Zeiber & Co’s. Excelsior Ink
Zeiber & Co.’s Excelsior Ink
George B. and William B. Zieber, Zieber & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Medium Forest Green Master Ink
Provenance: Michael George Collection
Zieber & Co.’s Excelsior Ink is extremely rare, with only three or so reported in collections. An example is prominently pictured on the cover of the 1971 book Ink Bottles and Inkwells by William F. Covill, Jr.
Our museum example is 7 1/2″ tall and is a twelve-sided master ink. The bottle is embossed from shoulder to base, vertically, in three lines on the arched side panels. The first line reads ‘ZIEBER & Co.S’ in a sans serif typestyle. Separating the “C” and “S” is an interesting typographic arrangement where a smaller centered “o” sits above an underbar and period in a stacked fashion. The second line is embossed ‘EXCELSIOR’ in a sans-serif typestyle. The third consecutive panel is embossed ‘INK’ in a distinctive serif typestyle. There is an applied square collared mouth and an iron pontil mark. The glass is medium forest green. The example came from the Alan Evanuk collection in Heckler Auction #167.
This bottle is almost identical to the rare Ross’s Excelsior Ink also displayed in the Ink Gallery.
George B. Zieber was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1821. In the early 1840s, Zieber and Francis Sagee were partners as G. B. Zieber & Co. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their address was “The Cheap Publication Depot,” No. 3 Ledger Building, Third Street, below Chestnut.
The city newspapers were full of advertisements for their products and services. They published newspapers and periodicals and were agents for many of the most popular reading material of the day. They also sold books, magazines, foolscap, letter paper, steel pens, quills, penholders, lead pencils, blue, black, and red inks, memorandum and passbooks, and many other items too numerous to list. Oddly, but not uncommon, the company was selling medicines and cures like Pease & Sons Hoarhound Candy, Jones’ Coral Hair Restorative, and Italian Chemical soap, to name a few. The partnership dissolved in 1848, and George B. Zieber continued under his name at the same address. From then on, William Bolton Zieber would run the successful business.
Primary Image: Zieber & Co.’s Excelsior Ink imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio
Support Image: Auction Lot 21: “Zieber & Co’s / Excelsior / Ink” Master Ink Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Twelve-sided example with three panels embossed, forest green, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 7 1/8 inches, base dia. 4 inches; (1/4 inch shallow ﬂake and bruise on one rear base corner). C #775, also one of the items pictured for the cover of “Ink Bottles and Inkwells” by William E. Covill Jr. Beautiful color, fine example, strong embossing. Three examples known. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #87
Support Image: Auction Lot 75: “Zieber & Co’s. / Excelsior / Ink” Master Ink Bottle, America, 1845-1860. Twelve sided, medium forest green, applied square collared mouth – iron pontil mark, ht. 7 1/2 inches; (light exterior high point wear, 1/4 inch chip on edge of base). C #775 A rare bottle with an appealing form. Beautiful color and bold embossing. Generally fine condition. Alan Evanuk collection. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #167
Support: Reference to Ink Bottles and Inkwells, William F. Covill, Jr., 1971
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