Glenn Poch's Bottle Collecting Newsletter 18

Bottle Newsletter #18
July/August 1997

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There are a few, of you who collect root beer extract bottles, who might enjoy this. Hopefully the rest of you will find the information interesting. For those of you who were not aware of this piece of history, root beer predates all of the "cola" drinks and had been around for many years prior to the big surge in the extract business. The availability of the bottled extract started in the 1880's- and went right up to the late 1950's. After that time, it became harder and harder to obtain the bottled extracts. as the colas were not the dominant drink in America. Root Beer is primarily an American drink- and is an interesting part of the "soda" history in America. When thinking about these types of bottles, most people generally think of the Hires extracts., from Philadelphia, which as a whole, are probably the most common of all of the root beer extract bottles. What you may or may not realize, is that there are many different root beer extract bottles, from all over the country, that make a fairly sizable category to collect, just themselves. Many of the root beer extract bottles are embossed with the brand, manufacture, city, state, etc, while others may just have the brand name. Other extract bottles were more generic, with paper labels applied to them. We are only going to address embossed bottles in this article, and only bottles that have a city or state included as part of the embossing. Most of the embossed bottles described date from the 1880 to 1920 time frame. We will not include specific measurements after this point, unless the bottle is not a "typical" extract bottle. Most of the "typical" extract bottles are roughly 4 1/4" to 4 3/4" tall, with 4 sides that are each approximately 1 1/2" wide. Most of the bottles described are pale aqua, pale green, or clear, though some of them are of a darker aqua, and amber. The / between lines indicates a different side of the bottle.

Many people assume that Hires is the original creator of root beer. He was not, but he most likely was one of the first., if not the first, to market the bottled extract for making root beer, and he was without question. the most successful promoter of his product. Since Hires was from Philadelphia, we will begin there. Then, we will move around the country!

These are just representative of the Hires bottles, as there are many different styles. The following bottles all say they are from Philadelphia. Most of the later Hires bottles do not. These also say root beer on them. As Hires came out with other products, they changed their bottles to read just Hires Household Extract., or just Hires Extract, as they could then use the same basic bottle for any one of several different extracts. The first one we are listing, reads as follows, HIRES HOUSEHOLD EXTRACT / FOR BREWING ROOT BEER AT HOME / MANUFACTURED BY THE CHARLES E. HIRES CO. / PHILADELPHIA, PA. U.S.A. What is interesting about that bottle. is that it says "for brewing root beer at home". Our net example of a Hires bottle from Philadelphia, reads as follows, HIRES ROOTBEER / MAKES FIVE GALLONS OF A DELICIOUS DRINK MANUFACTURED BY THE CHARLES E. HIRES CO. / PHILADELPHIA, PA. U.S.A.. The rootbeer is slated on this bottle. Hires must have changed the product a little. because now we have the "improved" root beer. This bottle reads HIRES IMPROVED ROOT BEER / MAKES FIVE GALLONS OF A DELICIOUS DRINK / MANUFACTURED BY THE CHARLES E. HIRES CO. / PHILADELPHIA, PA. U.S.A. Hires then made a slight change to that bottle, providing another variant to look for. This one reads IMPROVED ROOT BEER / MAKES FIVE GALLONS OF A DELICIOUS DRINK MANUFACTURED ONLY BY CHARLES E. HIRES / PHILADELPHIA PA. U.S.A. As you get into some of the late, Hires bottles you ca. find some real pretty shades of blues. and greens, with some of the blues approaching a sapphire, or cobalt color.

By most accounts,. the major boost to the root beer extract business, was attributed to Charles E. Hires. but like anything else, if there is money to be made, others will try to get a part of that business. The following root beer extract bottles, are all from Philadelphia, or close by, and are presumed to all have been in direct competition with Hires.

Our first Philadelphia bottle. is embossed on three sides. FAVORITE CREAM ROOT BEER / EACH BOTTLE MAKES 5 GALLONS / ONLY MANUFACTURED BY FAVORITE MAN'F'G. CO. PHILADA. PA. U.S.A. / fourth side is blank. There is a variant to this bottle, with embossing on all four sides, FAVORITE CREAM ROOT BEER / EACH BOTTLE MAKES 5 GALLONS / MANUFACTURED ONLY BY I FAVORITE MANFG. CO. PHILA, PA. U.S.A.. Next, we have a bottle only embossed on only two sides. Side one is embossed BEAN'S GREAT AMERICAN ROOT BEER EXTRACT. Side two is blank, side three says ROLLER & SHOEMAKER PHILADELPHIA, with side four also blank.

