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HERBA / BLOOD PURIFIER (upward arched) / AND / STOMACH TONIC (downward arch) / THE HERBA Co. / PHILADELPIA / PENNA. - All of that information is embossed horizontally on this rare tonic bottle from PA. I've only seen a couple of these for sale in my years of looking. The most recent example was noted in the past couple years at one of the major bottle auction houses (forget which one) which sold for $325 + commission.
The bottle is square with moderately wide beveled corners, has a tooled "oil" finish/lip and is a nice light golden amber color with some bubbles in the glass. It is embossed with a "70" on the base and has a shallow sunken label panel on the back side of the bottle the embossing; the other two sides are flat with no embossing or indentation. I would date this bottle to the mid to late 1880s as it has the tooled finish, but no evidence of mold air venting.
The condition is almost mint with no staining inside or out - nice glossy glass. The only issues is that there is a very small (1-2mm) nick on one back panel corner on the mold seam and an equally small nick/tiny chip at the heel on the left side. Nice and rare Philly tonic bottle for a decent price. $150
DR HENRY.S / WORLD'S TONIC - & / BLOOD PURFIFYER. - This is a very nice example of what is reported to be a Western blown tonic bottle and possibly related to the California Dr. Henry's products (e.g., Dr. Henry's Sarsaparilla). It has the deep blue aqua color typical of the 1870s and 1880s products blown at the SF&PGW (or predecessors) and have been reported to be found in the West, though some seem to come from back east also. The shape, size and embossing pattern was probably chosen to emulate the way more popular "Dr. McClean's Strengthening Cordial & Blood Purifier" though the mold engraver (or Dr. Henry?) had a problem correctly spelling purifier choosing to spell it "Purifyer" to the delight of modern bottle collectors. Unlike the McLean's product, this bottle has the noted embossing spread over both sides of the body...once again to the delight of collectors.
In any event, this example is 9.2" tall, "flask" shaped body (over 4" wide and 2" thick), blown in a post-base mold, lacking evidence of body air venting although boldly embossed, and a crudely applied double ring lip or finish with an appearance and manufacturing signature dating it to the 1870s. The glass is, as noted, a rich blue aqua with a nice assortment of bubbles in the glass and a bit of other crudeness to the body. Condition is near mint with no issues besides one surface open bubble at the heel that has no depth at all; it appears to have been professionally cleaned to my eye. Great example of a very rare tonic bottle that I've seen a couple examples sell for $500 or more in recent years. This example is well priced at - $250
DR. TOWNSEND'S - AROMATIC - HOLLANDS / TONIC - Offered here is one of the premier medicinal tonic bottles put out by the familiar Dr. S. P. Townsends of New England sarsaparilla fame. (I don't believe this was put out by the "Old" Dr. J. Townsends imitator but can't say for sure. Doesn't really matter as it is still one of the great tonic bottles.)
The embossing is as noted above on three different panels; the fourth crude and dimpled label panel is unembossed but viewable at this link: Side 4. The slightly domed base is pictured at this link: Base view. Click on any of the images to the left to see much bigger versions. This bottle is 9" tall, 2.75" wide on each side, was blown in post base mold, and dates from the 1870s it appears, give or take a year or two on each end. The glass color is as shown in the images - a bright medium amber with a golden tone. The "oil" style finish is applied but done so well that there is little slop over ("globby-ness") coming down onto the neck.
The condition of this bottle is very good with just a couple minor issues. First is that there is what appears to be a popped bubble or in-making crude rough spot on the underside of the finish in one spot which is about 5 mm wide. Click close-up of the lip to see it. I'm pretty sure this was done during completion of the lip and does resemble an open bubble in a weird location. The other "issue" is that there is some very light scattered haze on the outside of the bottle in a few places, indicating that it has not been professionally cleaned but certainly could be lightly polished to restore the surface brilliance. A bit of the vague haze can be see in the larger images I think.
