Ferro Quina Kidney and Liver Bitters

Provenance: Richard T. Siri Collection

The Rossi extended family included a number of wealthy Italian immigrants who came from Piemonte and Cuneo, Italy to San Francisco in the 1870s. They actually accumulated their wealth after moving to California.

Domenico P. Rossi was born in Italy in 1853. He came to San Francisco with his brother, Pietro C. Rossi, where they were initially in the drug business. Pietro eventually moved to Asti, Sonoma County, California, where he became president of the Italian-Swiss Agricultural Association, producing grape-related products under the name of Italian-Swiss Colony, one of the largest wineries in California. Pietro became quite wealthy and maintained estates in both Asti, California, and in San Francisco. Domenico stayed in San Francisco where he established his drug store at 1400 Dupont Street.

Rossi’s Ferro-Quina Bitters was trademarked in California on July 12, 1895, as California Trademark No. 2610. Perhaps most confusing is this product’s relationship with another, FERRO CHINA BISLERI, which was begun in Italy about 1881. In fact, they were so close in the name that Felice Bisleri sued Rossi for $1,000 for label infringement in 1895.

The BLOOD MAKER variant of Rossi’s bottle may have been a reaction to the lawsuit. The reason this variant is also embossed, DOGLIANI ITALIA is because Dogliani, at the base of the Southern Alps, is the town where the Rossi lived in Italy, and where Domenico was born.

Domenico P. Rossi never married. He died in San Francisco on March 27, 1907.

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

F38 FERRO QUINA / KIDNEY / and / LIVER ( au ) / BITTERS / D.P. ROSSI / San Francisco / CAL. //
9 1/4 x 4
Square lady’s leg, Amber, LTCR, 1 sp, Rare

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