AT & Co

Provenance: Steven Hubbell Collection

A good many of the AT & Co bottles were found at the legendary 1998 dig at an old 19th-century bottle recycling plant in San Francisco, California. Twenty-five to thirty of these bottles, in various condition, were found in great-looking shades of amber, olive amber, yellow amber, and yellow-olive. At the same dig, many other western bitters were found in subterranean caches near the AT & Co bottles.

The AT & Co bottles are unusually shaped with a long articulated neck with double reveal rings flanking a barrel shape that is reminiscent of a Dr. Wonser’s U.S.A. Indian Root Bitters bottle. The Dr. Wonser’s was blown at the San Francisco Glass Works, where we believe this bottle was made.

The AT & Co bottles are embossed in a decorative script ‘AT&Co’ on the shoulder which stands for Asher Taylor & Company. This monogram is surrounded by an elongated embossed horizontal oval. The round bottle has an applied tapered top with yet another mouth ring and a smooth base.

Asher S. Taylor is primarily known for being associated with soda water in San Francisco and Sacramento. One of his patents is represented below and reads Asher S. Taylor for an Improvement in Bottling Apparatus, Letters Patent No. 133,068 dated November 12, 1872, San Francisco, California.

Asher Smith Taylor was born in New York sometime around 1810. Asher, like many young men who were looking for adventure and new opportunities, headed west looking for gold. Many had their dreams dashed including Taylor.

The earliest directory listing we see for Asher S. Taylor is in San Francisco in 1854, at which time he was the proprietor of the Jessie Street Soda Factory. From 1854 to 1857 the whereabouts of Taylor is unknown. In 1857, Taylor is found in Sacramento where we see him working for Boley’s Soda Factory on Front Street. A. G. Boley and B. F. Mauldin were early pioneers in Old Sacramento and ran their well-known establishment up until 1860 or so when Boley posted newspaper notices stating that he intended to sell the business.

Taylor left Sacramento for a spell and returned to New York where he got married. By 1866, Taylor was listed as a bitters manufacturer in Sacramento so he was back on the west coast. On June 1, 1868, Asher S. Taylor announced a Limited Copartnership to produce Taylor’s Champagne Wine Bitters (C 122). John M. and Theo J. Milliken were his partners. Having his background in the soda water industry, Taylor also applied for a trademark in 1868 for Champagne Soda Bitters (C 121). Possibly these were the same brand or maybe the soda bitters was a carbonated version of the wine bitters.

Taylor next filed for a trademark for a Calisaya Bitters (C 26.7) manufactured by Asher S. Taylor on July 22, 1869. He was still in Sacramento at this time. This bitters product was most likely put in the AT & Co bottles.

In the 1871 San Francisco Directory, Taylor was listed as an agent for a Sparkling Medicated Gin Bitters (M 65). The 1873 and 1874 San Francisco city directories list him simply as a bitters manufacturer. This proves his interest in bitters but indicates that his previous efforts had failed. Unfortunately, there are no surviving labels or advertising that might link one or more of his bitters to this bottle. There is also no indication that this bottle could have held anything else but bitters.

By 1875, Taylor is not involved in manufacturing bitters anymore. He is listed as a drayman in 1876 working for someone else.

Support Images: Examples courtesy of Jeff Wichmann and American Bottle Auctions.

Support Images: Examples courtesy of Jeff Wichmann and American Bottle Auctions.

Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles Supplement 3 draft by Carlyn Ring, Bill Ham, and Ferdinand Meyer V

Support: Reference to Antique Western Bitters Bottles by Jeff Wichmann.

Support: Rabbit Trails: The Twisted Path to Bottle Identification by Bill Lindsey

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