Next are two variants of the Lear's bottles. The first one is embossed LEAR'S PERFECTED ROOT BEER / CONTENTS MAKES 5 GALLONS / LEARMFGCO, LIMITED PHILADELPHIA PA. / SOLE OWNERS AND MANUFACTURES. What makes this interesting, is that they claim to be the sole manufacturers of this product, but so do the people on the second Lear's bottle. One may have been a successor of the other, or they may have just both made the same claim. The variant is embossed LEAR'S PERFECTED ROOT BEER / CONTENTS MAKES 5 GALLONS /SHELLENBERGER & SMITH PHILADELPHIA PA. / SOLE OWNERS AND MANUFACTURERS. Note the spelling differences of the last word on each bottle. That is another one of their differences, not our typing.

Now we go to the champion. It may be safe to presume that part of the marketing technique, was to make your brand sound the best. What better name than the champion? One company put out the following bottle.

CHAMPION ROOT BEER EXTRACT is embossed on side one, side Two is blank side three reads FINNERTY McCLURE & CO PHILADELPHIA. and side four is blank. Also from Philadelphia, is HEINLE'S ROOT BEER / ONE BOTTLE MAKES 5 GALLONS / CHAS. L. HEINLE & Co 2731 KENSINGTON AVE / PHILA, PA. Another bottle,, while not being embossed with the city of Philadelphia, was likely another direct competitor of Hires. and is embossed only on one panel. The other three are blank, This bottle reads THOMPSON'S ROOT BEER EXT. FIVE GALLONS COATESVILLE, PA. spread over four lines.

Now let's move around the country. Have any of you ever heard of MEXICAN ROOT BEER EXTRACT? That is what is on one side of an extract bottle. Probably from Mexico, wouldn't you think? Not a chance! The other three sides of the bottle read MANUFACTURED ONLY BY SHRADER & JOHNSTON / MAKES FIVE GALLONS OF DELICIOUS DRINK / MICHIGAN CITY INDIANA.

The location of the next one should be easier to figure out. BADGER ROOT BEER is on one side of the bottle. There is a clue here, (Wisconsin's state animal is the Badger). The other three sides read THIS BOTTLE MAKES FIVE GALLONS / MANUFACTURED BY WAUKESHA WILD CHERRY PHOSPHATE CO / WAUKESHA, WIS. You can also find several extract bottles that have Milwaukee embossed on them, which include HILBERT'S MILWAUKEE ROOT BEER which is all embossed on one side, with the other three sides plain, and FISHER'S ROOT BEER EXTRACT / A. J. HILBERT & CO. MILWAUKEE, WIS. U.S.A. / MAKES 5 GALLONS ROOT BEER / A. J. HILBERT & CO. MILWAUKEE, WIS, U.S.A.

How many embossed root beer extracts do you know of from Minnesota? Ever heard of TOWLE'S LOG CABIN ROOT BEER? I believe Towle's made a number of food products in addition to this extract. The other three sides of this bottle read THIS BOTTLE MAKES FIVE GALLONS / PREPARED BY THE TOWLE MFG. CO. / ST. PAUL, MINN. USA.

Some of you are aware of the pottery Pa-Poose root beer mugs, which are extremely hard to find- Any idea where they are from? This next extract bottle will help you out. The four sides read PA-POOSE ROOT BEER EXTRACT MANUFACTURED BY E. A. ZATARAIN & SONS INC. / GUARANTEED 100% PURE ORIGINATED 1889 / NEW ORLEANS U.S.A CAPACITY 3 FLUID OUNCES. Now we get to a strange sounding root beer extract that is also from Louisiana. This bottle is clear, and has embossing on all 4 sides. Side one says HORSE SHOE TRADE MARK REG. ROOT BEER EXTRACT, side two says MANUFACTURED BY HORSE SHOE PICKLE WORKS LTD. Side three says GUARANTEED 100% PURE. and side four reads NEW ORLEANS, LA. U.S.A. CAPACITY 3 FLUID OUNCES. While these two bottles are different in their embossing, they are similar enough, including a mold mark on the bottom. to indicate that they were possibly made in the same mold With different side plates.

The next brand tried to make one believe that it had universal market coverage. UNITED STATES ROOT BEER EXTRACT is on the first side. Any guesses as to where it's from? Here is what the other three sides say, MAKES FIVE GALLONS OF A DELICIOUS DRINK / MANUFACTURED ONLY BY UNITED STATES ROOT BEER CO / PITTSBURG PA. U.S.A. We did not inadvertently, leave the "H" off of Pittsburgh, that is how it was spelled for a time many years ago. Another Pittsburgh root beer extract. is 4 7/8" tall, which is a little taller than the typical extract bottle, but in other aspects, is about the same. and is embossed on all four sides. Side one reads GALVIN'S ROOT BEER PITTSBURGH, PA. Side two says THIS BOTTLE MAKES 5 GALLONS, side three says JAS. A. GALVIN PITTSBURGH PA. U.S.A., and the fourth side reads THE ONLY GENUINE.

