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  1. #1

    1876 Wholesale Druggists' Catalog by Geo. A. Kelly & Co/B.A. Fahnestock & Co

    Hi all, I wanted to share a recently found treasure with you, my fellow collectors, who I'm sure would appreciate the value and history combined in this unbelievably nice little 134 page booklet I acquired this past weekend!
    I didn't know where exactly to post this in the forum, as I am into a variety of old medicine bottles myself and the forum doesn't exactly have a main forum thread for 'medicine bottle' or 'apothecary' discussion, they are sort of spread out into the different categories of pre or post 1900, punty scared, poison, etc... And it came down to here or the general discussion thread, but those guys are over there talking about some off the wall stuff, so I didn't think this would quite get the attention it deserved if I would have shared about it over there! Besides, this does closely relate to bottles it just isn't quite a bottle itself. It is however, direct sales literature for all types of old bottles! So I was a little unsure of where to post this, I guess this is a good spot! I think?!! LOL!!

    On a side note: I feel that the forum should have a dedicated thread or board for this also! Someplace we can share about old and historic bottle memorabilia, sales lit./papers/catalogs and advertising/sales items, directly relating to old bottles... Just my thoughts!

    Any-who, I acquired this really sweet little book this past weekend, at an estate sale, totally not knowing it was in a box of stuff I was bidding on and won! It is dated on the first page with the year the catalog is showing updated and valid prices and available products for, which is 1876!
    This is a product and price catalog for the wholesale druggists 'Geo. A. Kelly & Co' formerly 'B.A. Fahnestock & Co' (established in 1829) which was, for a short period of time until the son's death in 1868, 'B.A. Fahnestock's Son & Co' and then for a few short years it was 'Schwartz & Haslett' from 1868-1871! I did my research! Thanks to the guys & info over at the SHA!!

    Each of these firms operated multiple manufacturing and sales operations, including patent medicines, white lead, paints & oils and of course large glass houses where they produced all types of utilitarian, patent, med, apothecary, prescription, flint glass, jars & bottles, even window glass & kerosene lamps & chimneys! They were well known as wholesalers of all such goods! They were located in Pittsburgh, PA. on the corner of Wood Street & First Avenue!

    Now, there were two Fahnestock partners that went into biz together in 1829, B.A. Fahnestock, and B.L. Fahnestock, but B.L. Fahnestock left the original company to start his own wholesale firm and glass houses along with white lead production for paints and chemicals etc... which was in direct competition with his former employer/partner as they both were making and selling all the exact same products!
    I know this is a long post, and I appreciate you reading! I'm sure a lot of you collectors out there are very familiar with the bottles from these two firms, BA & BL Fahnestock! They both produced pontilled, cobalts, wines & brandies, proprietary meds, flints, jars, even window glass and kerosene lamps & chimneys, as well as certain poisons and other chemical containers, etc...!! They were both very well known in their times for their patented Vermifuge (worm medicine) (Ewwe Yuck!) and now for all the different types and sizes of glass bottles that they have left behind that people like to collect! There are quite a few variations of error embossed bottles too! ie- letters upside down, mith-spellings, etc...!! They sold toiletries and supplies too, like combs, brushes, medical supplies and so on! Oh, did I mention they sold glass bottles and jars of all shapes, colors and sizes?!!

    This little book is so amazing to read through! I am fascinated by it! Some of the items they had and used back then is amazing- not to mention the prices!! The best part is the condition of this little catalog! I truly think I was the first person to flip open the front cover in at least a hundred years! There's not a tear or fold anywhere on this little guy! There is a little foxing and discoloration which is appropriate to it's age, but the spine, the pages, and the two covers are still stiff and fully intact just like the booklet had been put into a cedar chest back in 1876 and not touched until this past weekend!! It's that nice!
    Oh, and the fact that I didn't even know it was in one of the boxes that I had bid on and won!! When I was home going through the boxes of stuff I had got, looking through all the different treasures, out popped this little guy!
    As I started to read the cover, admiring the old style of printed font, and looking at the way the book was made with the piece of thin cloth over the spin, and the placard type covers, I knew then that I was holding a really cool little piece of history in my hands! A true collectible in the bottle collecting world that I often only get to envy!
    I know there are older items out there, but items from 1876, especially paper items of this type, only meant to serve a purpose for a year or two, are somewhat far and few in-between nowadays!

    And that's my Unexpected Discovery for this past weekend!! It will probably be my greatest find all summer, unless I can get a little more free time to go do some metal detecting out on one of these local farms around here this summer!!
    Thanks for reading! I do hope you have enjoyed this little history lesson and I would like to ask that if you do have any bottles, of any type, variety or color, from any of the former, the original firms, "B.A. Fahnestock & Co" or "B.L. Fahnestock & Co", or the latter firm of, "Geo. A. Kelly & Co", (the name on bottle or the initials) Please post a good photo here in this thread to show and to celebrate these early American glass manufacturing giants! I'd like to see what you have! A link will be shared in the 'Auctions' thread for this little guy if anyone is interested in checking it out!

    Front Cover
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    Back Cover
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    First Page
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    Last Page
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    Product/Price List
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    Glassware Ad/Price List
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    Product/Price List
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    Vermifuge Ad
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    Table Of Contents
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    Ad
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    Glass Product/Price List
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    More Product & Prices
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    Thanks again for checking out my share! I hope you have Enjoyed it! Kasper

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bottle Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,704
    nice find!!!

  3. #3
    Thanks Dansalata! It truly is a great little piece of history, and in the condition it is in is amazing! I love to thumb through the pages and read the different ads for the many crazy cures, potions and tinctures they had back then! Some wild stuff back then!! I wish it had more illustrations in it, especially some for the different types of bottles the were offering! That would have really put this thing over the top!!

    Thanks again! Kasper

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bottle Master sandchip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    4,311
    That is such a great book. Wow.



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