I've only seen a couple more of these bottles ever; this one I purchased from a Glass Works Auction a couple decades ago. Whether you are a Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla collector or a collector of medicinal tonics, this is a key one to acquire. $395
FERRO-CHINA-BERNER / BERNER TONIC - This bottle isn't embossed with the word TONIC, like others on this page, but the label makes clear that it is a medicinal tonic with both alcohol (18%) and...arsenic! It has almost complete labels and is sealed with the original contents...or at least 95% of it as the awful looking liquid inside reaches up to the widest part of the shoulder just below the "BERNER" label in the image to the right. Click sealed cork & capsule image to see such; it is embossed on the top of the capsule with FERRO / star / CHINA.
The embossing on the front is a big and bold FERRO-CHINA with more details about the product on the front and back labeling. Click the front label to the right to see a larger version. Click reverse view to see the other side of the label which wraps around the entire body of the bottle. Labels are almost complete as shown in the images with a little tattering here and there. Only the narrow neck label just below the lip is missing a portion. It is noted in several places on the label that this product was "For Medicinal Use Only" so it was certainly intended to treat something though what is unstated. The narrow strip label below the main label notes that it is "...not a liquor" and that "...doctors recommend to take not more than 3 tablespoons of it every day." Apparently that was the permissible daily dose of arsenic at the time!
The label notes that the FERRO-CHINA-BERNER CO. of New York "distributed" the product which I believe is from Italy. This is confirmed (Milano specifically) by Ring & Ham's "Bitters Bottles" (pages 220-224) book which notes that there were many different bottles this product - or similar products - were packaged in with many of them identified as "bitters" on the labels but not embossed as such. This particular bottle appears to more or less match F-31 although that one was machine-made and distributed out of San Francisco. This offered bottle is mouth-blown with a tooled finish that is appears purely European in origin. One can see the shape of the finish underneath the foil capsule sealing the bottle. Instead of being called a "bitters" this New York distributor called it a "tonic."
The bottle is quite crude and the glass is a medium to dark olive green though it likely dates from no earlier than the 1890s. It is 10"+ and the body upwards of 4" in diameter. The condition of the bottle itself is perfect and the images show the generally good condition of the labeling. For reference in regards to shipping, the bottle by itself with contents weighs 3.5 pounds - a combination of heavy glass and almost full contents. Nice, if weird, item! I don't remember where I got this bottle but it could have been one of McMurray's medicine bottle auctions years ago. $100
DR. KURNITZKI'S / AROMATIC / WIRE GRASS TONIC - Is that a great name or what!? These are quite rare bottles of which I've seen at most 10; here is an extra one I've come into possession of recently. Dr. Kurnitzki was a doctor (or at least used the doctor's title) who produced several different patent medicines - including a Wire Grass Kidney & Liver Medicine - in the southern city of Charleston, South Carolina (the K&L medicine notes the city; the tonic bottle does not have the city embossed). This bottle is a light to medium amber in color, has a very crudely applied "oil" finish or lip ("globby-ness" completely - 360˚ - around the base of the finish), smooth indented base, and is 9.5" tall; these bottle date from between 1875 and maybe 1885 based on manufacturing features.
This example has been professionally cleaned as most non-stained examples have been. These bottles are of a glass type that apparently stains easily and/or are all found in areas (SC) that are prone to staining glass with highly basic or alkaline soils? With the cleaning - which did not compromise the still very bold embossing - this bottle is near mint, the only issue being some very, very minor roughness with no depth (more felt than seen) to one side of the lip rim that is likely to have been in-making. There is also must faintest wisps of haze a couple edges inside...very hard to see. This bottle also has some cool glass particles imbedded in the base and a couple sand grain sized glass fragments standing out from the lower size below the "S" in KURNITSKI'S (click images to enlarge) - all in making and caused by glass from previous bottles coming off in the mold. I think these are neat reminders of the hand-made nature of these mouth-blown bottles. As nice as an example as one can find! Incidentally, wire grass (wiregrass) is a native grass to South Carolina (and elsewhere) - Aristita stricta - which makes decent cattle forage when young, is closely linked with the native Longleaf pine ecosystems in that area, and from which I have absolutely no idea how they would make any type of medicine! Maybe some type of alcohol extract...with the emphasis on the alcohol. $150 ON HOLD
ROWAN'S - TONIC - MIXTURE - OR / VEGETABLE - FEBRIFUGE - PHILADA - This bottle is one of the oldest I have for sale and among the earliest embossed patent medicines bottles made in the United States. It is also one of a small handful of over 4 sided medicine bottles that are embossed on every side - six embossed sides in this case. And if that were not enough, it is also unusual in that it has "left hand" embossing, i.e., it reads from the base to the shoulder (and best read holding it in ones left hand) whereas the vast majority of vertically embossed bottles read "right handed."
