Sunday, January 27, 2013

J. P. Schardin. Who?

A one line entry in the 1878 Langley Directory of San Francisco announces the appearance of a J. P. Schardin. The entry reads, simply, " Schardin, Joseph P. (Lang & Co.), dwl Morton House".

The Morton House was run by William G. Graham "proptr." and was located at 119 Post St. in "the City". It was one of thousands of low cost rooming houses located in San Francisco at that time. Lang & Co. (Schardin was the & Co.) were wholesale dealers in foreign wines and liquors. Their wholesale warehouse was located at 8 Morton St. They also had a retail "liquor saloon" at 325 Sansome.

Schardin appears again in the 1879 directory, this time his residence is listed as 210 DuPont St.; (DuPont St. was later renamed Grant Ave.). Schardin is still with Lang and all appears status quo with the exception that "foreign" is dropped from the Lang & Co. wine and liquor listing.

In 1880, Schardin is no longer listed as being part of Lang & Co. Instead, he is shown as residing at 22 Geary St. while maintaining an office on his own at the 210 DuPont address that was formerly his residence. Oddly enough, Lang is also shown as occupying the same DuPont St. address at the same time, only with a new partner.
A change occurs in 1881 in that Schardin relocates to 31 DuPont and takes on a partner by the name of Frederick Loy. There is no longer a mention of a separate retail location; both being run out of the same "store front".
The 1882 - 1886 directories are a carbon copy of one another. Status Quo.
An 1884 inventory of the business doesn't look too promising. Wine worth thirty cents a gallon / whiskey a buck a gallon. And the horse, musta been a real thoroughbred valued at $15~... Total value of the entire company; a whopping $3225~. Real high rollers, eh?
Heck the paper couldn't even spell his name right~

But, in 1887, it appears that Schardin finally hit his stride. A new residence, a relocation of the business to 16 - 18 Grant Avenue (beneath the City of Paris - San Francisco's most prestigious department store before the turn of the century - the building was one of the few to survive the 1906 Earthquake). And something else that set me back on my heels; Schardin, and not Ahrens Pein & Bullwinkle, had the Sole Agency for the Royal Stag brand! And to top that off, he is also listed as the sole agent for "Chief Bitters".

For the next four years Schardin maintains the same listing in the directories. All in bold type; business was good! And then, without warning, in 1891, the sky fell in. J. P. Schardin died suddenly and unexpectedly at 10:35 PM, Wednesday January 30, 1891. The obituary that appeared in the San Francisco Morning Call spoke volumes about his character and integrity.
A ship without a captain, J. P. Schardin & Co. remained in business during the rest of 1891, and into 1892, operated by his estate, while the search for a successor continued.

It appears that the stars finally aligned and in 1893 yet another entry in the City Directory appeared. Yep, good ol' Ahrens, Pein & Bullwinkel are now listed as the sole agents for Royal Stag brand of whiskey.
They also remained the sole agents for the Chief Brand of stomach bitters (renamed tonic). They must have figured that the Old Chief was lonesome and needed a squaw, because they introduced Hiawatha Liver and Kidney Bitters line shortly thereafter...

Ahrens Pein and Bullwinkle didn't do
much in the form of advertising until the late 90's. Sure, the obligatory one line insert into the City Directory appears like clockwork every year but the newspaper ads didn't start popping up until around 1898. And then, they saturated the classifieds. Best guess is that this is also about the time that they started bottling whiskey in embossed bottles instead of the paper labeled slicks that they'd been relying on.

We can account for four different embossing variants used to package the whiskey; although only two molds were actually made (the variations are simply two molds being modified over time). One of the molds bears the base mark 32H (NO - not Holt!) and as such, can be attributed to Abramson Heunisch and date ca. 1902.


The Chief and Hiawatha brands of bitters / tonic bottled by Ahrens, Pein & Bullwinkel were both paper labeled only as no whole or damaged embossed examples have ever surfaced.

And speaking of embossed... Wouldn't it be amazing if an embossed Royal Stag Whiskey from J. P. Schardin & Co. were to surface some day?

 Ask and ye shall receive~


1 comment:

Dr.Barnes said...

Nice Fifth Bruce, I enjoy reading Your Post, You are a very knowledgable collector, Keep Up the Good Work. I like Your Buy It Now Idea. Lets see somemore, That Peacock looks wicked. Rick

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