Dr. Richardson’s Bitters – A Complete History

Hats off to Nancy Bertrand for the incredible article on Solon Osmond Richardson, creator of the Dr. Richardson Bitters which is known to so many bottle collectors. Dr. Richarson’s enterprise was quite successful; many bottles of his product remain today.

The product was first produced by Solon’s father, Nathan as early as 1808, Bertrand tells us. Solon took over the business in 1837 after his father passed away.

Like so many medicines of its time, it contained mostly alcohol.

Read the story at http://wakefield.patch.com/articles/history-dr-richardson-s-bitters

Here is a photo of a Dr. Richardson bottle which was re-purposed in the 19th century as a vessel for “Somerset Bourbon” which was sold by N. Douglas Sevin in Norwich, Connecticut.

Old Home Bitters

This exceptionally large square cabin-shaped bitters bottle is modern.  It was made in the 1970s for a North Carolina furniture company for use as a lamp.  Most are found with a hole drilled in the base.  They are usually seen in amber but also occasionally green.

The bottle reads DOC DUNNING / OLD HOME BITTERS / GREENSBORO N. CAROLINA  on three of the four indented panels. It is about 14″ tall with a 5″ square body.  You will find in listed in the Ring/Ham Bitters book as O34.

They are attractive and do make a nice lamp, but they are not particularly valuable.  Figure around $50 for a drilled example; more if undrilled.

The Originals

This is a reproduction of similar bottles with similar embossing.

First is O35 which is embossed OLD HOME BITTERS / WHEELING, W. VA. / LAUGHLIN & BUSHFIELD.  This is an amber cabin which is around 10″ tall.

Second is O36 which differs from O35 only in that it is marked LAUGHLIN / SMITH & CO.  This is apparently the earlier of the two original bottles.  This is also found in amber and is a bit under 10″ tall.

These two original bottles are worth $1-4 thousand.