2017 Notes

Click on the links below to jump to the notes:

         America's First Lager Beer Brewer
         Now I just need a picture Rapp Ten Pin
         Another Maverick Identified Belcher
         Dearborns Decoded
         Hanbury Smith in Ohio?


Hanbury Smith in Ohio?

Many years ago, I recorded an oval shaped aqua bottle that bore the embossing of "HANBURY SMITH / KISSINGEN WATER" embossed vertically.  These bottles come in both pontiled and smooth based variations.  Over the years I had seen several of theseHanbury Smith bottle bottles. Hanbury Smith bottle Later I saw similar bottles embossed "HANBURY SMITH'S / SELTERS WATER" vertically on the bottle and in straight lines.  These bottles also come with both improved pontils and smooth bases.  In 2015, Glass Works Auctions sold a similar bottle with just the embossing of "(Arch Down) HANBURY SMITH" near the shoulder.  This bottle appears to be unique and also has an improved pontil.

 I have seen hundreds of Hanbury Smith bottles over the years and they were all cylinder shaped bottles listing products of Mineral Water or Vichy, Kissinger, or Congress Waters.  All of these bottles were smooth base and in various shades of green, and rarely amber or blue.  I had never seen this style of bottle pontiled.

Many of these bottles were marked "New York" and conventional wisdom was that these were all New York City bottles and the colored examples were similar to other New York City bottles, but the aqua bottles just did not fit.  They appeared Mid-Western to me with the odd lip and bright bluish aqua color.  These are telltale Mid-Western bottle attributes, but Smith was from New York and people moved West and very rarely West to East.  But the bottles just did not make sense to me being Eastern bottles.

Below are some of the later Smith bottle. Notice how exhibit similar shapes and tapered collars and are very different they are from the above earlier bottles.

 In the January issue of Antique Bottle & Glass collector there is an article that documents the fact that Hanbury Smith was located in Hamilton, Ohio and later in Cincinnati during the 1850s and moved to New York City about 1860.  That explained this mystery for me!




Dearborns Decoded

In the December 11, 2017 Glass Works Auction, there was a listing for a Dearborn's Soda Water  bottle from New York.  This has the appearance of a bottle made in late 1844 or 1845 and appears to pre-date the Alexander Dearborn & Company bottle, which were the earliest previouslyDearborn Soda Water Bottle recorded.

So what is the story on this bottle and what do we know about the various other Dearborn firms and their bottles, which include some interesting examples?

It turns out that Dearborn bottles are some of the most datable in New York due to the number of partnerships that existed form the 1840s thru the 1860s.  We will start the story with Adam W. Rapp and the mineral water establishment he, with the support of Philadelphia Eugene Roussel, established in New York in 1843. 

During 1845, Rapp appears to have over extended himself with branches in Albany, New York and Newark, New Jersey.  He also got into a newspaper war with several other mineral water makers and alienated dealers of liquors with temperance statements.  In December of that year, Rapp took in Alexander Dearborn as a partner under the firm name of A. W. Rapp & Company.  Alexander had recently retired from operating a coffee house.  How did these two get together?  Perhaps Dearborn sold Rapp's mineral water at his coffee establishment.  Unfortunately, there are no known bottles marked with this firm name. 

On May 23, 1846, A. W. Rapp & Company was dissolved and replaced with the firm of Alexander Dearborn & Company.  This firm continued to operate at 95 Third Avenue; the original site of Rapp's business.  The silent partner in this case was William G. Boggs.  Boggs was the father-in-law of Alexander Dearborn and publisher of the Evening Post newspaper.  There is one known bottle produced by this firm and it is similar in appearance to the later Rapp bottles.  It is embossed "A. DEARBORN & Co / NEW_YORK // (Arch Down) MINERAL WATER / D / THIS BOTTLE / IS NEVER SOLD //" and is described exactly as embossed in an 1847 advertisement warning the public of not returning their bottles.  They also describe similar bottles embossed "A. W. RAPP."  No other embossing styles are listed (No Rapp & Company bottles).

It was reported in the August 3, 1847 Evening Post, Dearborn's father-in-law's paper, that the A. Dearborn & Company's factory was burned and the entire apparatus, most of the stock, and five horses were lost.  The firm made arrangements to locate the factory at another location.   This must have been too much for William Boggs as, on August 26, 1847, the firm of A. Dearborn & Company was dissolved.  The following ad appeared in the Evening Post on August 27, 1847:

THE PARTNERSIP heretofore existing between the subscribers, under the name, style and firm of A. DEARBORN & CO., is this day dissolved by mutual consent.
   Dated New York, August 66, 1847.
                                                                      A. DEARBORN.
                                                                      WM. G. BOGGS.