According to the late John Odell's book on pontiled medicines (a great book BTW!) the product first claimed to have been sold in 1830 and continued (apparently) until about 1843 when it was renamed "Rowan's Improved Tonic..." and the bottles (likely) began to be embossed as such (I believe IMPROVED / TONIC on one side?). Not sure of the precise dates of manufacture, but suffice to say 1830s and 1840s...early!
In any event these are early, crude, and light glass bottles that have a lot of appeal for an aqua medicine bottle. It is about 5.5" tall, blown in a true two-piece "hinge" mold, and sports a nice blowpipe style pontil scar; click base view to see such. The lip is a short, tapered banded example that was tooled or rolled over to the outside to form it. The surface of the bottle is very wavy, lumpy and crude which is largely a function it appears of the rough, unpolished surface of the likely iron mold it was made it. The bottle also appears to have been professionally cleaned at some point and there is still some faint surface etching visible on most of the sides. However, it is very hard to see due to the noted crude "as blown" surface and is non-distracting. Outside of the noted glass surface issue, the bottle is otherwise in about perfect condition with no chips, cracks, dings, flashes, or other issues. Great bottle that is one of the earliest of the "medicinal tonic" bottles I've collected. $100
Bark-Root Tonic - Celro-Kola Co., Portland, Ore. (label only) - This is an early machine-made labeled tonic bottle that has a great original-to-this-bottle label as noted, which was a "mild laxative averaging 25% alcohol." This is a somewhat later product of the Celro-Kola Co. of Portland, Oregon. There are at least two earlier embossed versions of this bottle dating from the 1900 to 1910s era - one mouth-blown, one machine-made. (I have examples of both which I may offer for sale in the near future.) This example has the one label on the side as shown with the other three sides not labeled nor embossed. Several of these machine-made labeled examples were found, if I remember the story correctly, in an old house in Washington many years ago. I've seen a couple since (a recent one sold on eBay for $175 or so!) though they are a rare bottle. this example is in mint condition with the original cork and about 99% of the label which only has some mild chipping along the edges and equally mild discoloring in a few spots. (Note: bottle sits straight up and is not tilted like the image shows; my poor camera work.) The base has the "IPG in a triangle" makers marking in the center of the base, used by the Illinois Pacific Glass Company, San Francisco, CA. which dates it to the late 1910s to early 1920s most likely, meaning this was probably one of "those" legal medicines that one could still purchase during National Prohibition without getting thrown in jail! Neat labeled medicinal tonic and Western manufactured bottle. $65
COLUMBIAN / TONIC / (very elaborate CT with TRADE MARK) / COLUMBIAN / MEDICINE CO / FRANKLIN / OHIO - Talk about lots of bold embossing! This oversized "prescription" type (a "Blake" style) bottle is strongly embossed for a patent medicine instead of a pharmacist, i.e., "Columbian Tonic." The bottle has a tooled "prescription" style finish (aka "lip"), is 8" tall with a smooth base which is faintly embossed with W. T. & Co. for Whitall, Tatum & Co. which was probably the largest producer of druggist (aka "pharmacy") bottles between the late 1870s and maybe 1920 or so (although the company continued into the mid-ish 1930s). This bottle likely dates from the mid-ish 1890s as I suspect the name was inspired by the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition in nearby Chicago? The glass is just about crystal clear with just a slight manganese dioxide induced "pink" tint, which is visible in the image. Condition is immaculate with no chips, cracks, nicks, staining or any other post production damage...in fact, it looks to have never been buried. I've only seen a few of these through the years and believe them to be quite rare - certainly very rare in this essentially perfect condition. Even though clear/colorless glass, this bottles size and boldness of embossing would make a great window bottle, where it may turn a bit darker amethyst(?). $50
DR. HOOFLAND'S - GERMAN - TONIC This is embossed on three non-indented sides (4th side for label). Just over 9 1/2" tall with a tooled "brandy" finish (or long tapered collar with a ring to some), blue aqua in color, smooth base, ca. 1880-1885. This is one of the rarer and more desirable tonic bottles and was almost certainly produced by the same company in Philadelphia as the very common Dr. Hoofland's Bitters. Apparently this brand didn't do too well or was much more limited in distribution as the tonics are hundreds of times rarer than the bitters. Condition of this example is mint...period. I can find nothing wrong with it and am only selling it because I recently acquired a ever so slightly better one (a bit more crudeness). This bottle does have a lot of nice bubbles in the glass and some stretch marks on the neck so it has it's crudeness too. Nice big, scarce, tonic bottle. $50
