E. Young Pitts E.Y.

Provenance: Doug Shutler Collection

The E. Young Pitts bottle is a challenge to find with little available information. When consulting 1850s Pittsburgh City Directories we see listings for Eli Young who was a well-known and popular caterer and restaurant proprietor.

Our 7-1/8″ tall aqua soda bottle is embossed vertically, shoulder to base, ‘E. YOUNG’ in somewhat of a flared typestyle. In smaller letters, on a second vertical line is embossed flush right, ‘PITTS.’ The reverse of the bottle has 5/8″ tall embossed ‘E. Y.’ initials in a horizontal straight line. The bottle has a rounded tapered applied mouth and an improved pontil with a high kick-up.

Records are scarce for Eli Young. Oddly enough, he first appears in newspaper testimonials in 1845 for Dr. Duncan’s Expectorant Remedy. He would certify with his name that “he was attacked with inflammation in the left lobe of the lungs in March 1843” with all types of ill effects until he took the medicine being sold by Samuel Frew at the corner of Liberty and Wood Streets in Pittsburgh. As late as June 1864, just six months before his death, he was still loaning his name in a testimonial for being cured of “Corns, Bunions and Diseased Nails” by Dr. Randall, an eminent Chiropodist.

Trade-wise, Eli Young was apparently a grocer first as this advertisement below for E. Young & Son, Wholesale and Retail Grocers and Produce Merchants appears in an 1850 Pittsburgh city directory.

Next, we see the son, most likely Eli Young Jr. listed as a wagoner located at 51 Tunnel Street in 1852. In 1856, Eli Young is advertising his new Cornucopia Restaurant and Eating Saloon located at 40 Fifth Street. This may have been when he ordered his embossed mineral water bottles from a local glass factory, of which there were many in Pittsburgh. His brief newspaper notices in the Pittsburgh Daily Post requested the attention of merchants and others to be directed to “this establishment, which has been recently fitted up for the purpose of affording a Substantial Eating House in a Central Location. Country folks attending market are particularly invited to call.”

By 1862, Eli Young was advertising his Young’s Wholesale Oyster Depot at the Old Stand Cornucopia Restaurant at No. 40 Fifth Street, and Young’s Eating Saloon located at the corner of Virgin Alley and Smithfield Streets. Both outlets specialized in serving Chesapeake Bay Oysters and “all other delicacies of the season.”

In early 1864, C. R. Leonhauser and J. J. Roemer who was formerly with Eli Young’s Exchange opened a new Restaurant and Eating Saloon at the same Smithfield address so Eli Young must have been ill or had fallen away from the business. Prior to this event, “Mrs. Eli Young” was listed as the proprietor of Young’s Exchange at 129 and 131 Smithfield further confirming that Eli Young had departed the scene.

Eli Young died on December 09, 1864, after a brief illness. His obituary stated that he served with credit in the Jackson Independent Blues in the Mexican Campaign. Prior to and up to the breakout of the Mexican-American War from April 1846 to February 1848, Pittsburgh put forth nine separate volunteer military companies. The names of four of the infantry companies were the City Blues, Jackson Independent Blues, Duquesne Grays, and the Irish Greens. Others were composed of mostly Germans and rifle and artillery companies. Three of these regiments, the Jackson Independent Blues, Duquesne Grays, and the Irish Greens served with distinction under General Winfield Scott during his campaign in Central Mexico as they participated in the Siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo, La Hoya, Huamantla, Chapultepec, Mexico City, and the defense of Puebla.

Primary Image: E. Young Pittsburgh soda water bottle imaged in studio by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest studio.

Support: Reference to The American Pontiled Soda Database Project, Tod von Mechow

Support: Reference to Soda & Beer Bottles of North America, Tod von Mechow

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