Dr. Henley’s Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters – Square

Provenance: Richard T. Siri Collection

Dr. Henley’s Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters was introduced to the public in 1868 as you can see from the upper scrolling advertisement. IXL in a horizontal oval was their Trade Mark. An Indispensable Article! The Best Tonic in The World, read advertising. The bitters was invented in Oregon by Dr. William Henley who was associated with Louis Gross in business. 

The partners were very worried about counterfeit bottles of their bitters being sold and said they would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

The first and oldest embossed bottle that contained Dr. Henley’s IXL Bitters were square as shown in this museum example. The examples are usually amber so our museum example is especially exciting in its coloration. The bottle has an applied top and is embossed W. F. & SONS on the base. The IXL bitters are one of a handful of products that Dr. Henley and his entrepreneurial partners brought forth to the public.

This bottle was made by William Frank & Sons in Pittsburgh, Pa. It was not unusual at that time to have a bottle made outside of the west coast.

Later, the IXL brand was put out in a round cylinder bottle that came in a wide variety of colors. See our museum example.

The Carlyn Ring and Bill Ham listings in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

H 86 DR. HENLEY’S / WILD GRAPE ROOT // f // IXL in oval / BITTERS // f //  //  b // W. F. & SONS
9 3/8 x 2 11/16 (6 ¾) ¼
Square, LTCR, Applied mouth, Amber, Very rare

Support image: Amber example from American Bottle Auctions

Read: Use Dr. Henley’s Celebrated California IXL Bitters

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