STEWART D. HOWE'S - ARABIAN / TONIC / BLOOD PURIFIER - NEW YORK - These Arabian Tonic bottles have always been a favorite of mine - have had several through the years - in that they are big in size, nicely embossed, a bit earlier in age (1870s), and have a great name! This bottle is 9.5" tall, 3.25" wide and about 2" thick. It also has an applied "patent" finish, blown in a post-mold (smooth base), lacks any mold air venting, and as noted likely dates from the 1870s (possibly late 1860s or very early 1880s) era I would estimate from the manufacturing characteristics. This example is boldly embossed and is essentially mint with just a bit of content haze in the upper front shoulder that takes a bright light to see. It also has some nice bubbles in the glass, a pleasant blue aqua color, stretch marks on in the neck, and a bit of slop over below the lip. I don't believe it has every been buried and certainly not professionally cleaned. One of the bigger, better, and fairly scarce "medicinal tonic" bottles! $50
VIN ZYMO WINE TONIC - This bottle is a very interesting, very early 20th century (1900-1910) "wine tonic" - common sub-species of medicinal tonics - bottle that was bottled in a standard "Bordeaux" style wine bottle. The bottle was produced in a turn-mold as it has no side-seams and the distinctive concentric horizontal rings on the body typical of that manufacturing method. It also has a tooled banded "champagne" style lip or finish, smooth base with a 1.25" kick-up and bump ("mamelon") in the center, 11.6" tall, and is a nice medium olive green color.
The bottle is labeled Vin Zymo Brand Elixir Wine Tonic which was produced by Purexo Products of San Francisco, CA. It notes a 20 or 30% alcohol level (there is a hole that obscures part of percentage) which is much higher than the usual levels of wine (12-15%) so must have been fortified to give it extra "medicinal" qualities. The label also notes that it "contains valuable medicaments (whatever that means) in properly blended fully matured California wine" and is "free from iron and laxatives." The bottle is in about mint condition (a little scratching on reverse) and the original label is very colorful and 95%+ intact and still solid. Bottle used for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. Interesting California wine related item from the era when the government was just beginning to really crack down on quackery. $20
JOYNER / UNITED DRUG CO. (in a shield) / TRADE MARK / SPOKANE / U.S.A. - This is a scarce druggist bottle from Spokane, WA. that is quite rare with the original label and string around the neck that probably had some tag attached at some point. Click close-up of the embossing to see such. This 7 3/8" tall (12 oz.) bottle from the early 20th century has a tooled, unusual two-part lip or finish - what is called the "reinforced extract" or "collared ring" depending on what reference is used. It also has a large majority of the original label (see image) which notes that it contained "Ideal Blood Mixture and Tonic" with an alcohol level of 20%; it also notes all the maladies it would treat - from acne to "malarial poison." The bottle is also embossed just above the label with "12 OZ.", has a smooth base, clear or colorless glass and is in mint condition with no chips, cracks, staining or other issues...reflecting it having never been buried. It does have a bit of dirt inside which would certainly wash out easily, though I did not since I didn't want to possibly disturb the label integrity. This bottle was acquired for use in helping illustrate some concepts on the Historic Bottle Website. Nice item with bold embossing and a pretty nice original label. $25
MULL'S GRAPE TONIC / ROCK ISLAND, ILL. - Interestingly enough, this bottle was blown in the exact same mold as the labeled Mull's Tonic listed above. This is indicated via a close inspection of the embossing pattern between the two (identical) and the presence of an embossed "3" mold number on the base. As with the other example, this bottle is the smaller rectangular variant in a medium amber color with a touch of red (blown out of the same batch as the labeled example?), 7.5" tall, smooth base (the noted embossed "3"), a tooled "oil" type finish (long tapered collar), and dates from the very late 1890s to early 1900s. Condition of this example is also near mint; no noticeable "issues" like chips, cracks, or staining. $25
BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC - Offered here are two different variations of the same fairly rare medicinal tonic product from Paducah, Kentucky but offered by two different companies. Likely one preceded the other, but I don't know the actual history of these bottles or the companies embossed on them. Both share the same manufacturing features and are essentially identical in dimensions: 9 3/8th inches tall, tooled "patent" finish or lip, aqua glass and blown in air-vented cup-base molds. Both bottles appear to date from the late 1880s to very early 1900s.
