G. W. Stone’s Liquid Cathartic & Family Physic Lowell, Mass

Provenance: Michael George Collection, ex Charles B. Gardner Collection

This display in our museum Medicine Gallery presents this “best possible example” of a “G. W. Stones Liquid Cathartic and Family Physic Lowell Mass” bottle. The form is rectangular and has beveled corners, three debossed beveled indented panels and was blown in a rich honey amber glass between 1854 and 1856. There is an applied sloping collared mouth and smooth base. The 8-7/8″ tall bottle is attributed to Granite Glass Co. in Stoddard, New Hampshire.

There is an original Charles Gardner personal inventory number “1419” sticker on the neck of the bottle and a round “Gardner Collection 1909” lot number sticker from the Robert W. Skinner Sale #345, American Bottles in the Charles B. Gardner Collection, September 1975.

When looking at the bottle, the first side panel is embossed, ‘G. W. STONE’S’ while the face is embossed, ‘LIQUID CATHARTIC & FAMILY PHYSIC’ in three centered lines. The opposite side panel is embossed, ‘LOWELL MASS’ in one line. The embossed copy is rather pronounced for a thin stroke sans serif typestyle. The back face is flat and is where a paper label would have gone.

The bottle is typically found in amber glass. Two known pontiled aquamarine glass examples are known to exist. The amber examples can also be found with an iron pontil.

We have a second example in the museum from the Richard S. Ciralli collection with what might be called a “doughnut” collar. This example could be unique.

G. W. Stone

George Warren Stone was born on October 4, 1821, in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. His father was named Caleb and his mother Isney. J. The 1855 Massachusetts Census notes that he was married to Mary Homan Atkins Stone (29) and that they had two little girls, Ann Mary Jane, and Eda Augusta Stone. The 1860 United States Federal Census listed Stone as a physician living in Lowell, Massachusetts.

In 1855, George W. Stone would start an advertising campaign in New England newspapers for G. W. Stones Cough Elixir and G. W. Stones Liquid Cathartic and Family Physic. He was selling Liquid Cathartic and Family Physic bottles for $1.00 from his Principal Depot at No. 38 Central Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. Advertising said it was sold by local druggists. H. H. Hay was the sole agent for Portland, Maine, and General for the State. There were other agents for Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

The newspaper advertising always started off with a larger type saying, “Try it! Try it!! Try it!!! – G. W. Stones Liquid Cathartic and Family Physic, The most important discovery ever made in Medical Science, being a compound of Barks and Roots, which forms the most powerful, safe, and agreeable physic ever offered to the public.”

Stone said that his physic “had advantages over cathartics given in the form of Pills or Powders and that it must be obvious to everyone. Being a liquid it operates more immediately and effectually upon the system, and at the same time is infinitely less difficult to administer being quite agreeable to the taste.”

Stone added that his medicine “completely removed habitual Costiveness, leaving the bowels perfectly free. It expels all humors from the blood, is a certain cure for the Piles, Regulates the action of the Liver, free the stomach from Bile, invigorates the whole Nervous System, and removes the cause of all local pains, such as Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Tic Doloureux, Gout, Pain in the Head, Side, Stomach &c. It may also be relied upon for all diseases of the Bowels – Dysentery, Diarrhea, and Cholera Morbus.” He said you could buy one bottle, two bottles, three bottles, or six bottles for use against the various afflictions noted above.

Advertising would only last through the first quarter of 1857 for Stone’s Liquid Cathartic and we lose track of G. W. Stone. He died on April 19, 1899, at the age of 77 in Nahant, Essex County, Massachusetts.

Primary Image: G.W. Stone’s Liquid Cathartic & Family Physic bottle imaged on location (George collection) by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Secondary Image: G.W. Stone’s Liquid Cathartic & Family Physic bottle imaged on location (Cirallli collection) by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support Images: Auction Lot 87: “G.W. Stone’s / Liquid / Cathartic & / Family Physic / Lowell Mass.” Medicine Bottle, America, 1840-1860. Rectangular with beveled corners, aquamarine, applied square collared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 8 7/8 inches; (faint interior haze on one panel). Similar to H #1909 Bold embossing, brilliant glass, and a highly whittled exterior surface. Extremely rare, being one of two known examples in aquamarine. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #167

Support Images: Auction Lot 147: “G. W. Stone’s / Liquid / Cathartic & / Family Physic / Lowell Mass.” Medicine Bottle, a Stoddard glasshouse, Stoddard, New Hampshire, 1846-1860. Rectangular with beveled corners and three embossed indented panels, bright yellowish olive amber, applied sloping collared mouth – petal-shaped iron pontil mark, ht. 9 1/8 inches; (3/8 inch bruise under the edge of sloping collar, two inconsequential 1/8 inch manufacturer’s cooling sG.W. Stone’s Liquid Cathartic & Family Physic stress lines in neck). AAM pg. 496. Highly whittled surface with numerous bubbles and impurities. Beautiful lighter color. An extremely rare bottle with the earlier and eye-appealing sloping collar and iron pontil. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #167

Support Image: Auction Lot 31: “G.W. Stone’s / Liquid / Cathartic & / Family Physic / Lowell Mass” Medicine Bottle, a Stoddard glasshouse, Stoddard, New Hampshire, 1860-1870. Rectangular with beveled corners and three embossed indented panels, medium yellow amber with an olive tone, applied double collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 8 7/8 inches; (1/16 inch area of wear on the front lower left corner, some washable content residue). AAM pg. 496 Wonderful whittled and crude glass. A true New England rarity. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #120

Support Image: G. W. Stone’s Liquid Cathartic & Family Physic Lowell Mass bottle and shards photograph from Michael George.

See More Medicines

Medicines Gallery

The Medicines gallery is still under development. Stay tuned!

Featured Stories

FOHBC Virtual Museum: Now Open Free 2020

Free Entry!

With COVID-19 canceling many events, bottle shows, and public gatherings and closing the museums that many of

Read More

HELP US FILL THE BOTTLE

Scroll to Top