Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters Troy N.H.
Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters
Edward P. Kimball, Troy, New Hampshire
Yellow Olive Amber
Provenance: Chris Bubash Collection
Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters is an early pontiled medicine-type bitters put out by the prolific Edward P. Kimball from Troy, New Hampshire. On one face of the rectangular tombstone-form bottle is embossed copy reading ‘KIMBALL’S JAUNDICE’ in two lines. The copy reads from top to bottom in a sans-serif typestyle. The word “Kimball’s” has the capital “i” dotted and the capital “s” is backward. One thin side is embossed ‘BITTERS’ while the opposite thin side is embossed ‘TROY. N.H.” A paper label would have spanned horizontally the reverse blank side. This label would further identify the product as “Kimball’s Roots and Herbs Jaundice Bitters.”
Edward P. Kimball was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire on February 23, 1819, the son of Col. Retyre Kimball and Mary Bell of Tewksbury, Mass. His father was a tanner, currier, and shoemaker in Hillsborough, and was a colonel of the Twenty-sixth New Hampshire Infantry. In most accounts, it is said that Edward Kimball had a meager education though he did attend local schools in his youth.
At the age of eleven, Edward was left dependent upon himself to earn his living after his father passed away on December 10, 1830. After his death, he lived for two years with his uncle, who kept a store. Kimball then went to Francestown and worked on a farm.
Kimball next worked as an apprentice and then a clerk in the hat-making trade with Benjamin F. Grosvenor at Hillsborough Bridge. Grosvenor moved the hat business to Troy in 1836 where he opened a new store. At the end of four years, Kimball bought out Grosvenor, and added groceries and other merchandise to the business, in effect creating his “General Store.”
Edward Kimball wed Mary Ann Fairbanks on July 4, 1844. They would have three children, Charles, George, and Warren. That same year he opened a livery stable while he carried on with numerous other enterprises. In 1848, Kimball built his house and general store in Troy which he operated with his son. E. P. Kimball & Son would run their store on the Common dealing in general merchandise for many years.
During the next half-century, Kimball became one of the most respected and prominent residents of Troy and played a major role in the development of the village by investing in residential construction and various industries.
In addition to hat-making and being a commercial merchant, Kimball was involved in a great variety of businesses over the years. These included a tin business known locally as the “tinshop”, where he at one time had ten peddlers on the road. He also at one time or another ran a brickyard, broom business, and picture frame business. He also held various offices and positions and served as the postmaster, town clerk, tax collector, auctioneer, and deputy sheriff, to which he was appointed in 1844. He eventually was appointed Sheriff in 1874.
Perhaps his most unusual business was the manufacture and sale of a variety of medicines. Kimball had little formal education, but the mid-nineteenth century was a time when the success of a medicine business had more to do with a person’s ability as a salesperson than with his medical training. He made at least three medical products that he sold from his store in Troy. They were Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters, Anodyne Toothache Drops, and Hair Renovator. The hair renovator was “guaranteed to restore and beautify the hair.” The toothache drops were labeled as “an immediate and perfect cure.” The bitters were “the best article in the world for the jaundice and all kindred complaints, and for worms in children.”
Kimball’s medicine business was apparently as successful as his other business undertakings. He purchased medicine bottles from the glass factories at Keene and Stoddard and had traveling salesmen on the road selling his medicines. Edward P. Kimball would die on January 23, 1890, in Troy.
The Ring & Ham listing for Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters is as follows:
K 42 KIMBALL’S / JAUNDICE // BITTERS // f // TROY, N.H. //
L… Kimball’s Roots and Herbs Jaundice Bitters
7 x 2 7/8 x 1 3/4 (4 3/4) 1/2
Rectangular, Amber, Olive amber, and Olive yellow, Metallic pontil mark, LTC, Applied mouth, Scarce.
In the word Kimballs the I is dotted although capital and the S is backwards.
Label: These bitters are purely vegetable and safe to be taken by all, both old and young. They are the best article in the world for the jaundice and all kindred complaints, and for worms in children.
Primary Image: Kimball’s Jaundice Bitters imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio
Support: Reference to Historical Sketch of the Town of Troy, New Hampshire And Her Inhabitants from the First Settlement of the Territory Now Within the Limits of the Town in 1764-1897 by Melvin Ticknor Stone, 1897
Support: Reference to The Granite Monthly, A New Hampshire Magazine · Volume 28, 1900
Support: Reference to Monadnock Moments No. 84: Kimball’s Medicines – Historical Society of Cheshire County
Support Image: Auction Lot 184: “KIMBALL’S / JAUNDICE – BITTERS – TROY. N.H.” (with 99% complete original label), a Stoddard, NH glasshouse, 1850 – 1860. Bright, light-to-medium yellowish olive amber, rectangular with beveled corners, applied sloping collar – sand type pontil, ht. 7″, virtually attic mint; (slight trace of faint wear, colorful label 99% complete). R/H #K42. A beautiful example of the bottle, lighter in color, crude seedy glass, and exceedingly rare with the original label (only the 2nd to be offered in more than 30 years). – John Pastor, American Glass Gallery, Auction #22
Support Image: Auction Lot 18: “Kimball’s / Jaundice / Bitters / Troy. N.H.” Bitters Bottle, a Stoddard glasshouse, Stoddard, New Hampshire, 1846-1860. Rectangular with beveled corners, medium olive amber in the upper half shading to a deeper olive amber base, applied sloping collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 6 7/8 inches. R/H #K-42 Crude and wavy panels with attractive “orange peel” exterior surface. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #138
Support Image: Auction Lot 40: “Kimball’s / Jaundice / Bitters / Troy. N.H.” Bitters Bottle, a Stoddard glasshouse, Stoddard, New Hampshire, 1845-1860. Rectangular with beveled corners, brilliant yellowish olive amber, applied sloping collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 7 inches. R/H #K-42 Bright and bubbly with no wear. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #128
Support Image: Auction Lot 281: “KIMBALL’S / JAUNDICE – BITTERS – TROY, N.H.”, (Ring/Ham, K-42), New Hampshire, ca. 1840 – 1860, medium yellowish ‘old’ amber, 7 1/8”h, iron pontil has a minor in-making chip, applied tapered collar mouth. Pristine perfect condition, crude pebbly glass and no trace of wear! – Jim Hagenbuch, Glass Works Auctions, Auction #124
Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham.
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