Now we go to Massachusetts. A non typical sized extract bottle, found in aqua, and with a least two different embossings, is next. This bottle is shaped like many of the patent medicine bottles, and is 6" tall, 2" wide, and 1 1/4" deep, and is of a nice aqua color. The example described has ALLEN'S ROOT BEER EXTRACT embossed on the front panel, with C.E. CARTER embossed on one side panel, LOWELL, MASS is embossed on the other side panel. The next bottle is embossed on one side with BAKER'S INDIAN ROOT BEER EXTRACT. The opposite side gives us the town and state it's from, BAKER EXTRACT COMPANY, SPRINGFIELD, MASS. The other two sides are plain.

Now we go to Maryland The bottle described next has three plain sides, with all the following embossed on the fourth side, AYD'S ROOT BEER EXTRACT, MAKES 5 GALLONS, PREPARED BY JOSEPH AYD, BALTIMORE. A root beer extract bottle with a name similar to the Bakers Indian Root Beer Extract, but with much different embossing, is from New Jersey, and reads BAKER'S 5 MINUTE ROOT BEER EXT. TRENTON, N.J., the other 3 sides are plain. Another New Jersey bottle is embossed on one side TAYLOR'S SARSAPARILLA ROOT BEER TRENTON N.J. This bottle has a paper label loaded ,With information covering the three plain sides.

Hurd's Root Beer extract is very pale aqua in color and says HURD'S ROOT BEER on one panel, the opposite side says THIS BOTTLE MAKES FIVE GALLONS. The extract bottle is 4 5/8" tall, and provides no clue as to where it was from, but there is some evidence from another bottle that the company was out of Raymond, N.H.

Bryant's Root Beer extract bottles come in shades of amber from light to dark, and can also be found in clear, and pale aqua. There are several different embossings for this brand, including at least two different manufacturers. Only two are listed here. Side one reads BRYANT'S ROOT BEER and side two says THIS BOTTLE MAKES FIVE GALLONS. Side three is the one that is usually different, here it reads MANUFACTURF,D BY WILLLAMS DAVIS BROOKS & CO., and side four reads DETROIT, MICH. Another Bryants reads BRYANT'S ROOT BEER THIS BOTTLE MAKES FIVE GALLONS / MANUFACTURED BY MICHIGAN DRUG COMPANY / 3 FL. OZS. DETROIT, MICH. You could make a nice little display using just the different variants of the Bryant's bottles.

Our next item is from St. Louis, MO, and has embossing on all four sides. Side one has 3 FL. 07- on the shoulder & STAR BRAND EXTRACT FOR HOME USE on the side. On the second side, it says MANUFACTURED BY CHAS. A. LIEMKE CO. ST. LOUIS, MO., side three reads LEADING BRAND OF THE WORLD FOR MAKING ROOT BEER- & side four reads GENUINE HAS THIS SIGNATURE CHAS. A. LIEMKE. (Chas. A. Liemke is in script)

Now to Chicago. This bottle is embossed only on three sides. Side one, NYMAN'S PURE JUNIPER EXTRACT AND ROOT BEER Side two reads NYMAN'S EXTRACT CO. CHICAGO ILL. Side three says NYMAN'S PURE MALT LEADER FROM MALT AND HOPS.

This list is not inclusive of all of the embossed extract bottles from these states, but does give you an idea of the range of territory that they came from. Some of these are fairly easy to obtain, some are not. As you can see, there was quite a bit of competition for the root beer extract business in Philadelphia, and through out the rest of the county. There are many more root beer extract bottles that are embossed with a name but no city and state, that are not included in this article.

Also available to collect, are the many paper label extracts, the often colorful cartons that all these bottles came in. as well as the paper inserts that came "with most of the cartons. One can make a pretty decent collection of root beer extract bottles, and go withs for the most part at very reasonable prices, and with some added color as well. (submited by David Nader).


