Lowenstein’s Bottle Attachment

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Julius W. Lowenstein’s Bottle Attachment

Originally Published in the Spring issue of The Bottle Scrue Times

On May 19, 1903, William J. Lowenstein was granted patent number 728,735 for a “Bottle Attachment.” His intent, was to create a space on the surface of a bottle where a corkscrew would fit behind the label.  His patent description explains, “The object of my invention is to provide a means for utilizing the label of a bottle for holding a corkscrew or other tool, thereby dispensing with rubber bands, strings, wires, &c., for this purpose.”

Later on his patent description, he adds “The corkscrew C is first placed within the recess B, and then the label is pasted on the bottle, with its upper edge extending across the ring-shaped portion B’ of said recess and preferably about the middle thereof, and as the upper central portion of the label adheres to the portion D of the side of the bottle the corkscrew will be securely in the pocket formed for it by the recess and the label, thereby dispensing with the need for rubber bands, wires, &c., for securing the corkscrew to the bottle.  Moreover, it will be impossible to use the corkscrew without defacing the label, which renders it impossible to refill and use a bottle a second time without detection unless it shall have also been relabeled.”

And, of course, as the patent drawing shows us, he provides an illustration of the corkscrew with advertising hang tag, explaining in the patent description, “In Fig. 5 I have shown in side elevation a view of the corkscrew adapted to be used with my bottle and have shown the ring-shaped portion of the same provided with an advertising tag, such as is usually made of tin, but may be made of any preferred material.” 

Beyond the corkscrew, which would be of interest to all of us, is Lowenstein’s use of words “my bottle.”  Further, the corkscrew illustrated in the patent displays an advertisement for “Old Harvest Corn Whiskey.”  

As it happens, Dr. Julius Lowenstein was a dentist from Rochester, New York, who moved with his brother-in-law M.W. Meyer to Statesville, North Carolina in 1884 where they started Lowenstein & Co., a wholesale liquor distributor and producer.   And, one of Lowenstein’s brands was Old Harvest Corn Whiskey.  So, when he mentions “my bottle” in his patent, he literally was speaking of the whiskey he himself produced.

During this time, Statesville was dubbed the “whiskey capital of the world,” as they were the last southern stop on the railroad before trains would head west, and in 1880’s, 450 distilleries were shipping their products through Statesville. 

The title of “whiskey capital” and Lowenstein’s company would be short lived, as with rising taxes and the anti-liquor and prohibition movement being strong in North Carolina, Lowenstein closed in 1896.

On June 16, 1896, as reported in the Statesville Landmark, “It has been an open secret that Messrs. Key & Co., so long in the wholesale liquor business here would go out of that business entirely. Messrs. Lowenstein & Co. have also decided to go out of the wholesale business. The closing of these two houses ends the wholesale liquor business in Statesville.” 

Lowenstein then headed to Atlanta where he gained ownership of the Norris Candy Company.  But, this also adds to the story.   Lowenstein’s patent of his bottle attachment came after his departure from Statesville and the closing of his wholesale business.  And perhaps that is why we have yet to find a Lowenstein patent advertising a Lowenstein product.

Of course, there are variations that do NOT advertise a Lowenstein & Co., product.  And, to my knowledge there are a dozen variations of advertising that appear on the Clough-like wire corkscrew with the advertising hang tag.

I will add here, that none of the examples I have seen carry any type of patent date, but based on the illustration in Lowenstein’s patent drawing and an advertisement for Pearl Wedding Rye, we begin to see what Lowenstein was suggesting—or perhaps suggesting avoiding.

The following are the known examples of the Lowenstein patent, with several coming from a collection within our collection.

Bailey’s H & C Pure Rye

Corkscrew image from Collectorcorkscrews.com

Bailey’s Pure Rye Whiskey was a product produced by Huey and Christ in Philadelphia, and in 1875 took over the production of Dr. Stoever’s Tonic Herb Bitters, German and Cock-Tail Bitters, and were an importer of wines, brandies and gins.