 The business of manufacturing Soda Water will be continued by the subscriber, on his own account, at No. 95 Third Avenue, where he solicits a continuance of the public patronage.
  New York, Aug. 26, 1847.
                                                                       A. DEARBORN

This was replaced by the firm of John & Alexander Dearborn, who uneventfully operated at the 95 Third Avenue address until February1853.  Alexander likely needed the influx of funds from his brother due to the losses due to the fire and buying out his father-in-law.  This is the period when most of the sided and other interesting Dearborn bottles were produced.  Including one made at the Albany Glass Works: the sole marked soda bottle from that glass works.

In February of 1853, the Dearborns brought John McChesney as a partner and the firm became known as J. & A. Dearborn & Company.  This occurred on February 1 as documented in the New York Daily Herald on February 10, 1853:

COPARTNERSHIP.--JOHN McCHESNEY HAS THIS day associated himself with J. & A. Dearborn, in the soda water manufacturing and bottling business. The business will continue at the old establishment, No. 95 Third Avenue, under the name and firm of J. & A. Dearborn & Co.
                                                                             JOHN DEARBORN.
                                                                             ALEX. DEARBORN.
New York, Feb. 1, 1853.                                          JOHN McCHESNEY

The molds of several of the J. & A. Dearborn where altered with the addition of "& CO." to reflect this new partnership.  The firm also moved its business to 83 Third Avenue.  This firm remained short lived and was dissolved in either late 1854 or early 1855 as by the next published Directory, the firm was know as Dearborn & Company.

During this time there were lawsuits initiated against the Dearborns and it was not clearly documented who the partners were during the period resulting in losses for them due to the judgments.  There is a bottle know crudely embossed with Dearborn & Company and reversed "N" in "N. Y."  It appears that Alexander retired form the business in late 1855 or early 1856 and the business was operated by John, but Alexander was still listed as late soda waters or soda waters and with a home address.  There seems to be a lack of bottles from the period 1856 to 1858.  The bottles starting about 1859 or 1860 seems to be simply "Dearborn" and the directory listings continue thru the 1868 New York Directory.  All of the Dearborn bottles are smooth based and include popular products of the 1858-1868 period including "Cream Soda," "Philadelphia XXX Porter & Ale," and "Superior Plain Soda."

But what about the bottle that started this search?  The earliest Dearborn bottle.  Well we did not discuss John Dearborn's early career.  John stared as a grocer about 1836 and got into the root beer business in 1842.  He appears to have briefly moved to Boston were he was employed as a soda water manufacturer.  He seems to have returned to New York to continue the root beer business, but likely engaged in the manufacture of soda water during late 1844 or early 1845.  It is possible that Alexander was engaged as the business at this time learning the trade before joining A. W. Rapp in his business later that year.  John continued to manufacture root beer until joining with his brother in 1847.  There are primitive stoneware bottles marked "J. DEARBORN."

That makes almost 25 years worth of Dearborn bottles for collectors to assemble with a current catalogue of 27 different molds with many color variants.  The following table can be used to date the Dearborn bottles:

J. Dearborn1842-1847
Dearborn (pontiled)1844-1845
A. Dearborn & Co.1846-1847
J. & A. Dearborn1847-1853
J. & A. Dearborn & Co.1853-1854
Dearborn & Co.1855-1855
Dearborn (smooth-based)1858-1868

Sample bottles for the above embossings are illustrated below:

1842-1847 1844-1845 1846-1847 1847-1853 1853-1854 1855-1855 1858-1868



Another Maverick Identified Belcher Water

In one of the Glass Works Auctions there was an early and interesting amber crown top Carbonated Belcher Waterfour sided mineral water pictured.  It was embossed "CARBONATED / BELCHER WATER // 2 1/2 CENTS DEPOSIT / REQUIRED FOR RETURN / OF THIS BOTTLE // BELCHER WATER CO." I listed it as one of the "mavericks" as I did not know where this bottle originated.

I make it a rule to not to include crown top bottles on my web site.  That would make the scope of my effort way too broad, but from time to time I will add a crown top bottle to the site if it is a variation to a blob top bottle, is a particularly early crown, or I find it interesting.  

On September 8, I got an email from Terry Schaub telling me that he had identified the source of this bottle based on an ad in the June 9, 1895 edition of the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch (see illustrated advertisement.)  The ad clearly shows the sided crown top bottle and with the date of 1895, makes the firm one of the early adopters of William Painter's crown closure patented in 1892.