The bottle on the right in the images I believe to be the older one. It is embossed within an indented panel with BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC / MANUFACTURED BY / S. H. WINSTEAD MEDICINE CO. The left side panel is embossed with PADUCAH, KY. U.S.A.; the right side panel is also indented but with no embossing. Click the embossing close-up to see a larger version of that image.
Unlike most paneled patent medicine bottles with vertical embossing, this example reads from the base upwards instead of from the top down. I would guess that at least 95% of vertically embossed medicine bottles read from the top down in what I call "right hand" embossing, i.e., that by holding the bottle in the right hand and tipping it left one can read the embossing right side up. This example would be a "left hand" vertically embossed bottle - holding it in the left hand and tipping it right Additionally, the left side panel embossing runs from bottom to top and also "left" handed. An unusual conformation all around.
The other example (bottle on the left in the images) is embossed normally ("right" handed top to bottom) with BOCK'S RESTORATIVE TONIC / MANUFACTURED BY / THE LAX-FOS COMPANY / INCORPORATED. The left side panel is also embossed with PADUCAH, KY. U.S.A. (reading top to bottom like the front panel); the right side panel is also indented but with no embossing. I think this is the later bottle as the hyphenated company name and incorporation seem later to my mind.
Condition of the two bottles differ. The Winstead Medicine Co. example (oldest I think) is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, dings; it just has a few very light wisps of staining and minor scuffing on the back. It is a sparkling beauty with a nice blue aqua color and bubbles in the glass. The other example has some moderate overall staining and a couple small areas of edge-of-the-lip roughness which is more felt than seen. Otherwise the bottle is free from damage and decent to the eye. See the images for more details. Neither of the two bottles is listed in Baldwin's nor Matt Knapp's medicine bottle books, though the Winstead example is briefly noted in Fike's 1987 book but with no history noted. Both are likely rare regional "tonic" medicinal bottles. $95 for the pair.
W. M. JOHNSON'S / PURE HERB TONIC / SURE CURE / FOR ALL MALARIAL DISEASES - That is all embossed on one side of the this square "bitters" type bottle. Click different view of the embossing to see such with the bottle laying on its side. Wonder what "ALL" malarial diseases means as I thought malaria was a stand alone disease? Regardless, this is a nice bold and voluminously embossed Western tonic and cure bottle all wrapped up together.
As far as history, the maker was located in Marysville, CA. being owned by W. D. Kenyon and W. M. Johnson. According to my copy of "The Hedden's Store Handbook of Proprietary Medicines" (a great little book from 1974 about the bottles in the original contents of a drugstore in Scottsburg, Oregon) the Johnson's Tonic trademark was registered in California in 1901 (never trademarked at the national level) though the product was first produced in 1900. Heddon's store had one with the original label and contents and the "cure" claims were much broader than just "malarial diseases" including "...sick headache, billiousness, indigestion, neuralgia, heat affections and general debility...". This product must not have been made for very long since it would have been making largely illegal claims come mid-1906 and the implementation of the Pure Food & Drugs Act. And indeed, the bottles are seen now and then but are not plentiful.
