baker’s orange grove bitters

Provenance: Ferdinand Meyer V Collection

Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters is a favorite with bitters collectors for a number of reasons like the brand name, the label, neck seal, where it is from, the bottle design, mold variations, and glass color as you will find a stunning glass color range with these bottles. The proprietors were C. & J. F. Baker & Co., 107 Commercial Street in Boston.

The bitters were advertised as the “Best Spring and Summer medicine ever taken by suffering humanity. They are a certain cure for Dyspepsia, Indigestion, Nausea, Heart-Burn, Piles, Headache, Cramps, Colic, Kidney Complaints, Fluttering at the Pit of the Stomach, Scrofula, and Night Sweats.” The bitters were sold in “Large Bottles, entirely free from sediment.”

The labeled examples of Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters contain the product name in strong graphics along with the company monogram. Smaller print reads “It is a pleasant Tonic, the ingredients of which are such as recommended singly by Physicians in their everyday practice. Its combination stands ahead of the world as a bitter.” followed by a script signature “CJF.” The reverse label, states the product name again, its merits, directions, and a statement that the brand has been analyzed and is “free from deleterious substances” by S. Dana Hayes, State Assayer, Mass. dated February 15, 1869.

The Bakers

We first see John and James Baker listed as Boston merchants in 1810. By 1840, their firm included Joseph Baker. In 1865, the Boston City Directory lists Cyrus Baker, Peter Baker Jr., Erastus Baker, and Joseph F. Baker as grocers located at 107 Commercial Street in Boston, Massachusetts. By 1870, Peter Jr. is no longer listed as a grocer. Cyrus, Erastus, and Joseph are still listed as grocers at the same address. It is during this time period, 1869 to 1871 that the majority of advertising occurs in New England for Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters.

By 1885, the Bakers are listed as ship chandlers with Joseph F. Baker (C. & J. F. Baker) along with Mrs. Josiah Baker as a clerk. They are again located at 107 Commercial Street.

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

B 9 BAKER’S / ORANGE GROVE // f // BITTERS // f //
C. & J. F. Baker & Co., 107 Commercial St. Boston, Mass.
9 ½ x 3 x (7)
Square, Amber, Yellow, and Puce, LTC, Applied mouth, Roped corners
Many molds were made for this popular brand, including plated ones.
Label Front: This is a pleasant tonic, the ingredients are recommended by physicians in their everyday practice. Its combination stands ahead of the world as a bitters.
Reverse: Statement that this brand has been analogized and is “free from deleterious substances” by S. Dane Hays, State Assayer, Mass. dated February 15, 1869. For similar shape see National Tonic Bitters and Russian Imperial Tonic Bitters.
Drug Catalogs: 1871 Schieffelin, 1876-7 Goodwin, 1885 Goodwin, 1902 Hasterlik
Boston Directory, Business Directory and Regular Directory together indicate John and James were merchants in 1810. By 1840 their firm included Joseph. Cyrus joined Joseph 9 years later. They were mentioned as grocers and provisioners. They are listed as C. & J. Baker & Co., Grocers until 1895 when they were called ship chandlers.

Primary Image: Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters bottle imaged by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio by Alan DeMaison.

Support Secondary images: Examples from American Bottle Auctions, Glass Works Auctions, and Meyer collection. Green example and image of four bottles with a green example from the Burkhardt collection.

Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham. Use of Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters illustration courtesy Bill Ham

Support: Reference to Roped Squares – Baker’s Orange Grove Bitters at Peachridge Glass

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