Belcher Ad 1895The advertisement placed the Belcher Water Company as residing at 1 to 21 O'Fallon Street in Saint Louis.  I put on my research hat to see what I could find on this company.

I found that the Belcher Water Company was founded in 1893, but a newspaper advertisement in the April 15, 1894 Saint Louis Post-Dispatch lists the incorporation date as April of 1894.  The water cam from an artesian well located on the property that was 2200 feet beneath the city of Saint Louis.  There were also public baths located at the same location and going by the name of the Belcher Water Bath Company.  So waters from the well were used for bottling and bathing.  The bottled waters were artificially carbonated before bottling.

 In 1903, plans were made to move the business to a more prominent location and associate the baths with a hotel.  Thus The Belcher Water Bath and Hotel Company was formed.  The main issue was how to get the water from the springs to the newly erected hotel.  The plans were to build a pipeline, but this was initially rejected by the city government due to the need to travel over public streets.  Eventually the pipeline was approved and the baths were up and running.

So this is an early example of a crown bottle used for the bottling of carbonated beverages.  Thanks to Terry for uncovering this link to an early Saint Louis business.




Now I just need a picture Rapp Ten Pin

When searching for some information on early bottles, I stumbled across an advertisement from Adam W. Rapp describing a new bottle that he was introducing.  The advertisement described to a tee that Rapp Ten Pin bottle.  Key parts of the advertisement in the New York Herald published on May 5, 1845 stated:

THE subscriber has, at great expense and labor, got up a Glass Bottle, in every respect improved on those now in use in this city, for Soda or Mineral Waters, in the following particulars the color blue, partially oval, size larger, and stamped on one side, this bottle never sold, and A. W. Rapp, proprietor, on the opposite side, A. W. Rapp, New York. these alterations and additions have been made with a view of distinguishing the Waters and Syrup manufactured by myself from inferior articles which have been deceptively palmed upon the public as being of my manufacture.

The Rapp bottle, according to my records is embossed as follows: "// s // (Arch Down) DYOTTVILLE GLASS WORKS / PHILA / (Arch Down) A. W. RAPP / (Arch Up) NEW YORK."  I do not have the exact embossing of the reverse, but likely follows what is in the advertisement. 

Roussel Ten PinThe Rapp bottle is nearly identical (pictured) to the Eugene Roussel ten pin from Philadelphia.  Both bottles are blue, both bottles are ten pins and both bottles are marked "Dyottville Glass Works," who were the manufacturers.  The Roussel bottle is more obtainable and is embossed: "// s // (Arch Down) DYOTTVILLE GLASS WORKS / PHIL.A // c // (Arch Down) ROUSSEL / (Arch Up) PHILAD.A // (Arch Down) THIS BOTTLE IS NEVER SOLD / (Arch Up)  E. ROUSSEL PROPIETOR //."

There was a strong relationship between Rapp and Roussel.  Rapp was in Philadelphia when the soda water craze ignited.  Roussel was the originator of this craze and he sponsored Rapp, a school teacher and one time confectioner, in a move to New York in 1843 to establish a soda water business there.  This is documented by part of this Rapp advertisement in the Commercial Advertiser on May 10, 1845:

I hereby certify that I have instructed Mr. A. W. Rapp in the art of manufacturing Aerated Mineral and Soda Waters in my establishment: he being the only person to whom I have given such instructions to this date.
                                                                                EUG. ROUSSEL.
Philadelphia, March 20th, 1845

Rapp's brother Henry B. Rapp was associated with and the agent for the Dyottville Glass Works from 1843 thru 1845.  Since Roussel's demand for bottles triggered the reopening Dyottville works and Henry B. was the agent, and Adam W. was Roussel's proxy in New York. it makes sense that their bottles would be similar.  The Rapp's bottles mirrored Roussel's throughout this period and I began to think if the Roussel and Rapp introduced their ten pin bottles concurrently or if Roussel or Rapp altered a mold from the other.

Roussel Ad 1845Interesting that Roussel has an advertisement touting his new color and form of bottle also advertised in the Spring 1845 in the American Advocate (see image).  I had thought that this was announcing the form of the soda bottle, but more recent research has indicated that the soda form appears to have been originated in late 1844 and that a light sapphire blue was used in early to mid-1844.  The ten pin bottles were a a major deviation in form and their color is a very rich cobalt blue that is very different from the earlier sapphire blue color.