The bottle is about 24 ozs. in capacity, stands 8.75" tall, has a tooled "oil" finish or lip, and is embossed on the base with 147 / G. That is a typical type of base marking used by an unknown California glass company since many Western bottles of that very early 1900s have similar markings though with different numbers and letters. It has relatively heavy glass which is a moderately dark chocolate amber with maybe a bit of red. Click on the close-up view to see a larger version and judge the color for yourself; the image shows it accurately to my eye. The bottle is essentially perfect with no chips, cracks, or staining of note. There are a few very minor surface scuffs but basically it is about as perfect as the day it was made. $200
F. STEARNS & CO. DETROIT, MICH. - That is embossed vertically on one of the narrow corners (first image to the right) of this more or less triangular shaped bottle. The label and box note that Stearns Cod Liver Extract Tonic was good for an assortment of health issues like "nervous exhaustion, malnutrition, impoverished blood supply" and others directed at "...elderly people, weak women, pale children, and convalescents." Also probably helped to have 16% alcohol to preserve the product.
This is a mouth-blown bottle with a tooled "patent" finish; the vertical side mold seam ending well below the base of the lip. The identical bottle and box labels (far right image) do note that the label was adopted in 1916 making this relatively late "hand-made" bottle. The glass is a dark amber color and the bottle has a perfect body label, a totally intact box (a bit of discoloring due to age and a couple minor creases), and a folded flyer or pamphlet inside noting that "UNLESS YOU Glance at this pamphlet -IT'S MISSON - "to be helpful" WILL NOT HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED" The pamphlet elaborates on the uses of this tonic as well as other products touted by the company. Frederick Stearns & Co. was a large druggist supply company selling pre-packaged patent medicines for druggists to brand as their own as well as proprietary products clearly sold by them like this tonic. (I have an large 1886 catalog from the company which also shows that they sold hundreds of different herbs and other basic medicinal ingredients including Cannabis, Coca, and other products that were totally unregulated at that time.)
The contents are largely intact - probably 95% or so - and the bottle firmly corked. The bottle does have a small pin-head size nick on the lip edge (visible in the label forward image to the far right) but is otherwise perfect. The rest - box, pamphlet and bottle label are in excellent condition. Nice item for a tonic or medicinal bottle collection. $25
DR. HARTER'S - IRON TONIC - That is embossed on the two narrow indented side panels of this relatively abundant tonic in a rarely seen format - with the original label and corked contents! The reverse has an indented label panel but no label...and doesn't appear it ever had one. The wide front panel with the label is not indented making me think that it was put on the wrong side? Be that as it may, the bottle looks to be at least 95% full with little evaporation; the fullness of the bottle is visible in the images to the left (click to view a larger version). There is about 1/2" of firmly compacted sediment in the base which may be "mobilized" with the handling of shipping. However, the liquid above it is very clear and almost looks palatable. Such is not recommended although the label stated 17% alcohol would make it sterile I suppose.
As stated on this label, the company was founded in 1855 by Milton G. Harter in St. Louis (and this label notes St. Louis as well as New York) although the company didn't build a manufacturing plant (St. Louis, MO.) until the early 1870s for some reason. The company didn't make the much more well known Wild Cherry Bitters until 1885 though the Tonic was advertised as early as 1872 - originally as Iron Magic. That name didn't catch on and he soon changed it to Iron Tonic (Wilson & Wilson 1971). The company was sold to C. I. Hood Co. - of Hood's Sarsaparilla fame - in 1901 (Fike 1987). Not sure how long Hood maintained the Dr. Harter's Medicine Co. name but that was likely as this bottle could date from the very early 1900s. The label doesn't note anything about the 1906 Pure Food & Drugs Act - common on patent medicine labels during the transitional years of increasing regulations from 1906 into the 1910s - so I think it predates 1906. Call the bottle mid-1890s to early 1900s.
