An old bottle isthe glass blower’s work of art, and as collectors, we loveto gaze at the beauty of our relics. Antique bottles aredisplayed in many ways, but before a window with natural lightrevealing the color, crudeness, and embossing is best in myopinion. A brief glance at the old gems in my office windows isjust the pace change I needbetween bunches of sick little people and their worried parents.

Dr. Cannonin his office.

Joseph K. Baldwin put out a really fine book in 1973, ACollectors Guide To Patent And Proprietary Bottles Of TheNineteenth Century.

Baldwin'sCover jacket.

Information about four thousandplus bottles and 600 fine drawings by the author should beenough, but for a bonus, a beautiful watercolor of aVaughn’s Vegetable Lithontriptic Mixture, an U.S.A. Hosp.Dept., and two smaller medicine bottles before a window by hismother Mrs. Karle J. Baldwin adorns the jacket. I have admiredthis picture all 22 years, and it has influenced my thinkingabout bottle display. I even asked a local artist, Marinella M.Haygood, to follow this concept with a one of a kind bottleembossed Robert Cotter // Cotter’s / Blood / Purifier //Houston, Tex., aqua, rectangular, 9 1/4 inches tall, before Isold it a while back. The street scene in the painting isHouston’s Main Street in 1876. Robert Cotter was located at74 Main, and the sign on the side of his building reads: “R.Cotter & Co., Wholesale & Retail Druggists, Dealer inPaints, Oils, Varnishes, Putty”. He sold severalmedicines including an I.X.L. Sarsaparilla with R. Cotter andHouston, Tex. embossed. One of the two known is in my collection.1

TheVaughn’s bottles are really great examples of ourmid-nineteenth century medicines. Mine is crude but with a smoothbase, 7 3/4 inches tall, deep aqua, and embossed Vaughn’s //Vegetable / Lithontriptic / Mixture // Buffalo. There are 8 inchtall deep aqua’s with bare iron pontils, and 6 1/4 inch tallbottles embossed Vaughn’s // Vegetable / Lithontriptic // Mixture withbare iron and blowpipe pontils in aqua to almost a sapphire blue,as well as less crude smooth base variants. Five inch tallexamples with bare iron pontils and the same embossing as the 8inch bottles are also known. A green (citron) bare iron pontiledone exists, but I’m not sure of its height. My 1951Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines lithontriptic as anagent that dissolves calculi (kidney stones).

U.S.AHosp. Dept.

Painting- Cotter's Blood Purifier, Houston, TX.

An ad in the May 7, 1851, Kingston(N.Y.) Democratic Journal reads: “Vaughn’sLithontriptic Mixture--acts with great healing power andcertainty, upon the Blood, Liver, Kidney’s, Lungs, and allother organs, upon the proper action of which life and healthdepend. This medicine has a justly high repute as a remedy forDropsy and Gravel, and all diseases of that nature. It may berelied upon when the intelligent physician has abandoned hispatient, and for these distressing diseases, more especiallyDropsey, the proprietor would earnestly and honestly recommendit.”

George C. Vaughn, 1812-1863, wasfirst given in the Buffalo City Directories in 1841, as ajeweler. In 1842, he was listed as a partner in Chase and Vaughn,a watch-making and jewelry concern. Vegetable LithontripticMixture was advertised as early as 1844 in the Buffalo MorningExpress paper. Beginning in 1847, city directories list Vaughn asproprietor of Vegetable Lithinotriptic at 207 Main, and yearlythereafter through 1858, when he was given as a physician. Thisdesignation was dropped in 1862. According to the records of theErie County Historical Society, Vaughn died October 3, 1863.There is no mention of George C. Vaughn in the 1864 citydirectory, but Vegetable Lithontriptic Mixture was made throughthe 1880’s. The 1850 Buffalo Census gave George C. Vaughn and his wife Marian, adaughter Adeline, and four sons Romers B., Burlington R., GeorgeC., and Frank O. 2,3

Vaughn'sVegetable Lithontriptic Mixture.

U.S.A. Hospital Department bottleswere blown mostly in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1863-1865, to containmedicine for the Union Army personnel.

They occur in many colors andsizes. Some are round and some oval. They are quite rare, withamber and olive quarts being the most available. My light amberwith a tinge of olive quart is 9 1/4 inches tall, round, andblown into a four piece mold. I have 9 other U.S.A. Hosp. Dept.bottles in colors that include cobalt, green, black, clear, andaqua. They are all crude with smooth bases. A bare iron pontilexample is known and was formerly in the Samuel Greer Collection.4
One thing about bottles and windows. They don’t withstandlittle rascals with baseballs and air rifles.....

1. Cannon, R.A.: The I.X.L. Brand From
Houston, Antique Bottle and Glass
Collector, August, 1984
2. Personal Communication, Jeff Rosenthal,
Buffalo, NY
3. Buffalo and Erie County Public Library,
Buffalo, NY
4. Cannon, R.A.: Civil War Medicine In
Glass, Antique Bottle and Glass Collector,
June, 1991.

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