antiquebottles THEMEDICINE CHEST --- BY DR. RICHARD CANNON old bottles


One thinks of Hood's Sarsaparilla as the prototype forthe arched indented panel bottle. However, Charles I. Hood didn'tget started until 1876, and at least 15 earlier pontiled bottleshad his feature including Perry Davis and Hood's competitor JamesCook Ayer. Halsey's / Forest / Wine // C.W. Halsey // New York,blowpipe pontil, aqua, rectangular, 8 1/4 inches tall without theC.W. Halsey and New York. Perhaps Hood liked the looks of thesebottles and copied them.

Pontiled Ayer's Cherry Pectoral &

Sarsaparilla & Davis Vegetable Pain Killer.

Halsey'a Forest Wine

(Former Sam Greer Collection)

Hood's Sarsaparilla & Tussano Cough Cure.

Most of the other pontiled examples have asingle indented panel arched upward. The word in the arch isunderlined: Ayer's // Concentrated // Compound / Extract Of /Sarsaparilla // Lowell, Mass., aqua, rectangular, 7 3/4 inchestall; Ayer's // Cherry // Lowell, Mass. // Pectoral, aqua,rectangular, 7 inches tall; Ayer's // Cure // Lowell, Mass. //Ague, aqua, rectangular, 7 inches tall; Davis' // Vegetable //Pain Killer, aqua, rectangular, 8 7/8, 7, 6 3/8, 4 7/8, and 4 1/4inches tall; Geyer's // Cough // Gloucester, Mass. // Balsam,aqua, rectangular, 6 inches tall; Dr. Hartshorn's, aqua, oval, 77/16 inches tall; Myers' // Rock Rose // New Haven, aqua,rectangular, 9 1/2 inches tall; Paine's // Vegetable // PainCurer. Aqua, oval 5 5/8 inches tall; Porter's // Bundysburg, O.// Cure Of Pain, aqua rectangular, 6 5/8 inches tall; Wallaces //Rheumatic // Discovery // Suspension Bridge, N.Y., aqua,rectangular, 8 7/16 inches tall; Yoder's // German // Liniment,aqua, rectangular, 5 1/4 inches tall.

One pontil has two panels arched upwards:Professor Mott's // Magic Hair / Invigorator // Price 25 Cents //A.J. Green / Highgate, Vt., aqua, rectangular, 6 3/8 inchestall.; and one, a single upward arch and two lower straightpanels, Sanderson's / Blood Renovator / Milton, Vt., aqua, oval,8 inches tall.

Da Costa's Radical Cures. Dr. Ward's Sarsaparilla. Simmons' Liver Regulator &

Brown's Sarsaparilla.

From bottles in my collection I want to presentfeatures and variations of arched indented panel medicines. TheAyer, Davis, and Porter bottles are examples of the single panelarched upwards. Later Porter's Cure Of Pain bottles are embossedCleveland, O.

Arched upper and lower panels between astraight panel include the following, all aqua, rectangular withsmooth bases: Brown's / Sarsa / Parilla // // For The Kidneys /Liver And Blood, 9 1/4 inches tall; DaCosta'a / Radical / Cure //Morris & Heritage // Philadelphia, 8 3/8 inches tall and thesame on front // Dr. Morris' // Syrup Of Tar, 5 3/ 8 inches tall;Hood's / Sarsa / Parilla // C.I. Hood & Co. // Apothecaries// Lowell, Mass., 9 and 7 inches tall (others with Apothecariesomitted or Compound Extract added); Simmons' / Liver / Regulator// Philadelphia // J.H. Zeilin & Co. // Macon, Ga. 9 1/4 and8 1/4 inches tall; TusSano / Cures / Coughs / And / Colds // C.I.Hood & Co. // Apothecaries // Lowell, Mass., 6 7/8 inchestall; Dr. Ward's / Sarsa / Parilla // Landon & Burchard //Plainview, Minn., 8 3/4 inches tall.

DaCosta's Radical Cure may not have been asuccessful product. At least, the Free Library of Philadelphia,College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the PhiladelphiaCollege of Pharmacy and Science Library could come up withnothing. Raphael B. DaCosta was first listed in the 1855Philadelphia directory as the manufacturer of DaCosta's WestIndian Tooth Wash. In 1870, he changed his name to Robert, andcontinued to be listed until 1874. Jacob M. DaCosta, 1833-1900,was an “able” teacher of medicine at the PhiladelphiaCollege of Physicians, and published several medical articlesfrom 1864-1871. Nothing could be found to tie either to DaCosta'sRadical Cure. J.H. Morris graduated from the Philadelphia Collegeof Pharmacy in 1852 and Henry B. Morris in 1864. The onlyadditional information was their deaths in 1921 and 1910.

Kilmer's Swamp Root, Ocean Weed, Heart Remedy &

Cough Cure Consumption Oil.

Gold Medal Sarsaparilla, aqua and amber. Universal Medicine Co.

Dr. Ward's Sarsaparilla bottles are extremelyrare according to John DeGrafft. The story begins in Harrison,Ohio, in the early 1850s when Richard Ward concocted an allpurpose liniment which he sold to J.H. Sands in 1856. Sands movedto Winona, Minnesota Territory, and sales were good. Ward in 1867also sold the “rights” to J.R. Watkins of Plainveiw,Minn. Later, Watkins sold the liniment in bulk form to Landon andBurchard, a Plainview firm of druggists from 1870 through 1900.Among the products put out with Landon & Burchard, Plainview,Minn. Embossed on the bottle were Dr. Ward's Liniment, Dr. Ward'sBarb Wire Cure, and Dr. Ward's Sarsaparilla. Long and contentiouslawsuits are also a part of the story.

Dr. Kilmer and Company, Binghampton, N.Y.,varied the design of their bottles so that the middle straightpanel was replaced by a kidney for Swamp Root Kidney, Liver, andBladder Cure, a heart for Ocean Weed Heart Remedy, and Lungs forCough Cure Consumption Oil. These are an attractive group, andthe embossed lung bottles are scarce.

Gold Medal // Sarsa / Parilla // J.V. Babcockbottles have the middle straight and lower arched panels, but theupper space is flat for the label. The ambers are scarce; mine is9 inches tall; the aquas are rare; mine is 9 1/4 inches tall.J.V. Babcock was in Montpelier, Vermont. Phyllis Simko was notable to obtain additional information from Vermont libraries andhistorical societies.

Universal / Medicine / Co. is in a larger panelwhich occupies approximately the upper two-thirds of the bottlefront. Louisville, Ky. is embossed in a lower indented archedpanel. Gene Blasi says that this amber, rectangular, 8 7/8-inchtall bottle is extremely rare. I purchased it from him....


  1. Blasi, G.; Louisville's Early Medicine Bottles, 1992.
  2. DeGrafft, J.; American Sarsaparilla Bottles, 1980.
  3. Feldhaus. R.; The Bottles, Breweriana And Advertising Jugs Of Minnesota, 1850-1920, Vol. 2, Whiskey, Druggist, Medicine, 1987.
  4. Holstl, J.; Pontiled Medicine Price Guide, 1995.
  5. Nielson, F.; Great American Pontiled Medicines, 1978.
  6. Odell, J.; Indian Bottles And Brands, 1977.
  7. Shimko, P.; Sarsaparilla Bottle Encylopedia, 1969.

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