The bottle stands a bit over 9" tall, a nice medium golden amber color (as the images show), has a tooled "oil" style finish, and likely dates from the above noted period given the tooled finish, multiple mold air venting bumps on the shoulders and noted company information. The label (close-up at THIS LINK) is in very good condition with just a tiny bit of it partially gone in the upper left corner. The neck retains some of the neck/cork covering label on both sides of the neck (none over the cork) but it is mostly gone and unreadable. The base has what appears to be a "N" in a square with rounded corners; click BASE VIEW to see such. This could be a makers marking for Obear-Nester Glass Co. although they reportedly did not use that marking until the mid-1910 and then on machine-made bottles? This bottle is certainly mouth-blown not machine made. It could be an earlier marking for the company which did begin operations in East St. Louis, IL. in the early 1890s. This would be a logical local source of bottles for Harter's which was located just across the Mississippi in Missouri. In any event, a great addition to any medicine or tonic bottle collection! $85
PSYSCHINE - THE GREATEST OF TONICS - Those words are embossed on the two narrow, unlabeled sides of this bottle that includes most of the box (base and top flaps missing) as well as the complete booklet on the product - and others from the company - that was wrapped around the bottle in the box. This is one of the few medicinal tonic bottles I have from our Canadian neighbors to the north. The booklet is even divided into two parts - English and French - reflecting their bilingual nature.
The bottle is also more profusely embossed within the indented front panel with the following: a double circle at the top of the panel with an anchor and TRADE MARK embossed on the inside with HOPE IS THE ANCHOR OF THE SOUL around the center. Below that vertically is DR. T. A. SLOCUM / LIMITED / 179 KING ST. W. TORONTO, CAN. Click close-up of the main embossing to see such. Cool embossing, eh? The pamphlet is intact with some minor discoloration and edge tears; click English side so see such, French side to view the reverse French cover side of the 15-16 page pamphlet. Interestingly enough, the address embossed on the bottle is a different part of Toronto than that on the pamphlet which is 193-195 Spadina Ave.
Richard Fikes' book on medicine bottles (Fike 1987) notes the following about this product: "Psychine, for consumption and lung troubles, was introduced in the late 1870s by Thomas A. Slocum, New York. Apparently embossed bottles were not utilized until the late 1880s." The company also produced Ozomulsion (mostly just cod liver oil) which is also noted in the pamphlet as a treatment/cure for many ills. Interestingly enough, I can't find any mention of the company producing the product in Toronto - like is embossed on this bottle and on the box - though Fike lists Montreal as one of the offices regarding Ozomulsion? I've never seen another of these tonic bottles nor any other Psyschine bottles that have the word "Tonic" embossed on them. In fact, I can not find them listed in any book I have that covers patent medicines, including Matt Knapps huge (600 p.) and comprehensive 2012 book "Antique American Medicine Bottles" though he does list a couple New York & London ones. Must be rare?
The bottle is of colorless glass that looks as though it may turn purple, i.e., decolorized with manganese dioxide. It is 8" tall and has a tooled two part finish or lip that would be called a "brandy finish" though much smaller than one would see on a brandy bottle. The bottle is perfect with just some residue inside from the original contents. It likely has the original cork which appears to have been corkscrewed out (a bit of a hole in the center) apparently to relieve the bottle of its contents years ago? Probably likely as the label notes the contents contained, among other things, strychnine sulfate! The label notes that it was even to be used on children! The bottle likely dates from right around 1909 to early 1910s as it lists on the bottle and box that it has "No. 5595 Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act" which was the 1908 Canadian version of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act in the United States. Neat item! $65
SCHENCK'S - TONIC with label. That is embossed on two opposite sides of this scarce medicinal tonic bottle which is quite rare with most of the original label and almost all the contents! (Images show how full the bottle is.) This is a later (1890s?) iteration of a popular patent medicine which also came in square aqua glass bottles dating back to before the Civil War - Schenck's - Seaweed - Tonic. Those bottles had that embossed on three sides with a label on the fourth non-embossed side. The earliest examples (1840s and 1850s) were pontil scarred and had an oval indentation on the 4th side that accepted a pill box of the Seaweed Pills. Pretty cool bottles which I've never had an example of but have had several of the somewhat later Seaweed Tonics dating from and after the Civil War.
The company was located in Philadelphia, PA. (also noted on the label of this example) and founded by Joseph H. Schenck in the mid-1830s with the first product being his Schenck's Pulmonary Syrup (1836) which was followed shortly thereafter by the Schenck's Seaweed Tonic. When the name changed to just Schenck's Tonic (this bottle) I don't know but would guess in the 1880s as all the examples I've had of the "Seaweed Tonic" had applied lips (aka "finishes" in glass maker parlance) and were blown in post-base molds.
