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antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON

MOFFAT'SAND PIERCE'S BITTERS

JohnMoffat and George Pierce each contributed nicely to the supply ofpontiled bitters bottles that we collect, Moffat by choosingcolors from olive green to golden amber for many of his bottle,and Pierce by having the word Indian embossed in the glass of thecontainers for his nostrum.

Phoenix Bitters,

olive green (#7) and aqua (#8).

Smooth base and pontiled Pierce's

Indian Restorative Bitters.

Moffat, a merchant in New York, New York, became theproprietor for Phoenix Bitters about 1834. He advertisedextensively and it soon became a success. His son William B.Moffat assumed the business in 1838, and had the product patented in 1862.However, John's name continued to be embossed on the bottles,except the only smooth based variant known to me, which readsJohn Moffat and Cos. By 1846, there was a Moffat's Almanac and atleast on other remedy, Moffats's Life Pills. William died orretired in the 1860's and I do no know what became of the bittersthen.

LabeledDr. Pierce's Indian Restorative Bitters, blowpipe pontil(formerly of the Greer collection).

 

Ten Phoenix Bitters variants are know to me, nine of whichhave blowpipe pontils. All are rectangular.

  1. John (in an arch) / Moffat // New York // Phoenix / Bitters // Price $2.00, olive green, short tapered collar or ring lip, 7 inches tall, rare.
  2. John Moffat // New York // Phoenix Bitters // Price 2 Dollars, amber, ring lip, 7 inches tall, rare.
  3. Jno. Moffat // Price $1 // Phoenix / Bitters // New York, olive green, short tapered collar, 5 1/2 inches tall.
  4. Jno. Moffat // Price 1$ // Phoenix Bitters // New York, amber, short tapered collar or ring lip, 5 1/2 inches tall, rare.
  5. John Moffat // Price 1 Dollar // Phoenix Bitters // New York, amber, ring lip, 5 5/8 inches tall, rare.
  6. Same in olive green.
  7. John (in an arch) / Moffat // Price $1.00 // Phoenix / Bitters // New York, olive green, short tapered collar, 5 5/8 inches tall (in my collection).
  8. Same in aqua with a ring lip (in my collection).
  9. John Moffat // New York // Phoenix Bitters // Price 1 Dollar, clear, ring lip, 5 5/8 inches tall, rare and unlisted.
  10. John Moffat & Cos. / Phoenix Bitters // New York // Price $1.00, aqua, smooth base, narrow square collar, 6 1/2 inches tall, shoulders more rounded than other Phoenix bottles and later in appearance.

George Pierce was a physician in Lowell, Mass., in 1831 and aproprietor of Dr. LaMott's Vegetable Pills in 1832. He probablyintroduced his Indian Restorative Bitters in the early 1850's.During the time the company operated in Lowell, Pierce andCharles Osgood (Osgood's India Cholagogue) ran a drug business.Between 1855 and 1859, the company was relocated in Boston, wherePierce had a number of persons involved in the manufacture of hisbitters. His first partners were G.T. Adams and John Couch; laterin the 1880's H.M. Hamblin; and after 1885, M.W. Joslyn andGeorge F. Kellogg. Dr. Bullock's Nephreticum was add in the1860's and Dr. Cummings Vegetine in 1885. Dr. Pierce may neverhave been personally involved in the Boston operations. Itappears that he remained in Lowell where he died in 1864. Thebitters were still being manufactured in Boston at 30 Hanover St.in 1893, and are listed in the Era Blue Book for Druggist in1899.

Only two variants of these bitters are known to me; both areaqua and rectangular. Dr. Geo. Pierce's // Indian / Restorative /Bitters // Lowell, Mass., long tapered collar, 7 5/8 inches tall,blowpipe and bare iron pontils, and Dr. Geo. Pierce's // Indian /Restorative / Bitters // Lowell, Mass., double collar, 8 7/8inches tall, smooth base. In the Greer collection there was ab.p.p. example with 85% of the label (it had formally been in theGardner and Osgood collections). This bottle is pictured alongwith b.p.p and smooth base examples from my collection.

One condition listed on the label that Dr. Pierce's IndianRestorative Bitters was supposed to remedy was costiveness. Whatis that? You'll never guess. I had to look it up. It's anotherword for constipation.


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