Pigs were a sign of prosperity during the 1870's-1890's. The pigs were fed corn and corn was also used in the distilling of whiskey. The critters were cute and popular with the public so the distillers capitalized on these figurals as a marketable tool. The pig also represented the evils of drink. Using the cork to seal the contents at the rear allowed crude and rude jokes or slogans to enhance the product, for example "Something Good in a Hog's - - > (with the arrow pointing to the rear). Beside glass these pigs appear in pottery form. Anna Pottery from Anna, Illinois produced the famous Railroad Pig that goes for top dollar. The Kirkpatrick brothers who worked in Anna summed up their feelings in an article in the Jonesboro, Indiana Weekly Gazette in 1869: "It is rather a hoggish propensity to be guzling whiskey, and if the habit is indulged in, will son reduce a man below the level of the hog, and cause him to wallow in the gutter.

Some of the popular pig designs include : 2 Bitters - Berkshire Bitters, and Sulfolk bitters both in amber, a "prototype clear blank suffolk bitters, pottery spongewear pigs, yelloware pigs, Amber and clear glass pigs with slogans "drink while it lasts form this hogs", "something good in a hogs -->", "Good old Bourbon in a hogs", "pure old corn" (pottery), "compliments of the Theodore Netter Distilling Co", Louisville Crescent Moon Whiskey pigs and railroad Annas, along with a number of local tavern and unembossed pottery pigs, make up a good selection to comprise a collection. The most common pigs (3 or 4) can be found in the $55-100 range, but then the jump is considerable being in the $250.00-$2000 range, this is a collection that someone could go "Hog Wild" over.


These bottles were used to contain medicine, herbs, powders, and dry goods. They are cylindrical in shape and are usually found in clear. Mainly produced in the Midwestern and Eastern States they date from 1790-1920. They range in size from 4" to 12" H (with some larger ones know), and many contain a thin glass plate over the label for added protection, many of the label under glass bottles have broken glass plates or are missing them entirely, sometimes the thin glass plate was painted on the reverse so that when the label plate breaks there is no idea as to what the contents were. The earliest are pontil scared and lack the glass covering, having the gold and black painting applied right to the bottle (usually in ribbons and scrolling as well as floral designs). The bottles were for the most part sold in sets of 4 or more, each bearing the particular medicine or contents. All of the bottles have some sort of closure with the majority being a glass ground stopper ranging from a small insert to a fairly large jar covering up to 3" in diameter. Their were an abundance of these bottles made as all of the older local drugstores had shelves filled with these bottles. When looking for these bottles, try to find complete sets, colored examples, Transparent blue, opaque white, and greens, and very early examples. They are related to the "Label Under Glass" field of bottle collecting which includes barbers, whiskeys, and colognes, since they have the glass label protection, however they are not as sought after as the prior three categories mentioned above, and hence in general sell for less money.

Response to the impact of Web site auctions of glassware

There are some definite pluses to this. I recently was able to purchase a Canadian jar (a Beaver) that I have been wanting for a long time. The problem is that I don't have the luxury of being able to "run up to Canada" a get one. The price was reasonable as well. I know there is a strong argument that the auctions are ruining the market and that pretty soon there will be very few jars left out there for collectors to pick up inexpensively. But I think that the supply is naturally dwindling simply because there are a lot more collectors and people are aware that jars are collectibles now. I have people send e-mail all the time thinking that because they have a Mason jar it is worth something and they can sell it to a collector. Most of the time these jars are 30-40 years old - if that old. The thing that I have learned is that you need to decided what jars you want and look for them and if you see one you like, get it.

If you have any responses (pro or con) toward bottle auctions, send an email to:

How about AuctionWeb - good thing - or bad thing?

Need help identifing a jar that I bought at a first Monday sale. It is very small - 1/4 pint with a lightening seal and the beaded neck. On the neck on one side the words "Wire here" are embossed. There are no markings on either side. On the bottom there is "1893" and "F.P." I've been through the Red Book (although I haven't gotten the 8th edition yet) and can't find it anywhere. Any help in identifing this would be greatly appreciated.


Bonnie Briggs

We, my husband and I collect dairy and pop bottles from Darke County Ohio, and we would be interested in knowing anyone who would happen upon one from here. Thanks for your help.


Have been looking for a milk bottle from Dechant Dairy from Franklin Ohio. The dairy was my mom's family and when they closed the dairy, my cousin took most of the bottle down to the Miami River and used them for target practice! :-(. Franklin is located between Cincinnati and Dayton. I used to live in Ohio and looked around the area shops with no luck. I have have recently re-located ito Denver, CO. so am glad to continue my search on the net. I'd appreciate your help and answer to my questions.


Looking for Round embossed Amber Milks from the State of Ohio?

Parker Higby

Looking for unusual/rare Root Beer Items.

David Nader :

Looking for quality Bottles, Flasks, Inks, Bitters - seeking Seahorse Scent Bottles, and Figural Bitters.

Email Glenn at

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