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Thursday, July 12, 2018

United We Stand


A belated Happy 4th of July!



For me, the 4th is not all about big sales at the stores, barbeques, or fireworks. Instead, it's a special day to reflect on the freedoms earned the hard way for us by the countless brave souls who have sacrificed all, so that we can live free in a democracy.


Patriotism goes way back in this country. The Commonwealth (State) of Kentucky adopted the slogan United We Stand, Divided We Fall in 1792, and it appears on their state flag. 


The western liquor industry of the 19th century saw a way to cash in on the slogan, as well as capitalize on Kentucky Bourbons image as being of superior nature. 

One of the earliest western firms to take advantage of the term "United We Stand" was Wilmerding and Co. of San Francisco. To my knowledge their amber applied top cylinder was the first of many to use the term on a bottle. It was introduced in the late 1870's. Embossed top to bottom, it reads "United We Stand / Old Bourbon / Whiskey / Wilmerding & Co. / Sole Agents / San Francisco. At one time, I had what was considered to be a top example of this bottle in my collection. Boldly struck in a nice light honey amber, it was dead mint. It was found lying in the pine duff in a draw beneath a line shack above Ashland Oregon. Wished I still had it! Wilmerding & CO. had a beautiful back bar advertising litho made to promote their brands. 


Among the brands promoted are SHM, C. W. Stuarts, and McKennas along with a few others that must have been paper label only. And smack dab in the lower middle of the sign in bold letters is "United We Stand".


A few years later, in the mid 1880's, Charles Kohn of Portland introduced his brand of United We Stand whisky. It's a slug plate and is embossed "United We Stand / Whisky (note Ky., not key) / Charles Kohn & Co. / Agents For / Northwest Coast". These are seen with both applied and tool tops. I uncovered something in the January 27,1883 edition of the "Roseburg Independent" newspaper that caused my jaw to drop. 

See the following article.


The same article appeared in the "The Columbian"  on Feb 2, 1883. No wonder Kohn named this product United We Stand. The 19th century liquor industry on the west coast was indeed a tangled intertwined web. One can't help but wonder if there aren't examples of the Kohn bottle still in the ground in both St. Helens and Roseburg... Kohn's wholesale house was both successful and long lived, spanning over a quarter of a century. However, the United We Stand bottles are still a tough one to acquire.


Next at bat was C. J. Stubling of the Dalles Oregon. I wrote an article about Stublings dealings some time back. For those who missed it, here's a link to it;


http://www.westernwhiskeytooltopgazette.com/2017/11/cj-stubling-dalles-oregon.html



I've found no concrete evidence linking Stubling to Wilmerding & Co. but there could be a similar connection due to the wording on the bottle "Distributor" (albeit, as a friend pointed out today that is it mis-spelled Distributer). But then there's the date discrepancy (80's vs. 90's)... On second thought, there is a very real possibility that Stubling was indeed associated in some way with W&Co. as the firm continued to do business as Wilmerding & Co. until 1894!


Later, in the late 90's, W.J. Van Schuyver advertised United We Stand, as well as their old standby "Cyrus Noble". It must have been bottled as a paper label only, or paper label on their slug plate fifths, as no embossed examples have surfaced.



 


I have, in my collection, an example of the embossed clear fifth produced by Jno. Graves. This firm was located in San Jose, Cal. and dates ca. 1910 - 1915. The label on the reverse (or perhaps the obverse depending whether you call the embossed or the label side the front) advertises their Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey with the slogan of none other than "United We Stand" front and center.








 














Wrapping up, I pose the question, what's more uniquely American than the 4th of July, and Kentucky Bourbon?



Again, a slightly late Happy 4th!

1 comment:

Rick Simi said...

A very interesting and informative post. Keep up the great research
rs

 
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