Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Startup show in Northen Caifornia!

Last year was the inaugural event for the Williams Show. Although I was unable to attend, I heard some good things about it. 

 From what I was told, it was a nice show with great dining nearby.

Granzella's and Louie Cairo's Italian to be precise~


October 2019

04 & 05 October 2019 (Friday & Saturday) Williams, California2nd Annual Antique Bottles & Collectibles Show, Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm; Early Bird Friday 10:30 am, $10. Free Admission. In the old gym behind the Sacramento Valley Museum, 1491 E. Street, Williams, California, Contact Slim or Christy Edwards, 530.473.2503,

I've got downloadable copies of dealer applications. Feel free to touch base and I'll forward their packet to you in short order!

Here's to another great show in the making.

Aurora Oregon Show - Small but mighty~

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Tea Anyone?

"Gimme two fingers worth". "On the rocks". "Neat". "Straight up".

Before the turn of the century (1900), these phrases were simply directions to tell the barkeep how you want your whiskey served. Two fingers worth was a double. Rocks were ice, when you could get it... Neat is a straight shot; whiskey, and nuthin' but whiskey. And so on.

 (Marble Arch Saloon / J'ville Or. / ca. early 90's)

Me, I may not be "neat", but I do drink mine Straight Up.


Years ago I started picking up "go with's" to round out my western whiskey collection. First there were playing cards with brand names like Taussig, Old Kirk, J. H. Cutter, etc.. Then came the "etched" shot glasses, letter heads, invoices, stenciled wooden dovetail whiskey boxes, etc. etc. etc. 


And not wanting to leave any stones unturned, I even started to seek out metal, silver plated, handled advertising pitchers. (Heh, it's an illness...) But just what were these things really intended for?

The commonly accepted theory was that they were an advertising medium that held water. Water so that the whiskey drinker could order a corked and sealed bottle of whiskey, and water his drink down to taste. That, instead of taking a chance on the rotgut stuff from the barrel in the back room that had probably been watered down already, and also often contained strychnine, cut plug tobacco and anything else that gave it that little extra "kick". 

Now I don't know about you, but I've never drank with anyone that watered down whiskey with water. Ice, yes. Water, nope~ But, that was the story I'd been told about the handled metal "pitchers" back around 1970. And like so many of the stories that both Thomas and Wilson crafted, they've been perpetuated and passed down as gospel from one collector to another for decades.
Some time back, a good friend of mine gave me what I thought was an eastern "pitcher".  The silver plating saw its glory days long ago. The pitcher itself is in good shape, free of dents, dings, etc., and the engraving is crisp and legible; it's just that the plating is well worn. The engraving is pretty much top to bottom; (in western whiskey terminology we refer to this as full faced). It reads "Harvest Home / / Mau, Sadler & Co. / Agents". Hmm, no city...

Of well, it was different; kind of unique in its own way. And so it sat as a conversation piece on my fancy antique oak mantle for years.



A friend of mine had a shot glass that advertised the brand. It was one heckuva fancy glass. Sadly, once again, no city or state.



Not too long after I received the gift, I started researching the brand and the Sole Agency. The turning point was the presence of another, different, shot glass in the Schwartz collection. This example was a dead ringer for the pitcher but, it also read San Francisco, Cal. It was western after all!

Thanks to Kens glass, I met with success and was able to attribute Mau, Sadler & Co. to the west coast, based out of SF. They were primarily doing business as grocery dealers. I did a short article a couple of years ago documenting this.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if a business model works for one, there's no reason why it shouldn't for another. Much like Goldberg, Bowen & Co. of S.F. and Hall, Luhrs & Co. out of Sac., Maui, Sadler & Co. were diversified. They, like GB & CO. and HL & Co., dealt in wholesale dry goods, staples and groceries, "ciggaros" and cigarettes.  They also had their own line of liquors.

Mau, Sadler & Co. first appeared in the SF directories in 1888 with an incorporation notice posted in the SF Call dated Jan 4th. 

They appeared annually with their final appearance in the San Francisco city directory dated 1904. Their location bounced around a bit during the years that they were in business. 


The first, and only, advertisement that I located was dated Feb. 11, 1889. At that time, they were pushing cigars. Other than this advertisement, I could find nothing in the way of classified advertising, but this can probably be explained due to the fact that they were in the wholesale, and not retail, trade.

Harvest Home whiskey was distilled by Hayner Distilling Co. of east coast fame. The distillery was located in Troy Ohio, not far from Dayton. Mau Sadler & Co. had the west coast sole agency for the brand. Rick Simi clarified the definition of sole agent nicely;

" Let’s start with the word “Sole”- Sole means, as we all know, not divided, not shared or exclusive.

“Agent” is the party that has express authority to act for another. An agent is under the control (is obligated to) the principal, and (when acting within the scope of authority delegated by the principal) binds the principal with his or her acts. The agent, however, does not have title to the principals goods in his or her possession."

Getting back to the pitcher...old friend Russell Umbraco and I always make it a point to talk at bottle shows. Somehow, the topic of the Mau Sadler / Harvest Home pitcher came up in the course of discussion at Reno last month. 

As many of you know, Russell is the indisputable expert when it comes to Ernest Rueben Lilienthal, Lilienthal & CO. and Crown Distilleries. In the course of conversation, Russell related a story that finally identified the true purpose of the pitchers and tea pots which advertised brands of whiskey. Russell stated the following via an email requesting that he assist with this article;

"In 1966 Kitty and I visited her parent’s old (ca 1905) mine in Johnnie Nevada. We found our first Crown Distilleries bottle and  a group of Lilienthal inside screw stoppers. Since Crown was already using CDCo inside screw stoppers for over 10 years, and Johnnie was established after 1900, I concluded Crown was using up its new old stock along with the new CDCo stoppers.

That was the start of our research and quest for everything related to Lilienthal and Crown Distilleries (Cyrus Noble and W.A. Lacey whiskies— principal brands), which led to our meeting Mr. Ernest R. Lilienthal (ERL). ERL was the grandson of Ernest Ruben Lilienthal,(founder of Lilienthal Co. in 1872) and president of Haas Brothers, bottlers of Cyrus Noble whiskey in the 1970’s. ERL was most gracious in sharing his company’s and family’s history.   He had a small museum in his office which had many advertising and promotional artifacts of which, one was a tea pot. The tea pot was silver plate and engraved Cyrus Noble with the CDCo. logo trade mark.  Kitty asked about the tea pot and how it fit into the liquor industry?

Then ERL told us the story in a few words:

Business men were expected to attend afternoon tea with their wives.  When tea was served, the men were served a small tea pot with the name of a whiskey and it contained WHISKEY for the men to drink!

The company gave these to their executives at Christmas."

Here are a few of the tea pots in Russell and Kitty's collection.

So there you have it; mystery solved, myth debunked. "Tea" (well actually whiskey), not water~

And that, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story~


Site Meter