The 1893 Directory is missing from the archives but by 1894, they were listing their address as 101 - 103 Powell St. Instead of bold type, they were back to being shoehorned in with the rest of the small time operators and all but disappear in small font size. 1895 saw them reassigned with a new telephone number (South 171) but still at the 101-103 address on Powell. Early 1896 appears status quo but by the fall of 1896 all reference to the 101 Powell St. address vanishes and they are listed exclusively at the 103 site. The S.F. Call of October 1, 1896 lists their "old established liquor store and bar" for sale.
On January 18, 1897, the noose appears to have tightened further and their enterprise (grocery and bar) was offered simply for lease, lock stock and barrel, for the princely sum of $750~ for three years.
The following tidbits are irrelevant to the early bottles and their rarity, but nevertheless provide a little more insight into the workings of the business. Thomas states that the name of the firm was changed to the Hilbert Mercantile Co. in 1903. An ad dated Dec. 7, 1903 supports this and advertises them as Pacific Coast Agents for ABC beer.
The 1905 directory does indeed list Hilbert Mercantile, located at 136 - 142 2nd. St. Things get a little cloudy about this time though. A newspaper article dated October 28, 1905 lists Hilbert Bros. as the creditor in a suit filed against F. Cavagnero (Columbian Bourbon). Not sure what the name discrepancy was all about. Another contradiction appears in the form of an ad from this year showing their Bourbon Whiskey being sold at fire sale prices. Note the name; (Hilbert Bros.). It would appear that the beginning of the end was at hand and they were grasping at straws to hang on.
Oddly enough, the pre-Earthquake 1906 directory fails to list either Hilbert Bros. or Hilbert Mercantile. Although Thomas states that they were destroyed in the disaster, evidence point to the firms demise shortly before.
That being said, it is evident that they were exclusively at the 101 address embossed on the bottle for only two years; 1892 - 1894. Times were apparently tough during that window of opportunity. Best guess is that they jumped in with both feet and had private molds made as soon as they moved into the 101 Powell St. location. Once the initial supply was used up, their product was probably bottled with paper labels only to reduce expenses.
Had the firm prospered, one would expect to see volumes of advertising, and a bottle embossed with both the 101 and the 103 address. Instead, we see one amber full face cylinder design (both tooled S.F. Glass and German connection glop top), another clear (both tooled S.F. Glass and German connection glop top), with 101 embossed and another S.F. Glass full face tool top sans any address in the way of early bottles. There also exists an extremely rare coffin with the 101 address on it.
PS: For the record, contrary to Thomas's claim, the tool top from my collection pictured above, is as crude and rude as most of the 80's glop tops sitting on my shelves...