Byron Springs Discovery – 1848

I stumbled across a reference to the discovery of Byron Springs in New York State – in the December 30, 1848 edition of Scientific America:

“A number of acid springs have been discovered in Byron, Genesee Co., NY. They are strongly impregnated with pure sulfur which increases in strength during a drought. The vegetable matter is killed around them. The water is colorless, and from a spring flows in sufficient quantity to turn a grist mill. A similar spring is known to exist in Persia, Asia, where it is used to make sherbet, as a substitute for lemon.”

Antique bottle collectors will know that this spring became sufficiently popular to spawn a business of bottling its waters. A quart cylinder with the embossing BYRON ACID / SPRING WATER is fairly rare. It was probably blown at the Lockport Glassworks. The bottles bear an iron pontil mark. According to Donald Tucker’s great book on mineral waters, examples are known in Lockport green, amber, deep emerald green, olive, aqua-blue-green and yellow green. The bottle is listed in Tucker’s reference as N-5.

Thanks to a recent Historic Glasshouse visitor for this Byron Springs photo!

A rare deep blue green Byron Acid Springs bottle, mid 19th century.

A rare deep blue green Byron Acid Springs bottle, mid 19th century.

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Weeks and Potter – Wholesale Druggists – Boston, MA

Weeks and Potter was a large company operating in Boston at 360 Washington Street in the late 19th and early 20th century. Bottle collectors will know them first for such popular items such as SANFORD’S JAMAICA GINGER, Sanford’s Radical Cure, CUTICURA and others.

The company later became the Potter Drug and Chemical Company.

Andrew Weeks and Warren Potter sold both retail and wholesale drugs in their business careers and represented many brands as an “agent” (today we would call them a distributor) These brands include Fetridge’s Balm of 1000 Flowers, The Ayer Company (think Ayer’s Sarsaparilla), Kidder & Osgood, and Schenck’s Pulmonic Balsam.

I own a hardcover catalog from the company from the late 19th c. which has about 150 pages detailing their inventory. Hope to get more info from that catalog online in the future.

Here are some other items of note from Weeks & Potter:

Neptune’s Nectar

The New Appetizer and cur for Dyspepsia and Billiousness. Distilled from Sea Products, and highly recommended by the best physicians. Put up in attractive non-breakable packages, two dozen to a case. Sells at sight. Pays handsome profits to the retailer. A fine colored lithograph with every five case order. Retail price 25 cents.

Sanford’s Camphor Ice

The trade should always be ready to purchase an article which sells and pays a large profit. Such an article is “Sanford’s Camphor Ice” Neatly and handsomely put up, it is an ornament to any counter.

Beef, Iron and Wine

Our preparation has been much improved since we first introduced it, and we are ready to guarantee it equal, at least, to any make on the market. As we are large importers of wines, we are able to secure a good selection, and the wine used in our “Beef, Iron and Wine” is one of the best flavored wines we keep. You may find it economical to handle this instead of your own make. You should look into the matter, get your figures and samples and see what we can do. We will bottle it for you, with YOUR label, at $4.50 per dozen full pints, if you order 12 dozen at a time, or we will sell you in bulk in quantity as desired.

Of Note

Companies like this provided private label products for local druggists and merchants. This helps explain the large number of products found with labels from small towns. There were not thousands of manufacturers but I suspect there was quite a bit of private labeling of products at this time. Of course the practice continues today…


Cuticura is the great Skin Cure, a medicinal Jelly. Price 50 cents. Large boxes $1.00

Cuticura Resolvent is the new Blood Purifier. Pitched as “The Cuticura System of resolving and eliminating All Constitutional Humors” Price $1.00

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Bottle Makers and Their Marks

Bottle Makers and Their Marks is an important research project undertaken by Jullian Harrison Toulouse which he published in 1971. The book’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, Inc., responded to demand with a second printing a year later. It’s an encyclopedia of knowledge covering the marks found on vintage and antique bottles of the 19th and 20th centuries, both in the US and other countries.

Collectors will find this to be an invaluable resource to research bottles which display embossing from manufacturing firms such as Whitall-Tatum, Owens-Illinois, Clevenger, and many a fruit jar manufacturer. There is plentiful information on dating bottles according to company logos and mold numbers.

Bottle Makers and Their Marks by Toulouse


Unfortunately, this book is, like so many amazing reference books on antique bottles, out of print. Chances are you will need to part with at least 50 dollars to get your own copy. I cannot imagine living without a copy; mine is open for reference all the time.

The ISBN #  (hardcover) is 0-8407-4318-1

There is also a soft cover reprint available.

Buy the book at Amazon




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