Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recent disovery

My email inbox occasionally contains some juicy tidbits in terms of "new finds". Such was the case a couple of days ago.

From the far reaches of the golden state came this email. It read;

"Thought you might like this picture I found in a old house."

"It is and original, On a thick almost poster board material, original frame was white fluted with gold trim about 3" thick but was in bad shape so my wife re-framed it. (wish she would of left it in old fame) Not planning on selling it. Has water stain by here right shoulder."

Wow. What a find!
PS: I thought that the couple looked familiar. Looks like Bruanschweiger got the best bang for his buck - same basic format for Golden Rule~

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Strange Bedfellows

Recently, while searching for information about Henry Campe, I stumbled across something that flabbergasted me.
According to Thomas, Henry Campe established his liquor business in 1862, doing business as a retail grocer and liquor dealer located at the NW corner of 2nd and Tehama. In 1883, he partnered with a George Siebe (no relation to the Siebe / Rosedale brand) and established Siebe, Campe & Co.

Again, according to Thomas, this firm hung around until 1887, when Henry went it alone as Henry Campe & Co.; a firm that prospered and lasted through to prohibition.

Thomas states that Henry Wolters entered the liquor business in 1872, locating the business at Third & Market Sts. in San Francisco. He was in partnership with Charles S. Fecheimer. In 1874 he notes a move to 221 California St. A slug plate glop top 5th attests to this location. August Wolters replaced Fecheimer sometime around then and the name Wolters Bros. was introduced. In 1880, Henry partnered up with Edward Bumstead after Bumsteads split with Fenhausen. The name was changed again and was then known as Wolters Bros. & Co. (I note a discrepancy there because the California St. slug plate is already embossed "& Co.") Sometime in the mid to late 80's, a new mold was made that reflected the move to 115 & 117 Front St., S.F. That firm hung on until 1896. By late 1896 the address was vacant and no more mention is found of Wolters Bros. & Co.

Imagine my surprise when I came across the following notice of co-partnership in the Daily Alta California newspaper dated March 6, 1887. Note the last line~

The western wholesale liquor industry of the 1880's and 90's really was a tangled web. Wolters and Campe; what a combination. Makes one wonder if there's a bottle out there somewhere? And what type of branding was used?
Maybe Americus Horseshoe Club?
Picture that...


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Closing Tonight!

Looks like bidding is fast and furious.


On a side note; What do a Canon 350D digital SLR camera and a 2005 Chevy Silverado 3/4 ton 4x4 have in common? Not a darned thing.
Chevy one - Canon Zero (well actually a lot of little pieces).

Lesson, don't leave the camera on the back bumper :-(
The new Nikon replacement will be here Monday afternoon and we'll get back to business as usual.
Coming up next;
Henry Campe and the full faced OK~

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Heh, it's all glass~

Pole Top Discoveries & Glass Discoveries LOGO

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Shorb Cal. & The San Garbriel Wine Co. 1882 - 1899

Tombstone Arizona Territory - 1879.

Doc Holliday to Johnny Ringo; " "In vino veritas"

Translated, "In wine there is truth." A common enough Latin aphorism, meaning that alcohol consumption is like a truth serum.


Southern California - same time frame -
"Howdy", said the Marshall to the stranger as he hitched his horse in front of the saloon. "Howdy", replied the stranger. New around these parts? Yep, replied the stranger. What's the name? Shorb. Where ya from? Shorb. Hmmph; Shorb from Shorb, eh? Yep. Never heard of it.

Oh, you will. I own the San Gabriel Wine Company and were' set to be big, real big. The Biggest! Wine and Brandy. Why, sir, you won't be able to go into any saloon on the west coast and not see our brand on the shelf. Well why didn't ya say so, said the Marshall. Let's have a drink!


James De Barth Shorb, a native of Maryland, came to California in 1863 looking for oil in Ventura County. He was 18 years old at the time. Benjamin Wilson, owner of Lake Vineyard, Pasadena, was tiring of the business end of wine production when he suddenly inherited Shorb as his son-in-law, who married his daughter Sue in 1867. Shorb was by that time 22 years old, dynamic, enterprising and full of ambition. In 1870 Wilsons only son, John, committed suicide, paving the way for Shorb to attain full control of Wilsons holdings.

At first, the wines and brandies were marketed under the B. D. Wilson Co. label. By 1875 Shorb was boasting that "we are the largest wine manufacturers on the Pacific Coast": average production of the Lake Vineyard was 150,000 gallons of wine annually, and 116,000 gallons of brandy.


Benjamin Wilson died early in 1878, and though he had long before ceased to have any active part in the wine firm bearing his name, his death seems to have been a signal for it to go dormant for a time. The winery and vineyards remained, of course, but the wine company withdrew from the public marketplace. Instead, Shorb sold his production in bulk to the San Francisco firm of Lachman & Jacobi for a couple of years.