This bottle was also blown in a post-base mold but has a tooled "oil" type finish as well as mold vent markings at the shoulder sides opposite the mold seams and a couple more down the beveled sides below the two shoulder marks. That would date it from the 1890s to possibly early 1900s. According to Fike's medicine bottles book (Fike 1987) the product was advertised at least as late as 1930 although this bottle predates that time period by decades. It is in mint condition, of course, with the body label about 85+% intact and mostly readable. The label stated alcohol level is 19% (38 proof) with the label noting a lot of things it was good for including "General or Nervous Debility" as well as "Flatulency or Distention of the Stomach, Belching or Wind, bitter or sour eructations..." and so forth. The cork is in great shape and sealing the bottle well with some of the neck/cork label strip still remaining on the bottle neck. There is also another label on the shoulder as the first image shows though it is not readable. Neat item and in my experience a scarcer bottle than the Seaweed Tonic versions even thought not as old as those. $125
DR. GREEN'S / BLOOD PURIFIER / AND NERVE TONIC - Those words are embossed boldly on the front of this small (1.4" tall and wide) dose glass which also has fairly typical graduation markings on the reverse. Click on the images to see somewhat larger versions of both sides. I believe these are pretty far and few between as the actual bottles for this product as also quite scarce. Click image of Greens Nerve Tonic to view such with an original label and the embossing highlighted in red. (I don't have one listed for sale yet...but may have one or two - there were at least two variants - in boxes that I've not looked in as yet.) Dr. Green operated out of Enosburgh Falls, VT. and likely only had regional distribution as the couple bottles I've had came from that area.
The embossing on and details about the main bottle variant is as follows: DR. G. S. GREEN / & CO. above following embossing in embossed shield - DR. GREEN’S / BLOOD / PURIFIER / & NERVE / TONIC, and below shield ENOSBURGH FALLS / VT. - all embossed on front; sides and back plain. Aqua, rectangular medicine with widely beveled corners, smooth base, single collared tooled lip, 8 1/2” tall. (The above link takes one to that particular variant.) The other variation is almost identical but is just embossed with what is noted inside the shield above; nothing embossed above or below that shield. The bottles as well as the glass offered here appear to date from the 1890s into the early 1900s.
This little glass is colorless (aka clear) and is in perfect condition - never buried. Nice go-with for your medicine or tonic bottle collection...or if you just collect all kinds of dose glasses. $45
ARMISTEAD'S AGUE TONIC - This is embossed around the shoulder of this smallish ( a bit over 6") 8 sided medicine bottle. Armistead's Ague Tonic was produced by W. D. Akin Medicine Company of Evansville, Indiana according to Fike's book on medicines from 1987. The product was advertised as follows: "It is a HIGH CLASS SPECIFIC for CHILLS, DENGUE, SWAMP FEVER, and all other MALARIAL DISEASES, and warranted free from anything that will HARM THE MOST DELICATE CHILD. It does not DERANGE the STOMACH or EXCITE the NERVES and will POSITIVELY cure old and chronic cases speedily and permanently." Well, that sounds like good stuff! It sold in this size bottle for 50 cents.
The product was reportedly first offered in 1867 but most of the ones I've seen seem to date from the late 1800s into the 1910s and later. The oldest ones are mouth-blown with applied finishes, a bit later tooled lips (like this one) and the last ones being machine-made in the mid to late 1910s (and later) with ARMISTED'S FAMOUS AGUE TONIC also embossed around the shoulder with a "Box N" marking on the base indicating manufacture by the Obear-Nester Glass Co. (East St. Louis, IL.).
This example is the in between, later mouth-blown version which came in aqua and colorless glass (this example) which will turn pink with exposure to sunlight. This example has a slight bit of pink and dates from the late 1890s to maybe 1910 or so. The embossing around the shoulder is light (kind of typical) but readable. Click HERE and HERE to see the embossing on both sides. The condition is mint with no chips, cracks or staining; I don't believe it was ever buried as the original cork is present and shows no sign of having been buried either although the insides are quite clean. If you're into irradiating colorless bottles from this period (I'm not) that were decolorized with manganese dioxide this would likely turn a deep purple. $20
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Page Last Updated: 8/8/2022