antique MILK GLASS BOTTLES bitters

Bottles ofopaque white or milk glass were used in the 19thcentury for cosmetics, drugs, and bitters. It is found also in avariety of figural bottles and occasionally in liquor andother containers.

Begg's Alocaster Balmand Velvetina.

SazeracAromatic Bitters.

Milk glass was first made in Venice before 1500and in Florence between 1575 and 1587, where it was intended tosimulate porcelain. There were rare examples coming from Germanyor Bohemia in the 17th century. More milk glass as asubstitute for Chinese porcelain was produced in England, Germanyand Venice in the 18th century.

The basic recipe for glass has remainedunchanged since the time of Christ, sand, soda (originally fromwood ashes), and lime (crushed limestone). The resulting aquacolor from iron oxides in the sand can be altered by addingvarious metallic oxides. Usually tins, zincs or fluorides areused to produce milk glass. Porcelain is made from pulverizedclay (kaolin) and stone (petuntse) which has been washed andfiltered before mixing for working or casting.

The only pontiled milk glass bottle I have seenwas in the Sam Greer collection, a round bottle 7 inches tall,embossed Burger's Hair Restorative, New York. I find eleven milkglass bottles on my shelves:

  1. Armour / And Company / Chicago, 5 1/4 inches tall, rectangular, flask shape with bulged neck.
  2. Beggs' / Alabaster Balm, 5 inches tall, rectangular with label.
  3. Hagan's / Magnolia / Balm, 4 3/8 inches tall, rectangular.
  4. Prof. I. Hubert's / Malvina Lotion / Toledo, Ohio, 5 inches tall, square.
  5. Hartwig Kantorowicz (backward z) / Posen / Ham- / Burg / Ger- / Many, 9 1/2 inches tall, square case gin type.
  6. Litthauer Stomach Bitters / Invented 1864 / By Joseph Loewenthal, Berlin, 9 1/2 inches tall, square case gin type.
  7. Owl, Pestle, T.O.D.C. Trademark // // The Owl Drug Co. (in script), 5 inches tall, rectangular.
  8. PHD & CO. (monogram) // Sazerac Aromatic Bitters (on base in circle), 12 1/2 inches tall, round, lady's leg type.
  9. Jno. Sullivan / Pharmacist / JS monogram / Boston, 5 inches tall, rect.
  10. Henry Tetlow / Complexion / HT monogram / Cream / Philadelphia, 4 1/4 inches tall, rectangular.
  11. Velvetina / Skin / Beautifier / Goodrich / Drug / Company / Omaha, U.S.A., 5 3/8 inches tall, rectangular with label.

Armour and Company was founded in 1867 byPhilip D. Armour and has continued to the present. Thoughprimarily a meat packing business, certain medicinal by productssuch as insulin are put out. There is also an 8 1/2 inchtall variant of this bottle.


Charles W. Beggs, Elk Point, Dakota Territory,was in partnership with Eldin C. DeWitt of Sioux City, Iowa, fromabout 1884-1886. Beggs established a separate business in Chicagoin 1886. Other products included Blood Purifier, DandelionBitters, Cherry Cough Syrup, Diarrhea Balsam, Eye Water, IXLBitters, Knoxit, and Soothing Syrup.

Hagan Magnolia Balm was marketed in the 1850'sby Demas Barnes. He patented it in Brooklyn in 1871. P.H. Drake,J.F. Henry, and Wm. E. Everson were among the later distributorsof this product.

Litthauer StomachBitters and Gartwig Kantorowicz.

Prof. I. Hubert's Malvina Lotion was introducedin Toledo, Ohio in 1874. By 1935, the company was Hubert MalvinaInc., New York, N.Y.

Hagan'sMagnolia Balm and Hubert's Molvina Lotion.

Litthauer Stomach Bitters was patented in May,1880, by Mayer Brothers and Company, New York, N.Y. The labels onthe Hartwig Kantorowicz, Posen, Hamburg, Germany bottle andrelated variants read: Litthauer Stomach Bitters; Invented byJoseph Loewenthal; Manufactured by Hartwig Kantorowicz; Takenover by S. Loewenthal, son of sole inventor. Berlin, New York,Paris, and Nachflig are also embossed on the variants. One labelreads: The S. Loewenthal Co. Sole Manufacturer, Cleveland, Ohio.All of this would indicate that the bottle embossed LitthauerStomach Bitters, Invented 1864 by Joseph Loewenthal Berlin, is anearlier variant of the same product. However this label appear onsome of these bottles: Litthauer Stomach Bitters; Invented 1864by Joseph Loewenthal; Bottled under supervision of S. Loewenthal,son of sole inventor and former proprietor; Made in Cleveland,O., U.S.A.; Metals awarded, 1879, 1891, Berlin; 1880, Melbourne;Guaranteed under the Federal Food and Drugs Act, June 30th,1906. At any rate one may conclude that this was a widelydistributed andsuccessful product.


HenryTetlow, Philadelphia and Jas. Sullivan, Boston.

The Owl Drug Company put out several productsin milk glass bottles put out several products in milk glassbottles and jars. Richard E. Miller established the company in1892, at 1128 Market St. in San Francisco. It was at 80 and 82Geary St. after the 1906 earthquake, and also in Los Angeles,Sacramento, and Oakland. Eventually the company went nationwide,and in 1919, affiliated with Rexal. The Owl Drug Co. went out ofbusiness in the early 1930's

Armour & Co. andThe Owl Drug Co.

In the 1830's Sewell T. Taylor imported Sazeracde Forge in Limoges, France. Tom H. Handy invented SazeracBitters in 1865, from a secret formula based on boiled herbs. Theaddresses were in New Orleans, La., 14 and 16 Royal St., 11 and13 Exchange Place, and 9 and 11 St., Charles St. The meaning ofthe PHD & Co. monogram is not certain. There was also aDrake's Sazerac Bitters, and Patrick Henry Drake may haveproduced this product.

There are several listings for the 5 inch tallJohn Sullivan bottle, but no other information is given aboutthis pharmacist from Boston.

Henry Tetlow and Brother were in Philadelphiain 1866, and Daniel Tetlow was there in 1883. By 1899 it wasTetlow Mfg. Co., Ltd. They developed the first satisfactorypowder base, and were the first producers of Talcum Powder.

Velvetina Skin Beautifier was advertised in1908 by the Goodrich Drug Company of Omaha, Neb. My label refersto the 1906 Food and Drugs Act. In 1941, it was put out by theVelvetina Co., Inc., also of Omaha.

Grace Kendrick's book The Antique BottleCollector, 1963, did a lot to stimulate my interest in oldbottles. I like the feminine touch in this quote: "Aswith the flavor of a cake, the color of glass depends upon theingredients that go into the batch".

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