Companies that Produced Antique Bottles
This is a new projext where I have begun to compile info I gather about
companies that produced antique bottles.
Please feel free to contribute additional info by
sending me an Email.
Shortcuts to companies listed on this page or elsewhere:
James Cook Ayer began selling his pills locally in Lowell, Mass.
where he owned a drugstore in 1843.
He claimed to have first sold the Cherry Pectoral in 1843 - it was actually
about 1847 before it was first sold in bottles.
In addition to the formula shown on page 19, the original formula
contained syrup of squills, sweet spirits of nitre and spirits of bitter
almonds. The pills were sold in boxes and it is most likely that it was
first bottled about 1865.
The Ague Cure was first bottled in 1858. The Sarsaparilla was first bottled
in 1857, and the Hair Vigor first in 1867.
Although Ayer claimed to be a graduate of Pennsylvania State University there is no record
of him ever having received a degree from that institution. He was, in later years,
able to edge in as a member of The Society Of Arts And Sciences, Chemical Institute,
College of Pharmacology, The U.S. Medical Association and The College Of Physicians And Surgeons.
Such was his claim in the 1860's. By that time he had become a very wealthy man and even helped
finance a railroad from Boston to Lowell, Mass. He retired a multi-millionaire in the early 1870's
and gave over the management of his patent medicine empire to a very worthy man, Mr. A. G. Cook,
who continued to build the fortune for many years to come. After Ayer died, in 1878 at the age of 60,
his brother Frederick assumed control. His widow became very prominent in society and
later spent vast sums of the Ayer fortune in Europe.
This info was taken from page 18 of Bill & Betty Wilson's "19th Century
Medicine in Glass" book. Info supplied by John Heaphy
See Oct 1999 photo of the old
Ayer's Building and Lab
in Lowell, Mass,
provided courtesy of
Jimmy Greene who visited the locations. The building is being converted
into lofts & the Laboratory is up for sale.
Can see some Ayer's bottles under
Also see some
Ayer's trade cards.
S. B. Goff was a prolific manufacturer of patent medicines at the end of the
19th century. He had at least 7 medicines: 1) Herb Bitters -
very common 2) regular Cough Syrup - very common 3) Magic Oil - common
4) Worm Syrup - very rare 5) Sarsaparilla and Blood Purifier - very rare
as listed in Sarsaparilla book 6) Indian Vegetable Cough Syrup and Blood
Purifier - scarce.
Info courtesy of Ernest Bower, Email:
S.B. Goff bottles.
Who Was Henry Helmold?
is an article published by Digger Odell.
Hire's Root Beer Extract - A Success Story
is an article published by Digger Odell.
Founder Dr. David Jayne began as a country doctor in NJ, but moved to Philadelphia
in 1837 where he set up a practice. By April 1837 he moved to No 32 South Third
Street. He started buying and selling medicines to patients, but then expanded
to making his concoctions available to the general public. In 1845, Dr. Jayne
moved to a larger establishment at No 8 South Third Street. In 1850 he moved
to the famous address embossed on many of his medicines: No 84 and 86 Chestnut
Street. He later died in 1866. His medicine business was a major success.
He is credited with being the first to publish almanacs for advertising business.
Above info taken from info provided by descendant John Jayne,
Dr. Jayne's Medicine bottles, including
pontiled bottles, and
Dr. Jayne's trade cards.
The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company
is a article published by Digger Odell.
See The Kilmers of Binghamton New York, an article
that also appeared in
the June 1997 issue of Antique Bottle & Glass Collector magazine.
Article written/submitted by John Golley,
Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root
is a very informative subject on the man and his products
by Digger Odell.
See Dr Kilmer's section of
Tino's Bottle page
See some Dr Kilmer bottles under
Dr. Kilmer trade cards.
The Larkin Soap Company
by Digger Odell.
Miles Medical Company
The Miles Medical Company was founded by Dr. Franklin Miles around the mid
1880's (1884?). He sold out of the buisness to his partners several years
later, but the company kept his name. The company was very sucessful and sold
a lot of 'medicine' like Miles Nervine, New Heart Cure, etc. I think a big
part of that sucess was due to the frequent advertising. They put out a lot of
almanacs, calendars, and various phamplets. The were involved in a landmark
Supreme Court case in 1912 (still often refered to today) about who decides
what the retail price of a product should be (the manufacturer or the
retailer?). The result of which is why you often see "Suggested retail
price..." and not "Retail price". This debate still lingers on. In the 1930's
the Miles Medical Co. had a "rebirth" with their hugely successful Alka-Seltzer
product, which is still being sold today. The Miles Medical Co. under went
several name changes "Dr. Miles Medical Co.", then "Miles Medical Co.", then
"Miles Laboratories", and then I think simply "Miles, Inc.". This Elkhert,
Indiana based company is now owned by Bayer, AG of Germany.
Info provided by courtesy of Miles Medical collector Michael Miles (no relation),
The Oregon Indian Medicine Company
is a story published by Digger Odell.
Owl Drug Company
Owl Drugstore bottles are popular with collectors, especially the
Most of the one wing owls are
BIMAL with a tooled top, whereas most of the two wing Owls are ABM
(i.e. machine made).
However, most of ABM Owl bottles are rarer, as they only
remained in business for a few years after the ABM bottles came out.
Rexall bought Owl out in the late 1920's.
Info courtesy of Duane Combs, Email:
See Glenn Poch's newsletter article on
The Owl Drug Co.
LYDIA PINKHAM'S VEGETABLE COMPOUND is one of the most common bottles out there.
Lydia Pinkham started mixing her vegetable compound as a hobby and was giving it
away to friends.
The panic of 1873 wiped out all her families finances and since her compound
was in so much demand, she decided to sell the mixture. The compound first
appeared on the market in 1875. Lydia's picture appeared on each package and soon
she became the best known woman of her time. Mother Pinkham toiled over
a hot stove turning out medicine with one hand and with the other turning out
testimonial and emotional literature stressing her wonder compound.
The ingredients of the medicine were licorice, camomile, pleurisy root, Jamaica
dogwood, black cohosh, life plant, dandelion root and at one time 18% alcohol,
but was later cut to 13% when the Federal Government wanted to classify it as
During the mixture's heydey the company's annual sales were 3.8 million.
A popular song that was sung when the the compound was popular:
There's a baby in every bottle
Info adopted from the October 1998 newsletter of the
SC Bottle Club.
So the question ran
But the Federal Trade Commission
Still insists you'll need a man.
Dr Townsend's Sarsaparilla
the covered the outside of bottle.
The wrapper reads:
Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla was for the removal and permanent cure of all
diseases arising from an impure state of the blood or habit of the system, vix;
scrofula or Kings' evil, rheumatism, obstinate cutaneous eruptions, pimples or
pustules on the face, blotches, biles, chronic sore eyes, ring worm, tetter scald
head, enlargement and pin of the bones and joints, stubborn ulcers, syphilitic
disorders, lumbago, spinal complaints and all disease arising from an injudicious
use of mercury, ascites or dropsy, exposure or imprudence in life. It invariably
cures indigestion or dyspepsia, neuralgia, general and nervous debility, palpitation
of the heart, liver complaint and inflammation in the kidneys, ladies of pale
complexion and consumptive habits and such as are debilitated by those
obstructions which females are liable to.
At the bottom of the wrapper, Townsend mentions that his competitors
such as Sand's, Bristols, and Bull's, made inferior products.