CLARK, CHAPIN, AND BUSHNELL’S EXTRACTS, NEW YORK: 

Corkscrew image from Bullworks.net

Clark, Chapin, and Bushnell were importers, wholesale grocers, and tea jobbers with a location at 177 and 179 Duane Street, New York City.

FRANCIS H. LEGGETT & CO. NEW YORK:

Francis H. Leggett joined his father’s grocery at the age of 18, and after becoming partner a few years later, started Francis H. Leggett & Co., a grocer, jobber, and distributor.  Within the next decade his operation became one of the largest in New York.  

While Leggett distributed a myriad of products, the reverse of the hangtag on this Lowenstein is marked “PURE SPICES, FINE FLAVORING EXTRACTS”

WESTHEIMER & SONS, PLANET, SOUR MASH, ST. JOSEPH, MO:

Ferdinand Westheimer & Son’s was a distiller in Louisville, Kentucky whose brands included Boston League, C.C. Bond, Clover Brook, Manhattan Reserve, McAllister, Number One, Old Hutch, Planet Sour Mash, White House Club, and Pullman Rye, but had their greatest success with their Red Top Rye.

HANCE BROS. & WHITE, PHARM’CL CHEMISTS PHILADELPHIA

Hance Bros. & White was a pharmaceutical chemists company in Philadelphia.  One of their many products was Frog in Your Throat lozenges.

HUMPHREY & MARTIN’S FINE WHISKEYS PHILAD PA (found in yellow or tan)

Humphrey & Martin were distillers and wholesale liquor distributors in Philadelphia producing the brands Anchor Rye, Bouquet, Clyde, and Golden Lake.  

LEWIS 66 WHISKEY

Lewis 66 Whiskey was a product produced by Strauss Pritz & Co., distillers out of Cincinnati, Ohio.  They also made a myriad of brands: 1875″, “A. Lewis & Sons Pure Hand Made Sour Mash”, “Bon Ton Rye”, “Bouquet Rye”, “Cream of Anderson”, “Durham Distilling Co. Rye”, “Durham Rye”, “Edge Cliff”, “Flower of Kentucky”, “Flower of Maryland”, “Fountain Run”, “J. M. Walker’s Anderson County Hand Made Sour Mash Distilled Spring 1868”, “Lewis 66”, “Mercer Co. Kentucky Pure Small Grain Bourbon”, “Mountain Brook”, “Old Bon Ton”, “Old Winchester”, “Planet Rye”, “Roanoke Rye”, “Small Grain Bourbon”, “The Celebrated Longfellow”, “The Famous Lewis 66”, “Winchester “, “Winchester Rye”, and “X & S P Co. X.”

PEARL WEDDING RYE and PEARL WEDDING SELECT RYE WHISKEY

Pearl Wedding Rye, and Pearl Wedding Select Rye Whiskey were produced and distributed by the United Wine and Trading Company in New York.  

And, they even featured the corkscrew attached to the bottle in some of their advertising.  Look closely at two bottles on the right in the advertisement here.

THE GREAT A&P TEA CO’S EXTRACTS (found in red or tan)

That would be the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company that ultimately would become the A & P grocery chain; at one point the largest retailer in the United States with 15,000 locations nationwide in the 1930’s.

WEISS-EICHOLD LIQUOR CO. MOBILE, ALA

Changed their name to Weiss-Eichold in 1901 from Eichold Bros. & Weiss.  

Corkscrew image courtesy of John Morris.

Weiss-Eichold was a wholesale dealer of Liquors, Cigars, and Tobaccos, and apparently a self-proclaimed, “Rectifier of Spirits.”

They produced brands such as Big Hit whiskey, Golden Cream whiskey, and blended brands such as Belle of Mobile, Rag Time, and Simon Suggs.

If you have a Lowenstein patent, that is different than the ones shown in this article, feel free to drop me a line at josef@vintagecorkscrews.com

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