I actually saw the Rapp bottle in the early 1980s when it was in the collection of Brian Wade when he was on Long Island and had a collection of some of the most important New York City pontiled soda water bottles.  The bottle at that time was believed to be unique and I have not seen another since then.  I had taken a picture of the grouping and I believe a the Rapp bottle in particular due to the similarity to the Roussel ten pin bottle.  Brian switched to other collecting interests and this and the other bottles were sold.  I have lost track of this bottle and do not know where it resides today."

I checked my Roussel ten pin and it does not appear to have any mold alterations, but I would need to check others to confirm this fact.  If I could find the Rapp bottle and check it for mold alterations or compare the Roussel and Rapp bottles side by side, then perhaps this story could be better told.

In any case, we can see that the Rapp ten pin was introduced in April of 1845 and would have been discontinued at the end of the year when the firm became A. W. Rapp & Company.  This nicely dates this bottle.

If you have a Rapp or Roussel ten pin, please email me.




America's First Lager Beer Brewer

There has much debate as to who first produced lager beer in America.  Most point to 100 Years of Brewing, published in 1901, in which Charles C. Wolf, a member of the firm 1850s Engel & Wolf Lager Beer BotleEngel & Wolf and the first commercially successful brewers of lager beer in America, recounts the story of the lager yeast being smuggled into the United States and its first brewing.  Wolf tells us:

The first lager beer brewed in America was that of John Wagner in 1840, who had a small brewery in the rear of his house on St. John street, near poplar, in Philadelphia.  It was a very primitive plant indeed, the kettle being hung on a crane over an open hearth, and it had a capacity, I remember, of not over eight barrels.  The beer was stored in the cellar under the rear structure which served as the brewery.  Wagner brought the first lager beer yeast to this country from a brewery in Bavaria in which he had been brew master.

Gregg Smith in his book Beer in America The Early Years-1587-1840 discounts Wolf's account as an attempt to rewrite history.  He states that Wolf's account is his recollection of events that had occurred nearly sixty years before and Wolf was trying to bolster the importance of Engel & Wolf in introducing lager beer to America.  There are others who question Wolf's account and suggest that others should be credited with being the first lager beer brewers in America.

Are there other period accounts that support the story that Wolf told?

Another period source of information was The Brewing Industry and the Brewery Workers’ Movement in America published in 1910, which documents a similar story as related by Frederick Lauer and references to the earlier work quoted above.

   The exact time when lager beer, brewed according to the German  method, was introduced into America is not known, nor is it certain who was the first person to brew lager beer in this country.
   In Reading, Pa., there existed since 1826, a small brewery owned by a certain George Lauer, a Rhenish Bavarian, from whom it passed to his son Friedrich in 1835. This Friedrich Lauer began in 1844 or 1845 the brewing of lager beer; he explained, however, that he was not the first who introduced lager beer into America. He asserted that a certain Wagner, who had come to America in 1842, had shortly after his arrival started the brewing of lager beer in a small brewery in a suburb of Philadelphia. In the main this is substantiated by a member of the brewing firm of Engel & Wolf in Philadelphia. This gentleman says that in 1840 John Wagner brewed the first lager beer in America. This Wagner had a small brewery in John street, near Poplar, in Philadelphia. It was a very primitive establishment in which the first lager beer of America is said to have been produced. The brewing kettle was suspended from a beam over an open fire, and this kettle contained barely eight barrels. The yeast which it is said Wagner used for this lager beer, he had sent from a brewery in Bavaria where he had formerly been brewmaster.
   The great value which was placed on this lager-beer yeast can be judged from the fact that a brother-in-law of Wagner's is said to have stolen a pint of it. He was prosecuted for it and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
   At any rate, the brewing of lager beer was developed in Philadelphia, which had in some way come into the possession of lager-beer yeast.

This account is basically the same story, but sets the year of lager's introduction as 1842 and adds the story of the stolen yeast that is not in Wolf's version. Lauer was long dead when this was published, but this story was based on earlier works that quote Lauer and may be related to speeches or correspondence he authored in 1879 or the early 1880s.  Lauer was stated to have been a walking encyclopedia of American brewing.  These recollections would have been thirty years after the fact.  But are there earlier references? 