The second phase of Shorb's winegrowing career, which saw the Lake Vineyard transformed into something very different, opened in 1882 with the formation of the San Gabriel Wine Company, capitalized at $500,000, and financed, in large part, by English investors. The small settlement that was sited adjacent to the vineyard on the hillside property was named Shorb. Grand plans for the future loomed ahead. Prominent and moneyed Californians were also in on it. San Gabriel Wine Company was launched on Shorb's land at the same time that the town of Alhambra, in which it stood, was being invented and promoted by Shorb. Stockholders had shares in land as well as in the company, and dividends could be provided by land sales if, by any unlikely chance, the wine trade should prove insufficient to provide them.
Shorbs business and family grew by leaps and bounds. A fine new home was constructed at Shorb for the family, which now included nine children.
The San Gabriel Wine Company itself owned 1,500 acres; 200 of these were planted to vines in 1883, a further 400 in 1884—or that, at least, was what one prospectus stated. A further 400 were planned for 1885. As for the winery itself, that was planned on an unprecedented scale. The buildings, costing $125,000, were to provide a winery meant to be, quite simply, "the largest in the world." The fermenting capacity was a million gallons, the storage, a million and a quarter.

Some of the stockholders expressed doubts about beginning on so grand a scale, but Shorb was confident and swept aside such timid hesitations. The winery, brick-built and steam-powered, duly arose in the new town of Alhambra according to the original plan.
What can have attracted this kind of interest in the provincial winegrowing industry of a country that did not yet drink wine? The answer lies in the scourge of phylloxera, which was then at the very highest pitch of its destruction of the vineyards of Europe. It did not, at that time, seem an alarmist notion, but rather the sober judgment of informed observers, that Europe would soon be unable to supply its own demand for wine. If wine was going to be produced, it would have to come from unspoiled new sources—California prominent among them.

However, the San Gabriel Wine Company did not prosper. Much to the contrary~ Instead, it faced one business failure and financial setback after another. From the outset the San Gabriel Wine Company. had never had quite enough money to operate easily, for the capital stock was never fully subscribed, and in order to meet its needs it had to depend more and more upon the sale of its lands. Shorb and the San Gabriel Wine Company were in dire straits. By 1890 he was on the verge of losing his entire investment and had only his wife's estate (itself heavily mortgaged) between him and destitution. The possibility of selling the company now became the main hope of its stockholders, but the chances of doing so diminished as the company's troubles grew. In the next year, we hear of Shorb busily planting citrus orchards on the company's land—an activity that angered the powerful Isaias Hellman, whose bank held the mortgage on Shorb's own estate and who was one of the company's stockholders. But Shorb went out of business only on his death, which occurred just a few years later, in 1896, at the rather early age of fifty-four; it is easy to imagine that the scrambling required by his many enterprises, not least among them the San Gabriel Wine Company, had worn him out.


The San Gabriel Wine Company struggled on until around the end of the century and then, at last, windows were shuttered and the doors slammed shut for the last time.



Note; WWB 4th edition states that the bottle dates ca. early 1900's. Bob missed it by a little on this one; but not by much. Best guess is mid 1890's. Regardless, the embossed bottles are flat rare, (the bulge neck being the rarest), and are at the top of many collectors small town must have list.
Credit; Much of the material was gleaned from an article by a Thos. Pinney dated 1989.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Old Log Cabin

A while back we looked at the history surrounding Daniel Schaefer's Old Log Cabin; http://www.westernwhiskeytooltopgazette.com/2010/04/and-then-there-were-three.html.
The Log Cabin figured prominently in 19th century lore and a few whiskey companies capitalized on it's nostalgic popularity. In addition to the Goldschmidt / Schaefer  fifth from L.A., Kuhls Schwarke from S.F. distributed their Log Cabin brand in a clear picture cylinder fifth. A Log Cabin Liquor Store, located up in Spokane Wa. had a clear half gallon megaphone made to hold their wares (probably tokay, angelica or port wine). And so, by all accounts, three different whiskey bottles graced the shelves on the west coast with the log cabin theme.

Go withs are a fun "side track" that a lot of us have taken over the years. Shot glasses, tokens, playing cards, cork screws and a myriad of other gimmicks, Jim cracks, gee gaws and do dads were made to familiarize the drinking public with the seemingly endless variety of whiskies available. I'm as guilty as the next guy and am always keeping an eye out for the oddball, one off, goodie to sit next to a bottle.

Recently, I picked up something that I'd never seen or even heard of. Yep, you guessed it, a Log Cabin; a real honest to goodness California Log Cabin. And it's made of redwood! Says so right on the label! It also reads, Delaney and Young / Eureka Calif., just like the whiskey bottle.

Delaney and Young are known for their scarce amber fifths. One's a corker, the other has a Riley inside thread closure.

They set up shop in Eureka Ca. around 1905, first as liquor dealers. As was so often the case, they broadened their lines to include beer, soda, and cigars, By the time 1919 (and prohibition) rolled around, they had focused their efforts on the soft drink market and were able to survive well into the Roaring Twenties.
Your guess is as good as mine about the age of this log cabin, and what it may have contained. It measures 7" wide by about 4 3/4" deep and is about 4" tall at the ridge line. It's hinged to allow the roof to swing back and, at least to me, is a perfect candidate for a cigar box nomination.

And what a perfect compliment to a glass or two of whiskey; yep a fine cigar really puts the finish on a relaxing evening in the parlor, next to a crackling fire, with my old dog and a couple of friends!
Site Meter