Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Wormser Brothers


The firm of Wormser Brother was located on the corner of California and Front Streets in San Francisco and listed as importers and jobbers of wines and liquors. Started sometime in 1856 Isaac Wormser, who was living in Germany, was the president of the company and his brother Lewis was the manager. In 1864 Lewis left San Francisco and his brother Simon took over management of the company. In October of 1867, during Simon’s management of the firm, they trademarked the “Golden Sheaf” brand of whiskey. By 1872 the Wormser Bros. business was sold to the firm of Braeg Frank and Dallemand.

The Wormser Brothers produced some of the more desirable western bottles while they were in business in San Francisco. The earliest glass container from the Wormser firm is the large whiskey flask horizontally embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO. The Wormser  flask is considered very rare with possibly 8 to 12 examples in private collections. Several of these early containers seem to have poor quality glass with annealing checks and other manufacture related problems. It is not known if this bottle was blown in a San Francisco glass house or manufactured in the east and distributed in the west. 

Horizontal embossed Wormser flask circa 1867-69

It is believed the barrel shaped bottle with an applied tapered top and a smooth base embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO was produced for a very short period of time, possibly in 1869 only. Although I could not find any advertisements to confirm what these bottles contained, Western collectors believe this container held a whiskey bitters product.

Wormser Bros. barrel style bottles

This barrel shaped bottle comes in various shades of amber from light yellow to darker brown amber. Most examples show very little crudity but a couple examples that I have observed have some pretty good whittle to the glass.

It is thought that there are between 25 and 30 of the Wormser Bros. barrels in collections at the present time. 
 Years ago, in the Virginia City area, several examples of the Wormser barrel were recovered from a large bottle digging excavation.
Vertical embossed Wormser flask

The last bottle produced by the Wormser Bros. is the vertically embossed flask. These bottles were more than likely manufactured post 1869. They come in colors ranging from dark chocolate to green and are the most common of the Wormser bottles.



Thanks to American Bottle Auctions, Western Whiskey Gazette, Western Whiskey blog site and Dale Mlasko for the images - rs -

1 comment:

  1. The earliest Wormser flask exhibits traits that evidences it to be of western blown and mold of western manufacture. It most likely came to market in the 1867 to 1869 period. The illustrated drawing in the Portland Morning Oregonian newspaper seems to show the early style flask with the Golden Sheaf Whiskey label.

    The vertical embossed Wormser flask and the barrel designed bottle both exhibit the same style of lettering and were likely made by the same pattern maker / mold engraver which is different from the earlier Wormser flask. It is not known whether these molds were produced in the West, but it is likely that bottles were blown from California glass works using these molds.

    The Wormser Bros were in business early on in San Francisco and were on a list of the richest residents in S.F in 1866. They began to build their three story brick warehouse with basement in April 1867 and by November 5th, 1867 began to advertise in the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers as importers of wines and liquors at their California and Front Sts location. On June 14th, 1872 the Wormser Bros sold their liquor portion of their business to a Braeg & Frank partnership who had purchased the J. Angeli & Co liquor concern in 1871.


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