The answer is yes.  Edwin T. Freedley in his 1858, Philadelphia And Its Manufactures: A Hand-Book Exhibiting The Development, Variety, And Statistics Of The Manufacturing Industry Of Philadelphia In 1857, has a description of the introduction of lager to the United States.  He states in a large footnote under the lager beer:

Sir: You entrusted the investigation of Lager Beer manufacture to one who wants every essential qualification for the task.  I can neither speak German, eat Sauerkraut, nor drink Lager. ......
  "Lager Beer was first introduced into Philadelphia in 1840, by a Mr. Wagner, who afterward left the city.  It was a lighter article than that now used.  The first who made the real lager was Geo. Manger, better known as "Big George," who in October, 1844, has a small kettle in one corner of the premises still occupied by him in New street, above Second.

This is a closer account, but it is still recalling events about fifteen years prior to the actual events.  Are there contemporary accounts that support any of the above?  The answer is yes and hopefully will put to bed any doubt as to the story of lager beers' introduction to the United States.

In October of 2015, I was researching Engel & Wolf, and investigating their history as to bottling of lEngel & Wolf 1847 Adager beer.  I had several bottles of this firm in my collection and wanted to see if there was any evidence as to when they started bottling lager beer.  It is the jackpot, when I came across an advertisement that stated that they had "Sager" or "Bavaria" beer put up in small bottles.  This December 30, 1847 advertisement in the Public Ledger confirmed my belief that these were the earliest lager beer bottles in America.  But what caught my attention was that this that they referred to the beer as "Sager" or "Bavaria" beer and not "lager beer."  This led me think that if I searched newspapers using these terms, I might find earlier information on lager beer and searches using "Lager Beer" did not turn up anything prior to 1849.  I was surprised what I found, which was a couple of articles that supported stories of Wolf and Lauer.  The first article that I found was from the North American and dated November 5, 1842 and stated:

BURGLARY.-During Thursday night, the house of Mrs. Laurence, in Coates street, near 12th, was entered and robbed of several articles.....

ANOTHER.-The same night watchman Groves, of the Northern Liberties, detected a man named Rushmark stealing a quantity of yeast from the cellar of Henry Waggoner, in St. John street, near Poplar.  The article in question is esteemed of great value in the manufacture of Bavarian beer, and Waggoner has the only receipt for making it in the country.  He refused to sell it to Rushmark for any price.  R. was committed yesterday by Mayor Cannon to answer for the burglary.

A second account appeared in the Public Ledger on the same date and adds some more information:

Burglary.--On Thursday night, watchman Groves, of Northern Liberties, discovered a man named George Ruskmark in the cellar of Henry Waggoner, in St. John street, above Poplar, who was about taking away a small quantity of yeast, when he arrested him and took him to the watch house.  Yesterday morning he was committed by Mayor Cannon.  the article taken is used for the manufacturing Bavarian beer, and Waggoner is the only man in this country who has the secret of its composition.  Rushmark it appears wanted some of it, but was refused the sale of it, and took thus risky means of securing it, and getting himself into difficulty.  Waggoner says he would not have disposed of any of the article for $500.

Well this confirms that Bavarian (lager) beer was being brewed in 1842 on Saint John (North American today) above Poplar and that there was an attempt to steal some of the yeast in that year.  The owner claimed to have the only receipt in the United States for the manufacture of this beer and it was deemed very valuable.  So the core of the history presented by Wolf, Lauer, and Freedley appears to be supported factually by these articles.

But it also raises more questions.  Was it a Wagner or a Waggoner?  Was it John or Henry?  The burglary occurred in 1842, but how much earlier was the Bavarian beer being brewed on Saint John street.  I did a little more research and and found a couple of more facts:

  • Henry Wagner was listed in the 1842 McElroy's Philadelphia Directory as a cooper at 283 St John.  Listings for this directory would have been collected in during the end of 1841.  283 (preaddress standardization of 1857) was north of Poplar Street and likely the location of the brewery.
  • Henry, John, and William Wagner were Philadelphia immigration lists for 1841.
  • A German named Charles H. Wagner, aged 19 and a cooper, another named Henry Wagner, aged 18, and a (illegible) Wagner, aged 20, arrived in Philadelphia on the Brig Stern from Brennen on November 30, 1840.  There was also a female named Johanna Wagner aged 20 and a child Caroline Wagner aged 2 in the party.
  • A John Wagner has two records in Philadelphia in 1841 (Declaration of Intent?) and 1844 (Oath of Allegiance?)
  • "Meeting of the Board of Licensers.-The Board met yesterday morning......Constable Stroup also remonstrated against John Wagner and Edward Mainholz, both keepers of lager beer establishments, on Main street, Germantown." Public Ledger June 12, 1857.

These are some new clues that need to be tracked down or may lead to other records, but they also seem to support the narrative.