector, Bill Curtiss, did a comparison which may clear up a long time theory that the back of the C.W. Stuarts was the slugged out reverse side of the F & PJ Cassin's Golden Plantation. From what he's found, the back of the Stuarts was the slugged out front of the SHM mold. He also found the the SHM & Stuart bases to match and the Cassin's does not.
Pretty interesting info...

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving,

Monday, November 21, 2011

More interesting information about the Alma Soda bottle

For awhile now I have been studying that bottle as well as a base embossed only PGW soda bottle. I actually have in my possession a Pacific Glass Works soda bottle that is identically embossed to the Pacific Glass Works embossing on the base of the Alma Soda bottle. I am certain that this PGW soda bottle mold was altered and became the MISENHEIMER & HALL / ALMA SODA bottle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011


Here’s a few pictures from one of our more interesting recent digs. Down we went through eight feet of rubble and then a two foot clean dirt plug layer. Under that there were 5ths stacked in there like cord wood. A fourteen foot deep brick lined privy that produced almost every variety of circle Cutter known. It started out 1890s and went back to the 1870s.
The highlights included thirty Cutters and four rare pumpkin seeds. There must have been at least another 75 busted Cutters as well. Strange thing was that this pit lacked almost any other kind of bottle besides whiskey, all Cutters.................

Click images to enlarge.