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


It’s hard to turn down milk glass, tin or zincoxides added to the basic sand, soda and lime, particularly whenit’s rare and a bitters. That’s my 91/4”tall, square case gin bottle embossed horizontally Lohengrin /Bitters / Adolf Marcus / Von Buton / Germany // // horseshoemotif.
It seems that I’ve heard the word Lohengrin before. My wifequickly said that’s in the name of the Bridal Chorus,“Here comes the bride”, from Lohengrin by RichardWagner, the German composer. Sure enough, there is a romanticgrand opera, one of the finest many say, by Wagner, composedbetween 1846 and 1848, named Lohengrin. The time was in the900’s during the reign of Henry the Fowler, King of Germany.It is a love story of Elsa, Duchess of Brabant and the mysteriousknight Lohengrin. The knight Telramund had falsely accused Elsaof murdering her brother Gottfried. Lohengrin comes toking’s court clad in shining armor and borne on the river ina skiff drawn by a white swan. Lohengrin defeats Telramund andmarries Elsa. In the meantime she has promised never to askLohengrin’s name and origin. But Telramund and his sorceresswife Ortrude persuade Elsa to break her vow. Before the courtLohengrin reveals that he is the son of King Parzival inMountsalvat and has helped guard the Holy Grail [cup from whichJesus drank at the last supper]. By the law of his order, he mustsay farewell forever, but before he departs, the swan istransformed into the youth Gottfried. Ortrud’s wicked spellhad changed the boy into a bird. As Lohengrin’s skiffdisappears down the river, Elsa falls lifeless.

Hartwig Kantorowicz (reverse Z) Litthauer Stomach Bitters Lohengrin Bitters

Lohengrin Bitters probably came on theGerman market about the same time as the more common LitthauerStomach Bitters / Invented 1864 By / Josef Loewenthal, Berlinembossed vertically on a milk glass case gin bottle, 91/2inches tall. An industrial revolution began in Germany in themid-1800’s which promoted the interests of a growing classof business men, and by the late 1800’s, Germany had becomea great industrial nation, importing goods to other nations. TheTucker Hardy Co. of Chicago became the sole distributor ofLohengrin Bitters in this country, and S. Loewenthal Co.,Josef’s son, of Cleveland, Ohio, became sole Americanmanufacturer of Litthauer Stomach Bitters. The latter had alsobeen manufactured by Hartwig, Kantorowicz of Berlin, Hamburg,Posen [Poland], Paris and New York. For some reason, LitthauerBitters seemed to do much better than Lohengrin Bitters.
There’s another milk glass case gin bottle 10 inches tall,embossed vertically Fritz Reuter Bitters which is very rare.It’s probably from Germany also.
About thirty years ago, I was told by an antique dealer in Edna,Texas, about a farmer’s wife near there who had lined herflower beds with milk glass bitters bottles. However, there werenone for sale in her shop, and I was given no additionalinformation. Most likely they were labeled Litthauer Bittersembossed Hartwig Kantorowicz / Posen / Ham- / Burg / Ger- / Many.Mine has a backward Z.....

1. Biancolli, L.: The Opera
Reader, 1953.
2. Ring, C. and Ham, W.C.:
Bitters Bottles 1998.

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